December 2023

Vol. 51, No. 6`

Birding Odiorne Point State Park, Rye, New Hampshire

Brett Hillman

Birding Odiorne Point State Park, Rye, New HampshirePrior to 2018, I did not particularly enjoy winter. Although I like to ski and hike in the cold, snowy weather, by February I am often ready for warmth and the abundance of critters that grace our region during spring, summer, and fall. That changed when I took a day off from work in December 2018 and made my first trip to Odiorne Point State Park with my binoculars and camera. Before then, I had never gone winter birding on the coast and had done little winter birding. As soon as I arrived that day and stepped out of my car, I immediately added Great Cormorant and Razorbill to my life list. I was hooked.

Located in Rye, New Hampshire, along Route 1A—Ocean Boulevard and Pioneer Road—the 135-acre Odiorne Point State Park (Odiorne) is a convenient coastal birding location for residents of inland New Hampshire towns as it is only a one-hour drive from the cities of Concord and Manchester. Those coming from Maine and points north will take Interstate 95 to Exit 5 to get to the park, while folks approaching from Massachusetts and other points south will get off at Exit 3. From those exits, it is a short ten minute or so drive to get to the park.

Odiorne is accessible from two official parking lots, one of which features a public boat launch (43.04878, -70.72751). Like most New Hampshire state parks, the entry fee is a reasonable $4. The parking lots are not staffed during the winter, so visitors should be prepared to bring exact change to the self-service pay stations. The two lots are typically open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. From the main parking lot (43.04409, -70.71462) visitors can access the Seacoast Science Center, a nonprofit organization within the park that offers ocean-themed educational experiences.

Map of Odiorne Point State Park, Rye, New Hampshire.
Map of Odiorne Point State Park, Rye, New Hampshire.

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