A Glimpse of South Texas – Riviera, TX

Seawind RV Park

We’ve been waiting for weather like this for a while!

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.

Riviera Texas

Riviera Texas

A bunch of Sandhill Cranes scouring a freshly-tilled field for yum-yums

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.

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Here I am doing bird and Javelina reconnaissance.  We saw a lot of Javelina tracks, but never the real thing.  Since they are nocturnal, Steve even went out at 5:30am a couple of times to find them – but they managed to evade him!

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The birds will never see me in this camouflaged outfit!

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.

Prickly Pear cactus next to the bay – an unusual combination

wpid33812-2015-01-21-TX-1720426.jpgOnce 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.

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Red-winged Blackbirds sparring for a spot on the feeder

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The sparrows didn’t fool with the Green Jay, but they beat the heck out of each other!

Cowbirds

We want food, we want food!

Cowbirs

The feeders are empty, we’re outta here!

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.

Green Jay

Say hello to this beautiful Green Jay

Green Jay

I’m handsome, really!

Great Kiskadee

I’m great, I’m great says the Great Kiskadee

Golden Fronted Woodpecker

I have gold on my beak – Golden-fronted Woodpecker

We also watched the water birds at the pond inside the park:

Seawind RV Park

Black necked stilt

Black-necked Stilt

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.

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret

As fishing is the main event here, these avid fishermen were on the pier from dawn to dusk every day.

Baffin Bay

This pier is lighted, so folks can stay out as late as they want

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!

 

Up next:  Moving to our farthest-south location for the year.



37 Comments »

  1. Great photos… the colors of the birds are striking but your knowledge of birds is just as striking! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
    I need your help with these southwest birds. They lack in color but their songs are magnificent!

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  2. Great bird shots as always 🙂 as for the javelinas….you may not really want to meet up with them…just sayin 🙂 Been there, done that!

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  3. I love your green jay photos…beautiful. As I was reading your explanation of the egret running in circles, I thought that it sounded more like a reddish egret. I have not seen one so light in color before…excellent captures MonaLiza. 🙂

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    • The green jays are just beautiful and they are all over the park, just love it. About the reddish egret,both Steve and I stopped for a long time observing it and we thought it was really odd, then after research we learned it was a reddish egret!

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  4. I love the Green jays! A few years ago I pointed to Green jays in the Audubon bird book and said to Eric, “I want to see those!” And so we went to Mission, Texas to find them. That is so cool that you saw a white morph Reddish egret — I didn’t know they existed! Their dance is definitely unique. Your photos are wonderful, ML. You’re doing a great job of “terrorizing” the birds. 🙂

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  5. Beautiful photos of the birds MonaLisa! I would love to talk Joe into a visit to southern Texas…we will see!
    The Green Jay is quite a beauty…

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  6. Loved the photo of you in your MH blind!!! Too cute:) Your photos are wonderful!!

    I guess we won’t be visiting Riviera, TX any time soon but so glad you were able to do lots of bird watching and Steve was able to keep Betsy in tip top shape:)

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  7. Your bird pictures are just fabulous Mona Liza. The colors are fantastic. LOL at your camo outfit. Nicely done. The green jays will think you are their big sister. I think I need a list of Steve’s maintenance chores so I’m sure we are covering them all. I’d be thrilled to go birding with you while David did all the necessary maintenance.

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  8. You have such a cute way of phrasing things…. “terrorize the local birds”…. hehe

    My goodness…looking at your photos makes me think I am looking at National Geographic. Fantastic!

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  9. Such exotic birds! Wonderful photos of birds that are new to me. Are all of the feeders hanging in that tree yours?! We are a little tight on space with a 32 foot RV and John gave me a small spot for a hummer feeder and a seed tube in the storage area. A suet feeder would be nice to carry for the woodpeckers.

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  10. Thanks so much for the bird pictures — it’s below freezing up here in Virginia and seeing them reminds me Spring will return!

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  11. My folks stayed at that RV Park a couple of seasons before discovering they preferred Mustang Island. Ah, you finally found your Reddish Egret. I can feel your excitement. I see you chose to dress like a Green Jay to blend in…. good camo cover LOL

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