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Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary - BirdForum Opus

Photo by HelenB
The entrance to Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, showing the observation tower, March 2009

United States, Texas


This is a small bird sanctuary, managed by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, on the Upper Texas Coast, close to the towns of Freeport and Lake Jackson. It is part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, site no. UTC 121. In the Spring and Fall it attracts neotropical migrants. There is easy access to beach front and jetties for additional birding from here.

  • Throughout April the Quintana Spring Fling will be held daily. There will be knowledgeable volunteers and staff on hand to answer your bird questions, keep a daily list, and sell water, snacks, and field guides.
Photo by HelenB
Sign for the bird sanctuary, June 2010


Notable Species

Spring migrants, such as warblers, vireos, buntings, thrushes and hummingbirds often rest and recuperate for a few days here after crossing the Gulf of Mexico, in March and April.


Purple Sandpiper on the jetties in the winter of 2003. Pyrrhuloxia in March 2008. Kelp Gull in November 2008.

Photo by HelenB
The water drip feature at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, March 2009. The tree cover was extensively damaged by Hurrricane Ike in Sept. 2008


Birds you can see here include:

Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Fulvous Whistling Duck, Common Loon, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Least Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, Franklin's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Royal Tern, Forster's Tern, White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Barn Owl, Common Nighthawk, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse,House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Parula, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Summer Tanager, Nelson's Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Sparrow

Other Wildlife

Gray Squirrel, Skunk, Raccoon.

Photo by HelenB
Quintana Jetty looking back towards the beach, March 2009

Site Information

History and Use

Quintana, is an island located south of Freeport and Lake Jackson, between the mouth of the Old Brazos River and the New Brazos River. There has been a community here since 1532. The area is very industrial, with chemical plants and busy seaports. In 1994 the town of Quintana purchased a small tract of land, across from the Town Hall, with the help of a grant from Partners in Flight. It was an overgrown wood of invasive Tamarix, but has been improved by the addition of a nature trail, water features, benches and an observation tower, with the help of funds and volunteers from the local chemical companies. In September 2008, Hurricane Ike damaged the sanctuary and a lot of the tree cover was lost. Local volunteers worked hard to clean up the sanctuary in preparation for the busy spring migration season.

Areas of Interest

Nearby areas are:

  • Bryan Beach - 5.6 km (3.5 miles) of beach on Quintana Island, from highway: FM 1495 to the mouth of the Brazos River.
  • Quintana Jetty and Surfside Jetty protect the shipping channel access into the Port of Freeport and the Intracoastal Canal. A walk along the jetties (0.9 km / 0.57 mile long) will give you good viewing of various shorebirds, cormorants, ducks, loons, gulls, terns, pelicans, frigatebirds and other seabirds, depending on the time of year.
  • Quintana Beach County Park - a camping and RV (motorhome) park, with access to the beach. GTCBT site no: 122.
  • Xeriscape Park - just down the road from the sanctuary, has a nature trail, hummingbird garden, and a wooden bridge crossing an inlet from the Intracoastal Canal.
Photo by HelenB
The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail sign for site UTC-122: Quintana Beach County Park

Access and Facilities

The sanctuary is open daily from dawn to dusk, all year. There is no entrance fee, but donations towards upkeep are appreciated. During the month of April, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory will have staff at Quintana daily, during their "Spring Fling" event. A photo blind (hide) has been added to the features in the sanctuary.

Contact Details

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Tel: 979-480-0999

External Links