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-   -   Austin birding post SXSW (https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=369402)

Dr_ADH Saturday 3rd November 2018 15:07

Austin birding post SXSW
 
Hello
I'm heading from London to Austin for the SXSW festival March 10-17 and am hoping to take 3/4 days time off after to do some birding. I wonder if anyone can advise as to what would be a good plan as I will be solo to make the most of it. I realise it's a bit too early ideally but I can't expect them to bump back the festival for me.
If anyone is local and would have time or inclination to meet up for some birding that would be great.
Thanks very much
Adam

Andrew Whitehouse Saturday 3rd November 2018 15:18

Are there specific birds you'll be looking for? Will you have a car?

Dr_ADH Tuesday 6th November 2018 09:04

Hi Andrew, thanks for your reply. I'm working out what I will need to do; if I need a car and can't find anyone to hook up with then I will hire one. In an ideal world I'd go for the Whooping Crane (Rockport), Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Houston), Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo, though I'm a week or so too early for the Vireo looking at previous years, which is somewhat gutting.
I am a big lover of owls, so would love to try some night birding if daytime roosts are not shareable. I have never birded in the States, only baja california when on a whale watching trip (which then turned me onto birding!) and I went to Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru 2 years ago. Thus the scope for me is pretty good.
Any advice would be gratefully received!
My feeling at this stage is that I will try and stay for 4-5 days, maybe even the full week if it seems worthwhile and won't work out too costly solo.
thanks very much

Andrew Whitehouse Tuesday 6th November 2018 09:36

Having a car will make everything much easier and shouldn't be too expensive. Fuel is cheap too. If you've not been to America before you'll see a lot of new birds more or less everywhere, so that's good. The good thing with being in Austin is that you can head in different directions and get into fairly different birds each way. The only challenge will be time available and deciding what to prioritise. You should see a good selection of hill country birds at sites around the city and Golden-cheeked Warblers are likely to have arrived (though probably not the vireo, as you mention). Check Ebird for the best sites and for what species are likely (as you may already have done).

The Texas coast should be very good. Around Corpus Christi and Rockport should produce the Whooping Cranes and a lot of other birds. Around Goose Island (near Rockport) is good for the cranes. Aransas is also good but can be a slightly frustrating place to bird. The Houston area should be very good for a wide variety of birds. The forests will have interesting stuff (try WG Jones forest for Red-cockaded Woodpecker) and the Anahuac/ Bolivar/ High Island area is incredibly productive.

If you want to go the other way, it could be worth going down to the Lower Rio Grande area. It's a bit further but it's an easy drive with good birding stops along the way e.g. around Corpus Christi/ Rockport. There are absolutely loads of good birds in that area with many specialities and a range of excellent sites. You could spend a very good four or five days there.

I'd recommend either aiming for the Houston area or the LRG valley and spending as much time as you can in either. If you supplement that with a day or two birding around Austin you should get an excellent list.

Dr_ADH Thursday 8th November 2018 08:11

Hi Andrew
that's very helpful, thanks very much. Fingers crossed for a very early vireo too!
Best
Adam

hookem2010 Thursday 17th January 2019 19:32

What AW said. I'm in north Texas now, but started birding for a couple years while living in Houston. You can definitely spend significant time at Anahuac NWR, High Island and Bolivar Flats in a single day given their close proximity and get a good variety of early spring migrants, shorebirds, lingering ducks, raptors, etc. Red cockaded woodpecker is a pretty sure get in WG Jones Forest without too much trouble and is only 45-60 minutes north of Houston. You can try for Attwater Prairie Chicken at the APCNWR, which is pretty much on the way between Austin and Houston. Good prairie habitat even if you don't see the chickens and a good place to find white tailed hawks. If you have any other Houston-area questions closer to your trip, I'll do my best to answer them.


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