More than 260 bird species have been recorded — from common birds like Wood Duck and Great Blue Heron — to unusual species for north Texas. In recent years, for example, Barn Owls and Bald Eagles have nested on the property for the first time.
In spring, you may spot thousands of Franklin’s Gulls, hundreds of Cliff or Barn Swallows, or several dozen Dickcissels. Summer breeders include Summer Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, and Painted Bunting. In winter, watch for a wide variety of raptors, waterbirds, and many types of sparrows.
As for the trails, my favorite is the Cottonwood Trail, which is about 1.3 miles long. It will take you through wooded areas and prairie. On your hike, check out the Minor-Porter log house, an example of craftsmanship from the mid- to late 1800s. Tours are available.
At a Glance
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Prairie, forests, wetlands.
More than 6 miles of meandering trails.
Spring: Vultures, herons, hawks, Northern Shoveler, Spotted Sandpiper, yellowlegs, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, American Pipit, Pine Warbler, Spotted Towhee, American Redstart, Lazuli Bunting, Baltimore Oriole. Summer: Wood Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Osprey (rare), Great Horned Owl, Bank Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, Sprague’s Pipit (accidental), Summer Tanager, Dickcissel. Fall: American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, egrets, herons, Northern Harrier, Sandhill Crane, Stilt and Solitary Sandpipers, Forster’s Tern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Western Kingbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Tree Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Mockingbird, Sprague’s Pipit (accidental), Pine Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Spotted Towhee. Winter: Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Bobwhite (rare), Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Least Sandpiper, Forster’s Tern, Loggerhead Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Field Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird (rare).
When to go
Portable toilets near pavilion parking lot. Bird walks, 7:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month (except July and August).
Public nature reserve. Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Summer hours: 7-7, winter hours: 7-5. Fee: $5 per vehicle, paid at the gate, cash only, no credit cards accepted.
Wear a hat, long pants, long sleeves, and closed-top trail/hiking boots. Bring a water bottle.
For more info
Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, (972) 219-3550.
Trinity River Audubon Sanctuary, Hotspot Near You No. 274
Southeast of downtown Dallas. Waterbirds, gulls, hummingbirds, Painted Bunting, and more.
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, Hotspot Near You No. 283
18 miles north of LLELA. More than 2,900 acres of hardwood forest, prairie, and wetlands. Diverse flora and fauna.