My friends at the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, executive director Blanca Larson and former News-Herald and Del Rio Grande colleague Megan Tackett, are working on a very exciting project – an area bird-finding guide.
They asked me to help, and on Saturday morning, Megan and I visited one of the birding hotspots I told them should be included in the guide: the Rincon Del Diablo.
When Blanca and Megan asked me why I felt the Rincon should be included in the guide, I had to stop and think for a minute.
The Rincon is so much a part of my birding life that I rarely stop and think about the “why.”
After a little thought, I realized that the biggest reason I love the Rincon is the sense of wildness and isolation I can find there.
It is a delight to me that in the middle of a bustling city, next to one of the most pristine streams in Texas, there is a place where the rest of world can be forgotten for a time, a place where there are no people, no cars and very few signs of the 21st Century.
I know that the city is working hard to capitalize on the extraordinary asset that is the San Felipe Creek, and don’t get me wrong, I believe it should.
But, as I pointed out to Megan on Saturday morning, the Rincon Del Diablo doesn’t need a lot of improvement.
It would be nice to have a mowed path through this area for birdwatchers and nature lovers who are a little hesitant about wading around in grass and brush over their knees.
And it wouldn’t be terrible to have a few benches for people to sit.
I wouldn’t even mind a few picnic tables, barbecue grills and water fountains on the outskirts of this area.
But, as I also pointed out to Megan, whenever you open an area to people, you also open it to more trash and other human abuses.
In reality, the best thing the city could do for the Rincon is to treat it with benign neglect.
Birds have everything they need in the Rincon exactly as it is: a nearby source of fresh drinking water, plenty of food and lots of excellent cover, places to hide from predators and places to build their nests.
There are so many birds in the Rincon – and in other “neglected” areas along the creek – precisely because human hands have left this area alone for nearly 20 years.
The best thing we can do in the Rincon is to “keep it wild.”
Karen Gleason is the senior staff writer for the DelRio News-Herald. She loves nature and the outdoors and has been an avid bird watcher since childhood.