Hollis, New Hampshire 03049
The orchard provides some of the best open habitat in Hillsborough County for grassland songbirds and especially raptors like the American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, and owls. In winter, it is a reliable spot for Snow Buntings and Horned Larks, which flock to feed in the crop fields, with the chance of Lapland Longspurs mixed in. Areas of weedy cover and shrubby thicket host over a dozen sparrow species, including Vesper, Grasshopper, and Clay-colored Sparrow, with Savannah and American Tree Sparrows being among the most common.
The small water features from the farm’s irrigation ditches and retention ponds are utilized by many wetland species, and forest birds like Wild Turkeys, woodpeckers, Common Ravens, and Brown Creepers can be found along the wood’s edge.
All parts of the orchard offer their own species, from the apple trees themselves to the thicket edges, grassy hills, and woodland border, as well as the spent crop fields and little ponds. The area is so wide open that many additional species can be seen as flyovers. Woodmont Drive, a loop on the other side of the road, can be driven while scanning for species like Northern Shrike or Merlin perching on the apple trees. Every nook and cranny here has something to offer.
Woodmont Orchard is an active farm located on Silver Lake Road in Hollis. Parking is in a dirt lot on the lefthand side of the road (if coming from the south) next to the red barn. Walking trails loop around the rows of apple trees, through fields, and by the wood’s edge.
This site is active all year but becomes especially important for a diversity of species during spring and fall migration. Shorebirds utilize muddy or flooded areas in fall, and Wilson’s Snipe are abundant near the stream banks. Be sure to walk the margins of the fields around the central strip of trees and shrubs, as numerous species hide there. Nearly two dozen species of warbler have been reported here, from spring through fall. The orchard is known for occasional rarities year-round, due to its importance as a stopover for migrants and its quality of habitat, so it may help to check recent reports.
When visiting, be aware of rules and guidelines posted, such as staying on the trails at the request of the farm owners. Being an active farm, during the summer months you will need to be mindful of ongoing farm operations. The land is on an upward slope and can be a mildly strenuous hike on certain paths. Particularly in winter, winds are strong here, so dress accordingly. Currently, the future of Woodmont Orchard as a conservation area and birdwatching site is uncertain, as it has been recently sold to developers with no plan yet as to whether the wildlife habitat will be preserved in some capacity.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Molly Jacobson
Last updated October 22, 2023