Rio Bravo Loop
Triple R Resort RV Park
From I-35 take Exit 84 onto TX 85 West for 31.5 miles to Brundage and FM 65. Go north on FM 65 for 8.8 miles to the resort on left, just before crossing the Nueces River.
The Triple R's bend in the river is a deep and gentle flow, excellent for canoeing and viewing waterbirds. The 1-mile nature trail takes visitors through a variety of habitats that include a secluded and wooded pond, open wetlands, tree-lined river edge and mesquite woodland. Excellent nature photography opportunities are available where blinds are set up to provide proximity to diverse wildlife that includes bobcat, deer and a number of exotic game species. In addition to a beautiful RV park, Triple R has comfortable, fully-equipped cabins and furnished mobile homes.
Rio Bravo Nature Center
From FM 65 and US 83 in Crystal City, go south 3.3 miles on US 83 to FM 191. Turn right and continue 6.3 miles to US 277. Follow US 277 west into Eagle Pass and continue straight on Business 277 (becomes Main St.) to Shelby Park fields and parking lot at the end of the road. From the boat ramp at the back of the parking lot, follow the dirt road along the river's edge off to the right (north).
There is a narrow strip of carrizo brakes that line the dirt road for about 1 mile. At the end of the road, there is a vast cane bed that stretches out along the river. This is one of the largest remaining examples of this habitat left in Texas. White-collared Seedeater occurs throughout these brakes, as do Audubon's Oriole, Black Phoebe, Groove-billed Ani, 3 species of kingfishers, Great Kiskadee, Painted Bunting and Green Jay. American Pelican is present along the river and there is a resident pair of Osprey. Slough Amberwing dragonflies are resident, as are American Rubyspot and Blue-Faced Ringtail, a rare species in the rest of Texas. One of the few natural sandstone bluffs demonstrating deposit and erosion along the Rio Grande runs along the right side of the trail. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended when the northern reaches of the trail slope downward. Limited parking to the right of the bluff is available for the first 0.5-mile. The Border Patrol has accommodated access to this site at all hours for early birdwatching groups. A regional birdwatching brochure is available at the Chamber of Commerce on Garrison St.
Eagle Pass Hydro Plant Road
From US 277 and FM 65 in Eagle Pass, head north on US 277 8 miles to FM 1907. Turn left and go 1.6 miles to the bridge. The road is off to the right, along the canal. Park before the bridge and walk; there is no turn around further on.
This short roadway along a berm includes mesquite-huisache scrub and mixed carrizo brakes along the canal. Bird species include Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat and Spotted Towhee, and the trees on the other side of the road provide habitat for Great Kiskadee, Verdin and White-eyed Vireo. Olive Sparrow can be heard singing from the brush as well. This site provides a very good viewing experience because the elevation of the berm puts the viewer at eye-level with the birds in the canopy.
TxDOT Canyon Grande Roadside Park
From FM 1907, take US 277 north 7.8 miles to the park on the right.
This small rest stop along Canyon Grande Creek provides good riparian habitat for Green, Belted and Ringed Kingfishers, and southerly specialties such as Couch's Kingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher and Black Phoebe. Farther south, in the community of Normandy, there is a small population of wintering Sandhill Crane as well as an occasional Burrowing Owl. Roads throughout the farming valley provide excellent diversity for a variety of South Texas species.
San Felipe Creek
At the junction of US 90 and US 277, head east on US 90 for 0.4 mile, past the San Felipe Golf Club to San Felipe Springs Rd. Turn left and go 0.2 mile to the entrance on the left.
The spring carries 90 million gallons of water a day through the banks of San Felipe Creek, and the water is crystal blue-a rare treat in any urban community. Large cottonwoods and scattered shade trees line the creek, and an early morning walk will yield kingfishers and Golden-fronted Woodpecker. On the other side of the fairway lies a large stand of carrizo, which can provide a chance to see Lincoln's, Song, White-crowned and Field Sparrows and Common Yellowthroat.
Paseo de Los Ninos Nature Trail
At the junction of US 90 with US 277, head east on US 90 0.6 mile and turn left on De la Rosa Rd. The road dead-ends after 0.1 mile at Paseo de los Ninos Nature Trail.
Located next to Calderon Elementary School, this site offers visitors a chance to see birds and other wildlife characteristic of desert scrub plant communities. Expect to see Black-throated and Cassin's Sparrows, flocks of Lark Bunting, Cactus and Bewick's Wrens and Pyrrhuloxia. Woodpeckers abound here. A covered area with benches provides an excellent viewing area, and numerous trails wind throughout the tract.
Laguna de Plata
From US 90 and US 277 in Del Rio, head west on US 90, which becomes Spur 239/Gibbs Rd. Turn left just before the overpass on Avenue T. After turning, bear right and follow the railroad tracks for 1.4 miles. This road becomes Cienegas Rd. Turn left on Frontera, drive down 0.5 mile to the soccer fields on your left and park. Opposite the fields is the water treatment plant. A small, signed entrance through the fence will lead you into the birding area.
This site contains a brushy section and a settling pond that receives treated effluent from the plant. Before entering the area, check the roadsides for Lesser Goldfinch, Olive Sparrow and Long-billed Thrasher. Twelve species of sparrows have been recorded here. The treatment pond provides habitat for wintering and migrating ducks and shorebirds. Kiskadees, phoebes and Yellow-rumped Warbler can be seen in the trees that ring the pond.
Del Rio Duck Ponds
From US 90 and US 277 in Del Rio, head west on US 90, which becomes Spur 239/Gibbs Rd. Turn left just before the overpass on Avenue T. After turning, bear right and follow the railroad tracks for 1.4 miles. This road becomes Cienegas Rd.; continue to Duck Pond Rd. and the pond is on the right.
This small pond provides habitat for wintering and migrating waterfowl. Emergent vegetation around the edge of the pond provides habitat for wading birds and migrating shorebirds.
Lake Amistad National Recreation Area
San Pedro Campground: From US 90 and US 277 in Del Rio, go north on US 90 7.1 miles to Spur 454. Campground entrance is 0.6 mile on the right. Follow gravel road 0.9 mile to campground.
The campground is very productive desert bird habitat, and consists of open scrub with acacias, cenizo and willow along the edge of the scrub. Vesper, Field, Cassin's and Black-throated Sparrows and Say's Phoebe can all be seen here in March, along with various other species such as Pyrrhuloxia. Wildflowers are abundant here after a wet winter and the warmer months are good for watching lizards and butterflies.
Hunt Area 1: Return to US 90 and go west 7.5 miles. Cross the bridge over Lake Amistad and the hunt area is a few hundred yards past the bridge on the left. Park next to the railroad tracks and go through the walk-through that abuts the locked gate. The area is sometimes closed for hunting, which is noted on the bulletin board at the gate.
The acacia-cactus scrub, combined with rocky outcroppings of limestone, provides good habitat for wrens. Verdin can be found here year-round along with a variety of sparrows. In spring, the lower part of the trail becomes a lush carpet of wildflowers. Pipevine Swallowtail, Dainty Sulphur, Variegated Fritillary, Black Swallowtail, Checkered White and Southern Dogface are some of the common butterflies that occur here.
Spur 406: Return to US 90, go west 8.2 miles and turn right on Spur 406. Follow the road 5.6 miles to its terminus at the lake.
Interior Least Tern occurs here from mid-April to late summer. Tamarisk lines the road, and trails off to the left take you through stands of acacia that can be filled with sparrows. Wintering ducks such as Blue-winged Teal and migrating waterfowl can also be found here.
Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site
From US 90 and 163 in Comstock, take US 90 west 9.2 miles to PR 67 on left. Follow PR 67 for 0.5 mile to headquarters.
Fate Bell Shelter, in the canyon, contains some of North America's oldest Native American pictographs and is one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America. Tours are conducted twice daily (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.), Wednesday through Sunday, by the park staff. Tours involve a fairly rugged hike to the bottom of the canyon and then up to the shelter to view the paintings. Listen for the distinctive sounds of Rock, Canyon, Bewick's and Cactus Wrens and for the loud twittering overhead of White-throated Swift. Zone-tailed Hawk can also occur here. Lechugilla, guajillo, sotol, leather plant, wild onion, lyre-leaf twist-flower phacelia and other plants characteristic of Chihuahuan Desert plant associations are also present.
White Shaman Preserve
From US 90 and 163 in Comstock, take US 90 west 10.5 miles to the gated entrance on the right.
The site offers a chance to experience impressive Pecos River scenery and a rare chance to see the work of prehistoric artists that inhabited these lands thousands of years ago. Characteristic plants include lechuguilla and the gorgeous red blooms of claret-cup cactus. After a wet winter, look for rose vervain and the intensely vivid colors of feather dalea, a bright purple flower that is as dainty as it is remarkable on the brown, rocky, leathery soil. Along the trail you will also see guajillo, recognizable by its long, narrow, mimosa-like leaves.
TxDOT Roy Bean Information Center
From US 90 West and Loop 25, head south on Loop 25 0.4 mile to the center on the right.
The information center showcases a phenomenal native plant garden which exhibits the most common plants of the Chihuahuan Desert. Stroll the garden and familiarize yourself with the plants that characterize this botanical community, as well as some of the rare plants and cacti that live here. See horse crippler, living stone, Langtry rainbow cactus and a variety of other fascinating plants adapted to live in the arid heat of Trans-Pecos Texas.
Devils River State Natural Area
From US 90 and US 277/377, go north 40.3 miles on US 277. Turn left on Dolan Creek Rd. and follow 22 miles on the graded dirt road to the park headquarters. After heavy rains, this road requires high-clearance, 4-wheel-drive vehicles-if heavy rains occur after you have entered the area, exit may be impossible for a full day or more after flooding.
Spanning over 20,000 acres, the relative inaccessibility of Devils River SNA makes it a destination for the adventurous. Year-round access to the river is by hiking, biking or park tour only. A series of springs provides up to 80 percent of the river's flow. High cliff faces overlook the river, providing photographic panoramas. Black-capped Vireo, deer, bobcat and armadillo can all be found here in relative abundance, as can Wild Turkey, Common Ground-Dove, Ringed Kingfisher, Great Kiskadee, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow and Hooded Oriole. Along the river, stands of live oak, pecan and sycamore with an understory of shade-tolerant shrubs provide the richest habitat for birdlife at the park. Birds normally associated with eastern habitats find their westernmost extension here, with species such as Chuck-will's-widow, Eastern Wood-Pewee, White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Wren, Northern Parula and Indigo Bunting. Birds that only rarely make it into the U.S., such as Tropical Parula, have also been recorded here. The park offers several vehicle-accessible primitive campsites. Primitive campsites along the river are available only to canoe campers that have come downriver. Bunkhouse lodging is available by reservation.
Fort Clark Springs
From Del Rio, take US 90 east 30 miles and turn right into the signed entrance.
This site has a long and interesting human history as well as being one of the best birding spots in the area. Seven miles of beautiful creek bottom lined with pecan, mulberry, live oak and mixed hardwoods provides shelter and forage to large flocks of birds. Open wetlands with emergent vegetation add to the variety of habitats. Winter flocks include kinglets, American and Lesser Goldfinches and Pine Siskin. Wading birds, ducks and cormorants are found here, and spring migration can fill the trees with songbirds. Dragonflies are plentiful in both the creek and standing water habitats.
US 90 Brackettville Rest Stop
From Brackettville, take US 90 east 13.8 miles to the rest stop on the left.
This mowed field with scattered live oak, mulberry and hackberry provides excellent habitat year-round for a variety of birds. Large flocks of Ruby-crowned Kinglet occur here in the winter, as do a variety of sparrows, including resident Rufous-crowned and Black-throated Sparrows. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Vermilion Flycatcher are colorful and easily observed residents at this site.