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Birding North-East Bexar County: The Back Roads

By Richard C. Sims

Originally published in Volume 46, Number 10 (October 2000)

Shortly after I became a bird watcher I discovered SAAS through my friendship with James Middleton. SAAS provided me a wealth of birding opportunities with its weekend trips to such "exotic" places as Mitchell Lake, Palmetto State Park, Cartwright Ranch, Pullen Ranch, and scores of others. Each trip was rife with birding pleasures as I came to know the birds, made friends with many of you, and increased my bird lists.

One Saturday, while returning from a trip to Palmetto State Park, traffic from an accident on IH 10 caused me to detour onto back roads. I was amazed. These back roads were rich with bird life that could be enjoyed by merely driving slowly. Since then I have regularly birded the back roads of North-East Bexar County with great results, much excitement, and many pleasures. Some of the roads I bird are: Ware-Seguin Road, Pheil Road, Graytown Road, Boenig Drive, Scenic Lake Drive, Schuwirth Road, and Macaway Road.

WARE-SEGUIN ROAD is reached from Hwy 1604 about a mile east of Boysville. Birds I have encountered here include Least and Pied-billed Grebes, Great Egret, Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Hawks (Sharp-shinned, Broad-winged, Swainson's, Red-tailed and Harlan's), Caracara, Kestrel, Upland Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Roadrunner, Couch's Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, sparrows (Field, Vesper, Lark, Savannah, Grasshopper, Lincoln's, and White-crowned), Eastern Meadowlark, Bronzed Cowbird, and Purple Finch. We recently found a Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Bobolink on this road.

PHEIL ROAD runs between Ware-Seguin Road and IH 10. Bullock's Oriole, Roadrunner, Peregrine Falcon, several hawks, and a great number of winter sparrows have been seen on this road.

GRAYTOWN ROAD, which runs between IH 10 and Hwy 1604, is especially good for Scissor-tail Flycatchers, herons, egrets, and other water birds when there is water in the ponds. Kingbirds (Eastern, Western, Couch's), and Eastern and Say's Phoebes are often found.

BOENIG DRIVE. This short road runs between Graytown Road and Scenic Lake Drive with an extension to Ware-Seguin Road. Black Vultures, Kestrel, wrens and Painted Bunting can be found here. I once guided a lady from Maine down this road where she logged five lifers.

THE OTHER ROADS that I frequent offer many of the same possibilities at any time. Green Road once yielded Mountain Plovers.

Because of time, distance, and the price of gasoline, we can't always visit such famous back roads as the Gore Store Road in South-East, Yacht Basin Road near High Island, or County Road 202 near Uvalde, but we can always utilize the roads in our own backyards. I urge you to come drive the roads I have listed, or even better, discover roads of your own. Perhaps I'll see you there.


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