Spring birding walks

   The first Saturday of May we started our walk along the San Marcos River at Rio Vista Falls. At 7:30 in the morning there were not many people out and about but the birds certainly were. Night herons fished below the River Pub, Turkey Vultures scavenged the trash, and Red-Shouldered hawks flew to their nest in Ramon Lucio Park. 
At Rio Vista Falls and great birding early morning
   A short hike across the closed Cheatham Street into Ramon Lucio and following along the river we spied numerous birds and even a few joggers and dog walkers. The river snakes through the park and provides habitat for a number of bird species and a few mammals. We found the hawk nest high in a sycamore tree with a resident parent.
   Along the river we watched a graceful night heron fly-in and land on a fallen tree. This would serve as a fishing platform for the heron.
   After we exhausted our search for additional birds we crossed over to Crook Park and the Nature Center grounds.  Another birder told us seed-eaters were devouring the mulberries but we didn't see them. Cardinals proliferated as did mockingbirds.
   Our group of ten completed the hike in 90 minutes led again by Stephen Ramirez.     --LJ

The complete listing of birds seen:

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron     
White-winged Dove     
Mourning Dove     
Inca Dove     
Yellow-billed Cuckoo     
Red-bellied Woodpecker     
woodpecker sp.     
Great Crested Flycatcher     
Carolina Chickadee     
Black-crested Titmouse     
Northern Mockingbird     
Yellow Warbler     
Clay-colored Sparrow     
Northern Cardinal     
Great-tailed Grackle
Green Heron
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Carolina Wren
Blue Jay
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
House Sparrow
Red-shouldered Hawk   

   A month earlier Stephen Ramirez led the group in search of the Golden-cheeked Warbler.  We didn't see one but here is the list of birds we saw in the Spring Lake Preserve in April:
   Black-crested Titmouse     
   Bewick's Wren     
   Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     
   Ruby-crowned Kinglet     
   Nashville Warbler     
    Cassin's Sparrow     
    Clay-colored Sparrow     
    Lincoln's Sparrow     
    Brown-headed Cowbird  

Parking Fees at Spring Lake Natural Area

Parking lot between golf course and Meadows Center
With no fanfare the University has imposed a parking fee of $3 day, $7 week to trail users of the Spring Lake Preserve. 
Parking fees will be charged M-F from 7a-5p. $3/day or $7/week. There is a little kiosk there to pay and then put ticket on your windshield. (see attached) University permits work all zone (see attached) So evenings and weekends are still free.

pay kiosk