Beaver Brook Association
Hollis, New Hampshire 03049
Beaver Brook Association webpage
Beaver Brook Association Trail Maps and Guides webpage
Also, see Beaver Brook Association
|Bar Charts by Season by Month|
Photos by Molly Jacobson
The “Great Meadow” section of land belonging to Beaver Brook Association lies feet from the Massachusetts border, and its only trail, the Potanipo Rail Trail, runs parallel to the Nissitissit River. Parking is in a small dirt lot at the intersection of West Hollis Street and Worcester Road. The latter winds around the perimeter of the parcel, where a smaller lot for the Eastman Meadow Trail (which leads back to the Maple Hill headquarters) is present on the other side of the road as the land slopes steeply upwards.
Great Meadow is not actually a meadow at all, but a large cattail marsh with scattered patches of scrub-shrub, phragmites, and standing snags. The trail begins in the forest and quickly breaks into two parallel paths, the right hand one running along the river and then reconnecting. The forest soon opens to the marsh, and on the right side of the trail, there is extensive scrub-shrub habitat with interspersed trees. Birding is generally done along this single linear path, and if the trail is continued past the marsh back into the forest, it veers south into Massachusetts and off of Beaver Brook property. This location is very active for all manner of birds. In spring and fall, waterfowl utilize the open water and emergent cover, and many species of raptor can be seen using or flying over the area. Woodpeckers abound, and the snags in the center of the marsh are perches for many swallows. Over a dozen warbler species have been reported, using the abundant thickets and tree cover, as well as gnatcatchers, kinglets, Swamp Sparrows, and wrens. This is a good location to search for less common or secretive wetland species like American Bittern, Willow Flycatcher, Virginia Rail, and Rusty Blackbird. Northern Shrikes have been known to stop here in winter. The forested portion of the trail hosts Brown Creeper, Baltimore Oriole, vireos, and Red-breasted Nuthatch among others. Walking the main trail to the marsh, and returning using the split side trail to observe the river may offer species near the water or on the other side of the river.
Overall, an excellent site to bird watch any time of year. It may be helpful to note, however, that in the summer months, the trail does become overgrown with abundant poison ivy, and in winter it may be icy.
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.