Beaver Brook Association
117 Ridge Road
Hollis, New Hampshire 03049
Beaver Brook Association webpage
Beaver Brook Association Trail Maps and Guides webpage
Also, see Beaver Brook Association
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Photos by Molly Jacobson
Maple Hill Farm is the headquarters of Beaver Brook Association, located on Ridge Road, and has a large dirt parking lot with overflow parking in the grassy field across the road. Several trails start from this location, and it is also the site of most of their educational programs, their pollinator garden, and their office and other facilities.
Birding is best started in the parking lot and garden area; the large open field just past the gardens offers good views of overhead raptors, with Red-tailed Hawks frequently hunting the field itself. Tree Swallow and Bluebird boxes ensure these species, and House Wrens can often be heard in spring along with ravens any time of year. Song and Chipping Sparrows are also common near the parking lot, as well as Eastern Phoebes which nest close by. Goldfinches and Hummingbirds feed in the garden, and Yellow Warblers hide in the brush.
On the eastern side of the parking lot, past the yurt, the Wildflower Loop begins, which if followed briefly leads to a trail on the right (marked, but not on the trail map) that runs the perimeter of a small wet thicket. This area, while not extensive, often contains species not found anywhere else in the near vicinity, including Indigo Bunting, Veery, Magnolia and Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. American Woodcock sometimes hide here or nearby. It is worth checking in spring and summer. That nondescript trail hits a dead end near the road, but in spring usually has Black-and-white Warblers or others.
The main trail through the woods is Cow Lane, which has many paths that branch off from it. Ovenbirds and Wood Thrushes are abundant, along with vireos and the occasional Scarlet Tanager, with Brown Creepers and Golden-crowned Kinglets in winter. These woods are a good place for a daytime Barred Owl, sometimes even along the Wildflower Loop. Cow Lane eventually reaches an intersection, and if followed to the left, becomes the Beaver Brook Trail and opens up to Bouchard Bridge, a small cattail and arrowwood marsh. This connects to the larger Spatterdock Pond, accessed through several trails, which often has Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons.
From the Maple Hill headquarters, a walk up Ridge Road will bring you to the trailhead of the Whiting Trail, which leads to the pond, and is fairly active for birds as well. Bouchard Bridge usually has Yellow Warblers and Gray Catbirds, and sometimes Song and Swamp Sparrows. Crossing the bridge leads you to a series of longer trails that will eventually meet Proctor Hill Road.
If the Cow Lane intersection is followed straight instead, it will take you to many intersecting trails that come out at Brown Lane Barn; this location has its own parking lot and is where Beaver Brook has many other programs throughout the year. While not an ebird hotspot, it is definitely a center of bird activity and is just as much worth exploring as Maple Hill. A large wet meadow borders brush and shrubby cover, where sparrows, bluebirds, wrens, and woodpeckers can be found. Here also is the Bird Blind, which attracts many visitors in winter, including Red-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, and Fox Sparrow. The associated trails near Brown Lane Barn offer a variety of seasonal warblers and thrushes, with interspersed wetland, thicket, and open areas lending themselves to the potential for many species.
From Molly Jacobson
About Beaver Brook Association
Location: Ridge Road, Hollis. From US-3 exit 6 in Nashua, go west on NH-130 about 6 miles. Bear right at the split and go to the stoplight at NH-122. Turn left and go about 1 mile. Turn right on Ridge Road and go about 1 mile to Maple Hill Farm at 117 Ridge Road, the Association’s headquarters. This parking area provides easy access to the trails south of NH-130.
For quicker access to the trails and ponds north of NH-130, continue past NH-122 about 1.5 miles to a large parking area on the right.
Target Birds: Spring/summer/fall birding. With marshes, ponds, fields, and woods, almost any bird except seacoast birds could be found.
Description: 35 miles of trails (see map on Beaver Brook Association’s website) meandering past several large ponds, alongside streams and marshes, through forested areas, and across fields. Certainly, far more than can be seen in a day, or even several days. The largest ponds are north of NH-130; fields and marshes south of NH-130, woods on both sides.