Photo courtesy Andy Morffew.
Great Bay encompasses nearly 25,000 acres of tidal waters and offers numerous viewing platforms, for wildlife and bird watching opportunities. Wildlife photographers and visitors may catch a glimpse of muskrat, white-tailed deer, chipmunk, mink, otter, red fox or cottontail rabbit.
There are viewing platforms on the boardwalk at the Great Bay Discovery Center, Great Bay’s Community Wildlife Garden, and on Adam’s Point. The boardwalk at the Discovery Center is universally accessible with a ramp leading to the trail head and a wheelchair accessible boardwalk. The Great Bay Discovery Center and Adams point also provide the opportunity to see mating Horseshoe crabs in the spring-it is an amazing site that you don’t want to miss!
The estuary is also part of the North Atlantic flyway and 20 species of waterfowl, 27 species of shorebirds, and 13 species of wading birds use the bay as a wintering area or migratory stopover. Winter waterfowl counts at Great Bay average 5,000 birds annually, with black ducks being the most prominent species. Over eighty percent of all waterfowl that winter in New Hampshire’s coastal areas are found in Great Bay.
Home to several endangered and threatened bird species, the Bay supports a large winter population of bald eagles. There are several area Osprey nests including the GBDC, Adam’s Point, and the Community Wildlife Garden. In addition, Great Bay is recognized by Audubon as an Important Bird Area (IBS).