Spring Migration on Upper Texas Coast (April 28 - May 2, 2021)

By mid-April, spring migration is in full swing along the Texas coast and this itinerary places you in prime locations at prime time.  This five-day trip includes birding at legendary hotspots for an unrivaled spring migration spectacle. Join Sheridan Samano, Co-founder of Reefs to Rockies  for a spectacular spring birding trip to the Upper Texas Coast.



  • Lafitte’s Cove Sanctuary
  • High Island
  • Bolivar Flats Shorebird Preserve
  • Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
  • Chambers County Rice Fields & Pastures
  • W. G. Jones State Forest


Day 1 (Wed, April 28): Arrival/ Houston/ Galveston ~ Mid-morning arrival to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IAH) followed by afternoon birding at Galveston area hotspots including Lafitte’s Cove, Sportsman/ 8 Mile Rd., and Apffel Park Rd.

Accommodations: Homewood Suites by Hilton Galveston

Meals: Lunch

Day 2 (Thurs, April 29): Galveston/ Bolivar Flats/ Winnie ~ Our first full day in Texas begins with birding at Corps Woods, a heavily wooded area along a narrow waterway that’s a major feeding area for spring migrants and unusual birds year-round.  From there, we’ll continue to the Bolivar Peninsula, a short ferry ride away.  The Bolivar Flats are a unique area combining salt marsh, intertidal mudflats, beach and uplands, each habitat different from the other.  Every year during migration, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds converge here to feed on a nutrient-rich supply of food needed for their journey further north. We’ll scan the flocks for species like Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Brown Pelican, Red Knot, plovers, dowitchers, gulls, and more. This afternoon, we’ll continue to Winnie where we’ll spend the next three nights.

Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites – Winnie

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3 (Fri, April 30): Winnie/ High Island Sanctuaries ~ High Island is known around the world for the migration spectacle that occurs here each spring. Houston Audubon has four sanctuaries at High Island – Boy Scout Woods, Smith Oaks, Eubank Woods and S.E. Gast Red Bay. The oak woodland atop a hill surrounded by coastal prairie at Boy Scout Woods is the first patch of woods birds see after their 600-mile, 18-hour flight across the Gulf of Mexico. We’ll spend the entire day birding the area hoping for some rarities, and maybe even a fallout, amongst the groups of crowd pleasers like Painted Bunting, woodland warblers, Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireo, and Blue Grosbeak.

Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites – Winnie

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4 (Sat, May 1): Winnie/ Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge/ High Island ~ We’ll start our day at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge located on the eastern end of Galveston Bay. During spring, the sound of migrating songbirds is complimented by the bellow of alligators trying to attract a mate.  Year-round residents include Roseate Spoonbill, Great and Snowy Egret, White-faced Ibis, and Mottled Duck. Most new arrivals crossing the Gulf of Mexico arrive in the afternoon so there’s time to revisit High Island today, too.

Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites – Winnie

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 5 (Sun, May 2): Winnie/ Chambers County/ W.G. Jones State Forest/ Departure ~ As we make our way back to Houston, we’ll spend time scanning rice fields and pastures in Chambers County for waterfowl and shorebirds. We’ll then continue to W. G. Jones State Forest north of Houston, a woodland haven for wildlife. Spanning more than 1700 acres and boasting an impressive list of more than 250 bird species, this loblolly pine forest is home to numerous southern specialties like Brown-headed Nuthatch, Pine Warbler, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Northern Cardinal. This will be a wonderful change of scenery at the end of our trip. Afternoon return to Houston in time for our late afternoon flight home.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch


Price: $1375* per person based upon double occupancy.  Surcharge for private accommodations: $285

Price includes accommodations, full-time driver/ guide (Sheridan Samano from Reefs to Rockies), activities, entrance fees, and meals as listed in the itinerary.

Exclusions: airfare, personal expenses, dinners, optional gratuities, and activities not listed in the itinerary.

Group Size: Min 5 participants; Max 6 participants + Sheridan Samano