World-famous chenier ridge is known for spring and fall migration
Birders from all over head to Sabine Woods, a chenier ridge, or oak mott, known for spring and fall migrations attracting thousands of migrant birds and their fans. Texas Ornithological Society owns the sanctuary and the Golden Triangle Audubon Society lovingly maintains it. Plan to spend time walking natural paths in the woods, with pauses at shady benches and views of the water drip.
Sabine Woods is considered one of the most productive migrant stop-overs along the entire Texas Coast for spring and fall migration. Hundreds of hummingbirds, mostly Ruby-throated, may swarm lantana thickets in early fall. Spring draws warblers, thrushes, tanagers, vireos, orioles, flycatchers, etc. Large oaks, mulberry trees, ponds and areas of thick undergrowth provide a protected stopping point on the coast for neotropical migrants. Warblers, Vireos, Grosbeaks, Flycatchers, Thrushes, Tanagers and Orioles are common visitors from late March through mid-May, and, in lesser numbers, from early September through late October.
Expert tips: Grassy areas often produce Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings. Trees in the southeast comer and the low growth areas in the north should be checked for Orioles. Seek Swallows in April. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Green Herons are common migrants. Hummingbirds love the lantana near the entrance. Also spotted: White-tailed Kites, often noisily obvious, have fledged young in early September (in the oak trees at the entrance) and Groove-billed Anis have been seen in November-December (in the low growth in the northern part). Downy Woodpeckers are usually present. Stilts, Egrets and Ibis usually nest along with some Mottled Ducks. Flocks of other shorebirds may be present.
Be prepared: The mosquito population can be high after about mid-May, especially in wet years. By summer and fall, visitors should be prepared to encounter Deer Flies in considerable numbers. In dry years, the ponds in the woods may dry up by mid to late May. Cottonmouth snakes (water moccasins) may be present.
Site Specs: Some parking, covered picnic area, scattered benches, seasonal portable restroom
- From the intersection of U.S. 69 and Texas go west along Texas 73, toward Winnie, about 3 miles.
- Exit Texas 82 south, then turn right along Texas 87, south, toward Sabine Pass and Sea Rim State Park. This route takes visitors through a refinery, then across a high bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway and through marsh habitat.
- In Sabine Pass, turn right at the “four-way stop,” west onto Texas 87.
- Look for parking and a gated woodlot about 4.2 miles on the right.
- Once arriving to Sabine Woods, travel onward to Sea Rim State Park, beach entrance on left, and farther to McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, entrance on right.