High Island and Bolivar Peninsula Birding Sites

Winnie, Texas

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The 27-mile-long Bolivar Peninsula runs from High Island south to Bolivar Flats. The principal birding areas (the two High Island sanctuaries and Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary) are managed by the Houston Audubon Society, to protect significant migratory bird resting and feeding sites. Bolivar Flats is a member of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. The High Island sanctuaries are open daily from dawn to dusk. Check in at Boy Scout Woods; a donation is expected! High Island’s oak mottes (locally known as cheniers) offer welcome resting and feeding sites for the millions of birds that cross the Gulf of Mexico each spring. Key birds: American White and Brown Pelicans; Neotropic Cormorant; Anhinga; Reddish Egret; White, Glossy, and White-faced Ibis; Roseate Spoonbill; Mottled Duck; American Oystercatcher; Black Skimmer; Horned Lark; and Seaside Sparrow are present year-round. Magnificent Frigatebird; Least Bittern; Wood Stork; Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks; Gull-billed, Least, and Black Terns; Scissor-tailed Flycatcher; Painted Bunting; and Dickcissel occur in summer. Common Loon, Northern Gannet, Ross’s Goose, Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Plover, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow can usually be found in winter.

High Island and Bolivar Peninsula Birding Sites Professional Review and Guide

"The 27-mile-long Bolivar Peninsula runs from High Island south to Bolivar Flats. The principal birding areas (the two High Island sanctuaries and Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary) are managed by the Houston Audubon Society, to protect significant migratory bird resting and feeding sites. Bolivar Flats is a member of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. The High Island sanctuaries are open daily from dawn to dusk. Check in at Boy Scout Woods; a donation is expected! High Island’s oak mottes (locally known as cheniers) offer welcome resting and feeding sites for the millions of birds that cross the Gulf of Mexico each spring.

Key birds: American White and Brown Pelicans; Neotropic Cormorant; Anhinga; Reddish Egret; White, Glossy, and White-faced Ibis; Roseate Spoonbill; Mottled Duck; American Oystercatcher; Black Skimmer; Horned Lark; and Seaside Sparrow are present year-round. Magnificent Frigatebird; Least Bittern; Wood Stork; Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks; Gull-billed, Least, and Black Terns; Scissor-tailed Flycatcher; Painted Bunting; and Dickcissel occur in summer. Common Loon, Northern Gannet, Ross’s Goose, Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Plover, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow can usually be found in winter."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Winnie
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best April-May for spring migrants & nesting activities; late summer for post-nesting birds; late September to early October for fall migrants; winter for water birds
Local Contacts: Smith Oaks Sanctuary
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to High Island and Bolivar Peninsula Birding Sites

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May 2018