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West 11th Street Park in Houston: Wilderness in the City

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

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Urban Houston Park

West 11th Street Park is at 2400 W. 11th Street, Houston, Texas 77008. For those who know the area, the park is between Ella Boulevard and West T.C.Jester. It is slightly over 20-acres. This park is a virtual bit of wilderness inside of the I-610 Loop. The majority of it consists of native Texas forest trees as well as understory plants that attract wildlife.

Park Sign

Park Sign

Part of the wooded area in West 11th Street Park

Part of the wooded area in West 11th Street Park

Vines constricted the bark as the trees grew.

Vines constricted the bark as the trees grew.

Birdwatching

For those people living in the nearby Timbergrove and Lazybrook neighborhoods, it offers a great place to see the numerous species of birds that call this place home. Some are migratory, and others are permanent like the pair of great horned owls that reside here. A bird-sighting board is available to view. Below is some information that I took a photo of while there and will consequently pass it on to you regarding woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers

"The Woodpeckers of West 11th Street Park

Did you know that six species of woodpeckers are found at West 11th Street Park and that five of these species actually build nests and bear their young here? The reason the park is so attractive to these interesting birds is that dead trees have been left standing wherever possible, so that food and nesting sites are available for them. This makes 11th Street Park one of the premier locations in southeast Texas to see woodpeckers.

The most common species are the Red-bellied Woodpecker and the Downy Woodpecker. The beautiful Redheaded Woodpecker and the large, striking Pileated Woodpecker are increasingly rare in southeast Texas, but can commonly be seen at West 11th Street Park. Two species, the Yellow-breasted Sapsucker and the Northern Flicker, are typically around only in winter, although the Flicker has been seen nesting here later in the year. Early morning is a good time for sighting and photographing woodpeckers, especially the Pileateds.

Woodpeckers have interesting physical adaptations that allow them to perch on the side of trees and drill into wood:

  • They have short legs and very pointed nails that make it easier for them to clutch on to the bark of trees.
  • A pair of firm and centrally located tail feathers supports them like a brace and keeps them upright on trees.
  • Bristle-like feathers over their nostrils help woodpeckers ward off wood flakes created by pecking.
  • A very thick skull and large neck muscles protect the brain of woodpeckers from shocks caused by persistent pecking behavior."

Ownership of This Land

This land at West 11th Street Park has changed ownership several times. William Hogg, the brother of Miss Ima Hogg, the former owner of Bayou Bend in River Oaks, once owned this as well as other lands around it. Bayou Bend now belongs to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston due to the generosity of Miss Ima Hogg.

Mr. Hogg gave this land to the University of Texas. Subsequently, it was sold to the Houston Independent School District. Residents in the community, as well as a newly formed non-profit entity established in 1998, called the Friends of West 11th Street Park, as well as participation by the Houston City Council, and the Houston Parks Board prevailed in the purchasing of this land to ultimately keep it free from development.

Self-guided Tours

The Friends of West 11th Street Park has taken responsibility for its long-term management with the help of many volunteers. Paved natural pathways wind through the wooded sections of the park. Benches are situated in various places.

One of the fantastic features added to enhance the visitor's appreciation of this particular park is the Wireless Wilderness Cell Phone Tour. At stations throughout the park are signs which indicate a number to call. Upon dialing that number, one can listen to descriptions of trees, listen to actual calls of the various birds, and learn much more about what is in front of you. It is educational and fun.

Lawn Area

Most of West 11th Street Park is wooded and left pretty much in its natural state. However, on the southwest corner of the park is a wide lawn area, a baseball diamond, a couple of benches, and the lone picnic table in the park. Parking is on the streets surrounding the park. No restrooms exist in the park.

Except for dedicated birders, this park is probably primarily used by the residents who live nearby. My husband and I were visiting the park midday and in the winter. If we lived closer, it would be fun to see it at different times of the day and in different seasons of the year.

A Personal Thumbs Up!

The discovery of this park was a pleasant surprise. It brought me back to my childhood days in Wisconsin when my brothers and I roamed through a nearby woods adjacent to our home. It was our first introduction to the wilds of nature.

Naturalists, as well as photographers and birders, will enjoy this serene, mostly wooded setting in the heart of Houston. The variety of foliage, antics of frisky squirrels, colorful butterflies, and more are enjoyable to experience at the West 11th Street Park.

Please enjoy the video below. There are even more photos and videos on their Facebook page.

Source:

Friends of West 11th Street Park

Facebook Page of the Park

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 17, 2020:

Hi Brenda,

We have many parks in Houston and this 11th Street Park is different from most of them since so much of it is left in a natural state. The self-guided cell phone tour also makes it special. I am glad to hear that you learned more about woodpeckers after reading this. Thanks for your comment.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 17, 2020:

Peggy,

It sounds like a pleasant park to visit. Relaxing.

Our little park is plagued with geese and they do make quite a mess.

I enjoy seeing the squirrels and taking walks there on the pathways.

When I was a young gal we had a woodpecker in our front tree. It mostly woke me up.

I didn't know there were so many species.

Thanks for the trip through the park.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2020:

Hi Karen,

Nice to meet another Houstonian here on HubPages. I am pleased that you are enjoying my articles. Thanks!

Karen Nason on September 23, 2020:

Hi, Peggy - fellow Houstonian here. Really enjoying your HubPages.

Robert Sacchi on May 28, 2020:

Thanks to your articles I'm aware of that.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 28, 2020:

Hi Robert,

We do have a good many delightful public spaces in the Houston area.

Robert Sacchi on May 27, 2020:

Houston seems to have gone all out with the parks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

This was my first experience to tour a park with the cell phone information at certain designated spots. It does make for a more informative tour experience.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

The wildness of this urban park makes it special. That, as well as the Wireless Wilderness Cell Phone Tour, makes it unique among the many other parks in our area.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2020:

Hi Linda,

I am pleased that you are enjoying learning about our parks and area, in general. Thanks for your interest and your comments.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 09, 2020:

I love the woodpecker pictures. This looks like a really nice park. I have been to parks where they have the phones for information, which is always nice.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2020:

Hi Mary,

I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your time spent in your cottage amidst nature.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2020:

Hi Rachel,

We seem to be kindred spirits in our love of nature and birds. It would be fun to see the video you captured of a woodpecker.

C E Clark from North Texas on May 07, 2020:

What gorgeous pictures! The people of Houston are so lucky to have all these places you describe in order to get away from the hustle and bustle for a little while.

Posted this to AH & FB.

We opened up a little the other day and more to come. Not convinced people aren't moving too fast on this. Afraid we may have to start all over again, especially since they say the virus has mutated.

Stay safe.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 07, 2020:

It's wonderful to have local parks to visit. I enjoy visiting mine and I'm enjoying learning about yours. It was very nice to learn about your local woodpeckers as well. Some of the birds live here, too. I always enjoy seeing them.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 07, 2020:

Beautiful. I love birds and tree stumps with moss on it. I had a feast of it in the cottage last weekend.

Rachel Alba on May 07, 2020:

How lovely, Peggy. I love nature and birds. We have a really pretty state park near us too and I love to take pictures of it, especially in the fall. We have a lot of dead branches near our house, I didn't know that woodpeckers love that type of wood. We do see a woodpecker once in a while. I have some pictures of it and a short video. Thank you for sharing the video and all of the beautiful pictures.

Blessings to you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

Some of the self-guided cell phone stops even have what to listen to in identifying the different bird sounds. It is truly educational as well as fun.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Your comment makes me wonder what you thought of Houston before reading more about it via these posts of mine? I am glad that you are now better informed. (Smile)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

That cell phone wireless tour makes the enjoyment of this particular park stand out from the rest. Glad you liked learning about it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

The vast majority of this park is indeed a forested area. I love it! It reminds me of the woods that were adjacent to my parents home when I was a young child.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Yes, keeping a bit of wilderness in the city is good for the soul and nature lovers everywhere.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

Hopefully, your woodpecker will return to your feeder. I occasionally spot some in the large oak trees surrounding our home, and they are fun to watch. Thoughts of God and nature are also intertwined in my mind. Thanks for your comment.

Lorna Lamon on May 07, 2020:

A beautiful place with lots of lovely and interesting walks. I enjoy bird watching and would love it here. The self guided tours are a great idea and a learning experience as well. Another lovely spot in Houston.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 07, 2020:

Very cool! I swear I had such a distorted view of Houston until you came along. :)

Rosina S Khan on May 07, 2020:

This is a wonderful overview of a Houston Park. I especially like the theme of birdwatching, and the info on woodpeckers in the park is awesome. I also love the park facility, "Wireless Wilderness Cellphone Tour". Thank you so much for sharing, Peggy.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 06, 2020:

Lovely park almost the semblance of being in the woods. Nothing is more beautiful than nature eventually.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 06, 2020:

I love woodpeckers and am glad you included a variety here. It’s a good thing that the nonprofit stepped in and prevented this land from being developed. I’m sure that’s what the Hoggs would have wanted.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 06, 2020:

The video was beautiful, the flowers vivid colors, some I'd never seen before I really liked the red headed woodpeckers. My son Jackie had woodpeckers eat out of his feeders in Arkansas. He snapped some pictures of them eating upside-down. I had one last year eating out of my feeder. I hope he comes back this year. As I was watching the video, my thoughts turned to nature and the amazing fact that God takes care of all animals, the holes in the trees make a good home, and the bugs in the bark for food. I enjoyed your article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2020:

Hi Diana,

This particular park is a beauty in the heart of our city. It is left in a natural state, except for a relatively tiny portion of it, and is a haven for all kinds of birds, particularly woodpeckers. For those who live nearby, it would be fun to be there at the crack of dawn, or at dusk.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2020:

Hi Liz,

We are blessed to have so many philanthropists living in the city of Houston who have wanted to help make this city an even finer place to live.

Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on May 06, 2020:

So love the open spaces and walking trails for all to enjoy. Biking has become so popular too, especially surrounded by wildlife and beautiful scenery, what more could you want? Thanks Peggy.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 06, 2020:

Parks like this are very special and important within a city. You are fortunate to have had such generous people in Houston.