Short Trips for Target Birds Series

TEXAS: Black-capped Vireo & Golden-cheeked Warbler 2025



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2025 :: April 21 - April 24



From: $1,650 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Austin, Texas. (AUS)


3 - 7 Participants


2025: 4 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of TEXAS: Black-capped Vireo & Golden-cheeked Warbler 2025

  • 4-day/3-night short trip for target species
  • Golden-cheeked Warbler & Black-capped Vireo
  • Beautiful Texas Hill Country
  • Peak of spring migration, with ~150 bird species possible!
  • Watch 1 million bats leave their roost in downtown Austin!
  • Extension to our ‘Rio Grande Valley in Spring’ tour

Description of TEXAS: Black-capped Vireo & Golden-cheeked Warbler 2025

Pack your cowboy hat and binoculars and join this long-weekend tour targeting Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo in the Texas Hill Country! These handsome songbirds are two of the most range-restricted birds in North America, and the beautiful oak-juniper habitat of central Texas is the only place in the World where the two species breed – just outside the thriving capital city of Austin!

North America is famous for its incredible diversity of nearly 50 wood-warbler species. Most of these colorful songsters breed in the extensive boreal forests of the northern US and Canada. Not to be outdone, Texas has its own species who’s breeding range is entirely encompassed by the Lone Star State! The rare and endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler breeds in old-growth Ashe Juniper exclusively in Texas, and migrates to the pine-oak forests in the mountains of Guatemala. Already confined by strict habitat preferences, their population has declined dramatically due to extensive habitat loss throughout the breeding and wintering ranges.

New Mexico, Oklahoma, and (primarily) Texas are also the breeding grounds for the rare Black-capped Vireo. This small, handsome vireo was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2018 thanks to intensive conservation efforts throughout Texas. Dense, arid scrubland provides the breeding habitat for these vireos, and they spend the winter months on the Pacific coast of Mexico. For both of these rare songbirds, the heavy land-clearing for both firewood and cattle ranching has steadily chipped away at their favored habitats. More cows means more cowbirds, and both the vireo and warbler are heavily affected by cowbird nest parasitism.

During this 4-day tour, we will visit several reliable locations to see these two target specialties and learn more about their unique habitats, ecosystems, and conservation concerns. This tour also coincides with the peak of spring migration through Texas, and we will see dozens of other beautiful species during the weekend. Scott’s, Orchard, Baltimore, and Bullock’s Orioles are all possible, plus songbird stunners like Painted, Indigo, and Varied Buntings! Zone-tailed Hawk and “Fuerte’s” Red-tailed Hawks hunt the desert scrub, while Swainson’s Hawks and Mississippi Kites may be migrating high overhead! Hornsby Bend can host 15+ shorebird species and many lingering waterfowl species. Sharp desert sparrows like Cassin’s, Rufous-crowned, Black-throated, and Clay-colored highlight a long list of sparrows likely to be encountered. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers will be seen by the dozens! At the beautifully scenic Lost Maples area we’ve also had good luck finding Tropical Parula in recent years in addition to Inca Dove, White-tipped Dove, Acadian Flycatcher, Black-crested Titmouse, Scott’s Oriole, and various migrant warblers!

If those birding opportunities weren’t enough, we will also visit the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin where just after sunset we can watch as 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from their roost and set out for the night! This is the World’s largest urban bat roost and worth a visit to Austin in its own right. Overall this is a really solid trip with ~150 bird species possible in 4 days, and nearly guaranteed views of our two target songbirds!

Want more time to explore Texas in spring? Combine this short target tour with our weeklong TEXAS: Rio Grande Valley in Spring for 10 days of incredible spring birding! This combo can total 250+ species!

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals before 1pm at Austin-Bergstrom Int. Airport (AUS). Afternoon birding and Austin Bat Roost. Night in Cedar Park.

Day 2 – Balcones Canyonlands & South Llano River State Park. Night in Junction.

Day 3 – South Llano River State Park & Lost Maples. Night in Cedar Park.

Day 4 – Birding around Austin & departures from Austin-Bergstrom Int. Airport (AUS).

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals before 1pm at Austin-Bergstrom Int. Airport (AUS). Afternoon birding and Austin Bat Roost. Night in Cedar Park.

Please plan to arrive in Austin before 1pm on the first day. We will collect all participants from the airport and immediately set out to bird various hotspots around the Austin area. We’ll loop the Hornsby Bend water treatment facility to admire the myriad shorebirds, waterfowl, waders, and gulls. Huge numbers of shorebirds can be found here during a spring day, with 15+ species possible. A nearby Monk Parakeet colony is always a crowd-please and at a tiny city retention pond we may find Least Grebes at the very northern edge of their US range. Dinner is in downtown Austin. At dusk we visit the Congress Avenue Bridge and watch as a truly dizzying number of Mexican Free-tailed Bats streaming out from their roost – one of Austin’s most famous and awe-inspiring spectacles! This is the largest urban bat roost and as many as 1.5 million bats seen leaving their roost! The bat and the crowd of people watching is truly astonishing! Night in Austin.

Day 2 – Balcones Canyonlands & South Llano River State Park. Night in Junction.

We’ll rise early and venture out to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. A slow walk along the Cactus Rocks Trail should turn up nesting Golden-cheeked Warblers, as well as Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Summer Tanager, and more! We’ll explore several sections of this vast refuge, including a visit to the Shin Oaks Observation Deck where we hope to find Black-capped Vireos on territory. There may also be Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Lark Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, and Painted Buntings! After rounding up our two primary targets, we will head west to the dusty town of Junction. We should arrive in time to spend the afternoon birding around Junction and also visit South Llano River State Park for several hours before dinner. After dark we can listen for nightjars and owls as the sun sets. Night in Junction.

Day 3 – South Llano River State Park & Lost Maples. Night in Cedar Park.

Today we can spend a few hours really enjoying South Llano River State Park and possibly get more opportunities with our two target species in addition to many other interesting species. Featuring multiple bird-blinds, flat trails, and great scenery, the park has plenty to see! Black-capped Vireos hop around their nesting territory, while Vermillion and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers hawk insects. Blinds provide up-close views of Rufous-crowned, Cassin’s, Lark, Black-throated, Lincoln’s, and Clay-colored Sparrows along with Orange-crowned Warblers, Verdin, Yellow-breasted Chats, Canyon Towhees, Varied and Painted Buntings, and Bell’s Vireos. In 2018 we were lucky to see an incredible hybrid male Varied x Painted Bunting! If we are lucky perhaps a Golden-cheeked Warbler or Black-capped Vireo will stop in for a bath! From there we will drive south to Lost Maples National Conservation Area which is a stunningly beautiful nature area protecting a large patch of old-growth maples and providing a breeding outpost for a number of regional rare species including, of course, Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo but also White-tipped Dove, Scott’s Oriole, Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Inca Dove, Canyon Wren, and Yellow-throated Warbler. For the remainder of the day we will drive back to Cedar Park, north of Austin. Night in Cedar Park.

Day 4 – Birding around Austin & departures from Austin-Bergstrom Int. Airport (AUS).

We will spend a few hours in the morning prior to departures birding the Austin area and rounding out our trip list. Devine Lake Park, Lake Travis, and another visit to Hornsby Bend will likely be on the itinerary for the last morning. Please plan your departure for no earlier than noon if possible. Remember that this trip also works as an extension to our weeklong TEXAS: Rio Grande Valley in Spring tour! Combine both for 250+ species in 10 days!


Cost is $1,650 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Austin, Texas. (Airport code AUS).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code AUS).

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accommodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $250 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

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

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Most walks will be short and on flat terrain, but we won’t give up until we get the birds! Some trails in Balcones Canyonlands can have rocks and roots to avoid.

Recommended Field Guide

Sibley Birds East (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)
by David Allen Sibley

Sibley Birds is also available as an App

Non-smoking Tour

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


We will using full-size, luxury SUVs for this tour.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

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

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA 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.

Itinerary Changes

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.

Location Map