Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ecology and nature highlight Vanishing Texas River Cruise

Waterfalls add to the scenery on Buchanan Lake in Texas.
When visiting Canyon of the Eagles, a 900-acre park under the auspices of Lower Colorado River Authority in the Texas Hill Country, one of the best excursions you can take is the Vanishing Texas River Cruise. It’s a great way to see a variety of wildlife, especially birds like egrets, blue heron, osprey, comorants, pelicans, and gulls. Many migrating birds use the Lake Buchanan/ Colorado River area as a place to “refuel” before continuing on their journeys.
Named for the bald eagles that nest in the area, Canyon of the Eagles is an especially popular place for bird watchers. In the winter you may be lucky enough to catch glimpse of American bald eagles sitting majestically on tree-top perches.

Rugged rock formations can be seen near the lake's edge.
For those not familiar with eagles, you can recognize them by their white head and tail feathers and blackish-brown body. Eagles, some of which live 20 years, nest in this area, returning every year to the same nest to lay one to three eggs. It’s not uncommon for latter born chicks to be knocked out of the nest in favor of the first-born.
Departing from Lake Buchanan, second largest of the Texas Highland Lakes, Vanishing Texas River Cruise is the premier ecological cruise of the Lone Star state. In addition to wildlife you’ll see spectacular views of Lake Buchanan, the Colorado River, rocky cliffs, and waterfalls.
The Texas Eagle II is a comfortable passenger boat with
inside and outside seating.

First visualized by Ed Low in 1981, Vanishing Texas River Cruise grew in popularity after a local newspaper reporter wrote about his trip on the boat. Lowe teamed up with Daniel Boren in 1982 and also Capt. Shawn Devaney, who became a partner as the ecological river cruise became more well-known and eventually bought the business in 1999. It has continued to grow and attract visitors from all over the world. Guides are very knowledgeable and the scenery offers many photo ops as the boat travels more than 22 miles on the lake.

In spring, beautiful bluebonnets line the shores of Lake Buchanan.
The Texas Eagle II comfortably carries up to 120 passengers in summer and 90 passengers in winter. The boat is fully enclosed and heated, so even rainy days can be good for spotting some of Texas’ 600 species of birds. Cruises last either two or four hours, and the route may be adapted according to water level. Delicious refreshments including chicken gumbo are available for purchase on shorter cruises and included with longer journeys.

Cruises run year-round, and reservations are recommended. There’s not a better way to observe nature in the Hill Country than on the Vanishing Texas River Cruise.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier


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