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Photos in the May 2017 issue


Hold on to your hats as we kick off a year of celebration, culminating in December with the 75th anniversary of everyone's favorite magazine about the Texas outdoors (and the longest-running magazine in Texas).


This Month's Features

Searching for the Rainbow Flyer

Treasured birds sport riotous plumage.

By Cheryl Lyn Dybas

It’s high noon on a sizzling mid-May day in South Texas. A veil of humidity hangs in the air, nearly obscuring rows of Texas ebony trees. These shaggy trees with dark green crowns, important members of the South Texas brushland plant community, line a path at Quinta Mazatlan. “Quinta” — as locals call this urban sanctuary in McAllen — is less than 15 miles from the Mexican border and just minutes from McAllen International Airport.

It might as well be a world away.

The stunning 1930s Spanish hacienda, once a private estate, became an environmental education center several years ago. Tropical gardens are surrounded by native Lower Rio Grande Valley thorn forest, home to birds of every color of the rainbow, including our quarry: the painted bunting (Passerina ciris), known as North America’s most beautiful bird for the male’s shimmering palette of blue, green, yellow and red iridescent feathers.

“Almost every birder who comes to South Texas has painted buntings at the top of his or her list,” says our guide to the region’s birds, Tim Brush, who’s an ornithologist at nearby University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg and author of Nesting Birds of a Tropical Frontier: The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
“That doesn’t mean they’re easy to find.”

(read more)

Walk Across Texas

At 72, Dave Roberts’ cross-country journey is hardly pedestrian.

By Alan Fisher

“Oh, man, you can see forever up here!”

On a breezy afternoon in March 2016, Dave Roberts stands at the rocky ledge of a West Texas peak, surveying the view of Fort Davis and trails traveled below.

“It took me an hour and a half to get up here, but it was worth it,” he says.

Reaching the remote primitive camping area of Davis Mountains State Park takes some time for any visitor, but Roberts has especially earned this view. In truth, he has walked weeks to get here. Though his face is red from the sun and wind, the glint in his eye and grin on his face show no signs of tiring. Even with a pack on his back and 72 birthdays under his belt, Roberts seems more invigorated by scaling summits than exhausted by them.

“I like people, too, but the solitude really feeds me,” he says as he stares out at the distant horizon.

(read more)

Preserving Paradise

Water falls into a heavenly home for rare birds and flowers in Westcave Preserve’s grotto.

By Elaine Davenport

Why do we protect natural places? A walk through Westcave Preserve provides the answer.

Tucked away in what used to be undeveloped southwestern Travis County, 30 miles west of downtown Austin on 76 acres in the path of suburban sprawl, there’s a shady emerald grotto cooled by a fern-lined waterfall, the silence punctuated only by peaceful drips and the buzzy trills of rare songbirds. Westcave Preserve, where the majesty of the Texas Hill Country is on full display, is celebrating its 40th birthday.

“I love to hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of our visitors when they see the grotto for the first time,” says volunteer tour guide Beverly Gordon, a Texas Master Naturalist. “Many leave with the comment that it is the most beautiful place, and they didn’t even know it was here or that there were places like it. They want to return and bring others.”

(read more)

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Keep Texas Wild

It's not just for kids. If you like nature-related topics in an easy-to-read format, you can find three years of our popular Keep Texas Wild issues and the teacher resources to go along with them.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine