Brazos Valley Loop
- Bryan-College Station CVB, 800-777-8292, www.bryan-collegestation.org
- Calvert COC, (979) 364-2559, www.rtis.com/reg/calvert
- Rosebud COC, 254-583-7979, www.rtis.com/reg/rosebud
Lick Creek Park
From the intersection of University Dr. and SR 6 in College Station, go southeast on SR 6 for 6.4 miles to the Greens Prairie Rd. Exit. Turn left (northeast) on Greens Prairie Rd. for 1.8 miles to Rock Prairie Rd. Turn right on Rock Prairie Rd. and go 1.4 miles to the park entrance and parking area on the right.
This is the premier nature preserve in College Station. Depending on the time of year, a visit to the 515-acre Lick Creek Park can reveal a variety of different birds. Listen for the 'peents' and 'whirrs' of displaying American Woodcocks in late winter or warbles of Painted Buntings in early summer. Northern Cardinals are probably the most common bird heard throughout the year. A diversity of warblers and vireos can be seen during migration, and nesting species include Northern Parula, Kentucky and Swainson's Warblers, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos and Summer Tanagers. During the winter months, the shrubs fill with Savannah, Vesper, Field and White-throated Sparrows. Henslow's Sparrows have also been seen. Look for Armadillos rooting in the leaf litter or reptiles and amphibians along the creek. Approximately 3.5 miles of improved trails are available to the public. A complete listing of regional birds can be found at www.bafrenz.com/birds.
Phone: (979) 764-3486, www.cstx.gov
From the intersection of University Dr. and Texas Avenue/ SR 6 Business in College Station, go southeast on Texas Avenue/ SR 6 Business for 2.1 miles to Southwest Pkwy. Turn right (southwest) on Southwest Pkwy for 0.3 miles to Anderson St. Turn left on Anderson St. and travel to the parking lot in Bee Creek Park at the end of the road.
The D. A. 'Andy' Anderson Arboretum provides access to a variety of habitats right in downtown College Station. This natural area is part of Bee Creek Park and is connected to other city parks with an extensive pedestrian and bicycle trail system. Walking the numerous trails through the forest will eventually lead to the banks of Bee Creek and several wooded ponds. These areas have a diversity of birds throughout the year. In summer Green Herons and Yellow-billed Cuckoos can be heard calling from above the ponds, while Painted Buntings flit along the edges of woodland. During winter look for skulking species such as Brown Thrasher and Hermit Thrush in the thick undergrowth. Look for roosting nightjars during migration, along with migrating warblers and vireos. Killdeer can often be seen on the neighboring baseball field and Purple Martins and Chimney Swifts cruise overhead. For a complete listing of the birds in this region, visit www.bafrenz.com/birds.
Phone: (979) 764-3486, www.cstx.gov
Texas Heritage Garden at TAMU
From the intersection of University Drive/ FM 60 and Texas Avenue/ Business SR 6 drive west on University Drive/ FM 60 for 1.8 miles to Discovery Drive. Turn left on Discovery Drive and go 0.4 miles to Kimbrough Blvd. Turn left and proceed 0.2 miles to large parking area on the left. The garden is north of the parking area between two large brick buildings.
This cozy garden is nestled between two imposing buildings on the west campus of Texas A&M University. In addition to acting as a magnet for the area's birds and insects, the Gardens provide educational insight into the plants of the area and their contribution to Texas heritage.
Martin houses at either end of the garden attract several families of Purple Martin each summer. Northern Mockingbirds loudly proclaim their presence from the numerous perches throughout the garden.
In spring, the garden is a wonder of color with numerous blooms attracting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and butterflies. Look for Gulf Fritillaries, Spicebush Swallowtails and the occasional Monarch butterfly. During summer, look for Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers flying across the surrounding lawns and parking lots. In the early evening listen for the 'peenting' call of the Common Nighthawk, awakened from their daytime roosts on the rooftops of surrounding buildings.
Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History
From the intersection of University Dr. and SR 6 in College Station, go north on SR 6 for 1.7 miles to the Briarcrest Dr. Exit. Turn right (northeast) on Briarcrest Dr./ FM 1179 and follow it northeast 0.3 miles to the museum on the right.
The Brazos Valley Nature Museum offers several excellent exhibits dedicated to the cultural and natural history of the region. Visitors can also enjoy an interpretive nature trail that traverses the woods behind the museum. Look for White-eyed, Red-eyed, Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireos during spring, with both White-eyed and Yellow-throated staying to nest. In winter, look for White-throated and Lincoln's Sparrows along with resident Carolina Wrens and Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. The bridge near the museum on the eastern corner of the property is a good place to test your identification skills for Barn, Cliff and Cave Swallows.
Phone: (979) 776-2195, http://bvmuseum.myriad.net
From the intersection of University Drive/ FM 60 and Texas Avenue/ Business SR 6 in College Station, drive west on University Drive/ FM 60 for 2.6 miles to FM 2818. Turn right onto FM 2818 and travel north 6.8 miles to FM 1687. Turn left onto FM 1687 and go 3.3 miles to the entrance to the lake on the right.
Lake Bryan is best in winter when waterfowl and White Pelicans are present in large numbers. During summer, check the pilings for roosting Forster's Terns and watch the shallows for stalking Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. During migration the shoreline can attract a variety of shorebirds such as Least, Pectoral, White-rumped and Baird's Sandpipers. Look for Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the surrounding woodlands and Marsh and Sedge Wrens in the lakeside reeds. Check the shoreline vegetation for Rambur's Forktail and other damselflies, and dragonflies such as Eastern Amberwing, Blue Dasher and Red Saddlebags. Over the years, a number of rarities have been seen on the lake, including Tundra Swan and Hudsonian Godwit.
Phone: (979) 361-0861, www.lakebryan.com
This beautiful 220-acre private ranch in the rolling hills of the post oak savannah region provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Check the feeders and gardens around the cabin and office for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and a variety of butterflies. This
is particularly true when in fall the several acres of liatris are blooming and attract many migrants. Numerous hiking trails allow visitors to explore the various habitats found on
the ranch. Resident birds include Red-bellied Woodpeckers, White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Barred Owls, and Red-shouldered Hawks. In fall, several acres of blooming liatris are host migrating butterflies and hummingbirds. In winter, look for Mallards
and Wood Ducks in the flooded areas. During summer, the ponds on the ranch attract dragonflies such as Common Whitetail, Widow Skimmer, Blue Dasher and Black Saddlebags.
Phone: (254) 697-6760
Rosebud City Lake
From the intersection of US 77 (North) and SR 53 in the town of Rosebud, go left (west) on SR 53 for 2.0 miles to CR 347. Turn left (south) and go 100 yards to the lake.
This small reservoir just outside the town of Rosebud provides easy access to wetlands and open grassland. A loop road reaches most corners of the lake. In winter check for a variety of waterfowl, including American Coot and Ruddy Duck. Scan the shoreline for Spotted Sandpipers during migration. The surrounding grasslands provide habitat for Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Kingbirds and Dickcissels as well as Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries and Spicebush Swallowtails. In summer, scan the surface of the water for Cliff and Barn Swallows along with dragonflies such as Black and Carolina Saddlebags.
Phone: (254) 583-7926