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BalconesSongbird
Festival

BSF Registration 

Balcones Songbird Festival April 21-23, 2017

Just a few tips on using our registration module.
 1. It is possible to register multiple participants for individual field trips or events.
 2. It is possible to register for multiple field trips/events under one transaction. AND even join as a member. But do that first so the member rates will apply.
 3. You can pay by paypal, credit card or check (MANUAL) using online registration. However, if paying by check, your registration will not be confirmed until payment is received. Many of these field trips do sell out.
 4. If you would like to be placed on a waiting list, use the waitlist option now available.
 5. Got questions? call us on 512-466-6813. It is our message center line and it may be forwarded to a live person so even if the voice recording does not mention the Festival, leave a message. You can also email us at friends@friendsofbalcones
SCHEDULING UPDATES
Once tours are confirmed, we will do our very best to minimize changes, however, the schedule and tour leads are subject to change. You will be notified of updates as soon as they become available.
WEATHER POLICY
There are no guarantees with respect to Hill Country weather. WE WILL SEND TOURS OUT REGARDLESS OF RAIN OR TEMPERATURE. Some may be delayed but we will keep the tours within the same day of the event. Call 512-466-6813 for an update, but be prepared to leave on schedule.
THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT
The Refuge is an unimproved, semi-wilderness state. By submitting your registration, you assume full responsibility for all loss, damages, harm, or expenses incurred by you. 

Tours & Events

    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 0

    Sorry, but this event is now sold out. You can join the waitlist and we will send you an email when additional spaces become available.

    Join waitlist

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    WILLIAMSON AUDUBON GROUP (WAG)
    Williamson Audubon Group promotes the appreciation of birds by sharing knowledge and experience.




    JIM GIOCOMO

    Jim is the Coordinator of the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV), for the American Bird Conservancy. Jim earned a BS in Biology Millersville University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Ecology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee. His work focused on songbird productivity in forest and grassland settings. Species monitored included Ovenbirds and Wood Thrush in Pennsylvania (8 years), and Henslow’s Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Bachman’s Sparrows, Dickcissels, and Eastern Meadowlarks at Fort Campbell Army Base working in the drop zones used for training by the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (7 years). Jim has also worked for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Audubon Pennsylvania, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    MARTIN BYHOWER

    Martin Byhower leads field trips for The Williamson Audubon Group (WAG) and other organizations. A professional birding guide and award-winning science teacher from CA, he is reveling in the biodiversity in Central Texas. He is past president of the Palos Verdes/South Bay (CA) Audubon chapter and has been active with numerous conservation organizations in CA and now in Texas. He is a Texas Master Naturalist with the Goodwater Chapter, and has his own native plant retail/garden business. Martin lives in Georgetown and is one of the area coordinators for the Georgetown CBC.
    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 0

    Sorry, but this event is now sold out. You can join the waitlist and we will send you an email when additional spaces become available.

    Join waitlist

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    AMERICAN BIRDING ASSOCIATION (ABA)
    The ABA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides leadership to birders by increasing their knowledge, skills, and enjoyment of birding. We are the only organization in North America that specifically caters to recreational birders. We also contribute to bird and bird habitat conservation through our varied programs.



    ERIC CARPENTER

    Eric Carpenter grew up in Houston where he started his birding obsession at the age of 10 alongside his dad and brother, eventually moving to Austin by way of San Antonio in 1994. Eric has served on the Texas Bird Records Committee since 2004 (Secretary since 2011) and also volunteers his time as a co-author of the Texas section for _North American Birds_ and as a reviewer of eBird records for the state. He was the first to see over 500 species (505) in the a single year in Texas during his Texas Big Year in 2003. He has been involved with Texas pelagic trips since the early 1990s and has been helping co-lead or organize them for the past 10+ years. Locally, his home away from home is Hornsby Bend where he did a Big Year in 2005 (249 species) and where he has lead the Monthly Survey for the past 11 years - you can often find him there scoping out shorebirds on the aromatic "sludge" ponds. He is very fortunate to have a loving wife, Maggie, who not only tolerates his obsession but encourages it as she is an avid birder herself.. A sign that it was "meant to be" came on their first trip together to Big Bend where they found the first (and still only) Fan-tailed Warbler found in the state. Eric & Maggie are retired and live in southwest Austin. When they aren't there...they are almost certainly birding.
    Assistant: DEBORAH HOLLE
    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 10

    Hill Country Birding

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Join top Texas birders to look for special Hill Country birds that nest on the Refuge. This tour makes multiple stops along one of the quietest, birdiest country roads in western Travis County, and then brief stops at Doeskin, Flying X and Simons Tract, affording participants the opportunity to see and hear many of the breeding and spring migrant birds of the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau. The trip leader is intimately familiar with these birds and their vocalizations, and will strive to get scope views for all participants of most of the target birds on the route. We do not specifically target Golden-cheeked Warbler, but occasionally encounter them on this route. In addition to the targets mentioned below, we also often see spring migrants including raptors, flycatchers, and various smaller birds.

    Targets: Wild Turkey, Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Bell's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo (migrant, but singing), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow and occasionally Vermilion Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee and Black-throated Sparrow.
    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X




    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY (TAS)
    http://travisaudubon.org/
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.





    JANE TILLMAN & TERRY BANKS

    Terry Banks and Jane Tillman will co-lead this tour. Terry has been a field trip leader for Travis Audubon for six years and an Austin birder for ten. She loves to bird by ear, and has a special fondness for Hill Country birds. Jane teaches beginning backyard birding classes for Travis Audubon, leads field trips and gives talks all over central Texas about Texas birds. She is current president of the Native Plant Society of Texas Austin chapter. Both Terry and Jane participate in many Christmas Bird Counts and bird surveys.
    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 8

      Birding Peaceful Springs


    Join us as we bird Peaceful Springs, a jewel of the Hill Country. With a variety of habitats and breeding Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos on the property, we expect a great list of birds! In addition to the two endangered songbirds, Northern Bobwhite, Cooper's Hawk, Greater Roadrunner, Crested Caracara, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Western Scrub-Jay, Verdin, Canyon Wren, migrating warblers, a variety of sparrows, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting are possible. The field trip will include walking on uneven, rocky roads and trails.

    Destinations: Peaceful Springs

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X





    FRIENDS OF BALCONES CANYONLANDS NWR (FOB)

    The mission of the Friends organization is to support, complete, and enhance the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and its diverse ecology and promote its use for recreational, educational, and scientific purposes.

    JOHN HARRINGTON

    John has been an active volunteer and member of the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands since 2002. His love of the outdoors naturally blossomed to an obsession for birding. He is also a member of the Travis Audubon Society and the American Birding Association. John leads field trips at the Refuge for TAS and FOB frequently and is actively involved in the USFWS Golden-cheeked Warbler surveys and assists the banding programs. John puts many hours into the Balcones Songbird Festival, the Balcones Christmas Bird Count and SparrowFest (where his other talent is cooking!). John is retired from AT&T where he was a Lab Manager. All the years at his desk, he dreamed of the great outdoors and visited it to hunt, hike or play whenever he had the chance. Since his retirement, he’s had time to take in all those dreams living in the Texas Hill Country with his wife, Cathy.
    Assistant: COCO BRENNAN
    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 11

     Birding Candlelight Ranch and Other Treasures

    While Amy leads a birding event, Lynette will point out interesting wildflowers and other plants of value to birds and butterflies at Candlelight Ranch. We'll stroll through the wild-scape on a hike to identify both host and nectar-producing plants for butterflies. We will explore and learn about the Native American tribes that lived in this area and what plants they used to survive. One highlight of the trip is hiking down into an 84 foot canyon and to see a variety of plants in different micro-ecosystems complete with ferns and fossils. Be sure to bring your binoculars and favorite wildflower field guide if you have them.

    van from HQModerate to Strenuous HQPhoto OpportunityLeps Plants





    CANDLELIGHT RANCH (CLR)

    Candlelight Ranch provides a unique outdoor environment for special needs and at-risk children to learn, play, and heal through the wonders of nature. Candlelight Ranch works in partnership with community organizations and schools to provide nature based innovative activities that are customized to meet the specific needs of each group of children that we serve. Through their active participation in these activities and contact with nature, our campers build confidence, self-esteem and skills that support overcoming challenges in their daily lives.

    Lynette

    LYNETTE HOLTZ

    Lynette Holtz has a BA in Humanities and a MA in Literature from Midwestern State University. She has been an organic gardener for 33 years and has volunteered with National Wildlife Federation, Green Corn Project, Wildlife Rescue, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and Austin Wild lands Division. Lynette is a Master Naturalist and enjoys her volunteer work at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. She is proud to be the CAST for Kids event -coordinator for Lake Bastrop. Lynette was a Natural Science Educator and Summer Camp Director at LCRA ‘s McKinney Roughs Nature Park and enjoyed teaching, rafting , kayaking, and ropes course work . Lynette is the Ranch Program Director for Candlelight Ranch and works with special needs kids and healing through nature. She is a partner and Inn Keeper for the Hill House and runs her native landscaping business –Green Man Landscaping. Lynette’s son is a biology student at CU Boulder and is an avid skier and hiker. Lynette is passionate about changing the world through teaching others how to love nature and live more sustainable lives.

    AMY SUGENO

    Amy Sugeno is a former wildlife biologist who spent much of her career working with bats, songbirds and waterfowl, and rare species in Texas and Tennessee as well as New Mexico, Colorado, and Mexico for over 16 years. She mostly worked for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, but she also worked at The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She has also assisted with small mammal surveys, herpetological research, and plant community surveys, including wetland and rare plant surveys. Throughout her career, she greatly enjoyed teaching people about the natural world, particularly birds and bats, and was involved in many different classes and programs through TPWD as well as Travis Audubon Society. Amy now works as a mental health therapist, where she continues to help people connect with and learn about nature.
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 3

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY (TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.

    RICH KOSTECKE

    Rich Kostecke has spent the last 16 years birding and conducting ornithological research in Texas.  He earned his PhD in Wildlife Science from Texas Tech University in 2002, where his research focused on wetland management and migratory waterbirds.  Rich’s first job after completing his PhD was with The Nature Conservancy’s Fort Hood Program, a cooperative effort with the Army to monitor and manage endangered species (Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers) and their habitats. In 2011, Rich assumed his current state-wide role as Associate Director of Conservation – Research & Planning for The Nature Conservancy in Texas. His recent research projects include assessing the status of Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers on Nature Conservancy preserves, assessing the impacts of large-scale wildfires on the birdlife of the Davis Mountains, and the winter ecology of Sprague’s Pipits on the Texas Gulf Coast. Rich is often accompanied by his wife, Veena Mohan, on his birding adventures.
    ASSISTANT: VEENA MOHAN
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 6

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY (TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.





    BILL REINER & JOHN CHENOWETH

    Bill Reiner and John Chenoweth have been birding together since they worked as a team on the refuge from 2001 to 2004. In those years, they mapped territories of the refuge’s two endangered bird species, though their primary task was monitoring and control of the oak wilt fungus, earning them the nickname The Oak Wilt Boys. Today they are both employed as biologists with the City of Austin, where they continue to monitor and protect Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos on lands of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. They enjoy challenging each other’s bird and plant identification skills, and sharing with refuge visitors their passion for exploring the natural communities of the Texas Hill Country.
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 0

    Sorry, but this event is now sold out. You can join the waitlist and we will send you an email when additional spaces become available.

    Join waitlist

    Hill Country Birding

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Join top Texas birders to look for special Hill Country birds that nest on the Refuge. This tour makes multiple stops along one of the quietest, birdiest country roads in western Travis County, and then brief stops at Doeskin, Flying X and Simons Tract, affording participants the opportunity to see and hear many of the breeding and spring migrant birds of the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau. The trip leader is intimately familiar with these birds and their vocalizations, and will strive to get scope views for all participants of most of the target birds on the route. We do not specifically target Golden-cheeked Warbler, but occasionally encounter them on this route. In addition to the targets mentioned below, we also often see spring migrants including raptors, flycatchers, and various smaller birds.

    Targets: Wild Turkey, Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Bell's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo (migrant, but singing), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow and occasionally Vermilion Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee and Black-throated Sparrow.
    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X*stop between locations




    U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
    The primary purpose of the refuge is to protect the nesting habitat of the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, two highly endangered migratory birds.


    SCOTT ROWIN

    Scott was hired in March 2011 as the Wildlife Biologist for the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Scott grew up in the Austin area where he graduated from Westwood High School. He then attended Sul Ross State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management. Since graduating he has worked as a Wildlife Biologist for over 20 years, most of which was with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where he helped with central Texas endangered species recovery efforts, particularly with the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo. Most recently Scott worked for the City of Austin as the Program Manager for the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, a partner to the Refuge. In his current duties as the Refuge Biologist, he is responsible for all aspects of wildlife and habitat management, with a particular focus on the golden-cheeked warbler, and black-capped vireo. Scott has lived in Lago Vista, Texas since 1999 with his wife Amy, and son Andrew. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.

    JOHN HARRINGTON

    John has been an active volunteer and member of the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands since 2002. His love of the outdoors naturally blossomed to an obsession for birding. He is also a member of the Travis Audubon Society and the American Birding Association. John leads field trips at the Refuge for TAS and FOB frequently and is actively involved in the USFWS Golden-cheeked Warbler surveys and assists the banding programs. John puts many hours into the Balcones Songbird Festival, the Balcones Christmas Bird Count and SparrowFest (where his other talent is cooking!). John is retired from AT&T where he was a Lab Manager. All the years at his desk, he dreamed of the great outdoors and visited it to hunt, hike or play whenever he had the chance. Since his retirement, he’s had time to take in all those dreams living in the Texas Hill Country with his wife, Cathy.
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 3

    Hill Country Birding

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Join top Texas birders to look for special Hill Country birds that nest on the Refuge. This tour makes multiple stops along one of the quietest, birdiest country roads in western Travis County, and then brief stops at Doeskin, Flying X and Simons Tract, affording participants the opportunity to see and hear many of the breeding and spring migrant birds of the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau. The trip leader is intimately familiar with these birds and their vocalizations, and will strive to get scope views for all participants of most of the target birds on the route. We do not specifically target Golden-cheeked Warbler, but occasionally encounter them on this route. In addition to the targets mentioned below, we also often see spring migrants including raptors, flycatchers, and various smaller birds.

    Targets: Wild Turkey, Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Bell's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo (migrant, but singing), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow and occasionally Vermilion Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee and Black-throated Sparrow.
    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X* stop between locations




    TEXAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY (TOS)
    http://www.texasbirds.org/
    The Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) was founded in 1953 as a nonprofit organization. The purpose of the Society is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge of birds; to encourage specifically the observation, study and conservation of birds in Texas; to encourage the formation of local birding clubs; and to stimulate cooperation among professional ornithologists.


    BYRON STONE

    Dr. Stone is an Austin physician and naturalist with a lifelong love of the outdoors. He has been an avid birder for over three decades, and has traveled all parts of Texas to observe birds and wildlife. Recently, his sparrow identification talents were touted in the Wall Street Journal (Birdwatchers Find Sparrows Often Are A Tough Nut to Crack, dtd Feb. 23, 2006).
    Assistant: Robert Hardway
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 0

    Sorry, but this event is now sold out. You can join the waitlist and we will send you an email when additional spaces become available.

    Join waitlist

      Birding Peaceful Springs


    Join us as we bird Peaceful Springs, a jewel of the Hill Country. With a variety of habitats and breeding Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos on the property, we expect a great list of birds! In addition to the two endangered songbirds, Northern Bobwhite, Cooper's Hawk, Greater Roadrunner, Crested Caracara, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Western Scrub-Jay, Verdin, Canyon Wren, migrating warblers, a variety of sparrows, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting are possible. The field trip will include walking on uneven, rocky roads and trails.

    Destinations: Peaceful Springs

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X





    TEXAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY (TOS)
    The Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) was founded in 1953 as a nonprofit organization. The purpose of the Society is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge of birds; to encourage specifically the observation, study and conservation of birds in Texas; to encourage the formation of local birding clubs; and to stimulate cooperation among professional ornithologists.


    SHELIA HARGIS

    Shelia has been birding for 16 years and thinks that birds are the coolest! She spends most of her free time birding or thinking about birds and her passion and enthusiasm for birds and birding is infectious. Shelia has given presentations and classes on numerous bird topics, regularly leads birding field trips, is on the Travis Audubon Habitat Conservation Committee, and teaches the Travis Audubon Introduction to Birds & Birding class. Her goal for the class is to get every participant hooked on birds.

    ED FAIR

    Ed has been actively and obsessively birding since 2001. He regularly leads field trips for Travis Audubon Society primarily at Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park and Westcave Preserve. He conducts numerous USGS Breeding Bird Surveys throughout Texas and participates in a number of Christmas Bird Counts. He has also participated in Golden-cheeked Warbler surveys for Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. He is founder of the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization (commonsfordpro.blogspot.com) which has been actively involved in efforts to improve bird habitat at Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park through the implementation of a native prairie restoration project. When Ed is not birding or irritating his grandchildren, he is practicing music law or teaching music business courses at the University of Texas.
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • 8:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters

      Bird on a Wire

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Did you ever wonder why some birds sit on a wire and others stay hidden in the foliage? Come spend a few hours at the Refuge Headquarters and watch birds come and go and interact with each other. You will learn some of their more common behaviors and why biologists believe they do them. Chairs, binoculars, and bird books will be provided for participants. You can enjoy birding and learn bird trivia in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of their behaviors may even help you identify them. All skill levels are welcome and this “trip” is handicap accessible.

    Targets: Inca Dove, Chimney Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Field Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, Lesser Goldfinch
    HQPhoto Opportunity





    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY (TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.


    DENNIS PALAFOX

    Dennis Palafox is a native Texan and first moved to Austin in 1975. He has B.S. and M.S in Biology. He has close to 40 years of experience in the natural resources field. 
    Dennis developed his interest in birds as part of job duties. But over time his interest in birds became more personal and evolved into a passionate hobby. He says he “officially” became a birder about 13 years ago after taking Byron Stone’s Sparrow Class. He has expanded his knowledge about birds by taking classes, attending workshops, and by participating in Breeding Bird Surveys and Christmas Bird Counts. He has birded throughout Texas and the U.S. as well as Central America and Europe. 
    Dennis has been leading field trips for the Travis Audubon Society (TAS) for about three years. Recently, he became the TAS Field Trip Committee Chair. Dennis believes that birding should be a fun learning experience. He particularly enjoys leading field trips for new birders because he enjoys seeing their enthusiasm as they become more familiar with birds. His philosophy in leading field trips is that it’s a collaborative effort whereby the leader participates as a facilitator and works with participants to locate, identify, and become more familiar with birds. He also enjoys the social aspects of birding because he gets to make new friends with a shared common interest. More recently, like other birders, he has developed an interest in photographing and digiscoping birds. His goal is to take a picture of every species he sees.

    DEB WALLACE

    Birding and being outdoors are my favorite things. I am a member of both Friends of Balcones and Travis Audubon, where I use my 20+ years of birding experience to coordinate and lead field trips. I enjoy showing folks the birds and places of Central Texas.
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 4

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    AMERICAN BIRD CONSERVANCY (ABC)
    ABC's mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. Our commitment to bird conservation remains absolute, even while some other groups shift their mission to prioritize people over wildlife. We believe unequivocally that conserving birds and their habitats benefits all other species — including people.

    JIM GIOCOMO

    Jim is the Coordinator of the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV), for the American Bird Conservancy. Jim earned a BS in Biology Millersville University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Ecology from the Pennsylvania State University, and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee. His work focused on songbird productivity in forest and grassland settings. Species monitored included Ovenbirds and Wood Thrush in Pennsylvania (8 years), and Henslow’s Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Bachman’s Sparrows, Dickcissels, and Eastern Meadowlarks at Fort Campbell Army Base working in the drop zones used for training by the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (7 years). Jim has also worked for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Audubon Pennsylvania, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
    Assistant: Nancy Ragland
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 9

    The Endangered Ones

    Endangered Ones Trip

    This tour will span the refuge in search of its two endangered songbirds. Experts on the species will take you to shady, relatively moist woodlands of oak and juniper to listen and look for Golden-cheeked Warblers. At the other end of the refuge, we will listen for the raspy songs of Black-capped Vireos in and around thickets of scrubby oaks, sumacs, and greenbriars. Along the way we hope to spot other Hill Country birds,

    Targets: Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate between locations *stop between locations




    FRIENDS OF BALCONES CANYONLANDS NWR (FOB)

    The mission of the Friends organization is to support, complete, and enhance the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge and its diverse ecology and promote its use for recreational, educational, and scientific purposes.

    JOHN HARRINGTON

    John has been an active volunteer and member of the Friends of Balcones Canyonlands since 2002. His love of the outdoors naturally blossomed to an obsession for birding. He is also a member of the Travis Audubon Society and the American Birding Association. John leads field trips at the Refuge for TAS and FOB frequently and is actively involved in the USFWS Golden-cheeked Warbler surveys and assists the banding programs. John puts many hours into the Balcones Songbird Festival, the Balcones Christmas Bird Count and SparrowFest (where his other talent is cooking!). John is retired from AT&T where he was a Lab Manager. All the years at his desk, he dreamed of the great outdoors and visited it to hunt, hike or play whenever he had the chance. Since his retirement, he’s had time to take in all those dreams living in the Texas Hill Country with his wife, Cathy.
    Assistant: Mary McCarley
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 3

    Hill Country Birding

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Join top Texas birders to look for special Hill Country birds that nest on the Refuge. This tour makes multiple stops along one of the quietest, birdiest country roads in western Travis County, and then brief stops at Doeskin, Flying X and Simons Tract, affording participants the opportunity to see and hear many of the breeding and spring migrant birds of the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau. The trip leader is intimately familiar with these birds and their vocalizations, and will strive to get scope views for all participants of most of the target birds on the route. We do not specifically target Golden-cheeked Warbler, but occasionally encounter them on this route. In addition to the targets mentioned below, we also often see spring migrants including raptors, flycatchers, and various smaller birds.

    Targets: Wild Turkey, Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Bell's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo (migrant, but singing), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow and occasionally Vermilion Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee and Black-throated Sparrow.
    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X* stop between locations




    TEXAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY (TOS)
    The Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) was founded in 1953 as a nonprofit organization. The purpose of the Society is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge of birds; to encourage specifically the observation, study and conservation of birds in Texas; to encourage the formation of local birding clubs; and to stimulate cooperation among professional ornithologists.


    RANDY PINKSTON

    Randy life has been defined by birds & birding since 1972. His focus is Texas and North American birds, although he enjoys neotropical birding and has traveled widely in Mexico and Central America. Pinkston has a wildlife science degree from Aggieland and at one time hoped to make some sort of living in birds. Instead, he took the easy way out and became a surgeon so that he could afford to live a comfortable life in birds & birding. He has led numerous birding tours in Texas & Arizona over the past 30+ years, including several central Texas winter sparrow workshops for TOS. He has done pineywoods breeding warbler trips for TOS, is a Life Member of TOS and has served on its Bird Records Committee. He co-authored the Texas column for North American Birds magazine since 2004. Recently Randy has taken an interest in birding with a digital camera and telephoto lens.
    Assistant: Robert Hardway
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 1

      Birding Peaceful Springs


    Join us as we bird Peaceful Springs, a jewel of the Hill Country. With a variety of habitats and breeding Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos on the property, we expect a great list of birds! In addition to the two endangered songbirds, Northern Bobwhite, Cooper's Hawk, Greater Roadrunner, Crested Caracara, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Western Scrub-Jay, Verdin, Canyon Wren, migrating warblers, a variety of sparrows, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting are possible. The field trip will include walking on uneven, rocky roads and trails.

    Destinations: Peaceful Springs

    van from HQ 30 Min 1way Easy to Moderate Flying X





    TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT (TPWD)

    To manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.


    JOE BEACH

    Joe birded with his family from before he started school then assisted with Puerto Rican Parrot field work as a teenager. Joe surveyed Golden-cheekeds and Black-cappeds with Travis County and city of Austin and now surveys for Golden-Cheekeds at Bright Leaf Preserve. After earning his BA from Williams College, he did his graduate work at Tulane University. Joe moved to Austin in 1994 and works for Texas Parks & Wildlife.

    AMY SUGENO

    Amy Sugeno is a former wildlife biologist who spent much of her career working with bats, songbirds and waterfowl, and rare species in Texas and Tennessee as well as New Mexico, Colorado, and Mexico for over 16 years. She mostly worked for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, but she also worked at The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She has also assisted with small mammal surveys, herpetological research, and plant community surveys, including wetland and rare plant surveys. Throughout her career, she greatly enjoyed teaching people about the natural world, particularly birds and bats, and was involved in many different classes and programs through TPWD as well as Travis Audubon Society. Amy now works as a mental health therapist, where she continues to help people connect with and learn about nature.
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 5

     Leaders Choice

    Leaders Choice Trip

    We’re leaving this trip intentionally vague so we can be flexible. Your leaders will be monitoring the birds seen throughout the festival and will use that information to determine the location for this trip. We may decide to try to re-find rarities or we may decide to go birding in one of our favorite Refuge tracts. Wherever we end up, you can expect to see some great Hill Country birds and have a great time. If you’re the type person who likes surprises or likes to go with the flow, this is the tour for you!

     van from HQ 30 Min 1way Moderate to Strenuous




    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY(TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.

    SHELIA HARGIS

    Shelia has been birding for 16 years and thinks that birds are the coolest! She spends most of her free time birding or thinking about birds and her passion and enthusiasm for birds and birding is infectious. Shelia has given presentations and classes on numerous bird topics, regularly leads birding field trips, is on the Travis Audubon Habitat Conservation Committee, and teaches the Travis Audubon Introduction to Birds & Birding class. Her goal for the class is to get every participant hooked on birds.

    ED FAIR

    Ed has been actively and obsessively birding since 2001. He regularly leads field trips for Travis Audubon Society primarily at Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park and Westcave Preserve. He conducts numerous USGS Breeding Bird Surveys throughout Texas and participates in a number of Christmas Bird Counts. He has also participated in Golden-cheeked Warbler surveys for Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. He is founder of the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization (commonsfordpro.blogspot.com) which has been actively involved in efforts to improve bird habitat at Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park through the implementation of a native prairie restoration project. When Ed is not birding or irritating his grandchildren, he is practicing music law or teaching music business courses at the University of Texas.
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 8

      Learning to Bird by Ear

    Hill Country Birding Trip

    Wherever there are birds, there are bird songs! Bird songs and other vocalizations provide a wealth of information that birders can use to quickly identify familiar birds, distinguish between closely related species, and perhaps decipher some of the more complex communications that go on between birds. Join Jeff Patterson for a brief introductory lecture intended to introduce you to the springtime bird vocalizations of Central Texas and learn some of the keys to identifying bird vocalizations, the purposes of birdsong, digital resources, and responsible use of recordings, while taking a hike through the beautiful landscape behind Refuge Headquarters.

    CLASSROOM & FIELD TRIP

    Targets: Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Chimney Swift, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    Easy to Moderate HQ





    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY(TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.

    JeffJEFF PATTERSON

    Raised in a Texas birding family, Jeff Patterson has been birding almost as long as he can remember; over 38 years and counting. He is employed as a technical specialist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and continues to explore and bird natural areas throughout the state. Jeff became curious about the sounds that birds make during the mid-1980s. But with today’s digital resources he has become fascinated with all aspects of bird sounds, including: the reasons birds sing, bird vocal anatomy, sound spectrograms and birding by ear. Over the past few years Jeff has developed and taught a popular class for the Travis Audubon Society on the bird vocalizations of central Texas.
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Refuge Headquarters
    • 12

    Take Flight for New Birders

    Are you a new birder that has moved up from a beginner, but are not yet an expert? These trips were created for you! Sebastian will give a 30 minute PowerPoint presentation on the "Songbirds of Balcones".Afterwards, Bryce and Sebastian will lead us to a fun and educational bird walk. The bird walk will be held around the trails at Balcones headquarters.

    Walk distance 2-3 miles with many breaks in between.

    Loaner binoculars available upon request.

    CLASSROOM & FIELD TRIP

    Targets: Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Chimney Swift, White-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Barn Swallow, Carolina Chickadee, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    Easy to Moderate HQ





    TRAVIS AUDUBON SOCIETY(TAS)
    Travis Audubon was founded in 1952 by visionary central Texans who recognized the vital connection between conserving wildlife habitat and the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable and habitable human communities.





    BRYCE HARDWAY

    Bryce is a high school student at Lago Vista High School. Since he was young, Bryce was always interested in nature; however a trip to Plum Island in Newburyport, MA hooked him on birding for good. Bryce has birded in the Central Texas area extensively since moving here in 2011. He has been to the mountains of West Texas, spring migration in Brazoria County, Port Aransas, South Padre Island and the Far South Texas area. He has also been a part of 5 Christmas Bird Counts. He went to 2 in Austin, 2 at Balcones Canyonlands NWR, and 1 at Granger Lake. During those CBC’s his group has found amazing birds such as Mountain Bluebird, Green-tailed Towhee, and American Woodcock. Bryce enjoys birding with his dad and travelling all over Texas to see new species. In his spare time he also plays basketball, baseball, and football and is a straight A student. Bryce will continue birding while trying to get a career in the birding field.

    SEBASTIAN CASAREZ

    Sebastian Casarez is a passionate 13 years old, avid birder and 2015 E. Lee Walker Award Recipient for Community Collaboration (CINCA). He started birding since he was seven years old. Sebastian was 10 years old when he started leading and co-leading bird walks in Travis and Williamson County. He still continues to lead bird walks for Travis and Williamson County. Sebastian was the Travis Audubon Young Birders Club Bird Guide Leader for two years. He has also co-led with Liz Gordon for the ABA RGVBF Family Bird Walks in 2015 & 2016. Sebastian also has co-led family bird walks for the August 2016 Nature Conservancy Davis Mountains Open Weekend. He enjoys participating in Christmas Bird Counts, GBBC, and ebird. Sebastian loves to teach others about birds, especially, through his bird presentations that he has given throughout the community. Recently, he has presented a bird conservation presentation for RGVBF Student Award Winners for 2015 & 2016. Sebastian hopes to bring the community together with a deeper love and respect for birds as he does.

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