|High Island Texas is on a tall salt dome on Bolivar Peninsula at the extreme eastern end of Galveston County. Its thirty-eight-foot rise above sea level makes High Island the highest point on the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, touism drives the High Island economy with four bird sanctuaries as well as a nearby fishing pier.
TheHouston Audubon has 4 sanctuaries at High Island. Boy Scout Woods is the headquarters, which is staffed by volunteers during peak spring migration season from mid-March to mid-May. Smith Oaks is the largest sanctuary and home to the Rookery.
Boy Scout Woods Bird Sanctuary
A combination of hackberry/oak motte, coastal prairie and wetlands one mile from the Gulf of Mexico on High Island. Open to the public year round, the Boy Scout Woods Sanctuary in High Island has extensive boardwalks that make birding possible for wheelchair-bound birders. Volunteers host the Boy Scout Woods Sanctuary daily from mid-March to mid-May each spring.
The new covered picnic shelter at Boy Scout Woods was finished just in time for spring migration in 2007. This has already become a favorite spot to watch the bird activity around Bessie's Pond. Funds for the picnic shelter were donated by Larry Wright in memory of his wife Shirley, who enjoyed birding in Boy Scout Woods.
Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary
143 acres on High Island which contain oak mottes with live oaks over 100 year old, ponds, wetlands and coastal prairie. The Rookery in the middle of Clay Bottom Pond has become a favored roosting and nesting place for thousands of waterbirds. Open to the public sunrise to sunset year round.
With the help of many volunteers, Don Verser donated time and materials to build a new pond and drip at the old homestead area of Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary in 2007. The first several months of the project included privet and ligustrum clearing, followed by installation of new shrubs and understory trees. The new water feature has already started to attract birds to this historically significant part of High Island.
The Rookery at Smith Oaks
The Rookery in Claybottom Pond in Smith Oaks was a big surprise. We didn't have the foggiest idea that it would happen when Claybottom Pond was included in the land Amoco generously donated to Houston Audubon in 1994. Claybottom is kind of a funky pond that was started in 1936 when dirt was needed for the railroad bridge over the newly dug Intercoastal Waterway. The pond was immediately used to enhance the community's water supply. It was enlarged to its present size in 1967 to supply water for the sulfur extraction facility northeast of the pond and to supply additional water to the High Island community. There is a large platform on the northeast side of the pond that once supported the big pumps that were needed to pump water out of the pond. To insure a there was always an adequate supply of water, water was pumped into the pond from the Neches River. If you go looking, you can still find the pipes in the levy on the northwest end of the pond. The island in the middle of the pond was the edge of the first pond, we don't know why it was left but it turned out to be a good deed for the birds.
9.5 acres of woods and wetlands in High Island. Purchased by Houston Audubon with funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The sanctuary was named in honor of Ted Eubanks, past president of the Houston Audubon Society, who was instrumental in starting Houston Audubon's High Island sanctuary system. Open to the public sunrise to sunset year round.
S.E. Gast Red Bay Sanctuary
8.8 acres on High Island of woods and former pasture which are being turned into woods. Donated to Houston Audubon by Amoco Production Company. It is named in honor of Steve Gast, who led the High Island Initiative which resulted in Amoco's donation of property to Houston Audubon. Open to the public sunrise to sunset year round.
High Island, Texas, has been known for decades as one of the premier spots in the world to observe bird migration. Every spring millions of birds journey north from the American tropics to the forests of eastern North America. Many fly over the Gulf of Mexico, and if they encounter north wind or rain, may put down by the thousands in the isolated groves of live oaks at High Island. Surrounded by hundreds of square miles of coastal marsh and prairie, these tiny woodlands offer much needed food and shelter to the exhausted migrants. A number of these groves have been preserved and are open to birders.
Every day at High Island is an exciting one, especially in April when migration reaches its crescendo. If weather conditions are right, you may see ten Scarlet Tanagers in one mulberry tree, 50 Indigo Buntings feeding on the ground, or several species of warblers, thrushes and vireos bathing in one small pond. Join us for some of the world's most exciting birding.
A post office was established in 1897 and is now at 2008 S 5th St High Island, TX 77623
High Island has a Population of 500 and is at Hwy 87 and Hwy 124 on the Bolivar Peninsula, 21 miles S of Winnie, 47 miles S of Beaumont, 19 miles NE of Crystal Beach and 26 miles NE of Port Bolivar
In 1845 Anson Jones referred to the dome as the High Islands. Mineral springs on the so-called island attracted Indians, who called the area Doe Island. Jean Laffite is said to have occupied the area, and Charles Cronea, his cabin boy, is said to have built a home on High Island in 1876. Laffite is supposed by some to have buried treasure at High Island, but no discovery has ever been reported.
The first Anglo settler was Martin Dunman, who received a league of land for his part in the Texas Revolution and moved to High Island in 1845.
During hurricanes and floods, residents from miles away on the Bolivar Peninsula and coastal lowlands rush to High Island - often the only point above water - for protection.
Road through High Island
Lush High Island Landscape
High Island ISD
service students from
High Island, Gilchrist and Caplen
|ATV- ROV's frequently asked Questions by Galveston Sherriffs Dept.|
Frequently Asked Questions – ATV/ROV’s
|Specks on a Fly- “UBETCHA” by Ed Snyders|
Rolling out a cast to the grassy edge of the salt-marsh settled my streamer right on top of a swirl left by a feeding trout, when, after a few quick line jerks, the reaction for the action "imploded" on it bowing the fly rod to the fight of speckled silver.
|The Pelicanidae - Awkward Yet Graceful Pelicans by Ed Snyders|
American White Pelican - (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) - Awkward but amusing to watch when waddling about on land, but surprisingly graceful to observe when in flight or water-born, the white pelican, as clumsy as it can be is as majestic as it is. The White Pelican are migratory birds, spending their summers northward and wintering southward, are rather large feathered creatures that journey to the Bolivar area around mid October.
|Trying their luck for flounder, fishin’ brothers, Greg and Glenn Mayer, of Port Neches TX, along with friend Rick Bauchman, of Gilchrist, were fishing east bay waters when they suddenly heard yells for help!|
|Small Business Tools for promotion|
|I’m sure you are all aware of the national program to encourage everyone to shop local on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving). This program was begun by American Express and was wildly successful in its first year. This year figures to be even more so. The Small Business Saturday Facebook page contains many tools and aids for local small business owners to assist them in promoting their business|