Lake Somerville

Bert Frenz, 2001

This page provides additional directions and supplements a Spring 2001 article appearing in Texas Birds magazine.  The following directions circle the lake, clockwise, starting and ending at the dam. 

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Lake Somerville Dam.
From the City of Somerville along Texas Hwy. 36, follow the sign at Thornberry Rd. to the dam, a distance of 3 miles. To your right is Welch Park and to the left is the spillway.

Welch Park
Operated by the City of Somerville (entrance fee $3/car or $1 for walk-in).

Lake Somerville Spillway
From Welch Park, drive the two miles atop the earthen dam and stop at the fishermen's parking lot at the spillway.

Overlook Park and Overlook Marina
From the fishermen's parking lot, 1.4 miles takes you to the entrance to Overlook Park and Overlook Marina. The former is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and they lease the latter to a private company.

Yegua Creek Park
Continuing another three miles on F.M. 1948, the next stop is Yegua Creek Park.  Pick up a Visitor's Pass at your first park and hang it from your rearview mirror for easy access to the other parks.

Rocky Creek
From Yegua Creek Park continue west on F.M. 1948 for another 1.7 miles and pull off beside the road to a small gravel parking lot.

Rocky Creek Park
Just 3/4-mile further, Rocky Creek Park is a long peninsula jutting into the lake and a popular camping and birding spot.

McCain Creek Park
Between Rocky Creek Park and Nails Creek Park, a series of gravel country roads meanders through lowlands that can be interesting birding, but sometimes muddy. A safer route is F.M. 1948 to F.M. 594, continuing until you reach a 3-way fork in the road, 6.8 miles after leaving Rocky Creek Park. The center choice leads to McCain Creek Park, an undeveloped park accessible by gravel roads two miles from the fork. This remote area is rarely birded, but offers interesting potential.

Lake Somerville State Park - Nails Creek Unit
From the 3-way fork, take the hard-left choice (Eberhardt Road) to F.M. 2780, then Flag Pond Road (Lee County 125). Turn right on F.M. 180, reaching the Nails Creek Unit of Lake Somerville State Park, six miles from the 3-way fork. The Lake Somerville Trailway, a 21.6-mile horse trail that can also be navigated by foot or mountain bike, connects the two units of the state park: Nails Creek in Lee County and Birch Creek in Burleson County. Request a map at the state park entrance.
Map of Nails Creek Unit of Lake Somerville State Park

Flag Pond & Somerville WMA
From the Nails Creek end of the Lake Somerville Trailway, Flag Pond is reached after a 2.4-mile hike along the trail. Driving directions are also available.

Lake Somerville State Park - Birch Creek Unit
From our last stop at the south side of Somerville WMA, backtrack north on Burleson County 132. Continue 6.2 miles to Koehler's Korner at F.M. 60. (The direct route to this point from Caldwell is Texas Hwy. 21 to F.M. 60 and continuing through Deanville). Continue on F.M. 60 another 3 miles until Park Road 57. The state park is 4.3 miles further on the park road.
Map of Birch Creek Unit of Lake Somerville State Park

Big Creek Park and Marina
From F.M. 60 and Park Road 57, continue east along F.M. 60 for 3.6 miles. Then enter the area on Park Road 4, traveling 3.5 miles to the gate. The Corps of Engineers leases the park and marina to a private company, but the $4/day entrance fee is usually waived for birders. Big Creek Park is not often birded and seems to lack the advantages of the other parks, although it offers another good viewpoint of Lake Somerville.

Completing the circle
F.M. 60 continues northeast from Big Creek toward Lyons.  At Lyons, continue east on Texas Hwy. 36 to Somerville and return to the dam. If you took the shortest route around the lake and bypassed all of the birding spots, your odometer would read about 50 miles. A wiser use of birding time would make a 1-day trip of the eastern areas (Welch, Overlook, Yegua Creek, Rocky Creek), another day trip of the western areas (Nails Creek, Flag Pond, Lake Somerville Trailway) and a third day of far west and north (Somerville WMA, Birch Creek, Big Creek).

Species List

Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Anhinga, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Greater White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Crested Caracara, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Northern Bobwhite, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Snowy Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Willet, Spotted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, Laughing Gull, Franklin's Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Thayer's Gull, Caspian Tern, Royal Tern, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Least Tern, Black Tern, Black Skimmer, Rock Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Red-crowned Parrot (escapee), Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Barred Owl, Short-eared Owl, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Prothonotary Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Lapland Longspur, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow. (232 species).

Report your sightings -- please report you sightings to Bert Frenz for inclusion in his RBA and his TOS - Region VI quarterly report.

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This page was last updated December 27, 2004.