Meetings and Field Trips

You are welcome to attend monthly meetings, featuring speakers on birding and natural history topics, and including a delicious member-provided evening meal -- with desserts! Our monthly field trips are fun and educational, and focus on locations along the coast, marshes, prairies, and forests of the area.

Sabine Woods Work Day

Saturday March 3, 2018

We will hold our spring Sabine Woods Work Day on Saturday March 3. We will be there at 7:30 a.m., but come when you can.

Needs this time will be need of loppers to cut back the vegetation on the sides of the trails. The recent warm weather has encouraged early growth, so there will be much trimming to do. Although dealing with much of the hog damage will require mechanized equipment, we need to try to deal with a few areas of hog damage in heavily travelled areas places with old fashioned spades and shovels, so please bring one if you can. We do need to mow to meadow areas as soon as we can, although it is currently very questionable whether the ground will be dry enough by Saturday. Please put this date on your calendar and help us if you can. Sabine Woods is 4.1 miles west of Sabine Pass on Highway 87. We will start around 7:30 a.m. and work till about noon. We do have some hand tools but any that you are able to bring will be helpful.

Please help if you are able. We will provide drinks all morning and sandwiches around lunch time. For further information please email John Whittle (

Membership Meeting

Thursday March 15, 2018

Garden Center, Tyrrell Park, Beaumont  7:00 p.m.

Bosque del Apache

Dana Nelson

Dana Nelson, using his own photographs and some by James Saxon, will take us on a photographic tour of the birds and other wildlife of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, located in southern New Mexico about 80 miles south of Albuquerque and 10 miles south of Socorro. The name of the refuge means "woods of the Apache" in Spanish, named for the Apache tribes that once camped in the forests along the Rio Grande. The heart of the refuge comprises approximately 3,800 acres of Rio Grande floodplain and 9,100 acres of irrigated farms and wetlands. In addition to this, the refuge contains 44,300 acres of arid grasslands and foothills. A twelve-mile-long loop road allows automobile drivers excellent views of wetland wildlife and raptors, affords good views of the fields where crops are grown for the benefit of the birds under cooperative agreements with farmers.

About 7,000 acres in the center of the refuge are made up of flood-plains watered by irrigation systems connected to the Rio Grande. These flood-plains provide an essential habitat for cottonwood and honey mesquite trees, coyote willows, and four-wing saltbushes. There are also several areas of dry land, including scrubland and desert terrain that is connected to the Chihuahuan desert. 

There have been 358 different bird species observed in the refuge since 1981. From late November to late February, the wetlands attract the huge flocks of wintering Sandhill Cranes (over 10,000) and geese (20,000) that are the refuge's most interesting feature. Many other species—notably waterfowl, shorebirds, and birds of prey—winter in the refuge. The diversity of birds is also high in spring, particularly the last week of April and first week of May, and in fall.

We will plan on having the doors open by 6:00 p.m. and the program will start at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Sandwiches for this meeting, available from 6:15 p.m., are being provided by Port Arthur convention and Visitors Bureau.

Directions to Tyrrell Park

From the South

Go "north" on US69/96/287 around the south side of Beaumont.

Take Texas 124 (south or west, whichever it is signed) towards Fannett (left turn under the highway).

Travel about 1/2 mile to the first light.

At the first light, turn left onto Tyrrell Park Road and go about 3/4 mile.

Turn left into Tyrrell Park.

Almost immediately turn left at the conservatory into the parking lot for the Garden Center.

From IH10

Exit at Walden Road on the west side of Beaumont.

Go south of Walden Road for about 1/2 mile to the first light.

At the light go straight over Highway 124 onto Tyrrell Park Road and go about 3/4 mile.

Turn left into Tyrrell Park.

Almost immediately turn left at the conservatory into the parking lot for the Garden Center.


Field Trip to Bolivar Flats

Saturday March 17, 2018. 

Important Note: Galveston County operates a parking permit program on the Bolivar Peninsula. If you park on most parts of the beach, including the part next to the Flats, you must have a parking permit on your windshield. The fee for the permit is $10.00 a year and permits are obtainable from most merchants on the Bolivar Peninsula including the Big Store, which opens at 7:00 a.m. Currently, the permit also entitles you to park at Rollover Pass.

This trip will occur as spring shorebird migration is getting well under way, but while the wintering birds are mostly still present. Bolivar Flats is an internationally important shore-bird location. We know that a lot of birders are intimidated by shorebirds, but they are not nearly as difficult to identify as is sometimes alleged! This trip offers an opportunity to compare many of the "true" shorebirds with lots of help in identifying them.

Meet at the vehicle barrier at 8:30 a.m. From Winnie, take TX 124 south to High Island. At the shoreline, turn right (west) on TX 87 and proceed through Gilchrist and Crystal Beach until you reach the intersection where Loop 108 turns right (north). Turn left (the opposite way to Loop 108) along Rettilon Road. At the beach, if conditions permit, turn right (west) about 1/2 mile to the vehicle barrier. It takes at least one and a half hours to drive from the Golden Triangle. We will leave the vehicle barrier at about 8:45 a.m., although the group will be visually obvious on the flats should you be a few minutes later than that.

The Flats in winter always have lots of plovers, sandpipers and other wading species. A large flock of American Avocets winters there.

Some walking is necessary on this field trip. If the tide is a long way out, the leaders may walk up to a mile from the vehicle barrier, but you can turnaround at any point. Depending on the mud flat conditions, we may visit to the North Jetty to view the birds from that side.

We normally stop at Fort Travis Park to eat lunch and use the facilities. We may stop at Rollover Pass and often stop at High Island on the way back to check in High Island for any "very early" Neotropic songbird migrants. Bring drinks and lunch (or buy locally, but that is not particularly easy), sunscreen and insect repellent. 

For further information, contact Steve Mayes ( or text him at 409-749-9487).