Birding Locations of the Upper Texas Coast
February 27, 1997

Below is a guide to the major public birding locations on the Upper Texas Coast (UTC). If you have other public access locations to add please drop me a note. The individual county birding maps also list additional smaller birding spots. Most of the locations listed below are large enough to spend an entire day birding if you wanted to.

Index of Locations

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Chambers County

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To reach the refuge from Houston take IH-10 east 45 miles to the SH61 exit at Hankamer. Go south on SH61 four miles to SH65. At SH65 continue straight onto FM 562. Go eight miles to FM 1985 and turn left. Go about 3 miles to the refuge entrance on the right.

From High Island take SH 124 north about five miles to FM 1985. Turn left and go about six miles to the refuge entrance on the left.

From Beaumont take IH 10 west to Winnie. In Winnie take SH 124 south 10 miles to FM 1985. Turn west (right) on FM 1985. Go about six miles to the refuge entrance on the left.

Any time of the year you'll need insect repellent. In the summer the biting flies are more numerous and bigger than the birds. The winter is not bad, but in the spring migration carry plenty and reapply often.

There are restrooms on the refuge but no drinking water. The nearest store is back at I-10 or High Island. Bring plenty to drink and make sure you have plenty of gasoline.

During the Spring migration be sure and check the rice fields along FM 1985 for shorebirds. The plowed rice fields can be very productive. Do not trespass on private property.

The tour loop and Shoveler Pond are productive year round for Herons, Egrets, and Ibises. White and White-faced Ibis are common and a few Glossy are reported every year. In the winter most of the ducks could be present except for scoters and mergansers. When the water is low in late summer there are often large numbers of shorebirds present.

One the way to the tour loop there is a small stand of willow trees around a small pond. "The Willows" as they have become know are becoming famous as a migrant trap. In a single afternoon I have found as many as twenty species of warblers here along with Indigo Buntings, Grosbeaks, Flycatchers, and Orioles.

The field between the headquarters and the Willows is being developed into a woodlot. Right now the weeds are higher than the saplings. This field has not been mowed for several years now and is an excellent spot for sparrows now. Several species should be present.

Speaking of sparrows also check the fields on the east side of the road past the Crossover Road. In the winter Sprague's Pipits are usually found here. Check the hedgerows for wintering Palm Warblers.

Thousands of geese winter on the refuge. Canada, Snow, Blue, Greater White-fronted, and a few Rosses are always present from November till February.

I've not found the bayshore very productive. There are usually some terns and gulls present. In the winter Horned and Eared Grebes can usually be found. A group of Rusty Blackbirds was found here on a Christmas Bird Count a few years ago. Seaside Sparrows are resident here. A Surfbird was reported on the rocks here in December 1994.

In the winter keep your eyes open for raptors anywhere on the refuge. White-tailed Kite are resident, but more numerous in the winter. A least one Rough-legged Hawk is reported every year. Northern Harrier, Red-tailed, Coopers, and Sharp-shinned Hawks are to be expected in the winter. Kestrels are also common. Merlin, Crested Caracara and Peregrine Falcons are also reported occasionally.

What about rails? Well in season and proper habitat you should have no problem with Clapper, King, Virginia, and Sora. Black is very rare. Yellow are there but almost impossible to see. Your best chance is to join the Christmas Bird Count and ride the "swamp buggy".

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City of Anahuac Nature Trail

Chambers County

From Houston take IH 10 East about 43 miles to the Anahuac Exit, FM563. Go south about 6 miles to the junction of SH 61 and FM563. Turn right and go about 3/4 of a mile to the end of SH61. The birding trail is on the Chambers County Navigation District property.

This new trial

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Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge

Colorado County

More information is available from the Colorado County Home Page

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To reach the refuge go west form Houston on IH-10 to Sealy (50 Miles). In Sealy go south on SH 36 about 2 miles to FM 3103. Turn right (west) on FM 3103 and go about eight miles to the refuge entrance. The entrance is just west of the San Bernard River on the right. The refuge is open daily from sun up to sun down.

Most of the refuge is closed to the public to protect the few remaining Prairie Chicken on the refuge. However the refuge can still be very productive and has large areas and some varied habitat to off the birder.

Check along the river for the few woodland birds to be found on the refuge.

The refuge is one of the best places to find White-tailed Hawk and Crested Caracara. I've often seen Crested Caracara perched on fence posts and on the loop road. During the winter Bald Eagles are often seen over head. Ferruginous Hawk should be watched for in the winter, and Swainson's Hawk in the spring and summer.

Sparrows abound on the refuge. 19 species are listed on the refuge checklist. This is also a good spot for Sprague's Pipits in the winter.

Lots of water fowl winter on the refuge. Four kinds of geese should be present. Teal Slough and Pintail Slough are often covered with ducks, grebes, moorhens, and coots. Least Grebe and Masked Duck are regularly recorded here in the winter, although I've heard no reports form Dec'95 and Jan'96 (probably due to the federal shutdown of 1995/96!)

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Big Reef Reef Nature Park/East Beach

Galveston County, Maintained by the City of Galveston

To reach the park from Houston take IH 45 south to Galveston. After crossing the causeway bridge the freeway turns into Broadway. Take Broadway all the way to the end. Broadway ends at Seawall Blvd. Take a left on Seawall and go to the end and turn right on Boddeker Rd.. The park runs from just after crosssing the first bridge on the left side (east) of the road all the way to Apfel Park (East Beach) at the end. There are several parking areas on both sides of the road here, and a larger parking area at the south end of the park just outside Apfel Park. There is an entrance fee to Apfel Park, but at least at certain times of the year they have been letting birders in for free.

There are several lagoons, a little salt marsh, beach, and few trails though grassy areas. I have no problem birding here for several hours. It is also a very good place for photography. Apfel Park and this free park do get busy at times and the birds are used to people. It is often possible to get very close to birds without spooking the here, especially at the lagoons.

Big Reef Park and East Beach is very good for Gulls and Tern. This is the location that the Kelp Gull has been found by now thousands of birders. Also found here in the winter of 1997 have been Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, and California Gull. I found a gull here that is a very good candidate for Mew Gull, and I have heard a report of a Black-headed Gull here. All the regular Gulls and Terns on the UTC should be found here.

In the lagoons look for all the large waders on the UTC, including Reddish Egret. I haven't found either of the bitterns here yet, but I wouldn't be too surprised to. Clapper Rails are common here, and in the first week of January 1994 I saw a small black rail here at dusk that I think might have been a Black Rail. Keep you eyes and ears pealed.

On the beach there are often large flocks of shorebirds. Most everything found at the Bolivar Flats Bird Sanctuary could be expected in lesser numbers here.

Many kinds of ducks can be found here in the logoons of the park, in the bay, and in the large lagoon on the westside of the park as you leave the seawall.

(updated 2/7/1997)

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Bolivar Flats Bird Sanctuary

Galveston County. Maintained by the
Houston Audubon Society

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To reach the Bolivar Flats Bird Sanctuary from Galveston take the free ferry across the channel to Port Bolivar. Take SH 87 about three miles to Loop 108. Turn right on Rettilon Road to the beach. Turn right on the beach and go about 3/4 of a mile to the entrance at the telephone poles in the sand.

Bolivar Flats is the shorebird spot in Texas. Created by the 100 year old jetties that protect the entrance to Galveston Bay it is a great expanse of accessible mud flats. Thousand of sandpipers, plovers, terns, gulls, and herons are either resident, winter, or stop on migration.

Year round you can usually find Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelican, and Brown Pelican. In the late summer and early fall look for Magnificent Frigatebirds and Jaegers (all have been observed put Pomarine Jaeger is the most common). Except in the breeding season you can usually count on Piping Plover, Snowy Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Wilson's Plover, and Black-bellied Plover.

In migration sandpipers of several kinds can blanket the flats. Willet, Red Knot, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderlings, Western, Semipalmated, and Least are usually abundant. Good numbers of Dowitchers, Yellowlegs, Stilt Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, and Marbled Godwit can be expected at least part of the time.

In the winter great flocks of American Avocet are present. Look also for ducks and grebes in the calmer water near the jetty. Scaup, Mergansers, and Northern Shoveler are usually there in the winter. I think all your sea going ducks should be expected at least occasionally.

At least ten species of Gulls have been observed on the flats including Glaucous, Great and Lesser Black-backed, California Gull, Black-legged Kittewake, Thayer's Gull, and a first Texas Kelp Gull. I can account for nine species of terns too, including Gull-billed, Sandwich, Least and Sooty. Roseate and Arctic Tern have not been documented in Texas yet, but this is a very good place to look for them (good luck, your going to need great pictures!).

Don't forget to check the spartina grass along the point. Here Seaside Sparrow is resident, and in the winter is joined by Sharp-tailed (potentially both species I think) and Le Conte's Sparrow. In the open areas Horned Lark are present year round but may be hard to find. Clapper Rail is also found in the spartina grass were it meets the flats. While I can find no record of Black Rail for the Bolivar Flats this is great habitat for them and definitely an expected species here.

Other birds to watch for are Northern Harrier (common) Peregrine Falcon (often seen on the flats), Merlins, and Short-eared Owls in the winter.

Also see Birds of the Bolivar Flats

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Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria County, open only the first full weekend of the month

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From Houston go south on SH 288 about 35 miles to FM 523. Go east of FM 523 about 10 miles to CR227. Go about 2 miles to the refuge entrance on the right.

This 43,388 acre refuge on the shores of Bastrop, Christmas, and Drum Bays consists of a mixture of saline and non-saline prairies, salt/mud flats, fresh and salt water marshes, numerous potholes, several saltwater lakes, and one intermittent fresh water stream. The refuge is within the count circle of the Freeport Christmas Bird Count, many times the national high count and usually over 200 species. It is also situated to get "fallouts" of spring migrants in the several small wood lots on the refuge.

The Friends of Brazoria Refuge have installed an automatic and the refuge is open sunrise to sunset.

The refuge entrance road is about tree miles long and passes though several fields. Watch here for raptors on the winter. Red-tailed Hawk, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered Hawk, and American Kestrel should be present in the winter. Less common but resident are Crested Caracara and White-tailed Hawk. Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlarks, Northern Mockingbird, and Loggerhead Shrike are present year round. Look for Eastern Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in the spring and summer. Common Nighthawk might be roosting on the fence posts.

Right before you enter the refuge itself you cross Big Slough. Here you should find Mottled Duck resident. The woods are thicker here so check for migrants in the Spring and Fall.

To the south of the shop area is a foot trail that loops around Gator Nest Pond. There is a good thick hedgerow here that should yield many migrants in the spring and common winter birds like Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.

The auto tour loop passes though lots of shallow ponds, mud flats, and pot holes. In the winter Snow Geese are here by the thousands. Almost any of ducks found on the Texas Coast can be expected here. Masked Ducks have been regularly sighted here, and this is an excellent location to find Cinnamon Teal. The mud flats can be covered with migrating shorebirds. Wood Storks are usually present in the late summer and early fall. Be sure and watch for kettles of Wood Storks overhead as well as on the ground.

Large numbers of Sandhill Cranes winter on the refuge and are usually found on the more upland areas of the loop, as well as Greater White- fronted Geese.

Cox Lake at the northern edge of the tour loop is the largest body of water on the loop and can have thousands of duck on it in the winter.

Heading west from Cox Lake about half way back to the start of the loop is a foot path where you can look out on Bastrop Bayou. The water is deeper here and look for Common Loon and Horned Grebes in the winter. Pacific Loon likely occurs here to.

Many of the pond and potholes on the loop are surrounded by cattails and they should be teaming with Common Yellowthroats and Marsh Wrens

All six species of North American Rails are present at least part of the year. You can not miss American Coot, Common Moorhen, and Purple Gallinule in season. Clapper Rail and King Rail should not be difficult in the proper habitat. Sora and Virginia Rail will be more difficult. Pat yourself on the back if you are lucky enough to find Yellow or Black Rail (they are usually reported on the CBC).

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Brazos Bend State Park

Fort Bend County, last updated 2/14/96

See the Checklist

More information about Brazos Bend State Park. is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

To get to the park from Houston go south on SH 288 for 30 miles to the Rosharon exit. Turn right on FM 1462. Go about 10 miles on FM 1462 to FM 762. Turn right on FM 762. Go about one mile to the park entrance on the right.

An alternate route is to take US 59 West from Houston about one mile west of the Brazos River to FM 2759. Go south about one mile to FM 762. Go south on FM 762 about 12 miles to the park entrance on the left.

The main attraction at the park is the Masked Ducks that have been there the last four winters for more information on the Masked Ducks see the main page.

Only in July and August have I not been able to find 50 species here in a day. If your time is limited head straight for the water trails. Elm Lake and Forty Acre Lake are very good for water birds. Reddish Egret is the only one of that family I've not seen in the park, and its not unusual to see all the rest in a single day (including the two bitterns). Anhinga are common year round residents. Bluebirds, Prothonotary Warblers, Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, and Orchard Orioles are some of the colorful common nesting birds. The trail between the lakes is very good for Prothonotary Warblers from late March till June.

Forty Acre, Elm, and Pilant Lake are the easiest places I know to see Black-bellied Whistling- Ducks (resident). Blue-winged Teal, Mottled, and Wood Ducks also nest in the park. Pilant Lake is also a reliable place for me to find Cinnamon Teal in the winter. Ten kinds of ducks are not unusual in the winter.

The Horseshoe Lake Trail has never been very good to me. The trails loops around two old oxbow lakes. Its still a pleasant walk and one of the few places were you won't see many people on a busy day in the park.

Hale Lake is closed this winter, but in the spring its good for Northern Parula. Pileated Woodpeckers are common in most of the park, but seem more so here. Hale lake is were you pick up the Brazos River Trails. These trials go though older, drier woods than the one around the lakes. Worth checking out if you have the time and the area is open.

That leaves the Creekfield Trail. This trail is one of the first handicap access nature trails in the state. Paved trails and boardwalks go around and over the Creekfield Lake and past the George Observatory. Birds here are much the same as Elm and Forty Acre lake, but the vegetation is denser and visibility is not as good.

Around the park Crested Caracara are fairly common. Bald Eagles are regular winter visitors. Mississippi Kites and Red-shouldered Hawks are nesters.

Pileated, Red-bellied, and Downy Woodpeckers are resident. Northern Flickers and Yellow- bellied Sapsuckers are common in the winter. Hairy Woodpeckers have been reported.

Brazos Bend is one of the best places I think to see an alligator up close. Its not unusual to see them sunning on the shore 15 feet off the trail. NEVER HARASS THE ALLIGATORS. The often don't move for hours (even days) but when they do their speed is astonishing.

River Otters have been seen lately in the parks. I saw a coyote just outside the entrance to the park in January 1996. Raccoons and Nutria are common. White-tailed Deer are very common, especially in the campgrounds.

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Bryan Beach State Park

Brazoria County

More information about Byran Beach State Park is available from the Texas parks and Wildlife Department.

From Freeport go 2 miles southwest on FM1495, then go 3 miles south (right turn) on the beach to the park. Be careful, the sand on this beach is often very loose and it can be easy to get stuck. Lots of people drive up and down this beach in all kinds if cars, but I always feel better in a truck or 4-wheel drive here.

Bryan Beach is undeveloped beach front at the mouth of the Brazos river. The park is also has 5400 feet of Inter coastal Waterway frontage. There is no potable water and camp sites are undesignated.

I've never birded this park but I did start my serious birding at the point were you start driving down the beach. That part of the beach can be very good for Least Terns and I've found Ruddy Ducks breeding in some of the marshes behind the dunes.

This is one of my favorite beaches in Texas, one of wildest with more surf than most. I've often seen dolphins within 200 feet of shore in the evenings. Being a wild beach it does pile up a lot of trash after a storm.

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Christmas Bay State Parks

Brazoria County

More information is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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Galveston State Park

Galveston Island

More information about Galveston Island State Park is available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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High Island Bird Sanctuary

Galveston County.
Two facilities maintained by the
Houston Audubon Society. There is a small fee collected ($4/per day) good for both sanctuaries. Season passes are available.

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A map of High Island is available here

High Island is a legend in birding. Famous for "fallouts" of warblers. During spring migration when north winds make the trip across the Gulf of Mexico rough great numbers of colorful neotropic migrants stop to rest in this "island of trees" on the coastal plain.

High Island is built on the top of a salt dome and is the only ground high and dry enough to support large numbers of trees for many miles. This causes birds to be concentrated here when the wind comes out of the north.

When the wind comes from the south very few birds stop in High Island and continue on to disperse north of IH-10. On these days when your not seeing many birds remind yourself how many extra birds were able to complete the hazardous crossing of the Gulf of Mexico and how they will make the fall migration better.

When conditions are good for birders (but not good for birds!) dozens of species of warblers can be seen in the space of a few hours here. Also Buntings, Grosbeaks, Hummingbirds, Tanagers, Vireos, and Flycatchers.

High Island is also an excellent spot for fall migrants, and all kinds of odd and interesting birds have turned up in the winter here.

Louis Smith Woods, also known as Boy Scout Woods, is located on 5th St. one block east of the Post Office and SH-124. Please park in the parking lot and respect the residents of High Island. This sanctuary has very good boardwalks and access for handicapped birders.

Smith Oaks is at the end of Winnie St. on the North edge of town. During the Spring migration please follow the signs to the parking lot on the south side of the sanctuary. Boardwalks are being built but most of this sanctuary does not have good access for the handicapped. This sanctuary has been expanded and big improvements are being made.

Smith Oaks is the bigger of the two sanctuaries

At the south end town is a caliche (gravel) road that leads past a good size pond. The road is labeled S.E. Oilfield Rd. I'm not sure if its a public road or not but it has always been open to the public. The side roads are not public and are not open to the public. This is an active oilfield so do not stray off the road. There are also NE, SW, and NW Oilfield road (they used to form a ring around High Island) They are now gated. Don't venture on to them because you might get locked in. Remember in Texas enough though the gate is open you could still be charged with trespass.

If my warnings have not scared you off then I think you'll find the road worth a visit. The pond can be very good for ducks and grebes in the fall, winter, and early spring. Shorebirds can be numerous on some of the flats along the road. Black-necked stilts nest here. In the winter this is my sure thing spot for Bonaparte's Gull. In the wet fields with lots of weeds I've often seen Clapper and King Rails. There were reports of Black Rails calling here 1995.

On weekends during the spring there are often hundreds of birders in town. If you don't like crowds try visiting during the week. Its much slower paced and quieter. Its never very busy during the fall, and completely empty in the winter.

Spring is mosquito season so bring your repellent, especially for Smith Oaks. In the Summer birding is slow and the biting flies are bad, I don't recommend it much.

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Horseshoe Ponds Trail

Chambers County, created 3/1/96

From Houston take IH-10 east to the Wallisville exit (exit 807). Go under the freeway at the overpass. Turn west on the north feeder. The trail is about 1/2 mile from the overpass.

I just discovered this trail. I'm not sure who administers it but I suspect it's part of the Wallisville Lake Project (the trail is across the highway from the ranger station for the project). Its nice and I think a great alternative/addition to White Memorial Park.

The trail goes back through some very tangled wet woods to a large cypress lined lake. There are several old artificial ponds. I guess is this lake is an old oxbow lake from the Trinity River, about a 1/4 mile west. The lake is very shallow, there were shorebirds almost out to the middle. Also lots of Green-winged Teal. My guess is the birds should be about the same as in White Memorial Park, but with a lot more water birds.

I had no trouble today, but its wet and mosquitoes should be fierce. Rubber boots would be a good idea It looks like it stays pretty wet.

In April I made another quick trip in during the HAS Birdathon. Lots of nesting Northern Parulas and Prothonotary Warblers. Wood Duck and Anhinga were present. A Sedge Wren sang for the tall grass on the pipeline right of way. There were lots of White-throated Sparrows to.

Across Interstate 10 is a large heron and egret rookery. There are lots of no trespassing signs up there and it looks like the Wallisville Lake Project is trying to protect it.

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Jones State Forest

Montgomery County, updated 2/14/96

From Houston go north on IH-45 30 miles to FM 1488 about 5 miles north of Oak Ridge North. Go west (left) on FM 1488 about 2 miles to the headquarters on the right side of the road. Them main part of the park is on the south (left) side of the road.

While not in the area I defined for the Upper Texas Coast I've included it here because its one of the easiest places to see a Red-cockaded Woodpecker. The birds in the park are those of the east Texas Piney Woods. Species found in the region are Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prairie Warbler, and Bachman's Sparrow. Pine Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, and Wood Thrush are common nesters. Fourteen species of warblers nest in the Piney Woods. There are several small lakes in the park and Wood Duck and Anhinga are usually present year round. Eight Species of woodpecker are possible

The best way to see the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers is to visit on a weekday and pick up a map to the colonies at the headquarters. For specific directions to a reliable spot to find the Red-cockaded Woodpecker see the article on the main page.

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Rollover Pass

Galveston County

Rollover Pass is located on the Bolivar Peninsula in the small community of Gilcrest. The pass is an artificial cut through the peninsula linking East Bay with the Gulf of Mexico. The pass is a popular fishing spot.

On the bay side there are extensive mud flats. Reddish Egrets, Marbled Godwits, most kinds of herons and egrets, gulls and terns can be found. Shorebirds are common in migration. Black- legged Kittiwake was reported here in 1996.

Also at Rollover Pass is Yacht Basin Road. Located on the North side of SH 87 about 1/4 west of the pass; it's located next to Claude's Hardware Store. Only about a half mile long it can produce lots of birds. the fields on the south end of the road are good for Long-billed Curlew and Whimbrel. Willet can always be found. As you go north on the road the fields turn to marsh and here is the greatest concentration of King Rails I've ever seen. I once counted 35 rails along this road. I would expect at least a few Clapper Rails and Virginia Rails in migration. Bobolinks have been reported here many springs. At the north end of the road there is a boat ramp and a small stand of brushy trees. Like any clump of trees on the UTC check them for migrants in the spring.

From the end of the road you can view several spill islands of gravel dredged up from the Inter Coastal Canal. These gravel island host lots of terns and gulls. I presume that several kinds of terns likely nest on them. If I can't find American Oystercatchers anywhere else I look here, usually there is at least one on the islands. If you look back towards Rollover pass there are usually Reddish Egrets on the flats, Marbled Godwits are common too. Most birds will be identifiable with binoculars, but you'll want a scope if you have it.

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Sabine Woods

Jefferson County

Owned by the Texas Ornithological Society is located 4 miles west of Sabine Pass on SH87 on the north side of the road at western boundary of Texas Point NWR.

A preliminary Checklist is available

This isolated grove of oaks is a great migrant-trap. It seems to have birds even when High Island does not. It is more open than High Island which might be why I can find more birds here than High Island. Crowds are less here too. I never saw more than 4 cars at the gate in 1996, even when the lots at High Island were full.

If you have the time I would be sure and check out Sabine Woods if you're at High Island. Its about an hour away by way of IH10. It used to be that you could make the trip along the beach on the remnants of old SH87. Not anymore. What was left of the roadway has completely washed away. What is left is almost sure to trap your vehicle miles from anything. Don't be temped to take this short cut.

Like any migrant trap on the UTC be sure to check it in the fall for migrants too.

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San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge

Brazoria County

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From Houston take SH-288 south to Lake Jackson. Go west on FM 2004 about 5 miles to SH-36 and FM 2611. Continue straight through the intersection onto FM 2611. About 1 miles after the San Bernard River turn left on FM 2918. Go about 1 mile and turn right on the gravel CR 306 and go about 1 mile to the refuge entrance. The refuge is open sunrise to sunset daily.

Only about 20% of the refuge is accessible by car. There is some variety of habitats though.

The loop around Moccasin Pond is good for waders and waterfowl. There are willows along the southern side of the loop were on more than one occasion I've found Barred Owls roosting. During migration there should be some migrants here too.

Along the slough across from the entrance to Moccasin Pond is the parking area for the foot trails in the woods along this creek. These trails can be very good for migrants in both the spring and the fall. I've also had good luck finding Painted Bunting here.

Farther south on the refuge road is the entrance to the Wolfweed Lake Project, an uncompleted impoundment This is going to make another area for waterfowl.

The road ends in a boat ramp at Cedar Creek. There are several oil field roads off of the refuge road. Not all are passable or open to the public. Be careful and watch the signs.

There is a short birding trail on the left past the Moccasin Pond Loop. I've not had much luck on it, but it might be worth the trip during migration.

Lots of water and trees means that mosquitoes are very bad here, even in the winter. In the summer flies are a problem. Don't even roll your windows down without repellent.

Thousand of geese make the refuge their winter home. Ducks are numerous. In the late summer Wood Storks roost in Moccasin Pond. Lots of Sandhill Cranes here too in the winter. The refuge is a very good place to find Crested Caracara on the UTC.

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San Jacinto Battleground and State Park

Harris County

From Houston take IH-10 east to the San Jacinto River. Once over the bridge take Lynchburg Road to the free ferry across the ship channel to the park entrance.

The south end of the park is the best birding area. From May to October there are usually Wood Storks present, with greatest numbers in late summer (August).

In the Winter the park and Lynchburg Road are very good locations for Osprey and Hooded Mergansers.

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San Luis Pass

Galveston County, Galveston Island

San Luis Pass is located at the west end of Galveston Island and connects the island to the mainland by a toll bridge.

San Luis Pass has Gulf of Mexico breach front and extensive flats of the bay side of the pass. Large colonies of terns nest here. I also found my life Magnificent Frigate here. I once saw the largest flock of Brown Pelicans I've ever seen here; I estimated 300 birds feeding on bait fish.

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Sea Rim State Park

Jefferson County

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More information is available from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

There are 4 habitats at Sea Rim, sea rim salt marsh, fresh water marsh, beach, and a great stand of willows. I must confess I have not explored them well yet but I think there is great potential in this park.

There is a boardwalk though the sea rim marsh. I've no first hand experience with it but I'm told it can be great for rails and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow.

West of the park entrance right next to SH87 there is a large stand of willows. This is a great migrant trap. I saw as many species of warbler here as anywhere else on the UTC in 1996. If you make the trip to Sabine Woods, then you need to stop at these willows

The beach seems to be very popular and has too many people to be really good birding I think. In the winter I would be worth checking for sea ducks I have heard.

I haven't had a chance to checkout the fresh water marsh, but airboat tours and canoes can be rented.

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Sheldon State Park

Harris County

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More information is available from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

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Smith Point and the Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area

Chambers County

To reach Smith Point from Houston take IH-10 east 45 miles to the SH61 exit at Hankamer. Go south on SH61 four miles to SH65. At SH65 continue straight onto FM 562. Go eight miles to the junction of FM562 and FM 1985 and turn right. Go about 20 miles to the end of the road. The Candy Abshier WMA is on the left side of the road.

While the WMA can be good for migrants in the spring not many people visit it because of its remote location. The popular birding activity here is the hawk watch in the fall (mid September to mid October). The flights of Broadwing Hawks can be spectacular. I've seen flights where an estimated 13,000 hawks could be seen at one time.

Excellent numbers of other raptors can be seen here too. Red-tails, Coopers, Sharp-shinned, Swainson's, Kestrels, Merlins, Peregrine Falcons, and Swallow-tailed Kites can be expected during the watch. Hundreds of hummingbirds and Thousands of swallows also pass by the watch platform. Flocks of Anhinga and Wood Storks are common sights. In 1995 White-winged Doves were common and are probably established in the area

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The Texas City Dike

Galveston County

From Houston go south on IH-45 about 45 miles to the Loop 197, go east to 6th Avenue N, turn right to the Bay.

The Texas City Dike extends 5 miles into Galveston Bay. From the Dike in the winter you can find many wintering bay and diving ducks. Red-breasted Mergansers are common, as are Eared Grebes and Common Loons. Pacific Loons have been found here several times. In 1994 and 1995 Harris Hawks wintered along the bay here.

There is also a long levee along the bay with a road on the top. Check the ponds behind the levee for more ducks, grebes, and loons. The grassy slopes should have both American and Sprague's Pipits.

Be alert for stray gulls along the dike and at the pump station at the end of the levee.

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White Memorial Park

Chambers County

From Houston Go 45 miles east on IH-10 to the SH-61 exit (Hankamer). Go south about 1/4 mile to the park entrance.

White Memorial Park is a county park that I only recently discovered as a birding spot. If your making "The Loop" (Anahauc NWR, High Island, and Bolivar Flats), and looking for a big trip list this spot is worth a visit.

Located on Turtle Bayou with lots of second growth Pines, and hardwoods this is one of the few spots in Chambers and Galveston Counties to find woodland species. Here you can find Pileated, Redheaded, Downy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers resident. Northern Flicker, Yellow- bellied Sapsucker, and Hairy Woodpeckers are present in the winter. Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, and Brown Nutchatch are also common. Night-Herons and Ibis are found on the banks of the bayou.

About one mile south of the park on SH61 there is a lot of dead timber and you'll find lots of Red- headed Woodpeckers here. Be careful parking along this road, traffic is light but fast moving so don't stand in the road and be sure and park completely off the roadway.

Worth visiting.

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