Birding Around Chambers County

White Ibis
White Ibis

 

Why Chambers County?
Located in the Central Flyway, this Upper Texas Coast county is ideal for resting migratory birds, from shorebirds to warblers –  plus much of the coastal marsh is managed for wintering waterfowl.

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills

 

All four seasons of the year are very special for birding. With migrants in spring and fall gleaning bugs from the air and vegetation, and ducks feeding on the vegetation in winter, the residents of summer are left to feast on the annoying bugs and organisms that share their habitat zone.  Boasting a checklist of over 300 birds seen in the county, a daily outing can easily produce 50-125 species.  The diverse habitat zones range from gulf coast shoreline to grassland prairie, coastal marsh to mixed woodlands and mottes, rivers, bays, and bayous, plus agricultural fields and pastureland.  No wonder this smorgasbord attracts passerines, raptors, ducks, and shorebirds by the thousands.

 

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Spring: Great Texas Birding Classic ChambersWild Big Sit

Fall:  Smith Point Hawk Watch sponsored by Gulf Coast Birding Observatory

 

Of note in Chambers County: 

 

Chambers County has some key birding hot spots located on the World renowned Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, project sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments’ Nature Tourism division. Their Wildlife trail maps include the Upper Texas Coast Map which highlights these birding and wildlife viewing areas, one of which is the Anahuac Loop. Pick your map up at State Parks, some visitor centers and online with TPWD.

  •  Chambers County is adjacent to the notorious High Island hot spots of Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks.  When migrants pass up landing at High Island, it is likely that such heavily wooded parks as White Park, Double Bayou Park or Cedar Hill Park in Chambers County are the chosen landing spot. Walks & Workshops each spring.
  • At Smith Point is great for shorebird sightings –  at Robbins Park;  plus the Smith Point Hawk Watch, staffed by Gulf Coast Bird Observatory from August 1st to November 15th, is the place to be for sightings of Scissor-tailed Kites, White-tailed Hawks, Broadwings, Red-shouldereds, Coops and Sharpies, American Kestrals, Peregrine Falcons, Swainson’s Hawks, Turkey and Black Vultures, Red-tails, and even Bald and Golden Eagles on very special days.  The tower also yields great views of migrating Wood Storks, White Pelicans, White Ibis, Snow and Ross’ Geese, White-fronted Geese, Sandhill Cranes, plus the passerines that feed in the mottes adjacent to the Hawk Watch Tower. Humming birds are a popular visitor as well during their migration.
  • Rookeries of Great Egrets, cormorants, Roseatte Spoonbills, and Snowy Egrets – and the noise level once the “nursery” has begun can be deafening.  Also a great place to spot gallinules.  Check the Wallisville Rookery just after crossing the Trinity River eastbound on I-10.
  • This Spring, Krider’s are being spotted, and American Golden Plover.  In May the late migrating Hudsonian Godwits make their appearance in the agricultural fields off of FM 1985 as they head north, and have been reliable sightings for years.  Scanning tilled fields, especially if water is present, can be rewarding for other shorebirds as well.

blog-icon_goose_100Christmas Bird Count results from around the country are posted at  Audubon’s site

 

Watchers at Smith Point

Watchers at Smith Point

With so many habitats and desirable feeding locations in the county, the finding of rarities is only limited by the number of eyes looking!  A map of favorite birding hotspots points out the best birding opportunities for your visit, be it a day, a week, a season.

 

 

Logo-jpeg_goose(2)Suggested gear beyond binoculars includes:  hat, sunscreen, extra water, bug repellent, Wellies/boots if you plan on trekking through grasslands, camera, a long-sleeved shirt, and a scope if you have one.  Why do birders wear drab colors?  Birders avoid wearing white, so as to be more in tune with the natural surroundings, and to not attract attention from the birds above. Be sure to bring out everything you bring in, and if you encounter a piece of litter, pick it up and place it in a proper trash container. This will help continue the quality of outdoor experiences here and protect wildlife.

Chambers County is partially divided by the Trinity Bay and the Trinity River. The western side of the bay is more urbanized and the eastern portion of the county is more agricultural and includes most of the public lands. Rice farming and cattle ranching operations are a significant part of the landscape in eastern Chambers County.

Contact for ChambersWild: chambersnature@gmail.con


View Chambers County- Birding in a larger map

 

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Our Activities  and our Links pages offer many other suggestions and contacts

  • Visit the new  visitor center for the US Fish and Wildlife  National Wildlife Refuges – called the Texas Chenier Plain Visitor Center. It is located two miles south of I-10 on Hwy. 563, alongside Lake Anahuac.  Address: Texas Chenier Plain Refuges Complex, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, 4017 FM 563, Anahuac, Texas 77514 Phone:(409) 267-3337.  The Visitor Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but the elevated boardwalk through the cypress tree swamp to Lake Anahuac and the grounds are open daily, and well worth the stop.  The Nature Store is great for souvenirs and educational gifts.The Visitor Center provides information on outdoor activities and features a high-quality interactive interpretive display which includes an airboat ride simulator, and fantastic taxadermic displays of the birds and ducks of Anahuac NWR.  Volunteers staff the information desk, and you can get your refuge passport book stamped there.
  • Our Events page offers many Nature Tourism events to enjoy during the year.
  • Places to Stay: A variety of lodging is available in the county. Lodging sites are listed on the area lodging page.
  • Weather:  Chambers County Weather – Wunderground

On average, there are 211 sunny days per year in Chambers County, TX. The July high is around 92 degrees. The January low is 42.

Precipitation Days 90
Sunny Days 211
Avg. July High 92
Avg. Jan. Low 42.3

 

Keep informed: with our News Blog: To keep up with activities and opportunities for outdoor recreation in Chambers County, please subscribe to our blog. You will receive periodic notifications of newly posted articles. Past articles are also available to view. See the right column of most pages on chamberswild.com.