Shhh! It’s a Secret

I was deep in thought as I glanced out the truck window watching the never-ending west Texas landscape pass by.  It’s times like these that my mind wanders and I do my best thinking.  Yes siree, Texas is one big state and a state that has a lot to offer; diverse landscape, fun cities, quaint towns, a Gulf Coast, tasty food, and a variety of weather.  I’d say, a little something to please anyone’s interests.

Medina River

Bandera, Texas – Medina River

Along with a few new discoveries made this winter, I found myself revisiting a bunch of my favorite spots.  For me, it’s all about nature and looking at life through the lens of my ospreycamera.  With that said, what I love about Texas may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine by me.  How boring and crowded it would be if we all liked the same things.

I put a map together to share with you, my wonderful blog followers,  a few of my special haunts along the Texas coast, but shhh, let’s keep these sites between us.  It’ll be our secret  😃  After all, we wouldn’t want the world discovering this unassuming area or encroach on my birds.  Then it just wouldn’t be the same.


Listen up!

Alright, I’ll admit most of the sites noted on the map aren’t exactly secret, especially during the peak tourist months in summer or those popular holiday breaks, but even then, not everyone knows where to find these magnificent birds.  But I do!whooping crane

Now don’t go getting mad at me if there aren’t any birds at the noted sites.  My feathered friends do have wings and a mind of their own.  And they’re really bad about birdschecking in with me – almost as bad as my children!

Obviously, there’s a bunch of things I left off the map.  I really could’ve added another dozen markers, but decided to focus on the sites I personally have a tendency to frequent the most.  I’m never at a loss of things to do around here and make new discoveries all the time.

With a little time and exploration along the Texas Gulf Coast, I have no doubt that you too will discover your own favorite spots – spots I might even be unaware of – in which case, you’ll be obligated to share!

After spending two months enjoying the Texas Gulf Coast, it was time for us to hit the road and return to the desert southwest.  Crossing west Texas can seem never-ending, Texas Longhornbut with a little foresight and armed with helpful information about hidden gems, the drive can be bearable and maybe even enjoyable.

Before we can get to west Texas, we’ll need to get to Interstate 10.  The last several times we’ve driven through this part of Texas, affectionately called the hill country, we’ve always included a stop in San Antonio.  Wanting to change things up a bit and avoid the big city, we came up with an alternate route.

Besides, driving through San Antonio with an RV is an adventure unto itself, and not always a pleasant one especially when the GPS and wife are at odds.  Poor Al 😫

Texas Hill Country

Spring in the Texas Hill Country – adorable!

Thanks to a recommendation from a wonderful blog follower/friend, we discovered the quaint little town of Bandera, Texas, which is located northwest of San Antonio and south of the town of Kerrville and Interstate 10.

sleeping duckTalk about a great place to overnight and avoid traveling through San Antonio.

Next year, I think we’ll stay here longer and explore the town of Bandera. One night was definitely not enough.  Our RV park neighbor mentioned a tasty place for breakfast located within walking distance from the RV park that piqued Al’s interest.

I remained smitten with all the birds along the river and if the weather prediction for west Texas had been better, we absolutely would’ve hung around another day or two.  But with impending wind and rain in the forecast, we felt it best to keep on rolling west.  Yep, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for that Texas weather, especially high winds that can cause brown out conditions or spur up tornadoes.

Eygyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose checking on her eggs

So where did we stay for our overnight in Bandera, Texas?  On the trip down to Rockport, we stayed at the Skyline Ranch RV Park, and on our return to Arizona we stayed in town at the Pioneer River Resort.  Both places are located along the Medina River, but Pioneer is located right in town while Skyline is a few miles out of town.  You can count on being packed in pretty tight at either RV park.

Bandera Texas RV Park

Pioneer River Resort, Bandera, Texas

Bandera Texas

Bandera Community Park along the Medina River. Pioneer River RV Park can be seen in the far distance on left. Sits on the other side of the highway. Easy walk for me to spend time with these guys.

Bandera RV Park

Skyline Ranch RV Park – photo taken as I was walking back from the river.

Skyline RV Park

At Skyline Ranch RV Park it’s all about the deer. The Axis deer are so cute with their spots.

We really enjoyed both RV Parks and it would be a toss up as to which one I’d recommend.  Guess it boils down to whether one prefers staying in town or hanging in the country.


This gazebo reminded me of the ‘Gilmore Girls’

On that note, I think I’ll let the photographs do the rest of the talking and show you what makes Texas special to me ….

Medina River

Bandera, Texas – Medina River – community park.  White momma duck sitting on her nest.

axis deer

Axis deer – Bandera, Texas

Egyptian goose

Medina River








Spring is in the air!










great blue heron roosting site


Now that’s a mouth full!

roseate spoonbill

roseate spoonbill

Charlies Pasture

Interesting trails!


Life along the coast!









birding center






Always something interesting to see!
















roseate spoonbills

Until we meet again, my pink beauties!

Adios Texas, until next time…. and yes there absolutely will be a next time!

VIAIR 300P Portable Compressor

the Next EXIT 2017



108 thoughts on “Shhh! It’s a Secret

  1. Gorgeous photos.
    You might try New Braunfels next time. It’s in between Austin and San Antonio in the hill country and lots of interesting birds in the city park. Good restaurants, too.

    • Thanks – we spent a week at Canyon Lake a couple of years ago but didn’t get a chance to explore New Braunfels due to the weather. What little we saw, we liked.

    • Thank you for the nomination and thinking of me. Even though I no longer participate in the award thing, I still think it’s a great way to share and discover new blogs. BTW… I have a clown phobia. Can’t tolerate clowns but like gnomes

      • Thanks for reading! 🙂 Ah ha! You too?! I don’t think I’ve found anyone that likes clowns so far.:) I’ve gone to garage/estate sales and anything with clowns, I run away from fast!:0

  2. It was a pure joy to meander through the Texas Coast here, Ingrid. Your photos are really astounding. The variety of birds is absolutely incredible, cranes, geese, chicks, raptors, warbler, spoonbills, cormorants, and more. The chicks are so adorable. I love the longhorn, ohhh, how great to come upon that big bad boy. Then the Egyptian goose on her eggs! That was my favorite…until I came upon the pelican photo. Wow. Truly lovely post, thank you.

    • The Texas coast is known as a birders paradise for a reason. Traveling to the hill country and seeing the variety of birds was a total surprise and if it hadn’t been for obligations in Phoenix, I would’ve stayed until momma Egyptian had hatched her chicks. Hmm, perhaps I need to schedule things a little differently next year 😉

  3. More drawn to the mountains of the west, I’ve never thought much about seeing Texas. Your posts and pictures have changed that! Thanks for the stunning representation!

    • The beauty of a home on wheels is enjoying variety. I enjoy my time in Texas very much, but don’t think I’d want to live there full-time. I too am partial to mountains and the west.

  4. WOW, stunning photos, Ingrid! You provided me with so much of what I missed and I am so glad! I have thoroughly enjoyed your Texas coast photos. You are right, it was a birder’s paradise!! 🙂

    • Texas will be there waiting when you’re ready. Hopefully you’ll pencil in a visit next Jan or Feb. I’d love to show you my favorite birding sites.

  5. I finally got around to reading this post. So happy I waited til I had time to savor your amazing bird portraits. They are fascinating.

    By now, driving through West Texas is probably just a bad memory. Hope you are enjoying the desert air. For us, it’s the opposite – we are happy to be out of the desert for a while, anyway.

    Looking forward to photos of cactus wrens, Gila woodpeckers, and all those other Arizona species that are probably pestering you right now.

    • The fact that I so enjoy splitting time between the desert, the mountains, and the Gulf coast has me questioning if I’ll ever want to settle down. So many places, so little time. I know if my children were located in a place other than Phoenix, we’d probably spend less time here. The gypsy blood has been passed down, so I never know when one of the kiddos will up and move, in which case, I’m available to assist and ready to explore new territory 😊

    • Awe, thanks for the nice comment. Yeah, sometimes those campsites can be a little close for comfort, but when it’s only a night or two, it’s ok. Much more than that, and I get antsy.

  6. All of these are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.
    We’re still spitballing where we are going for Christmas… so far, only New Orleans is on the list. We’d like to stay under 15 hours drive. This may be worth the extra few hours drive. 😉

    • NOLA can be so much fun especially if you’re in the mood for a party atmosphere. Depends on what activities we want to do, if any, that usually makes the decision for us. Can’t wait to see what you decide.

  7. Ingrid I give up. Definitely not enough adjectives to do your photos adequate praise. Oh my what a collage of beauty you have going on. Watch out for that long horn though. Looks a little less happy about being photographed than the birds. 🙂

    • Awe, thank you Sue. It has been fun challenging myself in the photography arena. Loved your post today, but couldn’t comment. My WiFi jetpack likes to play games with me and hubby has put me on a data diet ☹ I’ll need to sneak off to the library to watch your film debut!

  8. Oh Ingrid, you are such a tease! That map is quite inviting 🙂
    I will just enjoy the birds through your lens, fantastic photos especially the Pelicans with a fish.

    • I know when you return to FL you will be snapping away and sharing your talented skills. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy your desert landscapes.

  9. Visiting your blog is always a treat with great photos and commentaries! It’s obvious you have numerous admirers – it took me a long time to scroll down to your “Leave a Reply” box! haha

    • Thank you Michael and I appreciate you taking the effort to scroll down and leave your own comment 😉 This is such a fun hobby and I meet the nicest people.

  10. Uh Oh… We were JUST discussing our drive into San Antonio tomorrow, and we decided I would drive this leg. Perhaps we should re-think that…. Sounds like it might not be the best place for me to add to my (limited) driving experience….

    • Time of day and construction plays a huge role on traffic conditions. Plus realizing there’s an upper level was enlightening. Aside from the traffic, San Antonio is a pretty and fun city – enjoy.

  11. It’s fun to check out your map and to see that we share many of the same favorite birding spots around Rockport. So glad you had such a wonderful winter in Texas. Your array of bird photos is beautiful—the pelican with the fish is terrific!

    • This area might be a tad boring for some, but for those of us that enjoy birds, it’s extremely entertaining. I’m sure you’ll put those kayaks to good use should you revisit. We attempted to rent a couple of kayaks but the winds and waves were not kind so we canceled. We’ll try again next winter.

  12. Loved Bandera…and yes, it deserves a much longer look!!! We love Texas because it has many distinct regions, climates and history lessons..Jefferson, TX on the Northeast edge is a very amazing and historical town to visit too…Buckhorn Creek Campground is very close to Jefferson, and I believe Army Corps so cheaper for elders, like Al.hahahaha!

    • We’re hoping to spend next March meandering around the Texas hill country, but we’ll see. Sometimes we change our minds when we start missing the kiddos. Haha – there are bennies to being married to an ‘elder’. We took full advantage of his advanced age last August at a great Corps park in New Mexico 😆 (as I type this, he is not laughing, but I am)

  13. Thanks for sharing your birding highlights, Ingrid – the locations and the photos. I hope you got to see the spring flowers in bloom in Hill Country. We bought a little Toyota pick-up truck in Bandera once and enjoyed strolling around San Antonio. Without an RV. 🙂

    • Some of the wildflowers were just starting to bloom. We’re talking about spending a little more time in the hill country next March. I’d love to see the wildflowers and more baby chicks. San Antonio is a fun city but I’m not a fan of the traffic or navigating their road system.

    • Thanks Gayle – I had so much fun with my camera this visit. I think after shooting with it for three years, I finally have the darn thing figured out 😄

    • Nice to hear from you Holly. Hope you’re enjoying the new house and the grandkids. It was a fun Texas visit with the camera 😊

  14. We’ve always gone to Bandera on motorcycles… but now we’ll have to take the RV out and stay a while. Your photos of the Medina River are haunting.
    I relaxed just looking at them! Love to meet up next time you’re nearby!

    • We should be back in Texas again next winter and we may spend a little time in Fredericksburg…. hopefully time it for wildflowers. Who knows, we may even swing over to Austin – new territory for us. Would love to meet!

  15. Packing my bags…wish I could say I heading there now but it has now moved up closer to my list of places I must visit! 🙂

  16. Hi Ingrid

    You might check US 90 in south Texas as an alternate route from San Antonio to El Paso. Same time and distance when towing and a beautiful route. Nice wide road too!

    Travel safe

    • Thanks Paul. Al just pulled out the atlas and we may actually consider that route. Looks fun. Hope you enjoy the remainder of your time in AZ . Safe travels back to Houston.

  17. Great photos, one of these winters we need to actually leave Port A and explore more of TX.

    • Bandera was a little hidden gem of a town and I have a blog follower to thank. Yeah, Texas is worth exploring. Amazing how that travel list seems to grow!

  18. Thanks for sharing your secret places with us! Enjoyed all your beautiful photos. Driving through San Antonio pulling a fifth wheel is not for the faint of heart!. Glad you discovered a new place when you ventured off the interstate. We traveled on many Texas Farm Roads on our travels through the state.

    • That time we drove from San Antonio to Galveston then Galveston to Rockport, we stayed on the Texas Farm Roads and enjoyed it. The roads in Texas seem to be wide and relatively nice making it easy with a RV. And then the scenery and birds make this shutter crazy gal a happy camper 😊

  19. Loved the large pictures. That one white bird looked like he was tip toeing out of the shot… made me smile! Gorgeous photos! Once again you cease to amaze me.

    • Thank you Nancy – the birds do seem to make me smile. Guess I’m easily entertained 😄 Now I need to focus on the blooming desert!

  20. Yep, driving an RV through San Antonio is not my idea of a good time! Glad you find a nice route to avoid that mess. One of these days, you need to expand your Texas tour a little further north, too! 😀 Or maybe a lot further north, like 550 miles. Especially in the autumn months. As always, I love all your photos!

    • Haha… am I detecting a hint? 550 miles? Gosh, sometimes I forget how big Texas is. Although when I think about crossing west Texas, I’m easily reminded. Al AND I were so much happier bypassing San Antonio. The drive was stress free for the most part even though we did encounter a head wind and by the time we pulled into Van Horn it was gusting in excessive of 50 mph. The next day, it was as calm as could be.
      Hope those fires get taken care of… scary and devastating 😪

    • There were days the humidity and bugs were a little much, but the birds made it all worthwhile. It would be a landscape/environment totally new to you.

  21. You certainly out did yourself with these amazing photos, Ingrid!! The Axis deer are so darn cute. I’ve never heard of them. Thanks for the introduction:) Glad you enjoyed your winter in Texas!

    • Thank you Pam. We too had never heard of Axis deer. They look like fawns with their spots. We had a wonderful Texas visit, but now it’s time to get the legs back in hiking shape!

    • I’m sure you’ll find at least a few of the markers helpful. Let me know if there’s anything specific you’re interested in and I’ll see if I can offer a suggestion. Enjoy your time in the area.

  22. Great pics! I especially love the Egyptian goose and the pelican with the mouth full of fish. You visit Texas the right time of year. We mistimed it once and saw about a billion mosquitoes in Aransas. Map is a wonderful idea! 🙂

    • We did encounter mosquitoes and no-see-ums but not nearly as bad as we did at Mustang Island State Park in December of ’14. I could barely grill and we certainly couldn’t sit outside. Seems like a good overnight cold snap takes the numbers down drastically. Can’t image the summer.
      I loved watching the momma Egyptian goose. Oh, how I wanted to hang around until her eggs hatched. What a delight that would be.

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