The Port Arthur area offers birders beautiful coastal scenery as well as some of the most exciting bird watching anywhere. Thanks to its location smack in the path of two migratory bird flyways—the Central and the Mississippi—Southeast Texas is a birder’s paradise. Hundreds of species either call the region home permanently or seasonally, including storks, falcons, road runners, owls, warblers and flycatchers. In addition to the Big Thicket National Preserve, the region offers a multitude of opportunities for birders looking to add a checkmark to their life lists. Birders can find a stunning variety of habitats as well as species. You just can’t imagine how close you can get to the natural habitat of birds and animals that live and migrate along the upper Texas Coast. Alligators are a common site.
Below are just a few suggested birding spots:
Texas Ornithological Society Sabine Woods
Sabine Woods is one of the premier birding spots in North America. It’s one of the most productive migrant stop-over sites on the Texas coast — thousands of migrant land birds. Depending on the time you visit, expect to spy everything from golden winged warblers to white tailed kites and indigo buntings.
An 18.5 mile island bordered by Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal canal. Just a sampling of what you’ll see: Spot Common Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers and White Pelicans.
409.971.2559 | tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/sea-rim
Offering more than five miles of natural Gulf of Mexico beach shoreline, Sea Rim State Park is where the marsh meets the surf, making it prime binocular-hunting grounds for numerous species. Grab a spot on one of its many boardwalks and you might just spy long-billed curlews, ruddy turnstones, clapper rails, painted buntings or blue grospeaks. Also look out for gulls, terns, Snowy Plovers, Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills and Herons. Bring a kayak or canoe (or rent one at the park) and paddle along one of its paddle trails, or comb the sand for sea treasures that wash up on the shore.
Nature trail or locally arranged boat viewing make for great viewing of Least Bitterns, Roseate Spoonbill and waterfowl.
Experience wading birds, shorebirds and waterfowl.
Designated a Globally Important Bird Area, Texas Point encompasses nearly 9,000 acres—six miles of which trace the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge’s wooded areas are a particularly important respite for the migratory birds from Central and South America that have made the strenuous 600-mile trek across the gulf waters.
409.861.1929 | beaumontcvb.com
Of the 596 bird species documented in the state of Texas, 240 of them have been spotted in the 900-acre Cattail Marsh Wetlands located in Beaumont’s Tyrrell Park. This migratory flyover and scenic wetlands includes the Hildebrandt and Willow Marsh bayous, and it serves as a refuge for birds like pelicans, egrets, roseate spoonbills, ducks and more.
Other area hotspots include Sabine Pass Battlegrounds, Taylor Bayou, Hillebrant Bayou, Tyrell Park, Claiborne Park and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.
For more area birding information, contact Golden Triangle Audubon Society.