FeatherFest Field Trip to Port Arthur

feather fest field trip port arthur

Sabine Woods is Field Trip Star

Bird Port Arthur in style. The skilled Glenn Olsen will guide Galveston FeatherFest field trippers though our highly birdy area with his famous attention to detail and humor. This memorable trip will be Monday, April 24 during the height of spring migration. Attendees are encouraged to stay at the host hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites in Port Arthur. Early Monday, we’ll get on the bus and go! We’ll also be showing off Port Arthur’s outdoor beauty at the vendor show. See what else FeatherFest offers and sign up for the Port Arthur trip here.

Birdy Stops

This field trip adventure will begin at a coastal marsh in Sabine Pass to seek resident Seaside Sparrows, lingering Nelson’s sparrows that over wintered, marsh and sedge wrens and other other marsh inhabitants. Expect to walk about 100 yards over a reasonably good trail but with some rough spots.

Sabine Woods

Tricolored Heron. Photo courtesy of Dana Nelson.

The next hot spot will be Sabine Woods, a sanctuary owned by the Texas Ornithological Society (TOS). This neotropical bird sanctuary is an excellent site for spring migration of warblers, vireos, thrushes and other songbirds.  This grove of plant diversity provides the major habitat for miles around for migrant woodland species of birds. It’s called a migrant traps because the woodland species of birds use them as a stopover habitat for feeding and resting during migration.  Often species are concentrated in these relatively small woodlands and on a good day, we could have 15 or more of the 36 possible species of warblers in this relatively small woodland. Thrushes, tanagers, vireos, orioles, flycatchers, and many other species are possible that are migrating north to their breeding range.

Sea Rim State Park

boarwalk leading to the ocean in port arthur texas
Sea Rim State Park. Photo courtesy of Tim Sudela.

On the Gulf of Mexico, visitors will gaze for swallows, gulls, terns, pelicans, sandpipers, plovers and more shorebirds.  Sea Rim State Park boasts more than 5 miles of natural beach and 4,000 acres of marsh unit for kayaking and platform camping. The remainder of the park’s habitat consists of low sand dunes, coastal marsh and valuable shallow freshwater depressions if there has been rain.  Any of 35 species of shorebirds are possible as well as 9 species of terns, along with gulls, rails and raptors overhead. Seven species of Swallows, and 17 species of hawks are possible migrants.

McFaddin Wildlife Refuge

white ibis with a crab in its mouth
White Ibis. Photo courtesy of Dana Nelson.

At McFaddin Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding area, the habitat consists of various species of salt marsh grasses, cane, bayous, and channels. Here we’ll look for rails, egrets, herons, gulls, terns, orchard orioles, common yellowthroat, and watch the skies for swallows, hawks, and a variety of other migrants that will be passing through.

Lunch. That’s Important, Too!

two women birding at sabine woods in port arthur texas
Feather Fest Field Trip 2018

Around noon we’ll eat in nature, wherever we may roam. After lunch, we’ll resume birding and could move back and forth between the coastal marsh and the oak mott depending on the activity of migration. Either way, on a good day, we will see lots of birds and great species diversity in a relatively undeveloped area of the coastal marsh.

Port Arthur residents rave about these sandwiches made in the Amuny’s Liquor deli on traditional po’ boy bread. You’ll be able to choose one of these:

  • Original Po’ Boy with ham, salami, provolone and relish
  • Smoked Turkey with Jalapeno Cheese (owner’s fave)
  • Cajun Roast Beef with cheese
  • Ham and Cheese
  • Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, or Dr Pepper
  • Assorted bags of chips

Make Your Plans

warbler at sabine woods in port arthur texas

The trip will end at 5 p.m. back at the Hampton Inn.

We suggest that you arrive Sunday evening and get a good night’s rest at our lodging partner hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites.  Make your own reservations for accommodations. The trip price does not include your lodging and meals except for the box lunch provided on Monday. The special hotel rate of $99/night + tax is being offered to those registered for the field trip. To reserve your room, please click here for the FeatherFest Booking page. 

More Fun Things to Know

  • FeatherFest field trippers will get a VIP bag swag bag.
  • Post your pictures with #birdportarthur, #lovepatx and #flavorsofpatx
  • Tuckered out from all the fun? Stay another night at the Hampton’s great rate and hit Museum of the Gulf Coast for a gator selfie. Rock out by a replica of Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche. Start planning at www.visitportarthurtx.com
  • The FeatherFest Port Arthur field trip is a great trip for anyone working on their Texas Ornithological Society Century Club lists.

Field Trip Notes

The group will meet at the hotel and travel by bus. The bus will leave by 6:40 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. There will be walking and standing in the field. There could be mud and mosquitos. Bring repellent. A hot breakfast is available at 6 a.m. for guests staying at the hotel.

You’ll want to come again

It’s all too much for one day, right? Stay over for more exploring or plan your next Port Arthur area trip by looking here for more on more birding fun. Can’t wait to see what you post with #birdportarthur on it.


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