This state park located on a huge reservoir east of Dallas is a good winter spot for Rusty Blackbird, Pine Warbler, loons, and other treats.
By Gail Morris | Published: 10/20/2014
For more than 50 years, Lake Tawakoni has been the water source for Dallas and nearby communities. It’s also a popular recreational site and great for birds. More than 340 species have been recorded on the lake and its 200 miles of shoreline; about 78 percent of the birds have been found at Lake Tawakoni State Park.
Near the entrance, I usually find Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Eastern Bluebird in spring and summer and migrant warblers and flycatchers in spring. The Spring Point Trail is good for Painted and Indigo Buntings and nesting White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos. In winter, I look for treats such as Rusty Blackbird and Pine Warbler, and I scope the boat ramp off the parking lot for ducks, loons, and grebes.
A few miles south of the park, Holiday Marina has produced Red-throated and Pacific Loons and Long-tailed Duck. When the water is low and mudflats are exposed, shorebirds are possible. About two miles east of the marina, the spillway (officially the Iron Bridge Dam) is a good spot for ducks and waders in winter. In summer, look in woodlands along the Sabine River south of the spillway for nesting warblers. — Gail Morris
Gail Morris is past president of the Fort Worth Audubon Society. She also wrote about the Village Creek Drying Beds, Fort Worth, Texas, Hotspot Near You No. 45; Cement Creek Reservoir, Fort Worth, Texas, No. 75; and Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Sherman, Texas, No. 86.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Grasslands, post-oak woodlands, sandy lakeshore, marshy areas, and expansive lake.
Uneven in places.
More than 265 species at the park. Year-round: Wood Duck, Great Egret, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black and Turkey Vultures, Red-shouldered Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Mockingbird. Spring: Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawks, warblers, tanagers, kingbirds, cuckoos, and flycatchers. Summer: Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, Painted and Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Dickcissel, Green and Little Blue Herons, Cattle Egret. Fall: Shorebirds. Winter: Pied-billed and Horned Grebes, Pacific and Common Loons, ducks, Crested Caracara, Rusty Blackbird, Fox, Le Conte’s, and Harris’s Sparrows, House, Winter, and Sedge Wrens, Pine Warbler, kinglets, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. Rarities: Long-tailed Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake, Little and Sabine’s Gulls.
When to go
Year-round; best in winter and spring.
Several hiking trails, parking areas, campsites, restrooms. Food and gas in Wills Point.
State park. Adults $5, children 12 and under free. Open daily 7-10.
To avoid crowds in spring and summer, arrive early. For recent sightings and rarities, check eBird for Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt counties and the Audubon Dallas and Fort Worth Audubon Society forums.
For more info
Crosses lake on Hwy. 276. Scan for waders, ducks, gulls, and shorebirds from parking lots at ends of bridge.
Rains County Beach
East side of lake off County Rd. 1480. The lake, beach, nearby pastures, and adjacent woodland owned by Audubon Dallas have attracted more than 300 bird species.