Wildlife and Wildflowers
These areas do not necessarily involve spending time on or in the water (although some do), but they do present terrific opportunities to view and photograph birds, bats, butterflies, quadrupeds, other flightless critters of various configurations, Hill Country terrain and, of course, the glorious wildflowers of this portion of Central Texas.
Several of the nature/wildlife locations have educational nature programs available to visitors, and many have interpretive trails that will enhance your outdoor treks. If you are looking to stretch your legs and want to go see some fabulous scenery and Hill Country wildlife, these places provide you with more than a few destination ideas. Just so you know, we also have gathered information for a number of privately owned locations in remote areas that are loads of fun to visit and are a nice alternative to the public parks if you don’t mind roughing it a bit. Remember to always contact the privately owned properties before heading out for a visit. All of them will have limitations on access you need to discuss before going to their property. The TPWD recently came out with some very good nature viewing information that covers birding and other forms of wildlife viewing as well. It is a very valuable resource. Also, do not forget that some of the campgrounds and swimming holes and crossings also are good locations for wildlife viewing opportunities.
We really enjoy going out for long drives beginning in the Spring to look at wildflowers. However, if you have done that down through the years you probably know that the amount and variety of flowers that will be available is dependent largely upon time of year, soil conditions and the amount of precipitation received, to a large extent, in the Winter. Because there are so many variables involved with what it takes for the flowers to bust out like a calendar cover, we decided to mention only a relatively few places to visit that would give you a pretty good chance of seeing blooms when the local conditions are favorable. To supplement that information, we strongly suggest that you visit the following sites regularly to obtain additional information about the buds for specific areas of interest to you. Some areas typically have great wildflower viewing like up around Llano and the Willow City Loop, but it is best to get up-to-date information to increase the likelihood that you will see lots of flowers on your trip. Try this site for information about flowers. TxDOT usually has some good information on their website and you should be sure to contact them during the season for updated information. Their website has detailed descriptions of where to go to find the best spots to view flowers. And of course there is the Lady Bird site available for even more information. Here is another good site for general information regarding wildflowers.
You can find some geological information here for the places described in this section. If you want a general reference book regarding the trees of Central Texas, we suggest looking here.
Ok, you should be about ready to hit the road to go do a little birding, hiking, photographing, flower viewing, or what have you. Just one more thing, don’t forget the camera and binoculars. Look, over there. Is that a beer-bellied sud-sucker?