Hotspots Near You

264. Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, Beaumont, Texas

More than 250 species have been recorded in the wetlands at Cattail Marsh, a wastewater treatment facility.
By Evault Boswell | Published: 8/22/2017

A recent improvement to Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands is a 520-foot boardwalk with two covered viewing areas, making birdwatching and photography more comfortable. The wetlands provide habitat for a wide variety of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and plants. The marsh is home to more than 250 bird species; the constant source of water and the positioning between two major coastal flyways attracts them.

The marsh, a stop along the Big Thicket Loop of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, offers easy birding from the boardwalk. Or you can walk the 12 miles of gravel levee roads for a wider variety of birds: waterfowl, pelicans, Roseate Spoonbill, doves, ibises, and blackbirds.

Scanning the edge of the plant life just above the water line, your binoculars might catch something different, as I did. It took several seconds to find them again, but I finally focused on two eyeballs that stared at me. They belonged to an American Bittern, doing its best to look like just another weed, its bill sticking up in the air. In the evening, Brown Pelicans glided silently overhead in perfect formation, and the muffled hooting of a Great Horned Owl said it was time to call it a day. — Evault Boswell

Evault “Bosie” Boswell writes a column on birdwatching for the Greenville, Texas, Herald Banner and the Brazosport Facts. He also wrote about the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary in Quintana, Texas, Hotspot Near You No. 246.

264. Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, Beaumont, Texas

Directions

Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, part of Tyrrell Park, is part of the wastewater treatment system in Beaumont. From the city, travel west on I-10 and exit onto Walden Rd. Go south for 0.5 miles and continue as the street becomes Tyrrell Park Rd. Turn left into Tyrrell Park and follow Babe Zaharias Dr. to the parking lot for the marsh.

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
30°0’25.20″N 94°8’30.32″W

Habitat

Salt marshes, varied wetlands.

Terrain

Flat.

Birds

More than 250 species. Wood, Ruddy, and Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Greater White-fronted, Snow, and Ross’s Geese, Pied-billed and Least Grebes, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, Wood Stork, egrets, herons, night-herons, ibises, Common and Purple Gallinules, terns, gulls, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Least, Western, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Willet, Long- and Short-billed Dowitchers, Wilson’s Phalarope, Brown and American White Pelicans, American and Least Bitterns, King and Clapper Rails, Sora, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, Merlin, Fish and American Crows, Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, kinglets, swallows, American Pipit, Eastern Meadowlark, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Tufted Titmouse, Black-and-white, Hooded, Pine, and other warblers, Orchard Oriole, Vesper, Chipping, and Savannah Sparrows. Rare: Great Kiskadee, Olive-sided and Vermilion Flycatchers, Eastern Towhee.

When to go

Year-round. Best during spring migration with possibility of a fallout.

Amenities

A 520-foot boardwalk with two viewing platforms. Restrooms, picnic tables, and botanical garden in Tyrrell Park. Checklist and trail map on website.

Access

Wastewater treatment facility. Open year-round. No entry fee. Open daily 6-9.

Tips

Go during the week for smaller crowds.

For more info

Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands, (409) 842-0458

Sites nearby

Sea Rim State Park
About 41 miles south of Cattail Marsh, on the Gulf of Mexico. Gambusia Nature Trail boardwalk provides easy access into the marsh. Spoonbills, egrets, night-herons, Horned Lark, meadowlarks.

Big Thicket National Preserve
About 35 miles north of Beaumont off Hwy. 69/287. More than 108,000 acres of eastern hardwood forests, Gulf coastal plains, and Midwest prairies. At least 300 bird species.

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