What’s in Bandera, Texas? Many Armadillos and African Game Animals

Lee and I are spending Christmas week holed up in a log-cabin condo outside of Bandera, Texas. Why? It was the only place I could use my travel points on that was within driving distance of Austin. Also, it’s the Cowboy Capital of the World, you know. And it’s in the Texas Hill Country, a thing Lee and I agree on the niceness of (miracle!).

I’ll get all angsty and tell you why we aren’t doing holidays at home again this year tomorrow, maybe.

While I have yet to see any actual cowpersons in Bandera so far (we haven’t checked out the stores yet), we did see quite a few on the trip down from Cameron. We also saw plenty of livestock up close while waiting for traffic to clear up.

Today we drove through the scenic route to Kerrville through Medina, and then came back to Bandera another way. On this drive we saw many hills and large, fancy ranches. On these large and fancy ranches I saw exactly one native American animal, a bison.

I’m amazed to be on the river!

The European imports (goats, horses, and cattle) were far outnumbered by animals brought in from African stock. I saw a healthy-looking zebra, many blackbuck, some gnu, and all sorts of antelope and things that end in -bok. Oh and wildebeast.

In fact, we were driving past one particularly dense population of cute li’l antelope, when I realized a whole bunch of them were OUTSIDE the fence, just grazing away and watching cars go by. I guess I’ve now seen first hand what the book on invasive animals in Texas was talking about. I’m sure those creatures will do just fine in Texas, but I wonder what native animal’s niche they will encroach on?

Lee said this was his good side. Sigh.

Kerrville is still a pretty place, and Lee and I got a few nice photos by the Guadalupe River, where we ate at a nice seafood restaurant.

(I didn’t get any pictures of the animals, since I was in a moving car and always so surprised I didn’t think to aim the phone out the window.)

Back at the Resort

This place we’re at is another one of those older complexes that’s seen better days, but it’s been maintained pretty well, and no one has build a row of houses to block our view of the water. No, the water just dried up, that’s all. It’s Texas!

When we got back to the resort, my watch was not happy with me, so I hurried off on a walk to see what I could see. We’d already enjoyed some very honk-tastic geese this morning, along with a titmouse and some cardinals. I’m glad any birds at all survive here, since there is a large feral cat population that displeases Lee very much. I was glad to get these action shots of kildeer!

Anyway, my walk took me to a private park for resort guests that borders along whatever river is supposed to be flowing by us. It looks sort of like a moonscape, all dried up and rocky, but it’s still pretty, and I enjoyed taking plant pictures for iNaturalist.

On my way down to the park, I heard noises, so I stood still for a while. Sure enough, there was an armadillo bustling around in the leaf litter. I later found another one investigating the rocky area at the bottom of the cliff where our condo is. Then, on my way back, I found yet another armadillo! They were far enough apart that I’m reasonably sure they are separate ‘dillos.

I also spotted deer across the river, running and jumping, and much raccoon evidence. I was pretty happy with the animal sightings.

Even though it’s winter, I found lots of plant beauty, too. There are some very large oak trees on the property, so I had a lot of fun photographing them against the sun as it went down. I think there may be oak wilt in the area, though. Maybe some of the trees are non-live oaks…I hope.

Most of my usual Hill Country friends are around, like the agarita below. I’ll try to get pictures of some of the really big cypress trees in the area, though. Lee says they are some of the very few remaining old-growth trees.

Agarita looks sort of like holly, which is a Yule plant, right?

I hope you have had a lovely Yule weekend and didn’t spend all your time shopping for Christmas gifts. My gift today was being out in nature. Ahh.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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