SAVE THE DATE! April 25 - 28, 2014
Registration Opens Feb. 15th!
2013 FESTIVAL LINEUP!
WINE & STAR SHINE BENEFIT Flat Creek Estate Winery
Friday, April 26 6:30pm-9:30pm Share in the joy of accomplishment and benefit our festival programs.
At 7:30pm - Chef Sean Fulford will delight you with an exquisite dinner to complement Flat Creek Estate award winning wines.
At Dusk - Jeffery Phillips from the Austin Astronomical Society will provide tales and lights of the sky.
Be sure to check out our SILENT AUCTION and PHOTO CONTEST Winners!
This event starts at the winery. DIRECTIONS.
Sunday, April 28 Noon-5:00pm
NATURE TOURS start at the Refuge Headquarters. (except Private Tours)
ATTENTION BIRDERS! Be sure to hang around for the COUNTDOWN. If you are attending Friday or Monday, pack in a lunch! If you are attending Saturday & Sunday, grab a bite at the Vireo cafe and head on over to the COUNTDOWN TENT.
PREMIUM BIRDING TOURS
Premium tours led by professional leaders from some of our internationally acclaimed eco-tourism companies. Field Guides, Rockjumper, and BirdQuest
are participating this year, and their guides have graciously donated their time to support the Friends, the Refuge and the Songbird Festival.
The field trips will be moderately strenuous, and participants should be able to walk for several hours on hill country terrain. It will be worth the effort! If you have never been on a tour led by a professional leader, this is your opportunity to experience it for yourself. If you have been on professionally led tours, you know this is a trip not to be missed.
Birding the Refuge with Field Guides
Birding the Refuge with Rockjumper
Birding the Refuge with BirdQuest
SIGNATURE BIRDING TOURS
The Endangered OnesFriday, April 26 - 7:30am-Noon (Chuck Sexton)
Saturday, April 27 - 7:30am-Noon (Joe Beach & Jim Giocomo)
Saturday, April 27 - 7:30am-Noon (Bill Reiner & John Chenoweth)
Sunday, April 28 - 7:30am-Noon (Jim O'Donnell)
Sunday, April 28 - 7:30am-Noon (Shelia Hargis)
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, such as Painted Buntings, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Cave Swallows. Easy to moderate hiking.
Explore Hill Country BirdingSaturday, April 27 - 8:00am-12:30pm (Kathy McCormack)
Saturday, April 27 - 8:00am-12:30pm (Byron Stone)
Join top Texas birders to look for special Hill Country birds that nest on the Refuge. Painted Bunting, Canyon Towhee, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, and Grasshopper Sparrow possibilities to name a few.
Leaders Choice *New
Monday, April 29 - 7:30am-12:30PM (Shelia Hargis & Laurie Foss)
Monday, April 29 - 7:30am-12:30pm (Chuck Sexton)
We’re leaving this trip intentionally vague so we can be flexible. Shelia Hargis and Laurie Foss will be your leaders for this adventure. They 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!
SPECIALTY BIRDING TOURS
Studying Bird Behavior *New
Friday, April 26 - 8:00am-11:00am (Shelia Hargis & Laurie Foss)
Do you find bird behavior fascinating? Would you prefer to spend the morning watching a few birds go about their lives than hiking across the countryside ticking off species as you go? If so, this “field trip” is for you. Bring your favorite lawn chair and join Shelia Hargis and Laurie Foss for a morning of sitting in the shade, letting the birds come to us, watching and discussing their behaviors, practicing our ID skills, and practicing our birding-by-ear skills. All skill levels are welcome. Birds likely to be encountered include Chimney Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Summer Tanager, Field Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, and other grassland and woodland residents as well as migrants.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this trip is NOT strenuous so if our usual “moderately strenuous” statement has scared you off from other Songbird field trips, this might be the perfect field trip for you! It’s even handicap accessible.
Breeding Birds of Balcones
Saturday, April 27 - 7:30am-Noon (Jim O'Donnell)
Seek out some of the birds that breed on the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. This tour will focus on providing a more in-depth understanding of these birds. Aspects of natural history such as distribution, habitat, migration, and behavior of these species will be discussed as well as any conservation concerns. This tour is for those who want to know more about our birds than just the field marks.
Young Beginning Birders (12-18 yrs)
Sunday, April 28 - 8:00am-11:30am (Sam Fason & Laurie Foss)
Birds are fascinating creatures to study because of their accessibility, their vitality, and their extraordinary life strategies. Furthermore, birds are great teachers that give us insight into the natural world around us. In this workshop we will focus on how to unlock that world by learning strategies for how to find, identify, and observe birds. First we will review the tools of the trade that we can use to identify a bird. Then we will go on a walk to see what we can find! (talk/walk)
What You Need to Know to Be a Birder/BirdwatcherSunday, April 28 - 1:00pm-5:00pm (Theresa Bayoud)
It's not hard to get hooked on birds, but then what do you do? How do you identify birds? Which binoculars are the best? Where do you go to see birds? If you are new to the birding/birdwatching scene and would like a little help getting started, this presentation is for you. Theresa Bayoud's presentation will include topics such as binoculars, field guides, journals, where to go birding in Central Texas, birding/conservation organizations, and resources to learn more. Get your new hobby (or obsession) off to a great start with the information Theresa provides. (talk/walk)
Learning to Bird by EarSunday, April 28 - 8:00am-12:30pm (Jeff Patterson)
Wherever there are birds, there are bird songs! And springtime in Central Texas is certainly no exception. 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 to decipher some of the complex communications that go on between birds. Join Jeff Patterson for a brief introductory lecture and hike intended to introduce you to the pringtime bird vocalizations of Central Texas. Learn some of the keys to identification, the purposes of birdsong, digital resources and responsible use of recordings, while taking a hike through the beautiful hill country of the Refuge. Easy to moderate hiking. (talk/walk)
Native Plants on the RefugeSaturday, April 27 1:00pm-5:00pm (Bill Carr & Diane Sherrill)
Balcones Canyonlands NWR was created to save the endangered bird species, Golden -Cheeked Warbler and Black-Capped Vireo, but these birds do not live in a vacuum. Without the plants, and the insects those plants sustain, we wouldn’t have these marvelous birds, or anything else in nature. It really IS all connected! Bill Carr will be conducting a plant tour with co-leader Diane Sherrill. Bill has recently retired from The Nature Conservancy to open his own consulting business. He has been called “the best field botanist in Texas”, and if you care about native plants, you NEED to take a walk with him! (talk/walk)
Nature Photography WorkshopSaturday, April 27 1:00pm-5:00pm (Karen Kilfeather)
Karen will emphasize basic outdoor photography in this workshop. Film or digital cameras are welcome. Karen will cover composition, lighting, depth of field, and some basic field tips for bird and nature photography. The use of settings for greater control of your images will be covered. All cameras are different, so be sure to bring your camera manual with you to class! (talk/walk)
Exploring the BackcountrySunday, April 28 8:30am-12:30pm (Jean & Seay Nance)
Explore one of the most beautiful parts of the Refuge as we walk along Post Oak Creek and venture into the backcountry in an area normally not open to the public. We'll talk about everything we come across, from geology to local wildlife and native plants to weather's influences on habitats. Moderately difficult hiking: wear ankle-supported, waterproof shoes as uneven footpaths and stream crossings will be encountered.
Blossoms, Butterflies, and Bird Identification for BeginnersSunday, April 28 - 9:00am-1:00pm (Joan Mukherjee)
Joan Mukherjee will conduct a workshop on wildflowers and other plants of value to birds and butterflies at her home on Cedar Stump. The morning will begin by learning the basics of identification of wildflowers and other plants important to wildlife. Next we will stroll through her wildscape to observe butterflies, birds and plants and practice what we have learned. Finally for those wanting to stretch their legs we will go on a hike and see what has managed to survive the drought in the fields and woods. Bring your binoculars and your favorite wildflower field guide if you have them.
(requires your groups registration code)
Native Plants and Birds on the Refuge
Sunday, April 28 9:30am-12:30pm (Diane Sherrill and John Harrington)
Join Diane Sherrill and John Harrington for a fun and fascinating tour of Doeskin Ranch. Spend a beautiful Spring morning exploring the plants and their niches in the diverse and interesting environs of Doeskin Ranch and discover the birds along the way. Be prepared for a 3 hour hike in Hill Country terrain. Dress for the weather, including sturdy walking shoes. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and a curious attitude. Meet in the Doeskin parking lot at 9:30 a.m.