Prospect Park bird hike

  A brilliant sky greeted the 24 early risers to the monthly bird walk. We met at the Prospect Park trail head on a crisp Oct. 1st morning. We saw 19 different species of birds, many in the meadow below the karst and wetland features of the natural area that connects to the larger Purgatory Creek natural area.
Eastern Phoebe (Colton Robbins)
  Recent rains of 8+ inches were evident as the trails were no longer muddy but the grass was laid-down where the flows streamed down to the creek. The natural areas work to protect the quality of water flowing into the aquifer and flood control as the water washes over the undeveloped land.
  Many of our sightings were made in the tops of the numerous mesquite trees that are dominating the grassland meadow. The grassland included Johnson grass and King Ranch bluestem, both invasives. Goldenrod with brilliant yellow flowers also filled the meadow and will serve as nutrition for sparrows and finches in the coming weeks.
  The bird walks take place on the first Saturday of each month and are led by Stephen Ramirez and Colton Robbins who provides the list of birds we've seen. Contact to be added to eMail list. Facebook pages for San Marcos Bird Walk and San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance also have similar information.  --LJ

San Marcos- Prospect Park, Hays, Texas, US
Oct 1, 2016 7:35 AM - 8:50 AM

Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
19 species
Black Vulture  1
White-winged Dove  30
Mourning Dove  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  2
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  3
Cave Swallow  3
Carolina Chickadee  3
Black-crested Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  2
Bewick's Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Northern Cardinal  6
Great-tailed Grackle  4
House Finch  3
Lesser Goldfinch  2
View this checklist online at

5th Anniversary of the San Marcos Bird Walk

  There were as many birders as species seen Saturday morning at Spring Lake. Stephen Ramirez, who organized and led the first birding hike in September 2011, was met with a similar crowd of avid birders. The numbers of residents interested in learning more about birds has flucuated between a dozen and two dozen. This is a good number for answering questions about behaviors, migration patterns, field marks, and numerous other bird-related questions.
Summer Tanager (Colton Robbins photo)
  In the ensuing years he's ably led the group on the first Saturday of each month. Colton Robbins joined the group about two years ago and has provided the birding list and some great photos. These observations are recorded in Cornell University's eBird database. The list documents migrations and native birds around the San Marcos area.
Another beautiful sunrise over Spring Lake (C. Robbins)
  Saturday's hike was rewarded with a close-up view of a Great Blue Heron flying low over the lake.  Four Wood Ducks with their colorful markings took flight as we closed-in for the better look. Unfazed were the vultures roosting in the top of a nearby tree. Also unfazed and singing but sitting still for photos was the Summer Tanager. No confusing this one with the common American cardinal; the differences were apparent.
   Joining the group is a simple as contacting or subscribing to the San Marcos Bird Walk Facebook page. Notification of where we are walking and observing usually is posted the afternoon before the walk.

Aquarena Springs, Hays, Texas, US
Sep 3, 2016 7:20 AM - 8:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments:     San Marcos Monthly Bird Walk
28 species
Wood Duck  6
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
All ages and interests. (Lance Jones photo)
Black Vulture 3 Turkey Vulture 4 Killdeer 1 White-winged Dove 60 Mourning Dove 1 Chimney Swift 6 Black-chinned Hummingbird 2 Eastern Phoebe 3 White-eyed Vireo 1 Barn Swallow 3 Cave Swallow 2 Carolina Chickadee 5 Black-crested Titmouse 2 Carolina Wren 2 Bewick's Wren 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2 American Robin 5 Northern Mockingbird 2 Summer Tanager 1 Northern Cardinal 2 Common Grackle 1 Great-tailed Grackle 1 Baltimore Oriole 1 Lesser Goldfinch 3
View this checklist online at

August birding hike 2016

  We started at the Discovery Center on Riverside Drive, the former Nature Center.  It was early, already warm and humid. The Lesser Goldfinches gathered at the sunflowers and enjoyed the seeds. Mockingbirds and various doves flew overhead and treetop to treetop.
Defending the space. (Colton Robbins photo)
  A pair of woodpeckers defended their roost in an old snag just below the Discovery Center grounds. Colton Robbins, who provided the birding list, captured an impressive photo of the encounter.  
  We wound our way into Ramon Lucio Park which borders the San Marcos River and provided habitat for many of the water birds. The highlight for the walk was watching a Barred Owl fly across the park and stir up some excitement among the other birds. One particular Mockingbird was not happy with the raptor's presence and made it known. The American Robin made a strong showing and their presence in late summer was commented upon.
  The monthly birding walks are hosted by Stephen Ramirez and take place at a different natural area or river park on the first Saturday of each month. Contact to be placed on the notification list or visit the Facebook page for the San Marcos Bird Walk. 
  Thanks to Colton Robbins for the list and great photo.  -- LJ

San Marcos- Ramon Lucio Park, Hays, Texas, US
Aug 6, 2016 7:05 AM - 8:20 AM
Protocol: Traveling with 15 observers
0.5 mile(s)
Comments:     San Marcos Monthly Bird Walk
76 degrees, partly cloudy, little to no wind.
22 species
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Inca Dove  1
Searching for the Barred Owl

White-winged Dove  70
Mourning Dove  4
Barred Owl  1
Black-chinned Hummingbird  1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Western Kingbird  2
Blue Jay  2
Carolina Wren  2
Bewick's Wren  1
American Robin  20
Northern Mockingbird  3
Northern Cardinal  4
Great-tailed Grackle  3
Lesser Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  3
View this checklist online at


New location brings out the crowd -- Birding Hike July 2016

  Twenty-six smiling faces watched the sun rise July 2nd over Interstate 35 from the San Marcos Aquatic Resource Center hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Hutchinson, US Fish & Wildlife Service botanist. Our group leader, Stephen Ramirez, was assisted by several Hays County Master Naturalists in answering questions from the large group.
Kenneth Dees talks to Sheila Fling at the start or our walk.
  The SMARC had recently completed a wildlife viewing station and two informational kiosks. The property is unique as it sits on the Blackland Prairie with tall grasses and wildflowers. A natural wetland on southeast section of the property brings in numerous water and shorebirds in addition to the prairie-loving Killdeer, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Shrikes, various swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds and Dickcissels.
  We were able to watch bird behavior as the mamma scissor-tailed encouraged her fledglings to take flight from a brush pile near the wetland. The Red-winged Blackbirds socialized in the leafless trees allowing for excellent spotting of the various field marks thanks to the early morning sunlight.
  While the birding list was not as extensive from previous hikes the variety and difference in species made the trip all the more interesting. And, as is always true, the camaraderie and shared interest made the early morning wake-up all the more enjoyable.
  The monthly birding hikes are held on the first Saturday of each month. Check the facebook page for San Marcos Bird Walk or contact and join the eMail list.

The viewing scope brings the field marks all the closer

11 species (+2 other taxa) total
Great Egret
Mourning Dove
hummingbird sp.
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
Barn Swallow
swallow sp.
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle