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Golden-cheeked Warbler at
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Austin, Texas

This is not about Oklahoma birds, but may be of interest to anyone traveling to Texas.

On June 26. 2006, we were in Austin, Texas and visited Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, a relatively new unit in the NWR system. It was created specifically to preserve habitat used by the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo. Finding much information about this refuge, especially clear directions and trail maps, was not easy since it is fairly new. The best trail map was one posted at the entrance to the Warbler Vista Trail, and I photographed it since I never could find it online anywhere. The area I visited was the Warbler Vista Trail, and the entrance to this area is just past the town of Lago Vista on the road named FM1431,  which is about 30 minutes NW of Austin. There is a big brown NWR sign on the north side of the road, and you then take a gravel road for about 1/2 mile to a parking area for the trail. The gravel road continues on to another trailhead, with an observation platform.

Literally about 25 feet onto the trail we found a Golden-cheeked Warbler. I had gone back to the truck to get something and as I returned Sharon shushed me and pointed above her head to the warbler, which she had spotted while waiting for me. We stood there silently about 20 minutes while it foraged directly above our heads. At this time of year the warblers do not vocalize, so we were fortunate to find this one.

There are some other locations in the refuge where the Black-capped Vireos can be easily found, but we did not have time to visit those locations. But based on our experience I can highly recommend this location if you are searching for a Golden-cheeked Warbler.

John Kennington



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Copyright 2009 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: September 21, 2009




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