A pocket wilderness in the heart of Houston.

West 11 Street Park

Suggested Reading

A walk through the woods at West 11th Street Park is always a pleasure, but your experience can be richer as you come to recognize the plants, birds and animals that call the park home.  The following is a list of field guides and books written specifically about the flora and fauna of southeast Texas with links where the book can be purchased:


60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Houston by Laurie Roddy.

Each chapter serves as both a navigational aid and an interpretive guide to old native homesteads, untouched prairies, deep forests, wetlands, wildlife preserves along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, and scenic bayous and waterways in and around the Bayou City.


Along Forgotten River: Photographs of Buffalo Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, 1997-2001 : With Accounts of Early Travelers to Texas, 1767-1858 by Geoff Winningham.

For more than five years award-winning photographer Geoff Winningham explored and photographed Buffalo Bayou, the Houston Ship Channel, and the landscape he found along the way.  He revisited sites of historic importance, such as Allen’s Landing, where the city was founded in 1836, and the San Jacinto Battlefield, where Texas won its independence in the same year.

Winningham has also sequenced eighty of his striking, large-format black-and-white photographs, following Buffalo Bayou from its source in the Katy Prairie through the suburbs and into the inner city of Houston.  From there, his stunning duotone photographs follow the bayou east to its confluence with the San Jacinto River, where it becomes the Houston Ship Channel, crosses Galveston Bay, and enters the Gulf of Mexico.
As a counterpoint to his photographs, Winningham has edited and sequenced passages from the written accounts of Spanish friars and itinerant preachers, prospective settlers, refugees, adventurers, exiles, and naturalists.


Birdlife of Houston, Galveston, and the Upper Texas Coast by Ted Eubanks, Robert A. Behrstock, and Ron J. Weeks

The authors draw on their lifetime of experience to present a thorough introduction and discussion of the migrant and resident birds of this region.


Birds of Houston by B. C. Robison and John L. Tveten.

Nature writer B. C. Robison and wildlife photographer John Tveten have teamed up to produce this field guide for birders who want to identify the birds most commonly seen in Houston. Fifty-five species are included, ranging from such well-known favorites as the mockingbird and cardinal to the more exotic yellow-crowned night heron. A full-color photograph for each bird appears alongside warm and often witty description. For quick reference, a summary of the primary field marks of the adult bird is also provided. This summary includes not only identifying features of the bird but also its habitats, the time of year it can be found, and its distinctive behavioral traits. Aimed at the beginning birder, the guide also gives tips on buying binoculars and on attracting birds to your yard.


Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas by John Tveten and Gloria Tveten.

In this easy-to-use field guide, the Tvetens describe and illustrate more than 100 species of butterflies that live in Southeast Texas and can often be found across the state.


Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas by John Abbott.

Dragonflies of Texas is the definitive field guide to these insects. It covers all 160 species with in situ photographs and detailed anatomical images as needed. Each species is given a two-page spread that includes photographs of both sexes and known variations when possible, key features, a distribution map, identification, discussion of similar species, status in Texas, habitat, seasonality, and general comments. Many of the groups also have comparative plates that show anatomically distinctive characteristics. In addition to the species accounts, John Abbott discusses dragonfly anatomy, life history, conservation, names, and photography. He also provides information on species that may eventually be discovered in Texas, state and global conservation rankings, seasonality of all species in chronological order, and additional resources and publications on the identification of dragonflies.


Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America by Sidney Dunkle.

Dragonflies through Binoculars allows for quick and easy identification of all the 300-plus species of dragonflies that have been found in the United States and Canada. In these well-illustrated pages, Sidney W. Dunkle answers any query the beginner or expert might have onthe subject of dragonfly-watching on this continent.


Finding Birds on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail: Houston, Galveston, and the Upper Texas Coast by Ted Lee Eubanks, Jr., Robert A. Behrstock and Seth Davidson.

This book contains more than 175 color photographs of birds and their coastal habitat, giving readers an excellent feel for the trails diversity and abundance.


Houston Atlas of Biodiversity: Houston Wilderness by Houston Wildernes.

This book highlights the variety, cultural importance, and global value of the natural environment found within the Houston Wilderness project area. It is laced with stunning photography of places both familiar and unknown throughout the region and filled with detailed maps.


Insects: Revised and Updated (A Golden Guide From St Martin Press) by Herber Zim.

Golden Guides first appeared in 1949 and quickly established themselves as authorities on subjects from Natural History to Science. Relaunched in 2000, Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press feature modern, new covers as part of a multi-year, million-dollar program to revise, update, and expand the complete line of guides for a new generation of students. This handy guide to the most common, important and showy North American insects will help the novice begin a fascinating study. Includes: A key to insect groups. mature and immature forms, how insects grow and develop and what they eat, how to find and observe them.


Insects of Texas:  A Practical Guide by David H. Kattes.

This practical, non-technical guide introduction to insect classification offers a well-illustrated straightforward primer in entomology.  After explaining some terms and giving short tutorials on morphology and metamorphosis, the author presents the five classes of arthropods and the orders, suborders and families of insects that are most relevant in Texas.  The outstanding features of the book are the pictures and how well organized it is and easy to find what you are referencing.


Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.

Today's kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, says child advocacy expert Louv (Childhood's Future; Fatherlove; etc.), even as research shows that "thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies." Instead of passing summer months hiking, swimming and telling stories around the campfire, children these days are more likely to attend computer camps or weight-loss camps: as a result, Louv says, they've come to think of nature as more of an abstraction than a reality.


Nature at Your Doorstep: A Nature Trails Book by John Tveten and Gloria Tveten.

With these two experienced naturists as your guides, even a walk across an empty lot can turn into a memorable lesson in the abundance of life. With original drawings by John Tveten, they reveal the bounty of plants and animals that live within familiar surroundings of home and region.


Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America by Roger Tory Peterson

The best-selling field guide, is now in its sixth edition. With all-new range maps, updated text, and 40 new paintings, the completely revised editions of two classic Peterson Field Guides are sure to be valuable additions to any birder's pocket or daypack. At a trim size of 5 x 8, they are portable but also beautifully illustrated. Photographs, while modern looking and colorful, capture just one moment in time. The paintings in these guides, however, show all of a bird's key field marks and use the Peterson Identification System to make bird identification easier for beginning and intermediate bird watchers. A team of professional birders has updated the text, the maps, and the art for these authoritative guides.


Texas Bug Book:  The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. by Howard Garrett

Your complete guide for identifying and organically controlling all of the most common Texas insects. Drawing on years of practical experience and research, organic gardening experts Howard Garrett and Malcolm Beck give detailed instructions on how to identify, understand the life cycle of, and control or protect Texas insects, mites, snails, slugs, nematodes, and other critters. They also include striking color photos and black-and-white drawings to help you identify each bug. Garrett and Beck highlight the many useful roles that bugs play in nature and offer proven organic remedies for infestations of pest insects.


Texas Mushrooms: A Field Guide by Susan and Van Metzler

A colorful, easy-to-follow guide that will surprise and delight uninitiated nature enthusiasts and at the same time provide the experienced mushroom hunter with the first field guide of its kind in Texas. Excellent color photographs and precise descriptions of over 200 species will enable the mushroom hunter--even the amateur--to make quick, careful easy distinctions between the edible varieties and the potentially toxic ones. In addition, kitchen-tested recipes are included along with a microscopic spore chart, glossary, and bibliography. In Texas, mushroom hunting can be a year-round, state-wide activity, and with this enticing introduction, collecting, identifying, and preparing wild mushrooms will become an activity the entire family can enjoy.


Texas Trees: A Friendly Guide by Patty Leslie, Paul Cox.

If you are interested in trees and live in Texas, this is the ONE book you must have.  Includes leaf-shape guide, range maps, and an index of popular and scientific names for over 120 trees, both native and naturalized. The book includes a map of soil types (with its natural diversity, Texas could be a country in itself!) and follows it with general drawings of leaves. Compare the leaf you see to the drawings in the book and you're sent to a tree family. From there you simply find the tree from more detailed drawings and area maps.


Trees of Texas: An Easy Guide to Leaf identification by Carmine Stahl, Ria McElvaney.

This accessible Texas tree book features: life-sized leaf images for easy identification; field-tested methods; 200 species organized by leaf shape; a regional guide to growing trees; a list of non-native trees; recipes for wild edibles; light and water requirements; and folklore and history.


Wildflowers of Houston and Southeast Texas by John Tveten and Gloria Tveten.

This comprehensive guide to wildflowers in the Houston area features color photographs and descriptions of over 200 plants, as well as tips on where and when to look for wildflowers in the field.  Summaries of plant families are also included.


Images by Jeff Crandall           What will you experience in the park?


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