Great Bay NWR

Tips for Birding

There are tips for birding Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Birdwatching in New Hampshire , p. 103.

About Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

See all hotspots at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1992 on a portion of the former Pease Air Force Base in Newington, NH. The 1,089-acre refuge was created to encourage the natural diversity of plants and wildlife, protect endangered and threatened species, and enhance the water quality of aquatic habitats. A variety of habitats is found on the refuge, including upland forest, grassland, salt marsh, freshwater, and seven miles of intertidal shoreline.

From NH-16 exit 1 in Newington, take Pease Boulevard for .5 mile. Turn right on Arboretum Drive and drive about 3.3 miles past the end of the Pease runway to the parking lot for the refuge.

The refuge also manages the 28-acre Karner Blue Easement, located 45 miles west in Concord. The easement is one of the few remaining parcels of pine barren habitat in the state and is home to the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Both Great Bay refuge and the Karner Blue Butterfly easement are administered by Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, located in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Notable Trails

On one side of the parking lot is a small woodland trail loop called the Peverly Pond Trail 0..5 miles long. In late March and April, this is a good place for Ring-necked Ducks, and other waterfowl are possible.

The TrailFinder website has a description and map of a hike on the Peverly Pond Trail.

On the other side, the Ferry Way Trail (2 miles round trip) runs for a mile before it reaches the Bay at an overlook across from Adams Point. The far portion of this trail is perhaps a little under-birded but the immediate parking area has excellent habitat for Field Sparrows, Thrashers, and Towhees. Perhaps the most productive part of this trail is the section from the end of the fence to just past the small pond and marshy area where the trail branches off to the right: this section can be full of passerines. Osprey nest on poles within the fenced portion. Kestrel, Turkeys, and Pileated Woodpeckers are also residents. And during migration, almost any species of warbler is possible.

Content from Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge Official Website