By: Kelsey McKenna, Travis Audubon Development Manager
Our fall VIP birding trip on November 2 at the Cibolo Bluffs Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property, was a hit! Situated about 20 miles northeast of San Antonio, this 2,765-acre preserve encompasses nearly three miles of Cibolo Creek. It was the perfect locale for a morning bird walk for 17 generous Travis Audubon donors led by Rich Kostecke and Eric Stager.
The group arrived for a sunrise breakfast picnic and a brief history lesson at the preserve’s hilltop ranch house. We then set off on a short walk to the bluff’s water feature, where we delighted in crimson flashes of Northern Cardinals, the first of many Eastern Phoebes for the day, and a flock of Black-bellied Whistling-ducks overhead.
We took to navigating the preserve’s trails in high-clearance vehicles, stopping frequently to bird and admire the expansive scenery: prickly pear cacti glowing golden in the morning sunlight, and mature Oaks and Ashe juniper that make for pristine GCWA habitat. During our stops we were met by inquisitive deer, an Orange-crowned Warbler, Red-shouldered Hawk, and more Phoebes at just about every turn. The highlight of the day surely was the Hutton’s Vireo – a lifer for many, including me – who perched just off the trail for everyone to get a close-up view.
We caravanned back through the trails to reconvene at the ranch house, where we enjoyed snacks in the shade of a large oak tree. In three hours we covered 3.75 miles and saw 24 species (and at least 24 Phoebes!) with good friends… what a way to experience quintessential hill country!
We are so grateful to the generous donors who make Travis Audubon’s work possible. If you’re interested in joining us on VIP field trips like these, email me at Kelsey@travisaudubon.org to learn more about our levels of membership.