The East Texas ecosystem is often referred to as the Pineywoods because of the abundant pine trees that are the dominant tree species for the region. To stand beneath these majestic trees and soak in their quiet beauty is a glorious experience. Toss in some excellent birding for neotropical migrants, a couple of rare birds, a few habitat restricted birds and you have an exciting day to look forward to! (see complete trip description below)
DAY 1 – TUESDAY – APRIL 4
Brief Overview of DAY 1: Birding the Pineywoods
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Depart at 6:30 am. NOTE: We will all be in one large van for the day
- Travel to and bird the Pineywoods until noon
If you need to eat or snack on a regular basis or at a specific time, please bring your own snacks.
- Break for lunch. A boxed lunch is provided.
- After lunch, exciting afternoon – pontoon boat tour of the Neches River in the afternoon.
- Return to hotel in Beaumont between 5:00 and 5:30 pm.
Our first destination will be the Sundew Trail located in the world-renown Big Thicket Preserve. We will search for many neotropical migratory birds like the difficult to find Chuck-wills-widow, Indigo Bunting, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanager, and resident birds like the Barred Owl, Pileated, Downy and Red-headed Woodpeckers, among many other species. We may also find the Brown-headed Nuthatch and Pine Warbler feeding and frolicking in the tall pines. In addition to the birds, we may find three of the carnivorous plants found in the U.S., these being the Sundew, the Pitcher Plant, and Bladderwort. There are nine known families of carnivorous plants in the word, but only five families occur in North America. Approximately 400 species of plants have evolved the structures and strategies for capturing and digesting primarily insects, to satisfy their need for nutrients not readily available in the soil.
Other sites that we may bird include the Big Thicket Visitors Center, Kirby Nature Trail, and Gore Store Road. These will provide an opportunity to experience different habitats of the Pineywoods, namely wooded creeks, deciduous tree woodlands, fields, roadside, and successional growth, in search of neotropical migrants like Blue Grosbeak, Prothonotary Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Louisiana Waterthrush, and resident birds such as Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher and Eastern bluebird among many others. However, we will focus primarily on finding those birds within pine and grassland habitat. We will keep on the alert for the sight of or drumming of the rare Hairy Woodpecker while we are searching for migrants and breeding birds.
We will bird the Pineywoods until around noon, take a break for lunch and then depart for the landing location for our pontoon boat tour of the Neches River. We will meet the boat captain and our local naturalist and have a most enjoyable and delightful trip down the Neches with side excursions for birding and learning about the natural history of the region. We should arrive back in Beaumont at the landing between 5:00 and 5:30 pm.
DAY 2: WEDNESDAY – APRIL 5
Brief Overview of Day 2
- Depart Beaumont hotel at 6:30 am – we will not return to hotel or to Beaumont.
- Drive our own vehicles – driving directions and cell phone number of the guide will be provided.
- Bird at Tyrrell Park and Cattail Marsh until 9:30 to 10:30 am, depending on the bird activity.
- Drive to White Memorial Park near Hankamer, TX east of Winnie, TX along Interstate 10.
- Birding, then having lunch around noon.
If you need to eat or snack on a regular basis or at a specific time, please bring your own snacks
- After lunch, additional birding en route to Galveston or going directly to Galveston Featherfest Headquarters, or our own accommodations for the festival, depending upon the time we have left for the day.
- The tour ends back in Galveston at 3:00 pm.
Breakfast at the hotel at 6:00 am, depart at 6:30 am. Our first stop will be Tyrrell Park and Cattail Marsh in Beaumont. Both of these sites have a long, respected history with birders as prime sites to find resident and migrating birds. Tyrrell Park is a regular city park with a golf course and botanical gardens. Breeding Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and the Great Horned Owl are found here and many woodland migrant species pass through the park.
The city of Beaumont originally constructed Cattail Marsh as the final stage of the city’s wastewater treatment facility. And as all birders know, water treatment facilities are a natural draw for birds. Over the years, this 900-acre wetland complex with levee roads has grown into a birding hotspot. The 350 species of birds recorded here is an amazing record and it is a birder’s haven.
We will sort out the American Crow from the Fish Crow; a great opportunity to see both species in the same day. We will look for the beautiful but overdressed Wood Duck, the stunning Cinnamon Teal (uncommon), Anhinga, the elusive King Rail, the Pileated Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in North America, and hopefully, the swamp-loving Barred Owl.
It is migration season, so almost anything is possible, such as the beautiful Purple Gallinule (rare), the uncommon Glossy Ibis, the stunning Swallow-tailed Kite (migrant) and Painted and Indigo Buntings (also migrants).
We will depart Cattail Marsh between 9:30 to 10:30 am, depending upon the activity of the birds. We will drive to White Memorial Park near Hankamer, TX, west of Winnie, TX, along Interstate 10, for additional birding and lunch around noon. A boxed lunch is provided. After lunch, we will have additional birding opportunities at locations en route to Galveston or you may go to your hotel or Galveston FeatherFest Headquarters.
This trip officially ends at 3:00 pm back in Galveston. However, you are free to either leave earlier or stay longer. Please advise the tour leader if you decide to leave earlier than 3:00 pm.
Detailed instructions concerning hotels, directions, etc., will be emailed to each registrant. We suggest you arrive on Monday and get a good night’s rest at our partner hotel, the MCM Elegante Hotel, as the trip will leave from the hotel parking lot at 6:30 am on Tuesday morning. After registering for this trip, you will receive information regarding the partner hotel location, directions, pricing, etc. You are responsible for making your own reservations for your accommodations and the price of the trip does not include your lodging and meals except for the boxed lunches provided on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This field trip is sponsored by the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Price does not include lodging and meals except for boxed lunches for Tuesday & Wednesday. This trip is not eligible for the GINTC member discount.