Thursday Morning at the Wildflower Center

By: Michael Jewell, Travis Audubon Master Birder

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center usually opens at 9:00 AM every morning, but on Thursdays and Sundays it’s open at 7:30. Early morning at the Center is a magical place in the spring time– the coolness of the morning still permeates the air, the birds are excited about the morning, and you just about have the whole place to yourself.

South Mopac is a little messed up right now, but use it to your advantage– it keeps quite a bit of people from taking the journey there. The bridge at La Crosse Ave. is closed right now, so if you are coming from the North, you will need to go past La Crosse and make a “U” turn at the next bridge. There are lots of safety cones around, so be careful.

Last week Athena, the resident Great-horned Owl, was still tending to her one chick at the entrance. Good views were available and lighting was great. Most mornings, Bill (one of the volunteers) is there and loves sharing his wonderful photos. He knows the owl better than anyone.

As for the birds, we saw a Greater Roadrunner, Northern Cardinal, White-eyed Vireo, Savanna Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Eastern Phoebe, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Cedar Waxwing, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Lesser Goldfinch, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and, oh yea, a Great-horned Owl! I’m sure I missed a few others.

Be sure to stop at the Butterfly Shed! Sarah, one of the volunteers, proudly showed off the new shed, ready for releasing butterflies.

Did I mention the wildflowers? It is called the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center!

Athena and her baby