Sunday I decided to bird around La Grange. The Travis Audubon Society is offering a series of monthly field trips called the Outer Limits Bird Survey. Itâ€™s a chance to explore some of the less-well-traveled counties around Austin. This weekendâ€™s survey was in Fayette County, so it became my excuse to check out some parks Iâ€™d never visited. The group spent most of the day around Lake Fayette at the two LCRA parks on its north shoresâ€”Oak Thicket and Park Prairie (www.lcra.org). While these parks are very popular with fishermen, I really enjoyed the hiking trails along the lake. They traverse a mix of habitatsâ€”woods, water and prairie, which makes for more diverse (and interesting) birding. Iâ€™d like to come back during migrationâ€”who knows what may show up here. I was also curious about the cabins at Oak Thicket and plan to check those out some day for a longer weekend trip.
By lunchtime Sunday this group was ready for a break (some had been at it since early Saturday). We stopped at Las Fuentes in La Grange for a Mexican food fix and to compare notes. The species total came to 90. Not too shabby for a weekendâ€™s work!
Before heading home I decided to check out Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site (www.tpwd.state.tx.us). Itâ€™s a scenic little park on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River and La Grange. And though Iâ€™ve seen pictures of the monument, I didnâ€™t realize that the environment is kind of unusual for this area, itâ€™s a small outcrop of Hill Country. The canyon trail around the ruins of the old brewery and along the little creek felt like I was west of Austin. It was a very relaxing way to end the day.