On Saturday, June 8th, from 9 am to 2 pm, BRCC and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT) led a guided hike to explore the many unique features of this beautiful part of the Belknap Range.  10 participants had the opportunity to learn about these conserved lands and the natural and human history of LRCT’s Piper Mountain Conservation Area in Gilford and the land known as the Jail Pasture as well the summits of Piper and Belknap.  Russ Wilder, BRCC Chairman and Rhys Bowen, LRCT Trustee,  led participants on this moderate/strenuous hike and shared their knowledge of the historic and natural heritage of this area.  Mr. Bowen, a research ornithologist, helped us identify 18 bird species we encountered and what they were doing at this buggy time of year (see Read More below).  We also saw a very large snowshoe hare already in its brown phase while we were ascending Piper.


Greetings, Excursioneers from Rhys Bowen.

Here is a list of the bird species that we heard (including a few that we saw) on our Piper-Belknap hike on Saturday. An asterisk marks species that our whole group stopped to listen to. I have appended a few notes on relative abundance and distribution along the hike route, for those of you who are interested.

*Turkey Vulture

Mourning Dove

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

*Black-capped Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

*Winter Wren

*Hermit Thrush

Chestnut sided Warbler

*Black-throated Blue Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

*Blackburnian Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

American Redstart


Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Turkey Vultures were seen overhead, near the talus slope.

Mourning Dove, Red-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak: one individual each, at the parking lot. It is surprising that we didn’t hear more Red-eyed Vireo, which is a common breeding species in NH.

Chestnut-sided Warbler: one singing male, at the talus slope.

Yellow-rumped Warbler: a whole bunch at the Belknap fire tower, and scattered elsewhere.

Blackburnian Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird: these three species were abundant and widespread along the route. I would expect to encounter these three any time I made this hike at this time of year.

Dark-eyed Junco: a single individual, skulking about under the spruces near the Piper summit.

Thank you to all who made the hike on Saturday. In the long run, conservation only succeeds if people want to get out onto land that is undeveloped. Thank you for supporting the work of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.