Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Corpus Christi Bay Loop

Corpus Christi Bay Loop map

Corpus Christi Bay Loop mapJFK Causeway WetlandsRedhead Pond Wildlife Management AreaCorpus Christi Botanical GardensOso Bay ParkHans A. Suter Wildlife AreaTexas A&M - Corpus Christi Nature TrailBlucher ParkTexas State AquariumIndian Point/Sunset LakeFred Jones Nature SantuaryNueces River ParkHilltop Community CenterPollywog PondHazel Bazemore County Park

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More information:

  • Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau
    1201 North Shoreline Boulevard
    P.O. Box 2664
    Corpus Christi, Texas 78403
    (361) 881-1888 or (800) 678-6232

065.gif CTC 065 JFK Causeway Wetlands

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

From Packery Channel County Park, return to PR 22 and turn right (west) toward Corpus Christi. After traversing the bridge over the Laguna Madre, the JFK Causeway becomes a rather low crossing that offers opportunities to park and view the bay. The flats along the causeway may be awash with herons, egrets (look for Reddish), pelicans, and shorebirds. Toward the west end of the causeway you will notice an area of beach that is protected for nesting Black Skimmers. The skimmers and their young may be seen here in summer, and also look for nesting Least Terns and Wilson’s Plovers.

066.gif CTC 066 Redhead Pond Wildlife Management area

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on the JFK Causeway (which becomes South Padre Island Drive west of the Laguna Madre) and enter Flour Bluff. Exit South Padre Island Drive on Waldron Road, turn left (south) under the freeway and return to Laguna Shores Road. Turn right and continue south on Laguna Shores to Redhead Pond WMA. Redhead Pond is a joint project of TNCT and TPWD, and the observation platform here affords a protected view of the waterfowl that winter in the ponds. Redhead is particularly common, but a number of duck species (as well as grebes and Black-crowned Night-Heron) winter here. Watch for Common Goldeneye and Hooded Merganser, two species that may be difficult to see elsewhere along the coast.

067.gif CTC 067 Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons (Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday)

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Return to Laguna Shores Road, and turn right (south). Continue to the intersection with Yorktown Boulevard, and turn right (west) again. Travel on Yorktown Boulevard to the intersection with S. Staples Street, and turn left (south).

Continue on S. Staples across Oso Creek to the entrance to the Corpus Christi Botanical Garden on your right. The Corpus Christi Botanical Garden preserve boasts an impressive assortment of south Texas habitats, including wildflower fields, nature trails through virgin mesquite, an herb-lined “Bird and Butterfly Trail,” and a cattail-lined “Gator Lake” which can be observed from both the “Palapa Grande” (an open-air, thatched-roof gazebo), and a birding tower. The nature trails, which at some locations border Oso Creek, offer a glimpse of south Texas scrub birding, with species such as Groove-billed Ani, Long-billed Thrasher, Curve-billed Thrasher, Pyrrhuloxia, and Olive Sparrow relatively easy to see here. At the lake and creek search for waterbirds, including Least Grebe (also look for Couch’s Kingbird in the trees that border the lake). The Botanical Garden is in the process of planting more bird attractors in individual garden areas, as well as screen and border plantings and native trees.

Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens
8545 S. Staples
Corpus Christi, Texas 78413
(361) 852-2100

068.gif CTC 068 Oso Bay Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migration

Site open for day use only.

Travel north on Staples Street to proceed to South Padre Island Drive, then turn right (east) on South Padre Island Drive and continue to the Ennis Joslin Road exit. Turn left (north) on Ennis Joslin Road and continue along Oso Bay. Stop at the first small park on your right, and scan Oso Bay for pelicans, waterfowl, and shorebirds. This site (as well as sites 69 and 70) are best birded on a falling tide, so be sure to check the tide tables that are published in the local newspaper. Few tidal flats along the central coast can boast of a birdlife spectacle equal to Oso Bay. Thousands of waterbirds pack these shallow waters, and a sunset here in winter should be unforgettable.

069.gif CTC 069 Hans A. Suter Wildlife Area

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migration

Site open for day use only.

Continue north on Ennis Joslin for a short distance to Hans A. Suter Wildlife Area (on the right). The boardwalk here provides access to the lagoon, and be sure to check the tidal pools bordering the boardwalk for rails and shorebirds. The short nature trail that connects the parking lot with the boardwalk may be teeming with landbirds in migration, so don’t be so quick to rush to the lagoon. As with site 68, the waterbird display at Hans Suter is staggering, so check the tides and be prepared to spend an hour or two relishing the show.

070.gif CTC 070 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi Nature Trail

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migration

Site open for day use only.

The third site from which to view Oso Bay is the nature trail at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. Continue north on Ennis Joslin to its merger with Alameda Street, and veer right as Alameda ends at Ocean Drive. Turn right on Ocean Drive and take the first entrance into the campus. The guard at the security kiosk can give you parking instructions. As you walk the nature trail that follows the Oso Bay shoreline, inspect the tidal flats here for Piping and Snowy plover, and watch for flocks of Roseate Spoonbills in the shallow waters of Oso Bay itself. Each of these three sites (68-70) offers a different view of Oso Bay, so watch both the tide and the angle of the sun for determining which vantage point to choose.

071.gif CTC 071 Blucher Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migration

Site open for day use only.

Exiting Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, turn west on Ocean Drive and travel into downtown Corpus Christi. Ocean Drive becomes Shoreline Drive as you enter the waterfront area, and continues north to the downtown business district. Blucher Park is located on Carrizo Street, next to the Central Library. Turn left on Williams off Shoreline Drive, and continue up the hill (Williams will make a slight jog to the left and become Lipan) to Carrizo Street. Turn left on Carrizo, and travel a short distance to Blucherville and Blucher Park (the corner of Carrizo and Tancahua). This densely wooded park with a small creek flowing through its center attracts migrating landbirds. Stroll through the park and check every nook and cranny for flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, and warblers. Several original Blucher family homes have been restored by the Junior League of Corpus Christi along N. Carrizo (the Blucher heirs, in fact, donated the land for Blucher Park to the city), and an environmental education and information center is being established here. The Audubon Outdoor Club conducts birdwalks every Saturday and Sunday in April (meet at Blucher Park at 7:30 a.m.). Information on these birdwalks, as well as a pamphlet on Birding in the Corpus Christi Area, may be obtained from the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 1201 N. Shoreline Dr.

072.gif CTC 072 Texas State Aquarium

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons; (Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday)

Site open for day use only. Fee charged.

Return to Shoreline Drive, and continue north on I-37. Take TX 35 / US 181 north across the high bridge over the turning basin toward Portland, and exit at Surfside. The aquarium is located on Corpus Christi Beach to your right. Although dedicated to the conservation of the oceans, the aquarium considers seabirds to be an integral part of the marine ecosystem as well. A bird rehabilitation center is operated out of the aquarium, and a number of injured and orphaned birds (such as pelicans) are kept on display. The aquarium also offers a rather extensive environmental education program, and information on area birds and birding is always available here.

Texas State Aquarium
2710 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas 78463
(361) 881-1200 or (800) 477-GULF

Follow the signs from the Aquarium to US 181 north and stay on the frontage road until you reach the the wetlands adjacent to the south end of the Nueces Bay Causeway. You’ll have access to both Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays. Peregrine Falcons, Brown Pelicans, Snowy and Piping plovers and all of the bay ducks can be seen here. Shorebirds are best viewed from the south frontage road.

073.gif CTC 073 Indian Point / Sunset Lake

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue north on TX 35 / US 181 toward Portland, and exit at Old Portland Road. Indian Point is located to your immediate right on Corpus Christi Bay as you exit (follow the signs). With two new boardwalks jutting into the surrounding marshes, Indian Point is an exceptional spot for observing waterbirds. Look for various shorebirds on the tidal flats and along the beach, and search the bay for gulls and terns. Old Portland Road continues toward Portland for another 2 miles, eventually coming to Sunset Lake (look for loons, grebes, and diving ducks here). However, the road is rutted and rough, so drive with caution. The salt cedars along Old Portland Road are worth checking in migration for landbirds.

074.gif CTC 074 Fred Jones Nature Sanctuary

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migration

Site open for day use only.

Return to TX 35 / US 181 and continue north to Portland. Exit at Moore Avenue (FM 893), and turn left (west). Travel on FM 893 west approximately 6 miles until reaching CR 69E. Turn left on CR 69E, and continue for approximately 0.5 mile until reaching the Fred Jones Nature Sanctuary (on your left). Park along CR 69E, and enter. This sanctuary, owned and managed by the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, is well worth the sidetrip during migration. Situated on the upper reaches of Nueces Bay, and well vegetated with native brush (mesquite, blackbrush acacia, brasil, agarita, Texas olive), this tiny site is an oasis in the middle of miles and miles of barren agricultural fields. Landbirds crossing the bay are naturally drawn to this spot, and the selection of vireos and warblers here in spring may be sizable. Donations are requested.

075.gif CTC 075 Nueces River Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migration

Site open for day use only.

FM 893 continues west until reaching FM 1074. Turn right on FM 1074 (eventually north), and continue to the intersection with FM 631. Turn left (west) on FM 631, and continue to the intersection with US 77 in Odem. Turn left (south) on US 77, and return to I-37. Take I-37 east toward Corpus Christi, and exit at Nueces River Park. The riparian woodlands along the river here attract migrant landbirds in spring, and kingfishers (Belted) often perch on low-slung branches over the water.

076.gif CTC 076 Hilltop Community Center

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue east on I-37 and exit at Violet Road. Turn right (south) on Violet, and continue to the intersection with Leopard Street. Turn right (west) on Leopard, and drive a short distance to the Hilltop Community Center (on your left). The nature trail here traverses native brush habitat, so search for migrants as well as for residents (Groove-billed Ani, Pyrrhuloxia, Olive Sparrow). Walk along the creek and look for a variety of sparrows in winter (Swamp, Lincoln’s), and listen in late spring for the incessant “chick three beers” song of the White-eyed Vireo.

077.gif CTC 077 Pollywog Pond

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return east on Leopard Street to Violet Road, and turn left (north). Cross I-37 and continue to Up River Road. Turn left (west) on Up River Road, and travel a short distance (approximately 2 miles) to Pollywog Pond (marked by the sign on your right). Used by the water department as settlement ponds, this collection of lakes and pools provides habitat for a rich assortment of waterfowl (Black-bellied Whistling-Duck). Look for Least Grebe here, as well as Least Bitterns in the summer. The willows that line the ponds attract migrants (as well as White-winged Doves and Great Kiskadee), and Groove-billed Ani is often seen here in the low scrub. Tule Lake (off the 7200 block of Up River Rd.) is often worth checking for waterbirds as well.

078.gif CTC 078 Hazel Bazemore County Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migration

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on Up River Road to US 77. Continue west on Up River Road (which becomes FM 624 at US 77) to the sign marking the entrance to Hazel Bazemore County Park. Ask for a map and bird checklist as you enter the park. Hazel Bazemore County Park is renowned for its hawk migration in September and October. Tens of thousands (at times perhaps hundreds of thousands) of Broad-winged Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Mississippi Kites, and accipiters pass along the Nueces River and through the park each year, and birders from around the world travel here to witness the display. Hawks will migrate on the first cold fronts of the fall (arriving this far south in late September and early October), so watch the weather reports. The nature trail here is also worth checking for Olive Sparrow, Groove-billed Ani, and Long-billed Thrasher, and search the ponds for rails and waterfowl.


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