Feels like it has been forever since our last adventure in Ruby. The weather is finally cooling down some so we hit the road once again in Ruby. This school year has been chaotic and full of changes so we were all craving some time away even if it was just for one night. Saturday after my morning run we hit the road for another new state park, South Llano River State Park.
South Llano River State park is about 140 miles away. We drove there via Fredricksburg and then Junction. The campground was just down the road from Junction. The Llano river flowed peacefully thru the park. the headquarters was located inside a quaint old farmhouse. Our site was reserved but the grounds were already pretty full. We scored a site on the back side of a loop that backed up to a field.
Earlier in the summer I discovered a mesh net thing under my the passenger seat in Ruby. Wasn't sure what it was but now we know. It is a screen for the back of Ruby! So we get fresh air the whole night but Ruby is protected from flies and mosquitoes. It was a true find especially considering that we were about to order one. It made a world of difference last night with the temperature only falling into the 60's.
Once we set up we trekked to two of the park's many bird blinds. A large area of the park was blocked off for turkey roosting. The first bird blind had cardinals, white winged dove, black crested titmouse, ruby crowned kinglit, notheren mockingbird, field sparrow, white crowned sparrow, lesser goldfinch and a yellow throated vireo. Out of all three of the ones we visited it had the least variety. The second blind was a bit of a hike towards the exit of the park. A gray fox crossed the road on our trek! Once there we saw many birds including a spotted towhee and lincolns sparrow as well as the other species seen at the first blind. We chatted with a fellow birder from Wisconsin. She was sweet and very impressed with the boy's knowledge of birds. The sun was getting lower so we headed back towards our site. On the way back we were delayed by a heard of 30 or more axis deer crossing the road! It was surreal they just kept pouring out of the brush. Also saw a beautiful Eastern Meadowlark in the field.
Paco made a rocking fire and we ate an assortment of baked cheetos, almonds and beef stroganoff from a bag. The boy, Paco and I conversed about a multitude of subjects ranging from greatest fears in life to the coolest things we would invent. We talked late into the night as the champagne flowed for me, beer for Paco and root beer for the boy. But soon the boy retired and I was not far behind. Paco, in typical Paco fashion stayed up much later and saw some white tailed deer pass 20 feet away and 3 shooting stars.
The boy was up first and we rose shortly after. Quick cliffbar breakfast washed down with diet coke and we hiked to the last bird blind. Same species but we also saw a pair of scrubjays, hermit thrush and a black throated sparrow. (I am not a birder this list is courtesy of the boy.) We also hiked a mile and a half up to an overlook that showed the whole campground and surrounding fields.
The temperature was climbing so we didn't stay as long as planned. The boy is not only into birds but insects as well, especially dragonflies. He caught one in his net and accidentally decapitated it. It was a male variegated meadowhawk. Did you know that there are over 142 species of dragonflies in Texas? 3,000 species worldwide!! Nerdy I know but oh so cool..
Overall South Llano River State Park was beautiful and peaceful and we will definitely be back!