Brookline Bird Club’s 2024 Trips to the Lake Umbagog, NH Region

In early June two groups of BBC members had the opportunity to explore the region near Lake Umbagog in northern New Hampshire.  We stayed at the Errol Motel in “downtown” Errol, NH.  All of our meals were kindly provided by the ladies of the nearby Errol Congregational Church, starting with a turkey dinner on our first evening.

On the first day started with a mid-day meet up in Gorham, NH then we birded our way up Rt. 16 through Berlin and Milan, paralleling the Androscoggin River.  This route presented the trip’s best opportunity to find water birds such as Wood Duck and Double Crested Cormorant.  A highlight was the colony of Cliff Swallows nesting under the Androscoggin River bridge in Milan.  The first group was also treated to a winnowing Snipe in a roadside marsh.  The day ended with a talk by Dana Duxbury-Fox about Lake Umbagog and its early ornithological explorer, Willliam Brewster.

On the morning of the second day the route took us west from Errol to the Dixville Notch Turbine Road, climbing up 2,000 feet to search for boreal species. Both groups experienced weather that felt like a cold, wet early spring day to us southern New Englanders – fog, showers and cool. Bicknell’s Thrush was heard by many but seen by few. Other specialties along the Turbine Road included Lincoln’s Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Boreal Chickadee, multiple Mourning Warblers, and a family of Canada Jays. Lunch at Dixville State Park, a visit to the geologically interesting Dixville Flume, and a drive through the notch and by the Balsams Resort followed.  The afternoon was given over to exploring the rich agricultural grasslands around Colebrook, NH.  This area is known for breeding Bobolinks, Kestrels, and Harrier.  The first group lucked upon an American Bittern in a roadside pond.

The third day included a visit to Mollidgewock Road off Rt. 26 southeast of Errol.  Bogs along this dirt and gravel road yielded multiple Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and Palm Warblers. The next stop was a visit the Lake Umbagog dam up Rt. 16 east of Errol where we found Blackburnian Warblers singing in the parking lot.  The itinerary then continued to a roadside bog with Palm Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatcher further up Rt. 16. Our final location was the Dartmouth Second College Grant property where we found Eastern Bluebirds in a roadside field.

A total of 99 species were seen by the two groups combined, including 19 species of warbler. Dragonflies and butterflies were scarce due to the weather, but geology and plants were fully explored!

Ebird trip report for the first group: