Jackie and I have birded in many of our state parks, and one of the most unusual is found near Glen Rose in central Texas.
There are some unusual birds, such as the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeke warbler; but what makes the park so different are the tracks in the rocks in the bottom of the Paluxy River.
The tracks were discovered in 1908; and although there has been some question of their authenticity, they remain a tourist attraction. They sure looked real to me, and I would not like to meet whoever or whatever made them.
The more than 1,500-acre park is located a few miles from Glen Rose, a little city with a lot of attractions. In the summer from the front gate you might see northern bobwhite, killdeer, greater roadrunner, dickcissel and eastern meadowlark. The riparian habitat along the river will produce both blue and green herons, along with yellow-billed cuckoos, belted kingfishers and yellow-breasted chat. Winter birds include mallards, green-winged teals and gadwall ducks.
Winter birds also include the golden-crowned kinglet, hermit thrush, and spotted towhee, along with Vesper, Savannah, Leconte’s, fox, song, Lincoln’s, white-throated, white-crowned and Harris sparrows.
The highlight of the trip is the two specialty birds — the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler. You can usually find the vireo in Longhorn Pasture, across the river from the dinosaur tracks. The warbler is seen in the spring on the Denio Creek Trail which is accessible from the Cedar Brake Trail.
If you want to see more than birds, make reservations to visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center where you drive through and see up close and personal such endangered species as white rhino, cheetah, and Grevy’s zebra.
There is also a birding trail, but I wouldn’t advise getting out of the car where the cheetahs are displayed.
We were so impressed with the park on our first visit, we took our grandchildren back and went through it again.
Jackie rolled down her window about half-way and got kissed by a giraffe. She said he was a better kisser than me. She told me the same thing about most of the boys in Farmington, Mo., High School right after we got married 68 years ago.
Boswell is a Greenville resident and author whose birding column is syndicated. Contact him at email@example.com.