Houston - Upper Texas Coast Counts
December 14, 2024 - January 5, 2025
Compilers, please send your dates and updates to Susan Billetdeaux, email@example.com.
Houston Audubon staff participate in the Bolivar Peninsula, Buffalo Bayou, Galveston, Galveston West End, and Trinity River counts. All these counts include Houston Audubon sanctuaries in their count circles. Details on how to participate are in the count descriptions.
- Armand Bayou (TXAY)
- Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR (TXAP)
- Beech Creek (TXBE)
- Bolivar Peninsula (TXBP)
- Brazoria-Columbia Bottomlands (TXBR)
- Brazos Bend (TXBZ)
- Buffalo Bayou [West Houston] (TXBF)
- Central Houston (TXHC)
- Cypress Creek - Katy Prairie (TXCY)
- Fort Bend (TXFT)
- Freeport (TXFR)
- Galveston (TXGA)
- Galveston West End (TXWG)
- Houston [Baytown] (TXHO)
- Huntsville [Walker Co.] (TXHU)
- Johnson Bayou - SW Louisiana (LAJB)
- Lake Houston-Humble (TXHH)
- Matagorda County (TXMM)
- Old River (TXOR)
- Orange County (TXOC)
- San Jacinto Wilderness (TXSJ)
- San Bernard NWR (TXSB)
- Spring Creek (TXSC)
- Trinity River (TXTN)
- Turkey Creek (TXTC)
- Wharton Peach Creek (TXWH)
Armand Bayou (TXAY)
Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and lots of interesting birds are about. As you know, this event is an all day, dawn til dusk bird count, earlier for those looking to find owls. Our count circle, in my opinion, is one of the premiere CBC areas in the greater Houston and surrounding region which includes multiple habitat types from woodland and prairies to coastal shores, ponds, and marshes. Our circle spans from Pasadena to Dickinson and Laporte to Webster; and despite all the development, you can still find some amazing habitats within this area. We also need LOTS of feeder watchers, so if you don’t want to go out in the field, birding from your backyard, if you’re within our circle, is just as important. Every year, we typically gain a handful of species from backyard feeder watchers that our field volunteers don’t get, especially hummingbirds.
If you would like to sign up, please use this link: https://forms.gle/gh6T3aMws5hGG8kQA
All volunteers looking to participate must go through this process as it helps to better manage and organize the event. I will also have WhatsApp starting soon for communication the day of.
Questions or thoughts - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again, Andrew Hamlett & Martha Hood, Co-Compilers for the Armand Bayou Christmas Bird Count
Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR (TXAP)
This CBC provides a tremendous opportunity to bird the Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR as well as private property in Eagle Lake in Colorado County, Texas. The Attwater CBC is open to all birders and is one of the highest inland CBCs for diversity in the country. If you are interested in participating, please contact Sumita Prasad at email@example.com.
Beech Creek (TXBE)
This count takes place in Tyler and Jasper Counties and includes Steinhagen Lake, the Beech Creek unit of Big Thicket National Preserve and Martin Dies State Park. Meet at the Corps of Engineers Picnic Area on FM92 immediately north of the intersection with FM1746 in Town Bluff at 6:30 AM. Sponsored by the Big Thicket National Preserve. Compiler: Nancy Angell, firstname.lastname@example.org. Co-compiler: Sheila Hebert, email@example.com.
Bolivar Peninsula (TXBP)
This count circle in Chambers County includes High Island and Anahuac NWR. Newcomers are welcome to join! Compilers this year are Steve Mayes and David Sarkozi. If you are interested in participating, please contact Steve Mayes at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Houston Audubon coastal team will participate in this count which includes the High Island sanctuaries. Those interested in counting with us are encouraged to contact the respective count compilers, and/or Wyatt Egelhoff (email@example.com). Observers of all skill levels are welcome.
Brazoria-Columbia Bottomlands (TXBR)
The Brazoria - Columbia CBC includes habitats for its namesake, the Brazoria- Columbia bottomland hardwoods. It includes several USFW tracts, private ranch properties, large reservoirs, small ponds, county parks, and neighborhoods. Sites include Bar-X Ranch, Columbia Lakes, Hudson Woods USFW tract, Eagle Nest Lake USFW tract, Brazoria Reservoir, Harris Reservoir, Nash Prairie, Brazos Woods Preserve, amongst others, all inside Brazoria County. Count-down dinner will be held at area restaurant tba. Please contact the Compiler if you would like to participate in the count. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. This count is traditionally held on the last Saturday of the count. Compiler: Martin Hagne, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brazos Bend (TXBZ)
We hope you'll consider joining us for a day of good company, good food, and good birding! People of all skill levels are welcome! Whether you're a regular or someone interested in joining us for the first time this year, we have a team for everyone! From leisurely walks in Brazos Bend Park to rough and tumble "backcountry" roving in species-dense areas, we've got it all. Come for the birding, stay for the thrills of the coveted Big Bird Award at our infamous count dinner.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Space on the most popular teams goes fast, so please register soon at this link:
I am happy to answer any questions you may have about what to expect, our count in general, or other topics of interest.
LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES: We have opportunities for leadership positions this year, so if you're potentially interested in stepping in to fill a role or take on a new property, let me know!
-- Bruce Bodson, Compiler. email@example.com (832-882-1657)
Buffalo Bayou [West Houston] (TXBF)
This is one of the few CBCs that is set almost entirely in an urban environment. The count circle does contain a few areas of undeveloped land that usually hold a few surprises since they are surrounded by development. The count circle is centered at the Houston Audubon's Edith L. Moore Sanctuary. It extends from Memorial Park on the east to beyond Hwy 6 on the west; from the Southwest Freeway at West Belt on the south to FM 529 near Jersey Village on the north. This area includes sizable chunks of excellent habitat: Houston Arboretum, Art Storey Park, Addicks & Barker Reservoirs, Bear Creek Park and Buffalo Bayou. It is possible to see up to 15 species of sparrows on this count, including the elusive Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows. Other "Special Birds" seen over the past several years have been: Hooded Merganser, American Bittern, Solitary Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Common Ground-Dove, Black Phoebe, Couch's Kingbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Towhee, Eastern Towhee, Rusty Blackbird, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. We would like you to join in the fun and help us eclipse the high count of 132 species. There are two ways to participate: (1) Be a Field Observer - Join one of the teams in the field. (2) Be a Feeder/Yard Watcher - Because so much of the Buffalo Bayou CBC area is residential, Feeder Watchers (those who stay at home and observe their feeder, yard and/or neighborhood) are extremely important to the count and greatly increase the efficiency of the count by observing species that otherwise would not be seen, such as hummingbirds. Please contact the new compiler Berri Moffett at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can participate or have any questions.
We would love your help in one of our count areas around the city. With your team you visit all kinds of habitats and birding spots around Central Houston, counting every individual bird you see. It might sound hard at first but once you get started it’s quite addictive! At the end of the day we come together, often at a local restaurant, to tally the birds for the whole circle, share stories from the field, and see what unique species were found during the day. All levels of birders are welcome to join, and all you need to bring is a pair of binoculars, weather-appropriate clothes, and a lunch. The count goes on in ALL weather, so be prepared. If you are a new birder or new to the CBC, please let us know so we can pair you with a group that is more experienced. Please ask about feeder counts and accessible opportunities if those are better for you!
All skill levels are welcome. We will have experienced birders leading the groups. The compiler is Berri Moffett. Please email Berri at email@example.com if you are interested in participating and your top two area choices (see map by clicking on the name of the CBC). Once you have been assigned to an area, the area leader will contact you with additional information on meeting location and time. We will be sending out follow-up emails as we get closer regarding countdown dinner location. This count is traditionally held on the first Monday of the CBC season.
Cypress Creek - Katy Prairie (TXCY)
If you have participated before, please contact your area leader directly. If you are new to the count or would like to switch areas, please contact an area leader of your choice or Megan Ahlgren (firstname.lastname@example.org). Otherwise, please be at John Paul Landing in the morning, and we will assign you to an area then. Beginners are welcome as are advanced birders and all skill levels in between. Everyone can participate and contribute. Anyone going with the North area or the KPC groups MUST sign a release or they cannot enter KPC property. It will save time if they bring a signed copy of the release form . We have maps, bird lists, and detail forms which we will send to area leaders. If you would like to have your personal copy of any of these documents just e-mail and ask. This count is traditionally held on New Year's Day.
Fort Bend (TXFT)
The Fort Bend CBC circle includes 8 of the top 13 birding hotspots in Fort Bend County – including Cullinan Park, Seabourne Creek Park and Riverpark Nature Trails. The predefined count circle is divided into sectors in Sugar Land, Richmond and Rosenberg and covers a wide range of habitats including hardwood forests, lakes, creeks, wetlands, Brazos River bottomland and coastal prairie that should yield a wide variety of species. Birders of all levels are invited to sign up for the Fort Bend CBC and join the Count organizers for a fun day of birding, friendly competition and a countdown dinner where the count tally and Best Birds of the Count will be revealed. To participate or for more information, please e-mail the count compiler: Bayard Nicklow email@example.com
The count is consistently one of the top ten in the country and finds the largest number of species of any on the Upper Texas Coast. Habitat includes seashore, barrier islands, prairie & woodland. The circle is divided into eight areas, each with its own leader & unique habitats. (Count Circle Map) For information & assignments, contact compiler Mike Austin (firstname.lastname@example.org). The count is traditionally held on the first Sunday of the count period.
Although this count has very limited land area and a particularly small amount of wooded areas, it still typically is a top 20 or near top twenty U.S. CBCs. This count undoubtedly produces the most species for the available land area (much of the count circle is water) of all U.S. CBCs. The compilers are Lalise and Greg Mason, email@example.com or call Greg at 713-725-4562. This count is traditionally held on the first Tuesday of the count period.
The Houston Audubon coastal team will participate in this count which includes the Bolivar Peninsula sanctuaries. Those interested in counting with us are encouraged to contact the respective count compilers, and/or Wyatt Egelhoff (firstname.lastname@example.org). Observers of all skill levels are welcome. This count is an excellent opportunity to study winter shorebirds as it includes Bolivar Flats.
Huntsville [Walker Co.] (TXHU)
The Dr. Jimmy Long Memorial Christmas Bird Count is a great time to introduce children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family members, and friends to the wonderful world of birds. Sponsored by Huntsville Audubon. Carol Reed is the coordinator. Anyone interested in participating can contact Carol at email@example.com or check our website/Facebook page.
Johnson Bayou - SW Louisiana (LAJB)
Johnson Bayou CBC has a rich history beginning in 1976 to present. Though the count is located just across the state line in Louisiana, most participants are from Texas and everyone is welcome. While much of the area is private, local landowners have allowed access to their property for this count, areas rarely birded and normally inaccessible to birders at other times offering a good chance for rarities. Areas covered include beach, coastal cheniers, marsh and grasslands. Johnson Bayou, Louisiana, is located 15 miles east of the bridge from Pleasure Island to Louisiana on Hwy. LA 82.
Please contact Gary Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 409-679-1616) for more information, assignments and directions.
Lake Houston-Humble (TXHH)
Birders of all skill levels are invited to join park naturalists and volunteers for a closer look at wildlife on a leisurely stroll at multiple Harris County parks throughout the day. Join us at any or all of the following locations at the listed starting time. Wear closed-toed shoes and bring a reusable water bottle and binoculars. Ages 10+. This count is for the Lake Houston-Humble Circle.
8 - 10 AM: Meet at the Nature Center at Jesse H. Jones Park at 20634 Kenswick Drive.
8 - 12 PM: Meet at the Senior Center at Alexander Deussen Park on 123030 Sonnier Street. After birding along Lake Houston, the group will continue on to Dwight Eisenhauer Park.
12 - 2 PM: Meet at the front entry gate to Sheldon Lake State Park on 14140 Garrett Road. After birding along the park trails, the group will continue on to the fishing piers on Sheldon Lake.
2 - 4 PM: Meet at the front entry gate to Edgewater Park on 202 Hamblen Road. This park is normally closed to the public, but special access is granted for the CBC.
Contact: Alicia Mein-Johnson, email@example.com
Matagorda County (TXMM)
Most of the count is on private land and participation in the CBC is the only way to gain access to some very productive wildlife lands. The diversity of the CBC is great and most sections have multiple exclusives. The CBC features extensive native grasslands, brushlands, floodplain forests, beaches and coastal marshes. We need skilled birders to scan for pelagics over the Gulf from land, skilled shorebirders to ride on boats to survey expansive mudflats and marshes of the delta of the Colorado River, and birders to survey narrow forest areas along the river for lingering neotrops. The count is always held on the first Monday of the CBC season. Contact compiler Brent Ortego, firstname.lastname@example.org or 361-827-4691 cell, for count assignments. Resources: Count circle map (static image), Interactive map (Google Earth required).
Old River (TXOR)
The count circle centers on Lake Charlotte in Chambers County and includes almost all of the Wallisville Lake Project, south to include northern portions of Trinity Bay, north into the southern parts of Liberty Co., east to include Hankamer and portions of Anahuac and west to include portions of Mont Belvieu, all less than one hour drive east of Houston. There are many habitats including Trinity Bay, Trinity River, lakes, bayous, pine forests, hardwood forest and grassy prairie. Much of the count area requires walking in wet conditions, so bring waterproof footwear. Scopes are recommended in many locations. Join our Facebook group for the most up-to-date information and a map of the count circle. Search for Old River Christmas Bird Count (TXOR)
How to Join the Count
1. Contact Paul Fagala at email@example.com. He will get you in touch with an area leader who needs help in his/her area, and the area leader will contact you to let you know when and where to meet.
2. If you live inside the count circle, stay at home and watch your feeders. E-mail your results to the count compiler or come to the count dinner.
Count Dinner: The count dinner will be at Tony’s BBQ and Steakhouse at 9545 N. Hwy. 146, Mont Belvieu, TX 77523. We will meet there between 5:30-6:00 PM.
Orange County (TXOC)
Habitat covers marsh, woodlands, and the Cow Bayou watershed. The compiler this year is Lynn Jackson. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to participate.
San Jacinto Wilderness (TXSJ)
Juxtaposed across three counties, this unique inland circle is situated where Big Thicket meets Coastal Prairie. A broad and complex ecotone, it's laced through and through with wild rivers and bottomlands, as well as extensive farms and ranches. On this count, kayakers course down the most scenic rivers in the region, while other bands of birders canvass a huge wilderness park, and large private ranches offer a birding and hiking adventure that can be the equal of anywhere in the entire Upper Texas Coast. Welcome to the San Jacinto Wilderness.
Plan for a full day of birding, beginning at 7am and ending with a countdown dinner around 6pm.
Rendezvous points: please contact David Henderson, using the contact information below.
Park and Ranch birding groups: contact David Henderson at email@example.com (compiler - cell: 281-827-3729)
Paddlers: contact Bruce Bodson at firstname.lastname@example.org (cell: (832) 882-1657)
San Bernard NWR (TXSB)
Come join us for the San Bernard NWR CBC. This unique count provides opportunities to bird areas of the refuge not normally open to the public. Also open for counters is the state's Nannie Stringfellow Wildlife Management Area. This count also claims some of the best hospitality around with the refuge staff participating in the count. This year marks the post-COVID return of the famous countdown dinner of seafood gumbo! Although this count still provides the small count atmosphere, it has plenty of big count diversity with 180 or more species most years. You can join us by contacting either of the co-compilers below or by showing up at the refuge headquarters on CR306 at 0630 hours on the morning of December 15th. Contact the co-compilers Ron Weeks (email@example.com or phone evenings 979-285-8824) and Jennifer Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone daytime 979-964-4011) to sign up.
Spring Creek (TXSC)
This count, sponsored by the Piney Woods Wildlife Society, covers a 15-mile diameter circle that is roughly centered in The Woodlands at I-45 and Rayford-Sawdust road. This includes most all of The Woodlands, the ExxonMobil campus in SpringWoods, much of Spring, part of Hooks airport, part of Klein, Mercer & Pundt parks, Jones State Forest, Spring Creek Greenway and a strip of land east of San Jacinto River. Feeder watchers are also encouraged to participate. Contact compiler Claire Moore at email@example.com for more information or to sign up.
Trinity River (TXTN)
Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie, and Gaylor Lake. Houston Audubon's Damuth Sanctuary is also in the count circle. Our meeting location is the Shell Fuel Stop station located at the intersection of Hwy 105 and FM 2518 at 7:00 AM. Some folks will bird the "bottoms" so be sure to bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots, and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Birdwatchers of all levels are welcome. If you have any questions you can contact Stuart Marcus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turkey Creek (TXTC)
This count in Hardin and Tyler Counties includes the Turkey Creek and Hickory Creek Savannah Units of the Big Thicket National Preserve. Meet at the Big Thicket Visitor Center on US69 at FM420, about 7 miles north of Kountze at 6:30 AM. Sponsored by the Big Thicket National Preserve. Compiler: Nancy Angell, email@example.com. Co-compiler: Sheila Hebert, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The heart of the Wharton Peach Creek CBC, established in 2020, is situated between the San Bernard River and Peach Creek and covers private ranch properties, Bates Allen Park, parts of lower Fort Bend County like Darst Road, and other remote spots across the circle. Birders of all levels are welcome to sign up for a fun day of birds and camaraderie, as we look to grow our count. Don’t forget your mud boots and sack lunch! For more information or to register, please contact count compiler Hannah Muegge email@example.com.