Little Deutschland Loop
Cypress Park & Knapp Crossing Park
Cypress Park: From the intersection of TX 27 and TX 39 in Ingram, go east on TX 27 for 3.6 miles to park on right.
Bird activity along the river can be brisk (especially in spring), and wildflowers such as gaura, Mexican hat, lemon beebalm, buttonbush, and various mustards provide food for numerous butterflies. During summer, swifts and swallows feed over the river. Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Carolina Wren and White-eyed Vireo call from the shrubby margins and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher hunts from the treetops. You may hear Yellow-throated Warbler or see Green Kingfisher here. In winter, watch for Osprey and waterfowl. Look for gulls and terns after spring storms.
Knapp Crossing Park: From Cypress Park, turn right and go 0.9 mile on TX 27. Turn south (toward the river) on Knapp Rd.; the road dead-ends after about 0.1 mile.
This site is very similar to nearby Cypress Creek Park, but has a small boat ramp and, seasonally, canoe and kayak rental. In summer, the tiny, low-growing white and purple blossoms of frog-fruit are alive with Phaon Crescents and other small butterflies, which in turn provide food for Flag-tailed Spinylegs, Eastern Pondhawk and other locally common dragonflies.
Cypress Park: www.kerrvilletx.gov/index.aspx?NID=1082
Knapp Crossing Park: www.kerrvilletx.gov/index.aspx?NID=1087
Riverside Nature Center
From the intersection of TX 27 and TX 16 in Kerrville, go 0.5 mile west on TX 27 to Francisco Lemos. Turn left (south) on Francisco Lemos and go just beyond the next stoplight. The nature center is on the right.
This attractive urban nature center showcases several small but diverse habitats while providing an array of educational services for the public. In summer, the gardens invite Black-chinned Hummingbird and butterflies such as Gray Hairstreak, Queen, Variegated and Gulf Fritillaries, Checkered White and Fiery and Eufala Skippers. Dragonflies abound along the weedy woodland edges, and the woods along the creek provide habitat for Green Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Carolina Chickadee and nesting Red-shouldered Hawk. The site is excellent during migration, with over 150 species of birds being recorded.
Louise Hays Park & Tranquility Island
From the intersection of TX 27 and TX 16 in Kerrville, go south a short distance on TX 16, crossing the Guadalupe River bridge. Immediately turn right (west) on Thompson Rd. After 0.1 mile, turn right to enter the park.
This site provides access to the graveled margin of the south side of the Guadalupe River and an island in the channel. During spring, Yellow-throated Warblers sing in the cypress trees lining the north side of the river, and Cliff Swallows nest under the bridge. In late summer, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Purple Martin gather here prior to migrating to Latin America. Osprey (winter), Great Blue Heron and other large waders, Belted and occasionally Green Kingfishers, and the occasional tern or gull may be seen. Watch for Comanche and Widow Skimmers, Checkered Setwing, Stream and Double-striped Bluets and the needle-like, Orange-striped Threadtail.
From TX 16 and TX 27 in Kerrville, take TX 16 south to TX 173. Turn left and go 2.1 miles to park entrance on right. Request a park map and bird list.
The park offers a representative sampling of Hill Country landscape, with acres of juniper, live oak and Spanish oak populating the hills and arroyos. Other plants include redbud, sumac, buckeye, pecan, mesquite and several varieties of flowers. The Texas bluebonnet is one of the most plentiful and colorful of the native plants. Clumps of trees, riparian areas and wildflower-filled meadows provide excellent habitat for wintering and migrating birds. Summertime visitors will see Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Carolina and Bewick's Wrens, Yellow-throated Warbler, Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Chimney Swift, swallows and Green Kingfisher. Winter birds include sparrows, Orange-crowned Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo and a scattering of waterfowl. During summer, there are numerous damselflies and dragonflies such as Sulphur-tipped Clubtail, Flag-tailed Spinyleg and Five-striped Leaftail. Butterflies are numerous in the meadows and forest edge and at the small garden at the park entrance. Across TX 173 the park road ascends to a series of camping and trailer loops, from which you may access several additional miles of hiking and biking trails, most of which are set up as loops. White-tailed Deer abound in this part of the park and are easily photographed. The birds and vegetation of these limestone uplands have a distinctly western flavor compared with the river bottom habitat across the road.
Kerr County Park at Flat Rock Lake
From TX 16 and TX 27 in Kerrville, take TX 27 south 1.6 miles to Loop 534. Take a right and then a left onto River Rd. Go 0.2 mile to parking lot and boat ramp on the right.
A low dam crosses the Guadalupe River at the eastern end of this park, forming a long shallow lake that provides habitat for a variety of waterbirds. Wildlife can be viewed by walking or driving the northern shore on a trail/road that can be accessed at the westernmost parking lot, as well as several points further east on River Rd. Walking is recommended because the trees along the north shore attract landbirds, and during summer butterflies and dragonflies abound. In winter, the open water attracts a variety of waterfowl. Watch for all 3 kingfishers. Walking west, you'll encounter large hackberries, pecans, oaks and willows, excellent habitat for wintering flocks of insectivorous birds.
Third Creek Canyon
From TX 16 and TX 27 in Kerrville, take TX 27 south to FM 1341/Cypress Creek Rd. Turn left (east) and go 4.6 miles to an oak and sycamore-lined canyon. Park before the tower.
This is a favorite spot with local birders, who find it excellent during migrations and filled with nesting birds in summer. Western species such as Western Scrub-Jay mingle with easterners such as Yellow-throated Vireo and Eastern Wood-Pewee. After fall migration, the red oaks, pecans, cherries, sycamores and black walnuts are alive with feeding flocks of sparrows, warblers and Hermit Thrush. Where juniper is more prevalent, Ladder-backed and Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Golden-cheeked Warbler and Rufous-crowned Sparrow may be seen. Great Spreadwing, a large damselfly that often occurs along small streams or shady seeps, has been seen along the roadside.