Soil Conservation Site 1

eBird Link

Trail Length: 1.75 mile loop

Highlights:

-Abundant Cattails provide marsh edge habitat
-Good habitat mix (open water, marsh, shrub, woodland, short grasses)

The Location

This is easily one of the best places to spend an hour or two birding in Hays County. It features a walking trail that navigates around two large ponds and takes up to an hour to complete the loop.

These ponds are never dry, even during drought, which makes for consistently good birding. For the larger pond a scope isn’t necessary but would be beneficial.

Birding Recommendations

During winter the smaller pond usually yields hundreds of American Coots with Pied-billed Grebes and some dabbling ducks, the larger pond often has plenty of diving ducks. Bufflehead are fairly consistent here.

Cattails are everywhere along the water edge, be looking for Marsh Wrens, Soras, and Common Yellowthroats. The upper end of the divide between ponds is an excellent place to check for rails.

The path separating the two ponds, a good spot for rails.

This gap in the cattails is a good vantage point of the back of the large pond. Check for Blue-winged and Green-winged teal in this back corner. In late February through mid-March check for Cinnamon Teal as well.

The woodland on the north side is good to check any time of year, but especially migration. Vireos, Orioles, Grosbeaks, and Flycatchers are all possibilities.

A pair of Great Horned Owls are sometimes seen in these trees, and can occasionally be heard hooting softly in the evenings or on overcast days.

Great Horned Owl

Other Important Info

-Park on Fairway against the curb, next to the dog park, and walk in from there.
-Stay off the golf course, don’t get in the way of golfers.
-Joggers and bicyclists are often present on the trail but usually in low numbers, and the birds don’t seem to mind.

The Plum Creek HOA has put up signs that say you must have a wristband proving you are a resident of Plum Creek neighborhood to access these ponds. This rule is rarely enforced and it’s unlikely anyone will bother you. But if an official does stop you, be polite and leave if asked to do so.