The Guide to
Austin-area Birding Sites
Good places to see birds in and around Austin
Basin Wilderness Preserve -
805 North Capital of Texas
Highway, Austin TX 78746,
Location: From Loop 1 (MoPac Expressway): Go west on RM 2244 (Bee Cave Rd.) for 3.6 miles to the intersection with Loop 360 (Capital of Texas Highway). Turn right (north) onto Loop 360 and follow it for 1.1 mile to Wild Basin, on the right. Or: Driving south on Loop 360, go 3.1 miles past the Colorado River; Wild Basin will be on the left.
Habitats: Oak-juniper woodland. Riparian habitat along Bee Creek. Wild Basin hosts such typical birds of the Texas Hill Country as Western Scrub-Jay, “Black-crested” Titmouse, Bewick’s Wren, and Northern Cardinal. A few Golden-cheeked Warblers may be heard singing early in the breeding season, but they are probably no longer regular nesters. (Black-capped Vireos still nest on the adjacent Vireo Preserve, but this area is closed to the public—please do not trespass.)
Facilities: Nature center, gift shop, trails (some of them handicapped accessible), interpretative programs for adults and children, restrooms. Bird checklist available. Voluntary entrance fee.
Bend County Park (Paleface
Park) - 2011
North Pace Bend Rd., Spicewood
TX 78669, (512) 264-1482
Location: From the Texas Highway 71/RM 620 junction in Bee Cave, follow Texas 71 west for 15 miles to the intersection with RM 2322. Turn right (north) onto RM 2322 and follow it 4 miles to the Park entrance.
Habitats: Lake and lakefront. Other Park habitats, such as mesquite savannahs and cactus patches, show western dryland influences. Look for resident Golden-fronted Woodpeckers near the entrance station; a number of sparrows overwinter in fields near the station, including Grasshopper Sparrow. In the Maxey Cove area, Canyon Wrens, Canyon Towhees, and Rufous-crowned Sparrows are resident and Cactus Wrens are often found. At Mudd Cove look for nesting Cactus Wrens and Bell’s Vireos; American Pipits overwinter. Bushtits are resident in the center of the Park. Pyrrhuloxias sometimes (and Common Ravens more often) occur in the Park during winter. Forster’s Terns are regular over Lake Travis during migration and winter; Ospreys are also regular, but less common.
Facilities: Map, trails (some of them handicapped accessible), restrooms, picnic area. Swimming and camping. Entrance fee.
Further exploration: The nearby Haynie Flat Rd. area supports many of the species found in the Park; Verdins have also been reported here.
Pool County Park -
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd.,
Dripping Springs TX 78620
Location: Follow Texas Highway 71 west to Hamilton Pool Rd. (RM 3238). Turn left (south) onto Hamilton Pool Rd. and follow it for about 13 miles to the Park entrance, on the right.
Habitats: Oak-juniper woodland; some restored grasslands. Along Hamilton Creek and the Pedernales River, riparian habitats with Bald Cypress. Hamilton Pool is a cavern whose roof collapsed long ago, leaving it open to the sky; Hamilton Creek flows into the pool as a waterfall. Canyon Wrens are permanent residents around the Pool. Downstream from the Pool, the Hamilton Creek area supports such locally uncommon nesters as Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush. Golden-cheeked Warblers also nest near the Creek.
Facilities: Map, trails, restrooms, swimming. Bird checklist available. Entrance fee. The Park closes to additional visitors when the parking lot fills to capacity (often the case on weekends).
Further exploration: The Westcave Preserve is a bit farther down Hamilton Pool Rd. (take the first gate on the right past the Pedernales River). The Preserve offers weekend walks, introducing visitors to the Hill Country’s environment; these are at 10 and 12 a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m., weather permitting. Wear appropriate footgear. Donations are accepted. Telephone: (830) 825-3442.
Austin-area Birding Sites
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
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