Best birding spots in Pearland, Alvin offer a look at numerous … – Houston Chronicle


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A pair of snowy egrets peer down from a perch in Resoft Park. 
While not native to Texas, Egyptian geese can be found at Resoft Park in Alvin. 
A roseate spoonbill adds a splash of color to Resoft Park. 
Richard and Joyce Bennett head out in 2021 to do some bird watching and photography along the Shadow Creek Nature in Pearland.
A little blue heron chick begs for food in a tree at the John Hargrove Environmental Complex, 5800 Magnolia Road, Pearland.
While it may be the dead of winter, now is a prime time to check out bird-watching hotspots in  northern Brazoria County.
Not only does the area have multiple locations listed on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, which was composed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but it also has several other popular viewing locations.
The Brazoria County Parks Department boasts of bird-watching sites such as Camp Mohawk and Resoft Park, and the convention and visitors bureaus for the cities of Alvin and Pearland have put together bird guides pointing out the variety of species that can be seen in their cities and where to look for them.
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Part of the idea behind creating the Alvin guide, which is available at https://bityl.co/GOKv in a downloadable format, was to help residents get outside during the pandemic, said Athlyn Roberts, coordinator of the Alvin Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Resoft Park, 349 Brazoria County Route 281, Alvin. This Brazoria County day-use park (8 a.m. to dusk) includes a lake with piers and walking and jogging trails.
Camp Mohawk,  10 County Road 193, Alvin. This 55-acre Brazoria County park is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It features the Loblolly Loop Trail, which has a diversity of wildlife habitats.
Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, 1801 Kingsley, Pearland. A 42-acre park, the trail, which is open from dawn to dusk, provides habitat for birds and other wildlife and shows what Pearland would have looked like before development. For a map and other information, visit https://bityl.co/GONb.
John Hargrove Environmental Complex,  5800 Magnolia, Pearland. The complex has 87 acres that include a trail looping around two large ponds that feature islands where many bird species nest. 
Resoft Park, 349 Brazoria County Route 281, which includes a lake surrounding islands that are bird nesting areas, is a gem waiting to be found, Brazoria County Parks Director Bryan Frazier said.
“It is a can’t-miss location for birdwatchers,” he said. “It is probably the best-kept birding secret ever.
“Bolivar Peninsula is rightfully known for its number of bird species, but you can’t get very close a lot of the time. At Resoft Park, you are within 30 or 40 yards of this rookery bank and with just a modest zoom lens on your camera, you can get amazing photographs.”
Related: Pearland nature center doing its part to aid Texas horned lizard species
The variety of bird species at the park is impressive, Frazier said.
“It’s everything from roseate spoonbills to great ibises,” he said. “There are crested cormorants and cattle egrets.
“There are just birds all through those islands. It looks like an island full of Christmas trees, but the ornaments are birds.”
Camp Mohawk, 110 County Road 193, is another county park in Alvin that draws birders. More than 150 species of birds have been spotted there, including migratory songbirds, raptors and water birds. The park is also home to multiple species of butterflies and reptiles, including snakes and alligators.
Alvin’s historic train depot, 200 Depot Centre, is a trailhead for the city-maintained Mustang Bayou Trail.
“There’s an old bridge with a historical marker that goes over Mustang Bayou, and a lot of people will go there in the evening and sit and watch the birds,” Roberts said.
In Pearland, which has a birding brochure and checklist that can be downloaded at https://bityl.co/GOLC, the Pearland Convention and Visitors Bureau notes that one of the city’s newest parks, Shadow Creek Ranch Nature Trail, 1801 Kingsley, has quickly become known in birding circles.
Species found there year-round include herons, egrets and red-shouldered hawks. The winter months bring out blue-winged teals and yellow-rumped warblers.
The John Hargrove Environmental Complex, 5800 Magnolia, serves as the home for such favorites as roseate spoonbills and ibis. Bald eagles have been spotted there. A colony of bats makes its home under the Fite Road bridge, and when they come out at dusk, it is quite a show.
John DeLapp is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at texdelapp@gmail.com.
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