Cactus Rock Trail - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 30° 30.330 W 097° 58.790
14R E 597892 N 3375243
Quick Description: The Cactus Rock Trail, located a the SE end of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, was purposefully laid in the middle of Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat as well several other bird species.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/14/2014 3:07:43 PM
Waymark Code: WMMFVD
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 Southeastern edge of the refuge is the Warbler Vista visitor area: this is one of only two locations within the NWR with public trails, taking hikers through the limestone terraces that give the refuge its name "balconies".

Cactus Rocks trail is a 1.25 mile one-way trail purposefully designed to wind through Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat of juniper and hardwood trees. It leads into old-growth woodland where Golden-cheeked Warblers nest in the spring. Other nesting birds include the Black-and-White Warbler, the Painted Bunting, and the Field and Rufous-crowned Sparrows. A free guide pamphlet, available at the parking lot kiosk to the North of the trailhead, provides a bird-watching related narrative at several points along the interpretive trail.

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

"The Golden-cheeked Warblers winter in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. They arrive in Central Texas in mid-March and stay until about the end of July. The male warbler arrives first and establishes a territory of 3 to 6 acres. The female arrives a few days later and quickly selects a mate. The male warblers sing loud and defend their territories vigorously to attract their mate. The pair remains together throughout the nesting season. The female warbler builds the nest alone. The use of juniper trees that are at least 20 years old and 15 feet tall are essential to the nest building. The female pulls strips of bark from the tree for the main element of her nest. The presence of old growth Ashe juniper is vital to the species' survival. The female lays 3 or 4 eggs. For approximately the next 12 days, the female warbler incubates the eggs. The nestlings fledge at 9 days but remain near the adults for approximately 4 weeks. By the third week, the young birds are foraging for themselves and can fly as well as the adults."

Per the on-site trailhead and the trail guide's instructions, visitors are required to stay on the trail and minimize any disturbances. The trail and surrounding Warbler Vista area is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Park Name: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Sponsoring Organization: United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Handicap Accessible?: No

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:
Interpretive 1.25 mile hiking trail, with interpretive guide and "natural" markers along the trail.... as well as a few minimalistic wood benches.


Parking Coordinates: N 30° 30.361 W 097° 58.778

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!
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Raven visited Cactus Rock Trail - Balcones Canyonlands NWR, TX, USA 8/15/2014 Raven visited it