Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Balcones Canyonlands NWR and nary a bird!

Beautiful day in Austin, Texas today! About 78F with intermittent fluffy cumulus clouds floating across an azure blue sky. Despite the fact that we're staying pretty close to downtown, on a day like today you just know the Astrals are heading into nature. Today it was a drive northwest of city into the beginnings of Texas hill country. Checking the map we noticed the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (BCNWR) and made that our target destination. Canyonlands! Sign us up! The BCNWR was established to provide a protected habitat for two endangered species of birds: the Black-Capped Vireo and the Golden-Cheeked Warbler. I have included links for these birds in case you want to see them because we did not see a single bird all day. Ha! We did get in some good hiking in terrain unlike anything we've seen yet so it was a good day despite the lack of bird sightings. We did see two gray foxes loping through the canyon lands from about 20 yards, so the wildlife viewing was not a total wash.

The hills where we hiked were mostly covered with cedar. We did about four
miles on two well-established trails. The terrain rolled up and down
but there were no super strenuous climbs, just good ridge-line hiking .

Here's Astral Wendy sporting her new 'Cow-Maflage'
cargo pants. Looks like a floating torso, no? Those are
actually her legs!

Here's a bit of fluff.

This is one of the two grey foxes we saw running together. They
were moving pretty quickly but Wendy was able to get a shot. They
pretty much ignored us.

In addition to cedar, there's quite a bit of cactus scattered about.

There were some nice vistas from up on the ridge. 

Here I am with my snake-stabber. The sign at the trail
head warned of snakes, fire-ants, and prickly plants. We
didn't see any snakes but we thought we heard a rattle
at one point. 

Some of the terrain was desert-like in spots.

I can barely see Astral Wendy. Those pants are

Oh, there she is.

The parking lot was back along the ridge to the right. I could
actually see the Eurovan from this point.

Astral Wendy can always find a cool rock.

Instead of blazes, there were these painted trail markers. These
were the only Golden-cheeked warblers we saw all day.

The parking lot (empty when we arrived) was at the top of a
fairly steep gravel road.

This was on the way back down.

Like I said, it was a beautiful day.


  1. I think those cowmaflage pants scared off the birds.

  2. cool pants wendy.
    that rock looks like voldemort!
    heard snow in texas??
    what are you two doing to the environment?

  3. @Ellen: yes, a hard freeze follows us everywhere we go. Grrr....and Brrrr.

  4. Wow. Great photo of the fox!

    Looks like an interesting place, I didn't realize this existed so close to a major city like Austin.

  5. Thanks Tree... it's about an hour away. Austin is smaller than I expected but I keep judging from a NYC perspective and that's probably not fair.