While Steve was busy ticking items off his long list of winter maintenance for Betsy, I continued to “terrorize the local birds”, as he likes to describe it. When your home base is at Riviera, Texas, fishing and birding are pretty much the order of the day. If those activities aren’t your cup of tea, you might as well just drive on.
We stopped here as a mid-way point between Corpus Cristi and Mission, and Steve wanted to finish his maintenance work on the sunny days that were forecast during our stay. Except for our excursion to King Ranch we didn’t do much on most days, and simply enjoyed the nice weather.
This area of southern Texas can be described as flatland covered with dense thorny vegetation, and live oak woodlands mixed with brush and grassland. Prickly Pear cactus and Honey Mesquite trees thrive here. The wide open space made me feel like we were in the middle of nowhere, and because there isn’t a lot of rain here it was the first spot we stayed this year that was actually a bit arid and desert-like.
Although there were no hiking/biking trails here, we had access to several quiet county roads where we could ride or walk and rarely see a car.
Our home base was at SeaWind RV Resort (Steve’s review here), located 22 miles southeast of Kingsville on Baffin Bay. Locals claim this is the best area for trout fishing anywhere along the Gulf Coast, and since fishing is the main activity here the county park next door has overflow parking for boats and extra vehicles. If you like to fish, this is a spot you should consider when in the area.
Once Steve began his work and my presence wasn’t needed (OK, my presence wasn’t wanted!), I did some serious bird watching and gave my camera a good workout. Many birds came to us – or specifically to a tree near us – and Steve laughed as I converted Betsy into a bird blind.
Being close to birds always makes me happy, and watching them jockey for a spot on the feeder was great entertainment. It definitely lowered my blood pressure and made me smile.
Bird life in this area is quite unique, with many species that aren’t commonly found anywhere else in the U.S. I was lucky that I didn’t have to walk or drive far to get my “bird fix”. As long as I kept the feeder full these little Texans were happy to hang out in a big tree right outside our window.
We also watched the water birds at the pond inside the park:
If I got bored with birds in the trees, I could go to the beach and watch the waterfowl. I saw an Egret that appeared to be losing its mind, running around in circles and apparently chasing fish. I knew that was odd behavior for Great Egrets or Snowy Egrets, but as I got closer I realized it was actually a white morph Reddish Egret! Their hunting technique differs from the others, who just kind of walk along until dinner crosses their path.
As fishing is the main event here, these avid fishermen were on the pier from dawn to dusk every day.
Our stop at Riviera, Texas is not for everyone – unless you are a birder or a fisherman. But not a bad place to just hang out and enjoy the sunshine, either!