- Access to the Guadalupe River
- Open woodland with tall hardwood trees
- A well vegetated river edge, great for migrants
Riverside Park as a birding hotspot doesn’t really have clear borders, since it could include the golf course, sports complex, amphitheater, and trails that connect them all. This guide will focus mostly on the western peninsula created by the sharp bend in the Guadalupe River, labeled Fox Bend on maps.
Expect plenty of large, mostly mature trees that serve as great bird attractors. Pair this with the river, which you’re never far from, and you’ve got yourself a high activity hotspot almost year-round.
The Guadalupe River serves as a natural pathway for birds on the move, so expect this to be good for migrants during both spring and fall. The multi-layered vegetation along the river edges can be especially productive for warblers, vireos, and flycatchers.
A birder that chooses to spend several hours here and work through Fox Bend, the edge of the golf course, and Grover’s Bend, can pull off an impressive checklist. 50-60 species would seem reasonable for a 3 hour visit.
County birders working on their Victoria County species list could spend a full morning here and be over half way to the 100 species mark.
To maximize your time here, thoroughly bird each of the three main habitats:
- Open Woodland
- Heavily Vegetated Edge Along the River
- The River Itself
The park is generally well kept and mowed, so walking around is easy. Watch and listen around the tall trees for woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebird, chickadees and titmice. Always be watching for flyovers when in the more open spaces. You’ll likely get American Crow, vultures, at least one hawk species, and probably something else like a heron, Cedar Waxwing, ect.
On a decent day during migration, walking up against the edge of the densely vegetated strip along the river can be a gold mine for migrants. Birds often travel in small groups, so when you see one or two migrants, stop and watch because there’s probably more close by.
Bird the river by the several access points that either overlook the flowing water, or provide a path down to the rocky riverbed. The water will likely have the least bird activity, but still provides the possibility of Belted Kingfisher, Spotted Sandpiper, or a duck species during winter months. Of course, Great Blue Heron and Great Egret could also be spotted.
If you’re goal is to put some time into this hotspot and see as much as possible, a good plan of attack could be to walk the entirety of Fox Bend, then drive just north to Optimus Ponds and walk the along those, and last drive up to Grover’s Bend and spend time there exploring on foot.