High Island Spring 2015
The kiosk at Boy Scout Woods opens on Friday, March 20 and closes on Sunday, May 3.
Birding Walks: We are delighted to have the Tropical Birding guides leading three bird walks a day, five days a week (every day except Tuesday and Wednesday) in High Island and surrounding hotspots. The walks begin on March 28 and end on April 27. The 8:30 AM walk is at Boy Scout Woods. The Noon shorebird walk meets at the gate for Boy Scout Woods and visits various sites for shorebirds and other coastal birds. The 4:00 walk starts at the Old Mexido Rd parking lot at Smith Oaks and searches for warblers in the woods followed by a quick circuit of the Rookery.
Open House: April 4
Houston Audubon invites you, your family, and friends to the High Island Open House. Our bird sanctuaries will be open and free to all visitors. We look forward to introducing you, your family, and friends to the world-famous bird sanctuaries of High Island with miles of trails and hundreds of nesting birds in the rookery. Come meet the birders, scientists, tourists, and volunteers from around the world that LOVE High Island!
Eagle Optics at High Island April 17-19
This is a great opportunity to try out telescopes and binoculars. If you decide to buy some new optics, a portion of your purchase price will go to Houston Audubon. Eagle Optics will be demonstrating and selling binoculars, tripods, spotting scopes, and digiscoping equipment from all the major manufacturers April 17-19. Interested in seeing a particular piece of equipment? Please contact Ben Lizdas at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if it can be made available.
April Bird-friendly Plant Sale: If you want to attract birds to your yard, plan to visit the annual High Island Bird-friendly Plant Sale at Boy Scout Woods. The sale start on April 1 and lasts until the plants are gone.
April: Barbecue Lunches: The Methodist Church in High Island will again be selling those delicious barbecue lunches at the church every Saturday in April from 11 AM until the food is gone.
Houston Audubon has 4 sanctuaries at High Island. Boy Scout Woods is the headquarters, which is staffed by volunteers during peak spring migration season from mid-March to mid-May. Smith Oaks is the largest sanctuary and home to the Rookery. The Rookery is fascinating to visit throughout the year. The High Island sanctuaries are fee sites. The fee helps defray the costs of maintenance, utilities and improvements for the entire Houston Audubon sanctuary system. A day pass costs $7, or for $25 a patch may be purchased which gives you an unlimited number of admissions to all High Island sanctuaries for one year. Children under 18 years old are free. High Island residents are also free (proof of residency such as a driver's license is needed).
The High Island Patch
High Island patches are highly prized and have become collectibles over the years among visiting birders as well as Houston Audubon members. The 2015 patch features a Yellow-rumped Warbler and can be purchased online as well as at our HQ in Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit
Our High Island sanctuaries are open daily throughout the year. Peak spring migration season is from mid-March to mid-May. Numbers are highest during a "fallout", which sometimes occurs with a fast-moving cold front. During fall migration, late September to mid-October usually produce the best results. More information on migration and fallouts.
RV and Camping Guidelines
As a courtesy to our visitors, Houston Audubon permits overnight RV parking and tent camping in Smith Oaks during the spring season.
We ask that the following guidelines be followed: (1) Please take as little room as possible in the parking lot. (2) Park RVs in Smith Oaks main parking lot. (3) RVs are welcome to stay a maximum of 3 nights. (4) Generator use is discouraged. (5) Overnight tent camping is permitted in the picnic area in Smith Oaks from March 15 to May 15. Tents must be taken down each morning. Tenters may stay a maximum of 3 nights. (6) No open fires are allowed.
Oil Field Roads
There are many miles of oil field roads around High Island that birders can drive. These roads go through coastal prairie and marshes and are good locations to look for marsh birds like rails and sparrows. Remember that these roads are on private property and that you should stay on the road at all times. You must be careful as you drive these roads as many are in poor condition and are subject to flooding. The oil fields are active, so there may be truck traffic. The trucks have the right of way.
No dogs or other domestic animals are allowed at any of the High Island Sanctuaries. The use of laser pointers is prohibited. No pishing or use of playback devices unless special permission is obtained. Drone photography is prohibited. Smoking is prohibited except in the parking lots.
Our Sanctuary Neighbors
Please be considerate of our neighbors! Birds can be found almost anywhere on High Island, including our neighbors' yards. Please do not enter their yards and be careful when you aim your binoculars, as some people get the idea that birders are looking in their windows and invading their privacy.
The High Island Community
Please support local businesses and civic organizations as much as possible. Communities are more willing to support local conservation efforts if they feel protected habitat helps the local economy. Accommodations, Food, and Other Useful Addresses: (PDF) compiled by Houston Audubon members.