Lake Umbagog--North End, Errol

Tips for Birding

If you carefully keep your bird records by state, be aware of the location of the New Hampshire-Maine state line and use the appropriate eBird hotspots when you submit checklists. 

About this Location

A section of the North End of Lake Umbagog is in New Hampshire. The lake is part of the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, which protects over 20,000 acres of wetlands, forests, and islands. The lake was formed in 1853 when the Errol dam flooded three separate lakes connected by marshes and swamps. The lake's name comes from the Abenaki word for shallow water, as the average depth is 12-14 feet. The north end of the lake has a deep hole with depths over 40 feet, where the Indian chief Metallak used to live on a private island. The north end features Harper's Meadow, a floating bog that serves as a habitat for many species of birds, moose, eagles, and osprey. The north end is where the Androscoggin and Magalloway rivers meet, forming the source of the Androscoggin that flows south to the Gulf of Maine.

About Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

See all hotspots at Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

Umbagog Lake has extensive wetland complexes that are excellent for waterfowl production. One example is Harper’s Meadow. In 1972, the Secretary of the Interior designated part of the wetlands at Harper’s Meadow as a Floating Island National Natural Landmark. This designation recognized the floating bog and wetlands as a significant natural area, one of a very special group of places illustrating the diversity of the country’s natural history.

Umbagog Lake is more than 7 miles in length and covers more than 7,000 acres, making it one of the largest lakes along the New Hampshire/Maine border. It has an average depth of only 15 feet.

The Umbagog area, unique in its habitats, provides a home to many different species. Situated in the southern range of the boreal forests and the northern range of the deciduous forests, the Umbagog area is a transition zone providing homes to species of both habitat types. A total of 229 bird species have been observed on the refuge, and 137 species are known to breed there. There are many species of songbirds, including 24 varieties of warblers. The abundance of fish in the lakes and rivers provides food for the local populations of osprey and bald eagles. Mink, otter, muskrat, and beaver can be seen in the lakes and rivers while black bears, bobcats, fishers, marten, white-tailed deer, and a dense population of moose inhabit the uplands. The extensive wetlands and marshes provide ideal habitats for waterfowl, such as common mergansers, American black ducks, common goldeneye, and common loons.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge Official Website and New Hampshire’s Wildlife Viewing and Birding Trails, p. 3

Last updated November 20, 2023