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Monthly Birding and Nature Hikes

Next Hike - Saturday, December 20th

Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve
9:00AM – 11:30AM
*Directions and Further Information Sent Upon Registration

Please register for the hike by clicking here

NEW: Want to educate yourself on the incredible flora and fauna out at Nalle Bunny Run before you head out with us on one of our hikes? Check out the guidebook, full of information about the ecosystems, wildlife, importance and history of the property.

The 39 acre Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve is situated on the banks of Lake Austin and is not only an environmental treasure, but an important habitat restoration project as well. The preserve was donated to Hill Country Conservancy in December 2000 was named for Anne Byrd Nalle. Mrs. Nalle wished for years to preserve her beloved “Bunny Run” for the public to enjoy. Her strong conservation ethic inspired her husband, “Tex”, and son, Bill, to join her in donating the land to Hill Country Conservancy. Bill and his wife, Christie still live on adjoining land and partner with Hill Country Conservancy to manage the Preserve. The preserve consists of five major habitat types including a juniper-oak woodland, a deciduous woodland, a sandy prairie, a mixed-species parkland, and riparian corridor along the Colorado River.

Upcoming Hikes Scheduled for:

December 20th
January 17th
February 21st
March 21st

Special Notice: All hikes are weather permitting. There are no restroom facilities on the preserve. Please leave your pets, bicycles, and motorized vehicles at home.

What to Wear/Bring:
• Comfortable, closed toed hiking or athletic shoes
• Comfortable, weather appropriate clothes
• Hat
• Sunscreen
• Bottle of water
• Sunglasses
• Binoculars (if you have a pair)

A very special thank you to Mikael Behrens, Emerging Professionals in Conservation (EPIC) Member and Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Docent for leading this and future hikes at Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife Preserve.

Immature Carolina WrenMourning Dove TracksBlack-chinned / Ruby-throated HummingbirdMourning DoveTurtleJuvenile Great Horned Owl
Eastern PhoebeCarolina WrenPrickly Pear BloomsRed-bellied WoodpeckerCarolina WrenEastern Phoebe
Dogleg Cedar ElmSummer Tanager SingingGolden-fronted WoodpeckerSummer TanagerGreen Heron

THE BIRD BLOG:

March 22: It was a fantastic morning and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful at the Nalle Bunny Run Preserve on Lake Austin. I had already observed three Yellow-throated Warblers in the cypress trees along the lake. (This is a summer-resident breeding species on the Bunny Run.) In the decomposing cottonwood by the Nalle’s houses I photographed a Merlin that was probably the same bird that last weekend’s bird walk group was lucky enough to see.

On my way back to the preserve’s entrance I took the loop trail west through mixed woods of oak, juniper, and cedar elm. A little uphill from where the trail curves to the south I encountered a small group of songbirds foraging in the trees — a Carolina Chickadee and a Black-crested Titmouse (both year-round residents), and an Orange-crowned Warbler (a winter resident that will soon be heading north). I caught a glimpse of yellow high in a cedar tree and thought it might be an early Black-throated Green Warbler which is a very common spring and fall migrant in central Texas. But when I got my binoculars on the bird I saw that the black stripe through the eye was just too dark. Its crown and back were black and not green. I felt a rush of adrenaline as I realized this was a Golden-cheeked Warbler!

The bird wasn’t very cooperative to photograph, staying high in the trees and rarely giving me a clear view. I’m pretty sure it was a female since the black on the crown and back didn’t seem as dark as a male. It was also quiet except for chip notes and I assume that a male would have been singing.

So now we know that at the very least, the Bunny Run has helped this species on its way to its breeding grounds. And optimistically, this bird could find a mate and breed here. We’ll just have to see if it can be observed later!

January 21: On January 21, 2012 EPIC-member and amateur ornithologist, Mikael Behrens, led other bird enthusiasts through the beautiful Nalle Bunny Run. They saw several species as they braved the breezy winter morning.

These bird-watchers witnessed hundreds of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings in flocks of ten to one-hundred soar overhead. These two species are mostly nomadic in the winter and forage in flocks, often mixed together.

Two Brown Creepers, a cryptic winter species that is often hard to find and see, crept through the trees. Male and female Ladder-backed Woodpeckers foraged in a tree right above their visitors.

The rarely seen white Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk (pictured, right) treated these bird enthusiasts when it was spotted on the cliff across the river.

Two Common Ravens, an uncommon species in west Austin, and two Spotted Towhees, one of the most colorful members of the sparrow family paid a visit as the tour wrapped up.


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