Trail Length: ~.5 mi.
-Only takes 20 minutes to check
-Throughout the year this hotspot can produce surprises like uncommon shorebirds, can be great for county listers
Lake Kyle is a public park managed by the City of Kyle that features a small lake and spacious open grassy areas that are mowed once or twice a month. A sidewalk runs from the parking lot all the way to the water edge where a fishing pier exists.
The one consistent thing about Lake Kyle is that it’s never consistent. The exact list of birds you’ll see is always a guessing game. Birding here is a gamble and while sometimes there’s little to see, other times you hit a home run with a species difficult to find elsewhere in the County. The good news is it’s quick and easy to check so it’s usually worth a detour.
As you make the quarter mile walk to the water, scan the open grassy areas for meadowlarks, sparrows, Killdeer, and Swallows. Spaces with the taller vegetation farther out can yield other grassland birds and Northern Harriers in the winter.
The lake always has at least a few herons or egrets, as well as ducks in the cooler months. Scan the edges for Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, and Wilson’s Snipe.
Always be sure to check the back arm of the lake, which can be observed from this point. There’s almost always something in or along the water.
During spring migration the open grassy areas are good to check for grasspipers such as Upland Sandpipers and American Golden-Plovers, especially when late season northern fronts blow through.
Walking all the way around the lake is usually more work than it’s worth, nearly all birds can be observed from the easily accessible close shore of the lake. Keeping your walking path simple is usually the best plan here.
Other Important Info
This is a popular spot for local fishermen who always seem to spread themselves out around the lake which disturbs the birds. For the best birding experience arrive early to beat the fishermen and see the birds before they’re flushed and scared off.
Lake Kyle supposedly opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, although really it’s whenever the first and last city employees unlock and lock the gate to the parking lot. The office opens at 7:30am on weekdays so you’re guaranteed to be able to enter at that time. The office is closed on weekends but the park is still open.