- Miami COC, (806) 662-7681 , www.miamitexas.org
From the flashing light in Miami at the intersection of US 60 and FM 282 turn west on FM 282. Follow FM 282 for 14.5 miles to Green Lake Rd. on the left. The lake is 1 mile on the left, and is available for roadside viewing only. The lake is remote and a scope is required.
Playa Lakes can be completely dry during hot summers or drought years. Green Lake is inside the Red Deer Creek watershed and covers 300 acres. Look for Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks in winter. Rough-legged is most easily distinguished from Ferruginous Hawk by the well-defined, narrow, black band on the end of its white tail and by the conspicuous black markings underneath its wings when in flight. The scenic drive from Miami intersects the prairie in the Red Deer Creek breaks.
In Pampa, head east on US 60 6.4 miles to TX 152. Veer right on TX 152. Ingrum Lake (a playa lake) is 1.3 miles on the right, and is available for roadside viewing only.
Check the playa lake and pond on the right for ducks. From October to early December huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes are on the large playa lake on TX 152. The entire playa lake region is filled with Avocet and shorebirds during migration. Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and other duck species are commonly found here during winter. Large concentrations of Canada and Snow Geese can be found on playas in the Panhandle during the winter.
Tx 273-loop 171-playa Lakes
From the intersection of US 60 and Loop 171, head south on Loop 171 0.3 miles to a playa lake on both sides of Loop 171.
Even in very dry years, the small wetlands along both sides of Loop 171, just before its intersection with US 60, attract waterfowl, shorebirds and a plethora of dragonflies and damselflies. Wetland flowers also provide attractive relief for the eye as well as good photography opportunities. In years of sufficient moisture, from later fall through early spring, you may also see large concentrations of Sandhill Cranes in this area.
Tx 273-fm 291-lefors
From the intersection of TX 273 and FM 2375 in Lefors, go south on TX 273 2.7 miles to the bridge before the intersection of FM 291.
This bridge spans the North Fork of the Red River. Park well off the shoulder, and walk on the south side of the bridge to the water's edge. In addition to beautiful scenery, butterflies are abundant here from late spring through early fall. Hundreds of Familiar Bluets can be seen hanging onto the riverside's emergent aquatic vegetation, and Mississippi Kite is easily spotted soaring above the river. Snags on the north side of the bridge provide roosts for these birds, which can be seen in good numbers among the branches late in the day.
The sand sagebrush prairie along FM 291 provides good habitat for grassland birds. Little bluestem, sideoats grama, buffalo grass, yellow Indiangrass, switchgrass, and a variety of forbs make this ideal habitat. The rough and rolling terrain that makes up the watershed of McClellan Creek and the North Fork of the Red River provide cover for Pronghorn, Coyotes, White-tailed and Mule Deer, skunks, porcupines and quail.
Drive slowly along FM 291 to appreciate the beauty of the scenery, and if your visit coincides with the early morning or early evening, the chances are good that you'll be treated to one of the spectacular sunsets for which the Panhandle is famed and you may encounter Lesser Prairie-Chickens. In this area the rangeland is both healthy and unfragmented enough to sustain populations of Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Roadrunners pop up along the side of the highway, and Swainson's Hawk occurs here commonly in summer, as do large numbers of Mississippi Kite.
The low-water crossings before McClellan Creek and at McClellan Creek on 291 should be checked for a variety of woodpeckers, kingbirds, flycatchers and butterflies such as Viceroy and Common Wood-Nymph. Dragonflies include the large and easily spotted Eastern Pondhawk.
From the intersection of US 60 and FM 748 in Miami (flashing yellow light), go south on FM 748 for 5 miles. Turn left/east on FM 1268 and continue 0.5 mile. The lake is on the north side of the road, and is available for roadside viewing only.
Thousands of ephemeral playa lakes dot the Panhandle, providing important habitat for migratory and wintering birds in the region. Chisum Lake covers 250 acres and provides habitat for numerous species of ducks and geese, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, raptors and shorebirds such as Dowitches and Killdeer. Finches, orioles, larks and hummingbirds can also be seen here.