Lick Creek Park
© Bert Frenz, 2001
The premier nature preserve of College Station is Lick Creek Park. Except for a parking lot, a few fences and some primitive trails, the 500-acre park is mostly untouched woods and bottomlands along trickling Lick Creek. The park is good birding year-round, but is especially known for its spring migrants and summer residents. Almost all of our migrating vireo and warbler species (34 are on the list) have passed through the park and Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Vireo, Kentucky Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting and many others stay to breed. Barred Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers are present year-round, one of seven species of woodpeckers at the park. Hairy Woodpeckers have been reported regularly, but are hard to locate. Notoriously difficult birds to find, Henslow's Sparrows are known to winter in the park. Your best bet is the grassy fields near the park entrance and to the left of the main trail. Lick Creek Park is also a botanist's delight and is used by many Texas A&M University professors and students for research studies. To learn more about identifying the plant life check out the Navasota Flora - TAMU Herbarium website.
To reach the park, drive to the south of College Station along Texas Highway 6. At the water tower, exit on Greens Prairie Road, turn east under the overpass and continue on Greens Prairie until it dead ends after 1.6 miles. Turn right on Rock Prairie Road and, in spring, listen for Painted Buntings along the gravel road. Continue for another 1.6 miles until the entrance and parking lot to Lick Creek Park appears on your right. There are several unmarked trails in the park and many places to explore, but the park is large enough to get lost. The main path starts as a wide dirt road directly from the parking lot. Eventually you will reach an area that was cleared for a sewer line. Hiking up and down this cleared area will give many opportunities to find birds at the wooded edge. The main trail continues perpendicular to the cleared area and to its right is the sedge meadow, a fascinating habitat that attracts flycatchers, vireos and warblers. You can continue on the path past the first creek. The path narrows and is often muddy but eventually leads to another creek spanned by a dilapidated bridge. The adventuresome may wish to risk their lives crossing the bridge, but the path beyond the bridge is hard to follow and without a guide, one can easily get lost. Eventually it reaches Pebble Creek golf course.
Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Snow Goose, Ross's Goose, Mississippi Kite, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Ring-necked Pheasant (escapee), Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Sedge Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Golden-winged Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Spotted Towhee, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Purple Finch, and American Goldfinch. (128 species)