Laugh of the Wild

Viewing Loons in New Hampshire

Northern New Hampshire has a number of lovely, accessible lakes with nesting loons. Cherry Pond in Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge, an Audubon Society of New Hampshire property outside Whitefield, is especially easy to reach, requiring an easy 45-minute walk over old railroad beds. From the Franconia Notch Parkway (I-93) take Route 3 North about 11 miles to the junction of Route 115. Continue on Route 3 another 5.9 miles toward Whitefield, then turn right onto Colby Road, following signs for the airport. Go 1.6 miles, turn right onto Airport Road and park near the office by the airstrip.

The railbed begins to the right of Hanger A and sweeps east, skirting the end of the runway and a high-tension line before joining another rail line; bear right at the juncture. After another 15 minutes' walk the line splits and you'll see signs for Pondicherry, with Cherry Pond dead ahead.

In the northern panhandle of New Hampshire, the upper Connecticut River system supports a number of loon pairs on the chain of lakes stretching from Pittsburg to the Quebec border. Second and Third Connecticut Lakes are especially good bets. Other New Hampshire lakes with breeding loons include Lake Winnipesaukee and smaller, nearby Squam Lake.

Lake Umbagog, on the New Hampshire-Maine border, has a healthy population of loons in fact, it represents New Hampshire's largest concentration. Those loons, along with a diverse mix of other wildlife, will be protected by the newly created Lake Umbagog NWR, which when fully purchased will cover more than 15,800 acres near the junction of the Androscoggin and Magallaway rivers, close to Errol, New Hampshire.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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