David Shackelford recently represented Rockjumper Birding Tours at the 13th Annual Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge Songbird Nature Festival. Besides enjoying a variety of great food and outdoor vendors with jovial birders from across Texas and other areas of the US, David guided one of the premium birding tours into the preserve. The day was an incredible success with an impressive variety of passage migrants and lingering wintering visitors caught in the telescope, including bright Summer Tanagers and Blue Grosbeaks, singing Cassin’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Wild Turkey, a profusion of gorgeous male Painted Buntings, Greater Roadrunner, and a wide menagerie of warblers, flycatchers, and woodpeckers!
Sightings of the two star avian attractions (for which the refugee was originally created) stole the show, beginning with a territorial male Golden-cheeked Warbler that serenaded us while perched conspicuously at the top of a juniper in a riparian gully. The sprightly Black-capped Vireo is the other endangered species that breeds within the reserve, and after tracking down a boldly patterned male in a thicket of stunted Shin Oaks, we were fortunate to observe a more subtle female hunkered down on a nest as she incubated the next generation of this sought-after specialty.
It is always a pleasure for Rockjumper Birding Tours to share the joys of birding with others, and the 2013 Songbird Nature Festival was no exception!