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Short Trips for Target Species: Black-capped Vireo & Golden-cheeked Warbler, TX

The oak-juniper habitat of central Texas, a short distance from the thriving city of Austin, is the only place in the world where these two species breed.

The rare and endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler has declined dramatically due to habitat loss throughout its relatively-small breeding and wintering ranges. The population of Black-capped Vireos, the smallest regularly-occurring vireo species in North America, are recovering due to intense conservation efforts.

We’ll visit several reliable locations to see these specialties, along with Painted Bunting, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Summer Tanager, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Swainson’s Hawk, and other regional species on this Texas short tour. We may spend an evening witnessing nearly a million bats flying out from under a city bridge – one of Austin’s most famous spectacles!

  • Tour Cost
  • Number of Days (Length of Tour)

    4 days / 3 nights


    Dates & Cost

    April 26-29, 2019   

    $1250.00 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Austin, TX.


    Single Supplement

    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $150 will be assessed.


    What is Included / Not Included

    Included in the cost are all accommodations, transportation, entrance fees and permits, from Austin, Texas


    Not included are air travel and associated fees to Austin (AUS),  trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, bottled beverages, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature. You will be responsible for purchasing all lunches, dinners and some breakfasts. Most of our motels offer a free continental breakfast. We will eat our meals together as a group.



    $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form


    How to Book

    In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.


    Final Payment

    Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Brief Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrivals; birding around Austin.

    Day 2 - Balcones Canyonlands and Golden-cheeked Warbler.

    Day 3 - South Llano River State Park and Black-capped Vireo.

    Day 4 - Departure


    Detailed Itinerary (subject to change)


    Day 1 - Arrivals, Local Specialties.

    We will collect all our participants and bird the Austin area. We'll loop the Hornsby water treatment admiring myriad shorebirds, waterfowl, waders, and gulls. A city retention pond is home to a Least Grebe, and Monk Parakeets may be seen flying into nearby trees. At dusk we may choose to watch a dizzying number of bats streaming out from under a city bridge - one of Austin's most famous and awe-inspiring spectacles!


    Day 2 - Balcones Canyonlands and Golden-cheeked Warbler.

    We'll rise early and venture out to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. We'll walk the Canyon Ridge Trail to find nesting Golden-cheeked Warblers, as well as Summer Tanager, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Painted Bunting and many more! We'll explore several sections of this vast Refuge before heading to the town of Junction, our base for the next target. We'll arrive in time to bird South Llano River State Park for several hours before dinner - we may stay till darkness to hear calling nightjars!


    Day 3 - South Llano River State Park and Black-capped Vireo.

    Today we thoroughly explore the park, enjoying additional looks at target species and myriad other species. Featuring multiple blinds, delightful trails, and great scenery, the park offers plenty to see and experience. Black-capped Vireos hop around their nesting territory, while Vermillion and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers hawk insects. Blinds provide up-close views of Rufous-crownded, Lark, Black-throated, and Clay-colored Sparrows, along with Orange-crowned Warblers, Verdins, Yellow-breasted Chats,  Canyon Towhees, Varied and Painted Buntings, and Bell’s Vireos. We'll bird our way back to Austin, stopping along the way to look for Zone-tailed Hawk, Cassin's Sparrow, among other birds of the Texas Plains.


    Day 4 - Austin area birding, Departures.

    We will spend any time we have prior to our departures birding the Austin area. We will then go to the airport to meet departing flights.

  • Accommodations
  • 3 nights accommodations in standard motels, all ensuite and comfortable. Wherever possible, we support establishments that implement eco-friendly practices.

  • Additional Info
  • Recommended Field Guide:

    Sibley Birds East

    (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)

    by David Allen Sibley

    Sibley Birds is also available as an App




    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our tour.


    Point of Departure (Getting There and Back)
    The tour begins and ends in Austin, Texas. The airport code for Austin Bergstrom International Airport is AUS. You will need to make your own arrangements to arrive on Day 1, and depart on Day 4.

    Note, the itinerary may change. Please do not book flights before checking upon the final arrival and departure times.


    Physical Requirements (Walking, Pace of the Tour)
    A reasonable degree of fitness is required.


    Climate / Weather




    Group Size
    The group is limited to a maximum of 7 participants. 


    Final Information
    Detailed General Information will be sent to each registrant upon booking. Final Information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.


    As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance


    Participants arriving from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.


    The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.