February 6, 2016
Birding & Learning at its BEST!Texas Hill Country
The ever-popular sparrow workshop celebrates its 12th Anniversary in 2016 with a return to our usual format of a single-day sparrow workshop with morning and afternoon field trips.
Join our talented leaders as they take you to refuge tracts beyond the trails where 'little brown birds' play. Learn how to identify the subtle differences and behavior of Texas wintering sparrows.
Details at a later date
Level of physical difficulty - moderate
Level of birding difficulty - moderate to difficult
Fun - extreme!
During winter and early spring, central Texas is one of the best locations in the United States for the study of native sparrows. This workshop will focus on field identification of the twenty-plus species of native sparrows that occur regularly each year in central Texas. We will alternate classroom sessions with field trips to a variety of habitats to give participants the best opportunity to practice identification techniques and to maximize the chance to observe the large numbers and variety of sparrows present in the grasslands and scrub environments of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. The workshop leaders, Byron Stone, Bill Reiner, Randy Pinkston, and Jeff Patterson. all have a great deal of experience with teaching and conducting field trips to observe sparrows and other specialty birds of central Texas. Participants should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions, ranging from mild to bitterly cold. Average highs in February are in the low 60's; average lows are in the 40's. Chance of rain on any given day in February is about 25%. The most important consideration is to bring sturdy footwear, since we will be walking in rocky, brushy terrain, often among prickly-pear cactus. Ideal footwear for this type of trip would be waterproof, leather hiking boots. We will spend several hours walking, although the pace will be slow, as we will (hopefully) be spending a fair amount of time observing flocks of winter sparrows and other birds. Participants should bring binoculars and other appropriate birding gear. Each of the instructors will have a spotting scope and tripod, but workshop participants are encouraged to bring their own scopes if they wish. A water bottle and a small pack to carry snacks and gear are highly recommended. Field trips will be split into four groups of approximately 12 persons each, in order to maximize opportunities for bird study. The instructors expect that workshop participants will have a good chance to see over 15 species of sparrows during the course of the day.