Big Thicket National Preserve, Village Creek State Park, Roy E Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary and Tyrrell Park

Beaumont, Texas

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The original Big Thicket covered about 3.5 million acres from Louisiana west to what is now Houston, and from the coastal plains north to the upper watersheds of the Trinity, Neches, and Sabine rivers. Only about 300,000 acres of the thicket remain today, with just 96,757 acres protected in the national preserve. According to the park brochure, the national preserve contains “85 tree species, more than 60 shrubs, and nearly 1,000 flowering plants, including 26 ferns and allies, 28 orchids, and four of North America’s five types of insect-eating plants.” In addition, the region has produced 56 state and 15 national champion trees, the largest known specimens of each species. Key birds: Wood Duck, Greater Roadrunner, Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Bachman’s Sparrow are present year-round. Least Grebe; Anhinga; Chuck-will’s-widow; Wood Thrush; Yellow-throated, Prairie, Black-and-white, Prothonotary, Swainson’s, and Kentucky Warblers; Louisiana Waterthrush; and Indigo and Painted Buntings occur in summer. Hooded Merganser; Osprey; Bald Eagle; American Woodcock; Henslow’s, LeConte’s, and Fox Sparrows; and Rusty Blackbird can usually be found in winter.

Big Thicket National Preserve, Village Creek State Park, Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary & Tyrrell Park Professional Review and Guide

"The original Big Thicket covered about 3.5 million acres from Louisiana west to what is now Houston, and from the coastal plains north to the upper watersheds of the Trinity, Neches, and Sabine rivers. Only about 300,000 acres of the thicket remain today, with just 96,757 acres protected in the national preserve. According to the park brochure, the national preserve contains “85 tree species, more than 60 shrubs, and nearly 1,000 flowering plants, including 26 ferns and allies, 28 orchids, and four of North America’s five types of insect-eating plants.” In addition, the region has produced 56 state and 15 national champion trees, the largest known specimens of each species.

Key birds: Wood Duck, Greater Roadrunner, Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Bachman’s Sparrow are present year-round. Least Grebe; Anhinga; Chuck-will’s-widow; Wood Thrush; Yellow-throated, Prairie, Black-and-white, Prothonotary, Swainson’s, and Kentucky Warblers; Louisiana Waterthrush; and Indigo and Painted Buntings occur in summer. Hooded Merganser; Osprey; Bald Eagle; American Woodcock; Henslow’s, LeConte’s, and Fox Sparrows; and Rusty Blackbird can usually be found in winter."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Beaumont
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best April and May for migrants and nesting activities; November to February for winter birds
Local Contacts: Big Thicket National Preserve
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to Big Thicket National Preserve, Village Creek State Park, Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary & Tyrrell Park

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May 2018