The Guide to
Austin-area Birding Sites
Good places to see birds in and around Austin
Creek Nature Preserve*-
804 Longbow Lane
Location: From IH-35 south, take exit 232A (Oltorf St.). Continue south on the IH-35 frontage road for 0.4 mile past the intersection with Oltorf, to the intersection with St. Edward’s Dr. Turn right onto St. Edward’s Dr.; the Preserve will be on the right after 0.2 mile.
Habitats: Riparian and upland woods. Some small open fields. Can be good for wintering birds. Over the years, 110 species have been seen in the Preserve; some of the more unusual finds include American Bittern, Sora, Lark Bunting, and Brewer’s Sparrow. Seventeen species of sparrows have been recorded. At the overlook on the west trail, hundreds of Chimney Swifts can be viewed toward dusk in September, coming to roost at the adjacent Travis High School.
Facilities: Trails. No parking lots – use curbside parking on St. Edward’s Dr. or at the east end of Longbow Ln.
Further exploration: The wet, wooded area at the south end of nearby Mabel Davis Park* may repay a visit; American Woodcock have been reported in winter. From the Oltorf/IH-35 junction, go east on Oltorf for 0.2 mile to the intersection with Parker Ln. Turn right (south) and follow Parker Ln. for 0.8 mile; Mabel Davis Park will be on the left.
Creek Greenbelt* -
Location: The Greenbelt runs along Barton Creek for 7.25 miles, from Zilker Park upstream to the Lost Creek subdivision. There are three main access points: (a) From the Barton Springs Pool area – park in one of the lots and head upstream. (b) From Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway) – just south of the MoPac/Loop 360 intersection, look for the large, rust-colored building at Barton Creek Plaza, 3755 Capital of Texas Highway. The parking lot for the Greenbelt is at 3755B, just north of the Plaza’s parking lot (this access point is sometimes called the Gus Fruh trailhead). (c) From Camp Craft Rd. – from the MoPac/Loop 360 junction, go north on Loop 360 for 2 miles and turn left (west) onto Scottish Woods Trail. Follow Scottish Woods to its end at Camp Craft Rd.
Note: No parking on Camp Craft – use curbside parking on Scottish Woods. The Camp Craft trailhead may be closed in the near future, to be replaced by another trailhead closer to MoPac.
Habitat: Riparian woodlands; juniper-covered uplands; some open fields. A good area during migration and winter. Summer residents include Indigo Bunting, Summer Tanager, Orchard Oriole. A few Golden-cheeked Warblers nest on steep hillsides upstream from the MoPac bridge, but can be very difficult to find here.
Facilities: Trails (some handicapped accessible), picnic areas. Orientation map at the Loop 360 trailhead. Portable toilets near the Loop 360 and Camp Craft trailheads. Mountain bikers and joggers are numerous and trails are narrow, so caution is in order. Some stretches of trail are quite steep.
6. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower
Center (National Wildflower
4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin TX 78739, (512) 292-4100
Location: From Town Lake, drive south on MoPac (Loop 1) for 8.8 miles to La Crosse Ave. (the first intersection past Slaughter Ln.). Turn left (east) onto La Crosse; the Center will be on the right after 0.3 mile.
Habitat: Live Oak savannah.
Facilities: Visitors’ center, gift shop, map, trails (handicapped accessible), interpretive programs, plantings, library, restaurant, restrooms, water fountains. Bird checklist available. Entrance fee. On-site parking may be restricted during special events; follow directional signs.
Further exploration: Nearby Slaughter Creek flows through Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park* (Circle C Metro Park). Habitat here includes fields, thickets, and woods. The entrance is at 6401 West Slaughter Ln., 1.1 mile west of the Slaughter Ln./MoPac junction. This Park follows Slaughter Creek downstream for about 2.5 miles, to near Bowie High School. See also Site 7.
Moore Seawright Metropolitan
907 Slaughter Ln.
Location: Heading south on MoPac (Loop 1), exit at Slaughter Ln. heading east. Follow Slaughter Ln. past Manchaca Rd. and turn south on Bilbrook Place (the light between Manchaca and United Kingdom). Follow Bilbrook and follow it for 1.1 mile to Watchful Fox Dr. Turn right onto Watchful Fox and follow it for 0.1 mile to Decker Prairie Dr. Turn left onto Decker Prairie and follow it for 1/8 mile to a small parking area.
Habitats: Riparian woodland and mesquite-hackberry-cedar woodland. The best part of this park for birding is the southwest part in and around the paved jogging loop. There are numerous dirt foot paths dissecting this part of the park, too. Several pairs of Painted Buntings nest here in summer, but depart around the third or fourth week of July. There is one winter record of a Sage Thrasher at this part of the park. Harris’s Sparrows are regular winter residents here as well.
Facilities: Trails, restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas.
Austin-area Birding Sites
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
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