- City of Seymour, 940-889-3148, www.cityofseymour.org
- Wichita Falls, 940-716-5500, www.wichitafalls.org
From US 82 in south Wichita Falls take the Kemp St. Exit north 1.7 miles to Seymour Street. Turn right (east) on Seymour St. and go 0.3 miles to Sunset Drive. Turn left (north) on Sunset Dr. and follow it 0.1 miles into the park.
Lucy Park offers a great nature escape right in the middle of Wichita Falls. The park consists of several large areas bordered by the Wichita River and its associated woodland. A well-maintained trail accompanies the river for its length through the park providing excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. In summer, the park hosts several pairs of Mississippi Kites. The woodlands provide habitat for Carolina Wrens and Carolina Chickadees, while the more open edges provide foraging grounds for Mourning and Inca Doves. Along the Wichita River, look for Snowy Egret, Killdeer, and migrating songbirds during spring and fall. The river is also home to the colorful American Rubyspot damselfly.
Lake Arrowhead State Park
From the intersection of US 281 and US 82 in Wichita Falls, go south on US 281 for 6.8 miles to RR 1954. Turn left (east) on RR 1954 and follow it 7.2 miles to Lake Arrowhead State Park.
Lake Arrowhead acts as an oasis of water surrounded by semiarid, gently rolling prairie, much of which has been covered by mesquite in recent decades. Waterfowl and wading birds are common seen in the park. The mesquite brush provides habitat for Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Western Kingbirds. Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey can often be seen in the campgrounds and picnic areas. The lake itself attracts a diversity of birds and other wildlife. In late summer, look for Forster's and Least Terns as well as Neotropic Cormorants. In winter, large numbers of waterfowl and American White Pelicans visit the lake. The Black-tailed Prairie Dog town at the park can provide lots of entertaining viewing. Be sure to look for Burrowing Owls near the prairie dog town.
Phone: 940-528-2211, Lake Arrowhead SP
City of Seymour- City Park
From the intersection of US 183 and US 82 in Seymour go south 0.4 miles to E. McLain Street. Turn left on E. McLain and go 0.4 miles to the park on the left.
The story goes that early settlers noticed that Seymour Creek was one of the best places for Wild Turkey anywhere along the Brazos River. Because of this, they settled here and the town of Seymour was founded. If the story is true, the residents of Seymour have done right by their turkeys and respectfully set aside 83 acres along Seymour Creek as parkland, which holds a variety of wildlife including the occasional Wild Turkey. More regular residents include nesting Blue Jays, Northern Mockingbirds, Common Grackles and Mourning Doves.
In the heat of the summer the muddy banks of the creek provide excellent habitat for Killdeer and herons. Dragonflies such as Common Whitetail, Widow Skimmer and Eastern Amberwing are common. In summer, be sure to climb the slight rise on the east side of the park and look back over the city for soaring Mississippi Kites. Also, look for the recently arrived Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, which nest in large trees around town. Visitors in October can enjoy the spectacle of migrating Monarchs, as hundreds of the butterflies cover the trees.
Phone: 940-889-3148, www.cityofseymour.org
Ranger Creek Ranch
From the intersection of US 183 and US 82/ W. California St. in Seymour, go west on US 82/ W. California St. for 17.6 miles to the town of Vera and CR 3150. From Vera, go west 1.0 mile on CR 3150 to the ranch on the right.
The Walker Family has lived, farmed and hunted thousands of acres of west Baylor County for over a hundred years. During this time they have developed an appreciation for the land and a love for its wildlife. Fifteen years ago they started Ranger Creek Ranch to share this love with others. They have made many improvements and have carefully managed the land for a wide diversity of wildlife. Their extensive system of blinds offers excellent opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife up close.
The landscape in this area of Texas can change dramatically in a very short distance, going from flat and fertile wheat fields to striking mesas and canyons in Texas's own version of the Painted Desert. These canyons host Lark Sparrows and Roadrunners in abundance and are one of the few remaining places where seeing Texas Horned Lizards is a daily occurrence. Spring-fed ponds host dozens of dragonflies, including Eastern Pondhawks, Eastern Amberwings and Halloween Pennants. The ponds are also frequented by Mississippi Kites, which cruise overhead in search of their dragonfly prey. During the winter months, managed wetlands are seasonally flooded to attract geese and ducks in great numbers.
The history of the ranch can be seen in several old rock buildings that are nearly a century old. Ranger Creek Ranch offers a unique glimpse at one of Texas' most striking landscapes and an opportunity to enjoy its great wildlife and hospitality.
Phone: 940-888-2478, www.rangercreekranch.com
Porter Ranch - Red Springs
From the intersection of US 183 and Hwy 114 in Seymour, go east on Hwy 114 for 6.5 miles to CR 229. Go south on CR 229 for 1.7 mile; at the Y in the road go left (east) 1.0 mile. Turn right at the cattle guard and follow the road 1.3 miles to the house.
The Porter Family Ranch encompasses over a thousand acres of farm and woodland along the banks of the Brazos River. The ponds on the ranch host hundreds of ducks and geese in the winter and a variety of wading birds in the summer. Commonly observed birds include Great and Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron. During migration, shorebirds such as Greater Yellowlegs frequent the muddy edges of the ponds. The large open fields are filled with singing Dickcissels and the acrobatics of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers and Eastern Kingbirds. Look for Wild Turkey and listen for the characteristic whistle of Northern Bobwhite. The more open habitats attract wintering raptors, including Red-tailed Hawks and the occasional Bald or Golden Eagle.
Phone: 940-888-2475, www.porterranchrides.com
River Road Retreat
From the intersection of US 183 and Hwy 114 in Seymour, go east on Hwy 114 for 11.2 miles to RR 1285. Turn right (south) and follow RR 1285 for 4.7 miles to RR 2374. Follow RR 2374 for 0.4 miles to River Road Retreat.
The River Road Retreat is an outstanding retreat for the 3 R's: rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. The site has accommodations for several couples or a large family in a house surrounded by bird feeders and situated at the heart of an extensive trail system. The retreat is surrounded by lots of Baylor County history and is located in the Round Timber community which is the oldest settlement in the county. Visitors can either explore the trails or just sit and watch quietly at the feeders as Northern Cardinals, American Robins, Painted Buntings, a variety of finches and sparrows, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds appear. The Retreat is also a haven for Pyrrhuloxia. On a rare instance, you might even catch a glimpse of a Mountain Lion. The River Road Retreat joins the Brazos River, a setting for many unique stories. Along the river, look for a variety of herons and egrets. Mammals such as Raccoons, Coyotes, and Bobcats patrol the shoreline and are most easily detected from their footprints along the riverbank. White-tailed Deer are numerous and often seen early and late in the day. Tours of the Retreat are available with the guidance and hospitality of the Hincirik-Cooper Family. Whether watching wildlife or gazing at the stars, sit back and relax.
Rocking J Ranch
From Throckmorton, go north 9.5 miles on Hwy 183/ 283 North. The ranch entrance and the old rock house ranch headquarters, are on the left (west) side of Hwy 183/ 283.
This beautiful ranch consists of 2043 acres of varying terrain, including mesas, rolling hills, creek bottoms, and cultivated fields. Scenic views from the top of the mesas are especially impressive. The ranch has several large ponds, which attract a variety of wildlife. White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey are abundant. Texas Horned Lizards, declining in many parts of Texas, can still be found in good numbers on the ranch. Waterfowl, cranes, terns, and kingfishers frequent the ponds, especially during winter months. Keep an eye on the sky for Red-tailed, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks and the occasional Golden Eagle. Mississippi Kites nest on the ranch and can be seen soaring on the updrafts. Spring migration brings a variety of songbirds. Other wildlife commonly observed includes Bobwhite Quail, Bobcat, Coyote, Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, Raccoons, and Cottontail Rabbits. The ranch hosts interpretive tours featuring the wildlife and history of the ranch during the spring and summer months. Please call for reservations.