REGISTRATION NOW OPEN for the 8th Annual MBBFApril 12, 13, and 14, 2024

Bird Tours

CLICK ON TOUR NAME FOR MORE INFO
Friday, April 12
Saturday, April 13
Sunday, April 14

A True Gem - The Powderhorn Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX


Operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Powderhorn Ranch contains saltwater wetlands that offer important, year-round habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. Elsewhere, extensive woodlands and freshwater wetlands as well as restored coastal prairie provide critically important “fall-out areas” for migrating songbirds, particularly during spring migration when, exhausted from their flights across or around the Gulf of Mexico, birds use these areas to rest and refuel. Birds that are expected on this trip are ducks, herons, egrets, gulls, terns, shorebirds, wrens, roadrunner and perhaps some early neotropical migrants. Also possible are alligator, deer and Sanbar.

How Birds are Made in the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes – TNC Mad Island Marsh Preserve and nearby wetlands

6:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

The 7,063-acre Clive Runnells Mad Island Marsh Preserve was part of an expansive coastal wetlands and upland prairie system which, 60 years ago, stretched nearly unbroken along the mid- and upper-Texas Gulf Coast. Today, the Preserve includes brackish and freshwater wetlands, coastal prairie, ag fields and some thorn scrub along the ICWW. Join Preserve Manager, Steven Goertz for an in-depth look at management practices used to keep this amazing habitat healthy and an opportunity to glimpse the cool birds that make it home. The Preserve is normally closed to regular public access. We will also visit nearby managed wetlands that provide important habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

Over the River and through the Woods to...Prairies, Beaches and Turf Farms - Matagorda County Hot Spots

6:15 AM - 3:30 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

The tour will feature a majority of the Matagorda County Birding Hot Spots; places like Chinquapin Road, Matagorda Beach, Hanson Turf Farm, Oyster Lake and the Birding Center. We'll visit coastal prairie, beaches, mudflats, turf farms, riparian corridors and more. Though the home of the nation-leading Matagorda County CBC, it's safe to say that Matagorda County, outside of CBC season is an under-birded county. This trip will give participants an appreciation of the avian richness and diversity found in Matagorda County. Shorebirds like Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper and American Golden-Plovers are very likely on this trip. Colorful neotropical passerines will also figure prominently. Expect a fast-paced trip with car-birding and moderate walking.

MBF Dog Island Preserve

6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at Matagorda Marina at 189 CR 255

Dog Island is a 900-acre property that was once part of the relic landmass of the original Colorado River Delta. The island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and is located adjacent to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Mad Island Marsh WMA. It is accessed via a short boat ride from Matagorda harbor. The island's habitats include wooded uplands, tidal wetlands, fringing oyster reef and a small freshwater lake. Participants will be able to view all habitats from a four-mile loop through the upland area. Expect shorebirds, ducks, waders, sparrows and perhaps passerines on this unique tour.

Just Peachy - JBH Burr Ranch

6:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

The JB Harrison Foundation's Burr Property is tucked away in Wharton County near the community of Burr and near Peach Creek. It encompasses approximately 1500 acres and is managed for waterfowl and songbirds. This beautiful property includes 3 large Bald Cypress and Live Oak-lined lakes and associated wetland areas. One of these lakes serves as a nesting site for colonial waterbirds like Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Other habitats like wooded timber, grassland, open pasture, and row crop will add chances for Buntings, Orioles, Grosbeaks, Dickcissel and more. The trip will also visit the King Ranch Turf Farm near Lane City for an excellent chance at Buff-breasted Sandpipers and American Golden-Plovers. Moderate walking on uneven surfaces.

Oyster Lake

6:15 AM - 10:00 AM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

Oyster Lake is a shallow, brackish lake that lies just north of the IntraCoastal Waterway on the east side of West Matagorda Bay. Here, there are salt marshes, a large saline flat and views of both Matagorda Bay and Oyster Lake. Birds that are expected on this trip are ducks, cranes, waders, gulls and terns, shorebirds and a chance for raptors and passerines along Oyster Lake Road. Who knows, a Clapper Rail or Seaside Sparrow might even treat us to a rare look.

Around Town - Palacios Hot Spots

6:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

Join us for some fun and relaxing birding right in Palacios. The Palacios Marine Ag Research site offers wetlands, thorn scrub and views of the bay....who knows what we’ll find! The Trull Marsh and Palacios Prairie Wetland host sparrows, Clapper Rail, waders and various shorebirds. The Palacios Port and Bay front should have lingering ducks, loons, pelicans, shorebirds, gulls, terns and Purple Martins. And we'll probe local migrat traps for those colorful Spring migrants.

Shorebird Haven at the Harrison Ranch

6:15 AM - 10:00 AM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

Just 6 miles northwest of Palacios and comprimsed of 150 contiguous acres of wetlands and ponds, the 230 acre Harrison Ranch is a must stop for migrating shorebirds and lingering waterfowl and waders. Adjacent pasture and fence row thickets may provide opportunities for buntings, grosbeaks and orioles. And a nearby Bald Eagle nest will round-out the birding hit parade. Expect moderate walking and be sure to bring your scope for the best view of the shorebirds.

Colorado River Roaming at the Birding Nature Center and LeTulle Park

6:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

The Matagorda County Birding Nature Center (MCBNC) covers 34 beautiful acres along the Colorado River in Bay City. It has six botanical gardens and three major eco-systems dominated by the riparian corridor along the river. This habitat variety provides refuge for a wide variety of birds from Pileated Woodpeckers, to Barred Owls to nesting Bald Eagles. Passerines migrating up the river corridor provides lots f excitement for visiting birders. Neighboring Le Tulle Park has lots of mature Live Oaks that provide an additional opportunity for resident and migrating passerines.

MBF Dog Island Preserve

6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at Matagorda Marina at 189 CR 255

Dog Island is a 900-acre property that was once part of the relic landmass of the original Colorado River Delta. The island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and is located adjacent to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Mad Island Marsh WMA. It is accessed via a short boat ride from Matagorda harbor. The island's habitats include wooded uplands, tidal wetlands, fringing oyster reef and a small freshwater lake. Participants will be able to view all habitats from a four-mile loop through the upland area. Expect shorebirds, ducks, waders, sparrows and perhaps passerines on this unique tour.

Second Chance at A True Gem - The Powderhorn Ranch WMA

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

Here's another opportunity to visit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Powderhorn Ranch. It contains saltwater wetlands that offer important, year-round habitat for shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. Elsewhere, extensive woodlands and freshwater wetlands as well as restored coastal prairie provide critically important “fall-out areas” for migrating songbirds, particularly during spring migration when, exhausted from their flights across or around the Gulf of Mexico, birds use these areas to rest and refuel. Birds that are expected on this trip are ducks, herons, egrets, gulls, terns, shorebirds, wrens, roadrunner and perhaps some early neotropical migrants. Also possible are alligator, deer and Sanbar.

Carancahua Bay Environs and Formosa Tejano Wetlands

6:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

Jackson County, like many coastal counties, has quite diverse habitats and the interesting birds that inhabit them. The Formosa Tejano Wetland is 245 acres of ponds, wetlands, woodlands and coastal prairie typically holding shorebirds, waders, passerines and other interesting birds in late March. This stop will involve some light walking on flat ground. The next is the east shore of Carancahua Bay, including a large fish farm that attracts lots of gulls, terns, shorebirds. We might also have a chance for thorn scrub birds like Long-billed Thrasher. This trip might also visit CR 127, with chances for herons, egrets, raptors, woodpeckers and neotropical migrants like warblers, orioles and buntings. Mostly car birding with light walking.

Otra vez! - Over the River and through the Woods to...Prairies, Beaches and Turf Farms - Matagorda County Hot Spots

6:15 AM - 3:30 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

A repeat of this popular Friday tour will feature a majority of the Matagorda County Birding Hot Spots; places like Chinquapin Road, Matagorda Beach, Hanson Turf Farm, Oyster Lake and the Birding Center. We'll visit coastal prairie, beaches, mudflats, turf farms, riparian corridors and more. Though the home of the nation-leading Matagorda County CBC, it's safe to say that Matagorda County, outside of CBC season is an under-birded county. This trip will give participants an appreciation of the avian richness and diversity found in Matagorda County. Shorebirds like Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper and American Golden-Plovers are very likely on this trip. Colorful neotropical passerines will also figure prominently. Expect a fast-paced trip with car-birding and moderate walking.

Going Mad for Birds at The Nature Conservancy Mad Island Marsh Preserve

6:15 AM - 3:00 PM
Meet at The Point, 608 1st St., Palacios, TX

The Mad Island Marsh Preserve is ground-zero for the nation-leading Matagorda County Christmas Bird Count and hosts over 300 species of birds. The sprawling prairie, fresh and brackish water marshes and thorn scrub habitats host a variety of waders, rails, shorebirds, lingering sparrows and wrens and newly arriving neotropical migrants. We might also see an Alligator, or three! The Preserve is normally closed to regular public access so this is a great opportunity to bird this special property. Car-birding and light walking.
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 East Side Elementary Annex
901 2nd Street, Palacios, Texas 77465
(Corner of 2nd Street & Moore Ave)
For a complete map of the Events
Click Here
Contact: lauriebeck@becktv.com
Schedule Subject to Change
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