Camping And Hiking Trails Make Bird Watching Easy
The Texas Hill Country is nationally recognized as an outstanding destination for bird enthusiasts, and hundreds of fascinating species cross the region during their migratory journeys. Catching a glimpse of these feathered beauties is most apt to occur in the early morning hours, so snagging a great campsite nearby the action is desirable. This guide aims to help you not only see some unusual species, but to have a great camping experience, as well.
Arriving in late April, the male population of the Summer Tanager is the only totally red bird in existence on this continent. Their transformation from reds and yellows to their solid-red adult state occurs over a two-year span. With a particular fondness for bees and wasps, this species has a clever method of removing the stingers before dining on them – by rubbing their prey on a tree branch. Many enthusiasts claim to hear the phrase “peanut butter” within the bird’s song. Colorado Bend State Park offers an all-around great experience for nature lovers. Set up your tent by the Colorado River at this cave-riddled park, which boasts limestone canyons, spectacular hiking to Gorman Falls, and 150-plus documented bird species.
The painted bunting‘s brilliant colors and the sweet pitch variations of its song, makes this spring migrant a favorite. Despite their vibrancy, these songbirds can be difficult to spot, as they typically prefer dense thickets and like to roost high. Find a quiet spot and have patience if you see a Bunting, as they will swoop down periodically to feed along the edge of the brush. With seven miles of scenic hiking trails and two camping areas, one by the water and one nestled amongst the trees, the state park at Inks Lake is a favorite destination for viewing the painted bunting and other birds. Additional unusual species you might spot in the park include Bewick’s Wrens and Black-throated Sparrows.
American Bald Eagles
This iconic and majestic bird frequents the banks of Lake Buchanan November through March. Countless visitors flock to the area, particularly in February, to witness the oft spotting of bald eagles nesting in places with accessible viewing. Kayakers can easily get a bird’s-eye view, and there are eco-friendly boating tours available, as well. Word travels fast when there are spottings, so finding the best viewing shouldn’t be difficult. The prime place to land a campsite for seeing the eagles and hundreds of other birds is at the Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park. With 900 wilderness-filled acres, 14 miles of trails, and a seemingly endless recreation list, the 33 campsites here go fast, so make reservations early to land a space. Other notable at-risks species that can be seen here include the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-Cheeked warbler.
Don’t Miss the Wings of Spring
Considering that two-thirds of the recognized species in the US can be seen in the Lone Star State, the Texas Hill Country region is a surefire bet for a superior birding and camping experience. Planning a springtime bird watching excursion offers you not only plenty of spectacular viewing opportunities, but you’ll also have a chance to see the rolling landscapes of Texas blanketed with wildflowers.