Shin Oak Observation Deck - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 30° 39.603 W 098° 02.970
14R E 591062 N 3392313
Quick Description: The Shin Oak Observation Deck, located a the North end of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, was purposefully placed in the middle of Black-capped Vireo habitat as well several other bird species.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/14/2014 1:12:51 PM
Waymark Code: WMMFTP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bear and Ragged
Views: 5

Long Description:
The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, located in the Texas Hill Country to the northwest of Austin, was formed in 1992 to conserve habitat for two endangered songbirds including the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo and to preserve Texas Hill Country habitat for numerous other wildlife species.

Located at the North end of the refuge is the Shin Oak Observation Deck: this site was specifically set up to provide an immediate view of a large stand of shin oaks from which one can observe and hear Black-capped Vireos during their nesting season. It is also a place to look for other nesting species such as Painted Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Field and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. One can also spot Golden-cheeked Warblers, Northern Cardinals and Northern Mockingbirds, depending on the season.

Per the Per the "Friends of Balcones Canyonlands" website: (visit link)

"During the winter, the Black-capped Vireo is found on the West Coast of Mexico. The male vireos arrive in Texas from late March to mid-April. The male vireos set up territories that average 2 to 4 acres. Males often return to the same area in subsequent years. As soon as possible after she arrives, the female chooses a mate. Together, they build a single nest that is placed low in the vegetation and can be found in various species of oaks. The eggs are generally laid in May. Both adults participate in the incubation of the eggs and one of the pair is usually on the nest. Incubation lasts 13 to 17 days. The eggs hatch over a 2-day period. Newly fledged vireos remain near the nest. In August and sometimes as late as September, the Black-capped Vireos migrate back to Mexico for the winter. Typically, 3 to 5 territories of Black-capped Vireos are established within earshot and viewing distance from the Observation Deck."

Per the on-site instructions, visitors are required to observe only from the boardwalk and observation deck. Also, the deck is closed for several weeks in April to minimize disturbance to Black-capped Vireos during their critical nest building. Lastly, the deck closes for 4 weekends in November and December for management deer hunts.
Park Name: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Sponsoring Organization: United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Handicap Accessible?: Yes

Website: [Web Link]

Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

List any Hides, Birding Towers, or other structures to assist in Birdwatching found at the location:
Observation deck, consisting of walkway and large pagoda-like structure with wooden blinds/hides.

Parking Coordinates: N 30° 39.638 W 098° 02.988

Visit Instructions:
A clear, original image is required to log a visit to a waymark in this category. The image must contain a bird at the site, a nest, or other evidence that visitors partook in the delight of birdwatching at this site. Please tell us about your experience with an identification of a bird or two that you've seen!
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Birdwatching Locations
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
tamiuron visited Shin Oak Observation Deck - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA 9/16/2014 tamiuron visited it
Raven visited Shin Oak Observation Deck - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA 8/15/2014 Raven visited it
WalksfarTX visited Shin Oak Observation Deck - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA 10/27/2013 WalksfarTX visited it

View all visits/logs