Great Texas Wildlife Trails

Katy Prairie Loop

Katy Prairie Loop map

Katy Prairie Loop mapHAS Edith L. Moore Bird SanctuaryJoseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan ParkBarker ReservoirBear Creek ParkLongenbaugh Waterfowl PondWarren LakeKPC Nelson Farm PreserveHarbor's Church RoadStephen F. Austin SP

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More information:

  • Brookshire/Pattison Chamber of Commerce
    (281) 275-8100
    http://dwebc.com/bpcoc/
  • Katy Chamber of Commerce
    (281) 391-2411
    Email: katycofc@fbtc.net, www.katy-tx.net
  • Sealy Chamber of Commerce
    (409) 885-3222
    Email: sealycoc@c-com.net, www.sealy-tx.com/

094.gif UTC 094 HAS Edith L. Moore Bird Sanctuary

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return west on Woodway to Loop 610, and go north on the Loop 610 service road to Memorial Drive. Proceed west on Memorial Drive to Wilchester, then south (only 0.1 mile) to the entrance to Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. This urban nature center contains the HAS offices, and information about their many sanctuaries (including High Island and Bolivar Flats) may be obtained here. Although situated within a suburban neighborhood, the 17.5 acres of mixed oaks and pines still attract an interesting selection of woodland birds.

Houston Audubon Society
440 Wilchester Blvd
Houston, TX, 77079-7329
email: gmueller@hern.org
(713) 932-1639

095.gif UTC 095 Joseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Continue west on Memorial Drive to the intersection with TX 6. The next two sites are south of this intersection. Go south on TX 6 to the Joseph S. and Lucie H. Cullinan Park (located on the west side of TX 6 before you reach US 90 in Sugarland). Enter the park, and proceed to the parking area near the boardwalk. The observation platform at the end of the boardwalk offers an excellent view of the surrounding lake.

096.gif UTC 096 Barker Reservoir

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return north on TX 6 to Briarforest, then park in the lot on the west side of TX 6 for Barker Reservoir. Barker Reservoir may be entered by walking along the road that crosses the levee. Wetlands within the reservoir are being restored, and a variety of waterbirds may be seen here (herons, egrets, waterfowl, shorebirds).

097.gif UTC 097 Bear Creek Park

Suggested Seasons to visit: All Seasons

Site open for day use only.

Return north on TX 6 to I-10. Continue north on TX 6 to Clay Road. Go east on Clay Road to Bear Creek Park. The mature pine/oak woodlands along Bear Creek are home to a number of eastern woodland birds at their western limit on the Trail. Pine, Swainson’s, Kentucky, and Hooded warblers breed here. Golden-crowned Kinglets (not always easy to see along the coast) usually winter, and Rusty Blackbirds are occasionally seen associated with flocks of Common Grackles.

098.gif UTC 098 Longenbaugh Waterfowl Pond

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter, Migrations

Site open for day use only.

Return to Clay Road, and proceed west on Clay Road to Katy-Hockley Cutoff. This area, west of Houston, once consisted of little but endless stretches of prairie. Virtually all of the native grassland has been converted to agricultural uses, particularly rice growing. Rice fields are artificial wetlands, and they provide important habitat for waterbirds. The Katy Prairie is one of the country’s premier wintering waterfowl regions. Bald Eagles follow the waterfowl to this area, and it is not unusual to see several while birding a winter’s day. The plowed rice fields, particularly those recently flooded, are irresistible to migrant shorebirds such as American Golden-Plover, Hudsonian Godwit, the two species of yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Look for both species of whistling duck in these same fields in summer.

To experience the Katy Prairie, you must wander the back roads. Remember that these lands are private. DO NOT TRESPASS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Go north on Katy-Hockley Cutoff to Longenbaugh Road and the Longenbaugh Waterfowl Pond. Although waterfowl hunting is common in this area, the Longenbaugh Waterfowl Pond has been established by hunting guides as a refuge for ducks and geese. The numbers of dabblers here in winter can be mind-boggling, and Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers are frequently seen scavenging for dead ducks and geese on the levees.

099.gif UTC 099 Warren Lake

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter

Site open for day use only.

Continue north on Katy-Hockley Cutoff to Jack Road. Go west on Jack Road to Warren Ranch Road, then north on Warren Ranch Road to Warren Lake. Warren Lake is a major goose roosting site. Sunrise and sunset are especially favorable viewing times (as the geese flocks may be seen arriving or departing). Look for the smaller Ross’ Goose scattered in flocks of Snows.

Katy Prairie Conservancy
3015 Richmond Avenue, Suite 230
Houston, Texas 77098-3114
www.katyprairie.org
info@katyprairie.org
(713) 523-6135

100.gif UTC 100 KPC Nelson Farm Preserve

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter

Site open for day use only.

Return on Katy-Hockley Cutoff to Sharp Road, then go west on Sharp Road to the Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC) Nelson Farm Preserve. The KPC recently acquired this property and is restoring the depressional wetlands that once honeycombed this region. The organization has constructed a blind along Sharp Road that allows birders to view one of these wetland enhancement projects. The isolated stand of pines adjacent to the Nelson Farm Preserve, known among local birders as Barn Owl Woods, may hold a number of interesting winter species (such as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Golden-crowned Kinglet). Great Horned and Barn owls reside in these pines.

Katy Prairie Conservancy
3015 Richmond Avenue, Suite 230
Houston, Texas 77098-3114
www.katyprairie.org
info@katyprairie.org
(713) 523-6135

101.gif UTC 101 Harper’s Church Road

Suggested Seasons to visit: Winter

Site open for day use only.

The next stretch of this loop will wind you through some of the most productive fields and pastures in this region. Continue west on Sharp Road (which becomes a gravel road in Waller County) to Pattison Road, then south on Pattison Road to Morrison Road. Proceed east on Morrison Road to FM 2855, then south on FM 2855 to FM 529. Finally, go west on FM 529 (be patient as FM 529 is briefly diverted to FM 362) to Stefka, then north on Stefka to Harper’s Church Road. Harper’s Church Road continues west to the Brazos River. The bottomland forests along this road offer some of the best woodland birding in this region. Look for eastern Bewick’s Wren and Harris’s Sparrows in the thickets, Eastern Bluebirds on the

power lines, and a variety of woodland birds (Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler) in the pecan forests near the river. The huisache thickets in this area (particularly those near Monaville) host Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, eastern Bewick’s Wren, and Palm Warbler in winter.

102.gif UTC 102 Stephen F. Austin SP

Suggested Seasons to visit: Migrations, Winter

Site open for day use only.

Return to FM 529 from Harper’s Church Road. Go west on FM 529 to FM 331, then south on FM 331 to Stephen F. Austin SP (look for the signs directing you to the park). The habitat in this state park is similar to that found along Harper’s Church Road (Brazos River bottomland forests).

Return to FM 331, and continue south to TX 36. Go south on TX 36 to I-10. From this intersection, either proceed back to Houston via I-10 or continue south on TX 36 to FM 3013 and join the central coastal section of the GTCBT at the Attwater Prairie-Chicken NWR (CTC 004).


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