Llano Estacado Loop
Coming from US 62/82 into Lubbock from the east, exit north on Loop 289 and follow 1.3 miles. Exit on Municipal Dr., go left under the overpass and continue for 1.8 miles to the park on the left.
This is a large urban park with open wooded savanna and thickets on the margin of the woods. Winter residents include White-breasted Nuthatch and Swamp and Fox Sparrows. A variety of migrant ducks may be mixed in with the resident waterfowl. The stands of old deciduous trees and the stream that flows through them provide extensive habitat for migrating warblers and resident songbirds. By walking upstream from the main parking lot one can cross Parkway Dr. and enter the publicly accessible portions of the Purina Mountain Bike Trail, another excellent site to visit, particularly for migratory songbirds.
Lakes 5 And 6 (Yellowhouse Canyon)
From US 27 and US 62 in Lubbock, head east on US 62 1 mile to Canyon Lake Dr. Take a right and the lake will be on your right.
This site consists of a long lake that runs along the roadside, and is excellent for photographing waterfowl and other birds that live in the reed beds. A small population of breeding Least Bitterns has been present during most recent summers. This is the best site inside Lubbock’s Loop to see wintering loons, grebes and deepwater waterfowl. Mesquite, oak, elm and grassland surround the lake, making it a good site to look for migrant songbirds during spring and fall as well as sparrows in winter. Below the dam, the creek provides good habitat to see migrating warblers and the public can walk roads and bike paths all the way downstream to East Loop 289, allowing for exploration of desert grassland habitat.
From US 27 and US 62 in Lubbock, head east 1.4 miles on US 62 to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Turn right and go 0.6 mile to 31st St. Turn east on 31st St. and go 2 blocks to Teak Ave. Follow the signs to the cemetery.
The cemetery has good stands of trees that attract a variety of species, particularly during migration. Owls are regularly seen in the park, and migrating warblers and vireos are attracted to the locust trees. It is probably the best site in Lubbock for woodpeckers with annual records of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, casual records of Red-naped Sapsucker and isolated records of Williamson’s Sapsucker. It has also proven to be an excellent site to look for wintering finches with recent records of Evening Grosbeak and Purple and Cassin’s Finches.
Boles Road/Twin Ponds
Boles Road: From US 27 and US 62 in Lubbock, head east on US 62 3 miles to Loop 289. Go south on Loop 289 for 3.5 miles and exit at FM 835 East, also called Buffalo Springs Rd., for 1.2 miles. Turn north on CR 2800/Boles Rd. After 0.5 mile, the dry lakebed is off to your left.
Twin Ponds: Return to FM 835 East for 0.7 mile and the twin ponds are on either side of the road. Take particular care in pulling off to view the ponds, and do not stop on the bridge.
Boles Rd. has an ephemeral wetland where migrating shorebirds can be seen during spring and fall during especially wet years. Twin Ponds may also have waterfowl during wet winter years. Birds of prey such as Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks and Prairie Falcon are also present during winter. Just beyond the ponds is an extensive Prairie Dog town; check this site for Burrowing Owl and the various birds of prey that feed on Prairie Dogs. Sparrows, meadowlarks and mixed flocks of longspurs are attracted to the dry lake, which can be viewed from the road.
Buffalo Springs Lake
From US 27 and US 62 in Lubbock, head east on US 62 3 miles to Loop 289. Go south on Loop 289 for 3.5 miles and exit at FM 835 East, also called Buffalo Springs Rd., for 4.3 miles to the entrance gate on the left.
This large lake provides extensive winter habitat for geese, Ring-billed Gull and ducks such as Common Goldeneye and Northern Shoveler. The Llano Estacado Audubon Society has built a 1.7-mile nature trail that leads from the bluffs above the lake down to the lakeshore. This trail is irregularly maintained but passable and is worth walking, particularly during migration when migrant songbirds can be quite common and winter when forest songbirds lurk in the warmer microclimate maintained by several springs. As you cross the spillway on the way to the trail, watch for Eared Grebe and Redhead in winter.
From US 27 and Loop 289 in south Lubbock, take US 27 north to 55th St. and go left 1 mile to Ave. U. Take a right on Ave. U and continue 0.5 mile the park on the left.
This large municipal park has numerous trees, an arboretum, a Garden Arts Center and a large pond. Geese and ducks are resident here during the winter, and the trees provide excellent habitat during migrations. Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks are seen annually during migration and a large colony of Mississippi Kites breeds here. The gardens at the arboretum provide nectar for birds and butterflies and the site is home to all 5 of the region’s native turtles. Migrating shorebirds as well as warblers stop here.
From US 82 and Loop 289 in east Lubbock, take US 82 east 2 miles to Quaker Ave. and take a right. Continue on Quaker Ave. 0.1 mile to 24th St. and take a left. The Park is on the right.
This large urban park has a large lake that attracts a variety of waterfowl during winter, including Hooded Merganser and Wood Duck. Double-crested Cormorant can also be found here. In dry years, the ever-expanding shoreline can be very good for migrant songbirds.
Jack Stevens Park
From US 82 and Loop 289 in west Lubbock, take Loop 289 east 0.6 mile to Slide Rd., take a right, go 1.6 miles to 75th St. and take a right. The park is on the corner.
This small municipal park has ponds that attract a variety of waterfowl in winter. During migrations they can be expected to attract Marsh Wren and other wetland birds.
Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark
From Loop 289 and US 82 in west Lubbock, take Loop 289 west 4.9 miles to Exit US 84 (Clovis Hwy). Follow the signs 0.5 mile to the Landmark entrance.
This 336-acre preserve constitutes an impressive site for both archaeology and nature viewing. It is one of very few sites in North America known to contain evidence of a complete sequence of human existence during the past 11,500 years. Ferruginous, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks and American Kestrel occur here, and its location along the Central Flyway makes it a good place to scout during migrations. Birds uncommon for the region have turned up here, including Mountain Plover, Common Gallinule and Rufous Hummingbird and it is the best site to look for desert birds such as Say’s Phoebe and Sage Thrasher in Lubbock proper. The Robert A. Nash Interpretive Center provides an exhibit gallery, auditorium and Learning Center. Outdoor facilities include a picnic area and 3 trails, totaling 4.5 miles. One of the 0.5-mile trails within easy walking distance of the Interpretive Center highlights the archaeology of this ancient river valley. The second, the Llano Estacado Wildflower Trail, provides ample seasonal opportunities for viewing wildlife and native plants. The Landmark also features a rustic, 3.5-mile hiking trail along Yellowhouse Draw. On-going environmental restoration has enhanced the habitat for small native mammals such as Virginia Opossum, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Gray Fox, coyote and both White-tailed and Mule Deer.