- Quanah COC
Baylor Lake/Childress Lake
In Childress, take US 287 north 4.7 miles to Loop 328 and head west. At 1.7 miles take FM 2466 west/left for 2.2 miles. Turn left at the stop sign and follow the signs to the lake. Check the wetland along the edge of the road on the way to the lake for flycatchers in summer.
This site provides opportunities to view waterfowl during the winter and shorebirds during migrations. Common Loons have been seen on both lakes during spring. To reach Childress Lake, continue straight out of Baylor Lake onto the dirt road, which runs into Childress Lake.
Matador Wildlife Management Area
In Childress, turn south on US 83. Follow US 83 23.4 miles to FM 3256, turn right and go 2.6 miles. Register at the office on the left. Access is restricted to 4-wheel-drive vehicles after heavy rains. Signs are posted on roads where 4-wheel-drive vehicles are required.
Encompassing 28,183 acres, the Matador offers a variety of habitats including mesquite uplands, shinnery oak rangelands, gravelly hills with redberry juniper and mesquite and bottomlands. Wildlife species occurring in the area include Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, Western Massasauga Rattlesnake, Texas Horned Lizard, Ornate Box Turtle, Mule and White-tailed Deer, coyotes, bobcats and wild hogs. Less common species sighted in the area include javelina. Best locations for birdwatchers include the South Pease (Tongue) River, Middle Pease River, Cow Hollow Creek and O.X. Creek. Common birds include Northern Cardinal, Mississippi Kite, Bobwhite Quail, Rio Grande Turkey, Northern Mockingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Bullock’s Oriole, Lark Sparrow, Painted Bunting, Black-crested Titmouse, roadrunner and Mourning Dove. Less common birds include Vermilion Flycatcher, Pyrrhuloxia and Blue Grosbeak. Contact area personnel for a copy of the WMA’s bird list.
Copper Breaks State Park
In Paducah turn left on TX 70 to Crowell, 36.3 miles. Turn north/left on TX 6 for 8.9 miles and enter the state park on your left.
This 1,900-acre park features rugged, scenic beauty with mixed grass/mesquite-covered mesas and juniper breaks. Comanche heritage is interpreted at the state park, and the picnic area shelters are shaped to look like tipis. Copper Breaks Lake, Big Pond, several natural ponds and a marsh at one end of the reservoir provide a variety of water habitats. Birds of prey are here throughout the year, and flycatchers and Western Kingbird can be seen along the road in summer. Migratory flocks of House Finch and Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds can be found as well as Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Mississippi Kite, Swainson’s Hawk and the evening avi-show of nighthawks. Less commonly seen species such as Eastern Phoebe, Painted Bunting and Yellow-billed Cuckoo have also been sighted here. Most species of mammals in the park are best viewed during the early morning and late evening hours. Most common are White-tailed Deer, rabbits, raccoons, armadillos, opossums, bobcats, porcupines, beavers and coyotes. Numerous frogs, turtles, lizards and an occasional Texas Horned Lizard can be seen.
Truscott Brine Lake
From Crowell, head south on TX 6 25.5 miles and turn right on FM 1756 West. Go 2.6 miles, turn right on CR 2600 and continue straight onto CR 2631 for 1.4 miles to the entrance of the lake.
The best place to view wintering ducks or other birds on this large, salty lake is behind the headquarters. It is an excellent place to scope for rarities such as loons and scoters in winter. The combination of dead snags in the reservoir, blue water and red soil provides a beautiful backdrop for dawn and sunset photography. Deer, bobcats, wild hogs and other mammals are also commonly seen on the site.