Texas Hill Country
Landa Park is a beautiful community park in New Branfels, Texas. It's a very busy location with families enjoying the well planned and maintained facility. Located on the Comel River, it's the launching point for several tubing businesses so in the summer there's quite a bit of traffic in the area. The river runs through the park and there's a medium sized lake on the back end. Ducks and other water fowl are plentiful and there's a nature trail that runs through more primitive areas. What Landa Park is really known for are the Wood Ducks. There are lots and since they're used to people, it's easy to get up close and personal for amazing photos.
Guadalupe River State Park
Definitely one of my TOP 10 birding stops. The park, like most of Texas’ state parks, is well kept and beautiful. There are several miles of walking trails, although, I have to admit, I don’t spend much time exploring them as they offer a somewhat uneven terrain and I find it difficult to walk and look for wildlife without tripping. The biggest draw for me is the bird blind. It’s well maintained by the park hosts, and offers birds several food options and a water feature for drinks and baths. During the Spring and Summer the blind attracts Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, Summer Tanagers, and migrating and resident warblers. During this time of year the star of the show is always the Golden Cheeked Warblers who make frequent appearances at the water feature. Year round visitors include titmice, chickadees, cardinals, and vireos. Located on the Guadalupe River it does attract lots of visitors, especially during weekends in the summer, so if you arrive late in the day, you may discover that the park is closed due to reached capacity.
Lady Bird Johnson Municiple Park
Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park is just outside of town next to the local airport. The park is a nice size and has great hiking trails along the river. A large bird viewing area near the trail entrance is great place to relax and snap some shots.
South Llano River State Park
Hands down, this is probably my favorite place for bird photography and if I could give it 100 STARS I would! The park has 4 different and unique blinds at different locations that each attract a diverse selection of wildlife. In the Spring and early Summer the Golden Cheeked Warbler and Black Capped Vireo call the park home and make regular stops at the blind closest to the Visitors Center. In addition to the birds, the blinds are even occasionally visited by rabbits, rock squirrels, and grey foxes.
Johnson City, Texas
Pedernales State Park
Like so many of the state parks in the Texas Hill Country, this is a stunning place to just immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Pedernales Falls are the big draw for visitors and a hike to them is visually stunning. The park also features a wildflower and nature area with two extremely spacious and well maintained bird viewing areas with lots of seating and large glass fronted windows. The areas were designed more for viewing rather than photography so although there are some open areas, they are small and off to the side. Still, the birds are abundant and plentiful and you'll walk away with lots of great shots!
La Lomita Wildlife and Photography Ranch
Located in the Texas Hill Country in Uvalde, La Lomita Photo Ranch is a wonderful stop for bird photographers! Designed with photography in mind, the ranch features 2 morning blinds and 2 evening blinds with water features and perches. The blinds are comfortable and afford photographers an opportunity to get close photos without distracting the wildlife. When I visited there the conditions weren't ideal, it was inbetween seasons and the area had experienced quite a bit of rainfall so the birds weren't quite as interested in coming to the blinds. All that being said, at peak season it's a fabulous spot and the managers are wonderful and accommodating guides. There are several hotels and restaurants in Uvalde making it a convenient stop for a multi-day birding adventure.
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