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.