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Texas Coast Bird Watching
Trek the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is ecotourism at its best. Set along the Gulf Coast of Texas, the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail has everything from observation platforms to preserves and wildlife refuges.
Reaching from the western Louisiana border with Texas all the way down to the Rio Grande, this trail is perfect for the birding enthusiast.
Home to more bird species than any other state in the country, Texas is the ideal escape for any level of bird watcher. The trail itself is an impressive collection of over 40 hiking trails, encompassing more than 300 birding sites in the form of bird sanctuaries, nature preserves and wildlife refuges.
Thanks to hotspots like the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, the Bolivar Peninsula, and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail will have you saying, “Hail to the trail” in no time.
From Texas City to Galveston
Birding opportunities abound along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail in the upper coast of Texas. Encompassing cities like Galveston, Humble, Texas City, and of course Houston, the Gulf Coast is a hotspot for bird watching enthusiasts.
Make your way to the Brazosport metropolitan area, featuring the town of Clute, and check out the Brazosport Nature Center & Planetarium.
Staying in the Houston area? Stop by the White Memorial Park near Galveston for eastern woodland birds during the summer, or spend a day at the Wallisville Reservoir for a glimpse at Anhingas, Little Blue Herons, White Ibis, and Roseate Spoonbills any time of year.
The beautiful Bolivar Peninsula is home to the Bolivar Loop, another attraction along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Be sure to visit during migration season, and check out hotspots like the High Island Roadside Park and Fort Travis Seashore Park. This area is home to a number of bird sanctuaries as well, including Eubanks Woods Bird Sanctuary, the S.E. Gast Red Bay Sanctuary, and the Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary.
During your time on the upper Texas coast, be sure to visit the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary any time of year for American Avocets and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows in the winter, not to mention gulls, terns, and shorebirds during low tide.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
No place is better for birding that the Texas Gulf Coast, thanks to the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. When traveling along the central Texas coast, you should know that a great spot for bird watching enthusiasts is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge sits near the city of Corpus Christi, just north of towns like Portland, Ingleside and Port Aransas. Whether in the area because of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, or just looking for a good place to bird watch, the 115,000-acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has your answer.
Originally the Aransas Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, the Aransas NWR is home to a plethora of ibises, ducks, herons, and egrets. The refuge is well known as the winter resting spot of endangered whooping cranes – the only flock left of its kind. See the famed cranes from the Tour Loop Drive, or the popular observation tower – a must-do during your time on the Gulf Coast.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Roseate Spoonbill and Reddish Egret when visiting the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, or take a walk down the Heron Flats Trail for a look at the Buff-bellied Hummingbird. With all the activity at the Aransas NWR, it's hard to know where to start in this staple of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.
From Harlingen to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
The southeastern tip of Texas is home to even more birding sanctuaries, parks, and wildlife refuges along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Coursing past south Texas cities like Raymondville, Harlingen and Weslaco, the trail gives birding enthusiasts yet another reason to pack their binoculars.
Follow the Arroyo Colorado Loop – part of the Lower Texas Coast Wildlife Trail – for World Birding Center sites like Las Palomas WMA and Rio Hondo WBC.
When you’re ready for lunch, Rio Hondo WBC is an exceptional spot for kingfisher viewing as you lunch with the family or fellow birding enthusiasts. After lunch, head to McAllen – home to the World Birding Center – for a must-see look at Plain Chachalacas, Green Jays, and Olive Sparrows.
An important site during your trek down the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is home to the White-tipped Dove, Olive Sparrow, and Green Jay – not to mention Great Kiskadee, Long-billed Thrasher, and Plain Chachalaca. Take a stroll down the 1.5-mile Mesquite Trail, and be sure to explore the impressive Laguna Atascosa NWR Visitors Center.
More bird sanctuaries and trails are around every corner on the Gulf Coast of Texas, so be sure to make the most of your time on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Happy birding.