Hampton, New Hampshire 03842
The Church Street parking lot is located near the eastern terminus of Nh-101 in Hampton, approximately 0.25 miles west of Hampton Beach. The location is most easily recognized by the Hampton Water Tower, which is just west of the lot. It is a gravel parking lot only accessible for westbound traffic (NH-101 is one-way in this short area), and it is located just west of a church. If you miss the turn, you need to circle back around.
Although it is located adjacent to the church, the lot is not owned by the church but is owned by the town of Hampton. Curiously, the town leases parking spaces in this spot; however, it is likely that very few spaces in this large lot are ever rented, since the lot is mostly vacant during most of the year, and even in summer, rarely has more than a few cars.
Technically, it is not OK for birders to park here. I talked to the Town Manager for Hampton several years ago when I wrote my booklet, and he would not grant “carte blanche” permission for birders to use this lot for parking and birding. That being said, this is where birders park, and I’ve never known anyone to get a ticket here. In fact, we’ve had police come in and ask us about birding, but never question whether we should be parking here. nevertheless, be aware that this is not legal parking.
The birds are active along a dwindling row of Spruce trees and various shrubs and trees along the border of the parking lot and the church. Sadly, many of the Spruce trees have come down with storms over the years and the town has cleared away a lot of the low-ground shrubs as has one of the landowners; however, the lot is, surprisingly, still a good spot for migrating birds. This small row of trees forms a small “island” for birds where the surrounding neighborhoods are over-developed, and the expansive salt marsh surrounds the area. When migrating birds arrive off the ocean or traveling north, they are attracted to these trees as if it were an island. In addition, it seems that there is a lot of insect activity around the spruce, which can be particularly attractive for birds. We often see Common Yellowthroats, normally a ground bird, feeding high in these spruces. The lot can often be dead for migrant birds but can be excellent when conditions are just right. Birds normally don’t stay too long and mornings are often best.
Birding is done from the vacant lot, patiently scanning the low shrubs and up in the Spruce. It is tough lighting from this parking lot side in the morning. Some people have gone to the yard in the back of the church as well; however, THIS IS private property. Most of the area is owned by the church, but part is owned by a separate residence. Great care and respect should be exercised when birding here and “birder beware” regarding getting a parking ticket.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from NHBirds Google Group
Last updated October 23, 2023