Walker Ranch Historical Landmark Park
At the intersection of Loop 1604 and Bitters St. in San Antonio, go east on Bitters for 4.3 miles to West Ave. Turn right on West Ave. and follow 1.1 miles to the park on the right.
Located on the confluence of Panther Springs Creek and Salado Creek, this 80-acre tract of land once connected hunting and gathering societies to resources such as water, plants, animals and stone material. Today, it is still a site of archaeological significance. The creeks divide the park into an oak motte on one side and a wildflower-grassland on the other. Birds to look for include Painted and Indigo Buntings, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Eastern Phoebe, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Scrub Jay, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and White-winged and Inca Doves. The grassy areas provide shelter for wintering sparrows. Summers offer a variety of nectar and larval food plants for butterflies.
At the intersection of Loop 1604 and Bitters St. in San Antonio, go east on Bitters for 5.8 miles to Jones-Maltsberger Rd. Turn left and follow for 0.8 mile. Park is on the right, immediately after the police station.
The mesquite/oak woodlands provide habitat for nesting Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, as well as for migrating songbirds in the spring and fall. Look for Eastern Screech-Owl or Great Horned Owl at dawn and dusk. The grassland and scattered shrubs provide habitat for wintering sparrows and Greater Roadrunner. Wildflowers abound, attracting a variety of butterflies, including swallowtails, hairstreaks and sulphurs. An ephemeral wetland attracts herons, egrets, killdeer and dragonflies. In the winter, look for waterfowl. White-tailed Deer are also commonly seen. The park maintains a bird checklist and offers ADA-accessible trails and restrooms.
O.P. Schnabel Park
From the intersection of Bitters St. and US 281, go south on US 281 1.8 miles to San Pedro/Loop 410 Exit. Follow San Pedro south 1.2 miles to Loop 410. Turn right and go 6.9 miles west to TX 16. Go north on TX 16 for 4.4 miles to Braun Rd. At Braun Rd., turn right directly into the park. At the T-intersection, turn left and park by the pavilion.
Look for Western Kingbird, Scrub Jay, Black-crested Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee. Winters are good for sparrows and Spotted Towhee. Spring migration produces good numbers of warblers and flycatchers. Butterflies along the trails include Phaon and Pearl Crescent, Sleepy Orange, Orange Sulphur, Giant Swallowtail and Southern Dogface.
Raymond Rimkus Park
From TX 16/Bandera Rd. and I-410, head west on TX 16 1.5 miles to Poss. Turn right and go 0.2 mile to the intersection of Poss and Evers Rd. Park is at the corner of the intersection.
This park is located along a wooded creek which provides habitat for migrating songbirds. Resident Black-bellied Whistling Ducks nest in trees adjacent to the park. Other nesting birds include White-winged Dove, Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, Great-tailed Grackle and Carolina Wren. Look for dragonflies such as Widow and Roseate Skimmers, Blue Dasher and Eastern Amberwing along the creek's edge. Hawks are often seen here so be sure to look up.
From TX 16/Bandera Rd. and I-410, head east 3.4 miles to Woodlawn. Turn left and go 1.2 miles to the park on the right.
Domestic ducks and geese reside on the lake, as do Green Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, Great and Snowy Egrets and Belted and Green Kingfishers. Woodland residents include Red-shouldered Hawk and Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers. Waterfowl and shorebirds also winter here. Look for American White Pelican, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup and Northern Shoveler. There is a paved ADA-accessible trail around the lake.
San Pedro Springs Park
From the intersection of US 87 and I-35, take I-35 east to San Pedro. Follow San Pedro north 1 mile to Ashby. Take a left and the park entrance will be on your left.
This multi-use park is San Antonio's oldest designated park. Small vegetated ponds around the pool area provide habitat for dragonflies, including Eastern Amberwing, Neon and Roseate Skimmers and Eastern Pondhawk. Rio Grande Leopard Frog is found along the water's edge. A nice grove of mesquite, pecan, oak and large bald cypress trees accentuates the park lawn. Look for Western Kingbird, Common Nighthawk and White-winged and Inca Doves. San Antonio College, located across the street, maintains gardens that attract Black-chinned Hummingbird and migrating warblers.
Sunken Gardens: From I-35 and US 281, take US 281 north to Mulberry and take a right. Follow Mulberry 0.7 mile to North St. Mary's and take a left. The Sunken Gardens are on the left, 0.2 mile north of this intersection.
This large quarry is filled with ornamental vegetation and some native plants. Green and Great Blue Herons, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Great and Snowy Egrets, Wood Duck and Barn Swallow can be seen throughout the park. Look for Softshell Turtle, Gulf Fritillary, Tiger Swallowtail, crescents, skippers and Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Brackenridge Park and San Antonio Zoo: From the Sunken Gardens, continue on St. Mary's to the end of the street. The zoo is on the left and Brackenridge Park is on the right.
The San Antonio Zoo's Little Pond is lined with tall trees that form a large egret/heron rookery during nesting season. Snowy Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Little Blue Heron occur in the treetops. Wood and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Mallard can be seen on this pond and others within the zoo. Brackenridge Park is located just below the headwaters of the San Antonio River. The park also has a horse trail, prehistoric sites and the Witte Museum.
Avenue A, Brackenridge Park: Return south on St. Mary's to its intersection with Mulberry. Turn left on Mulberry and follow 0.2 mile to the dead-end park road, Avenue A, located just after the San Antonio River Bridge and before the golf course. Park along the road and walk the edge of the San Antonio River.
Avenue A borders the San Antonio River. Between the road and the river lies riparian woodland with pecan, mulberry, hackberry, cedar elm, willow, oak and elderberry. These trees provide cover for Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, Golden-fronted, Downy and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers and White-winged and Inca Doves. This is one of the best places in San Antonio to see migrating songbirds. The canopy and understory offer habitat for migrant warblers, tanagers, orioles and flycatchers. In the spring, look for Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Bay-breasted, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Black-throated Green, Black-and-white, Blue-winged and Nashville Warblers. Along the river, look for Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Great Blue Heron, Wood and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and Green and Belted Kingfishers.
San Antonio Botanical Garden
From I-35 and US 281, take US 281 north to Mulberry and take a right. Follow Mulberry to Spur 368/Broadway. Turn left and go 0.2 mile to Funston. Turn right, heading east and after 0.5 mile, enter the gardens on your left.
This is a must-stop site for anyone who wants to learn more about the flora of Texas. Half of the site consists of ornamental gardens, including a Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Japanese Garden, Garden for the Blind and Sacred Gardens. The other half is devoted to native Texas plant communities. Three sections depict the native vegetation of the South Texas Plains, East Texas Pineywoods and Texas Hill Country. These gardens offer native plant enthusiasts a hands-on educational tool to learn about many of the plant species that provide food and cover for native wildlife. In addition to its value as a walk-through field guide, the Garden is a great place to see birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
Look for Inca and White-winged Doves, Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, Little Blue and Green Herons, Black-bellied Whistling and Wood Ducks, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden-fronted, Ladder-backed and Downy Woodpeckers and Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrashers.
Olmos Basin Park East
From I-35 and US 281, take US 281 north 1.9 miles to the Hildebrand Ave. exit. Turn left on Hildebrand and go 0.4 mile to Devine and continue north through the park. After 1 mile, the park is on the right across from the baseball field.
This urban park along Olmos Creek includes riparian creek bottomlands as well as a neighboring area of tall trees. Scan the wooded areas for woodpeckers, Barred Owl and Red-Shouldered Hawk. Migratory warblers and flycatchers pass through in the spring, and wintering Brown Creeper can be seen spiraling up the old trees. Check the canopy of the woodlands for resting hummingbirds. Look in the water for Wood Duck, Softshell Turtle and a variety of fish.
Jack Judson Nature Trails
From I-35 and US 281, take US 281 north 4 miles to the Basse Rd. East exit. Take a right on Basse Rd. East and then an immediate right onto Jones Maltsberger Rd. Take a left on Alamo Heights and then a right on Viesca St. Parking lot is on the right.
The Jack Judson Nature Trails are located inside the Olmos Flood Basin along Hondo and Olmos creeks. This site is maintained by the San Antonio Audubon Society. At the entrance, there is a small pavilion with window displays and a bird checklist for posting current sightings. These trails provide access to a diverse bottomland habitat. Red-shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Downy and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Black-crested Titmouse and Northern Cardinal are common residents along this wooded floodplain. The canopy of large cottonwood, oak, hackberry, elm and pecan provide a shaded nature trail. Dragonflies such as Widow Skimmer and Eastern Ringtail flit through the woodlands. The riparian woodland trails allow for wildlife viewing year-round. Look for migrating warblers in the spring and fall, and in the winter look for White-throated and Lincoln's Sparrows, Hermit Thrush, Winter Wren and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Guided tours are available by request.