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Monday, February 06, 2006

At a Bend in a Texas River

Spent a couple of days last week at Hornsby Bend in Austin, Texas. Hornsby Bend is a biosolids management facility run by the City of Austin, where they compost the sewage waste from Austin. The property includes 200 acres of wastewater ponds and 1200 acres of fields and riparian forest along the Colorado River. In just a couple hours of birding over a couple days there, I found 76 species, including some South Texas specialties including Ringed Kingfisher (see TPWD photo) and Least Grebe--two species that probably nest on the property. Over almost 50 years of birding here, people have found over 370 bird species on the property (see a slighly outdated checklist I compiled here)--including Black Scoter and Rock Wren found here for the first time this fall.

Hornsby Bend is the best birding spot in the Austin area, and home to the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory, which conducts bird counts and citizen science bird workshops. I started the bird observatory with other members of the Austin birding community after finishing my masters research on the birds there in 1999. I've spent many, many days wondering around the property there, and it was nice to be back. Like a migratory bird, I may not have any one place to call home, but I do feel at home whenever I can be at Hornsby Bend.

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