** There will be no Wings Festival in 2018 **

Field Trips

Our 2017 Festival birding field trips will take participants to some of the premier Texas Hill Country birding sites and afford you excellent opportunities to see our premier local species including Painted Buntings, Golden-cheeked Warblers, and Black-capped Vireos. All trips are led by expert guides who know the local birds and locales.

New in 2017!

Notes:
  • All field trips (Except for the Bike trip) depart from the Pioneer Pavilion in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. Full-day trips include a box lunch. Scroll down to read the bios of our Field Trip leaders.
  • We have made an arrangement with Hill Country Bicycle Works in Fredericksburg to have rental bikes available for anyone wishing to rent a bike for the Birding by Bike with Dorian field trip. The store will transport the bicycles to the departure site and return them to their store on East Main Street. To inquire about rental prices and reservations, call their store in Fredericksburg at 830-990-2609.

 

FRIDAY TRIPS

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area -$35.00
7:30am - 12:00pm, Friday, April 28, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Martin Hagne & Kyle O'Haver

Join us to kick off the festival with a great half day birding trip to one of the Hill Country's most iconic landmarks. Enchanted Rock, a sacred site to local Native American tribes, is only a 30-minute drive from the festival site, and we utilize festival vans to the state park. Possible birds include Painted Bunting, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bell's Vireo, Common-ground Dove, Bewick's Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Black-throated Sparrow.
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Difficulty: Walking should be fairly easy, but with some rocky and uneven ground.
Restrooms: Available on site.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, snacks, and your joy for the outdoors.

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Pedernales Falls State Park -$35.00
7:00am - 12:00pm Friday, April 28, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Richard Redmond & Brent Ortego

A great half-day trip to start this fun festival! The stunning Pedernales State Park is situated on the Pedernales River and features great birding and beautiful views. It is about a 50-minute ride in our festival vans. Possible birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Wild Turkey, Woodhouse Scrub-Jay, Greater Roadrunner, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Black-crested Titmouse, Canyon Wren, Bewick's Wren, Lark Sparrow, Summer Tanager, Painted Bunting, and Lesser Goldfinch.
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Difficulty: Walking should be fairly easy, but with some rocky and uneven ground.
Restrooms: Available on site.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, snacks, and happiness for an outdoor day.

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Birding by Bike with Dorian -$45.00
7:00am - 12:00pm, Friday, April 28, 2017 Maximum Limit: 10 people

Leader: Dorian Anderson

Your chance to relive our Keynote Speaker's Big Year on Bike! Dorian will take you on a short five-mile (or less) bike route outside Fredericksburg looking for local birds and experience what biking for birds is all about! Frequent stops to talk about biking for birds and looking for them. Possible birds include mostly local song birds along the route, including Woodhouse Scrub-Jay, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Black-crested Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Bewick's Wren, Lesser Goldfinch, and who knows what surprises.
Transportation: Bring your bike to the meeting and start location or call Hill Country Bicycle Works in Fredericksburg at 830-990-2609 to enquire about rental prices and reservations. The store will transport rented bicycles to the departure site and return them to their store on East Main Street.
Difficulty: Biking should be fairly easy, but can be strenuous for short distances.
Restrooms: None available.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, snacks, and your peddle feet.

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SATURDAY TRIPS

The Nature Conservancy's Love Creek Preserve -$50.00
6:30am - 3:00pm, Saturday, April 29, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Martin Hagne & Romey Swanson
Join us in exploring one of the best kept secrets in the Hill Country on this full day birding trip. Love Creek is preserved by the Nature Conservancy and is normally closed to the public. It is about a 45-minute drive from the festival site, and we will ride as a group in our festival passenger vans. Possible birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Painted Bunting, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Summer Tanager.
Transportation:
Van transportation provided.
Lunch: Lunch Box is included.
Difficulty: Walking will be very strenuous in some sections hiking down and up from the creek.
It requires stepping down a rocky trail. Additional walking is on fairly flat ground, but across one creek and feet may get wet.
Restrooms: Port-a-potty type restroom on site.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes that can get wet, water, snacks, and a sense of exploration.

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Kerrville Hotspots -$50.00
6:30am - 3:00pm, Saturday, April 29, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Richard Redmond & Jimma Byrd

A fun full-day birding trip to one of the Hill Country's most productive areas. Kerrville and area holds some wonderful birding spots, including fantastic locations on the Guadalupe River. Ride with us in our festival vans. Possible birds include Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Ringed and Green Kingfisher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Hutton's Vireo, Marsh Wren, Inca Dove, Bewick's Wren, Summer Tanager and who knows what!
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Lunch: Lunch Box is included.
Difficulty: Walking should be fairly easy, but with some uneven ground.
Restrooms: Available at convenience stores along the way.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, scope, sturdy shoes, water, snacks, and your spirit to find birds.

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Guadalupe River State Park & Honey Creek State Natural Area -$50.00
6:30am - 3:00pm, Saturday, April 29, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Craig Hensley, Brent Ortego, Kyle O'Haver

Join us in visiting the beauty of two adjacent natural treasures on this full-day birding trip. Both are operated by Texas parks & Wildlife, and Honey Creek and is normally closed to the public. Craig Hensley is a Park Ranger at the parks. It is about an hour's drive from the festival site, and we will ride as a group in 15-passenger vans. Possible birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Wild Turkey, Common Ground-Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Crested Caracara, Yellow-throated Vireo, Bewick's Wren, Northern Parula, and Painted Bunting.
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Lunch: Lunch box is included.
Difficulty: Walking will be easy to moderate with some longer walks.
Restrooms: Available on site.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, and a sense of wonder.

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SUNDAY TRIPS

Junction Hotspots -$50.00
6:30am - 4:00pm, Sunday, April 30, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people each day

Leaders: Rhandy Helton, Romey Swanson, and Jimma Byrd

Ride with us up to Junction, TX, and bird a full-day with Junction's own birding guide, Rhandy Helton. One of the birdiest areas around! Visit South Llano River State Park, water treatment ponds, and several other local hotspots. It is about a one-hour drive from the festival site and we will ride as a group in our festival vans. Possible birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Vermilion Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, Scott's Oriole, Cassin's Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, and Summer Tanager.
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Lunch: Lunch box is included.
Difficulty: Walking will be moderate, with some long walks at the state park.
Restrooms: Available at some sites.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, scope, sturdy shoes, water, and thoughts of awesome birds.

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Lost Maples State Park & Kerr Wildlife Management Area -$65.00
6:30am - 4:00p, Sunday, April 30, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people

Leaders: Dorian Anderson & Richard Redmond

Here is your chance to bird with the Bike Big Year legend! Join Dorian, our keynote and birding special guest, on this full-day birding trip in the Hill Country. Both sites are famous in their own right. It is about a one-hour and 15-minute hour drive from the Festival site, and we will ride as a group in our festival vans. Possible birds include Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Painted Bunting, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Black-chinned Hummingbird, White-tipped Dove, Bewick's Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Summer Tanager. Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Lunch: Lunch box is included.
Difficulty: Walking can be moderate but long, hiking up the gently sloping trails at Lost Maples.
Restrooms: Available at both sites.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, and hopes for natural wonders.

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Enchanted Rock State Natural Area -$35.00
7:30am - 12:00pm, Sunday, April 30, 2017 Maximum Limit: 20 people
Leaders: Martin Hagne & Crystal Ledezma

Join us on this leisurely half-day birding trip to one of the Hill Country's most iconic landmarks. Enchanted Rock, a sacred site to local Native American tribes, is only a 30- minute drive from the festival site, and we ride in 15-passenger vans as a group. Possible birds include Painted Bunting, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Bell's Vireo, Common-ground Dove, Bewick's Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Black-throated Sparrow.
Transportation: Van transportation provided.
Difficulty: Walking should be fairly easy, but with some rocky and uneven ground.
Restrooms: Available on site.
Things to Bring: Binoculars, sturdy shoes, water, snacks, and your passion to birdwatch.

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FIELD TRIP LEADERS

Dorian Anderson

Dorian Anderson- Keynote and Special Guest  Dorian Anderson has been interested in birds since a very young age. He grew up in Philadelphia, and spent much of his youth birding John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge, Cape May Point, Barnegat, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, and other areas in the Delaware Valley region. He was fortunate to attend four of the youth birding camps run by Victor Emanuel Nature Tours between ages 12 to 15. This broadened his avian horizons and exposed him to the western parts of the country as well as Mexico for the first time. Unfortunately, his birding interest was put on hold from ages 16 to 18 as he attended boarding school in Connecticut. After high school, he headed west to California where he attended Stanford University. He studied Cell and Molecular Biology, and when not busy with coursework, research, or frat parties, he managed to do at least some birding in and around the Bay area. He became particularly interested in pelagic birding during these years as Monterey was just a few hours down the coast. After Stanford he attended New York University where he completed a Ph.D. in Developmental Genetics. Specifically, he studied how cells in the early embryo polarize and how this polarization event functions to control subsequent morphogenetic movements during gastrulation. Ironically, it was in the most urban of environments that his birding interest was really rediscovered at the obsession level. Central Park and Jamaica Bay were easy train rides, and he started doing more bird-focused traveling around the country. After NYU, he accepted a post-doctoral position at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston to investigate the molecular mechanisms that control neural plasticity. Armed with a car (which he did not have in Manhattan), his birding interest grew exponentially. He also ventured into serious bird photography for the first time in April of 2010 and has been completely addicted ever since. You can see all of his work at dorianandersonphotography. He currently spends much of his free time birding and photographing at Plum Island, Cape Ann, and Cape Cod.

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Bill Lindemann

Bill Lindemann is a native Texan who has been birding for over 50 years. For the past 18 years, he has written a weekly newspaper column on "Birding in the Hill Country". He has led birding field trips in the Hill Country and all over the state of Texas and has led field trips for the Wings festival for the past four years. Bill is a frequent speaker on birds and nature and an avid bird photographer.

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Brent Ortego

Brent Ortego is a recently retired Wildlife Biologist from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Brent is the coordinator for the Matagorda County Christmas Bird Count which has produced the highest tally of species in the Nation for 18 of the last 19 years. He recently retired as a Biologist with 34 years of service with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where he represented the state in developing conservation for many non-game and endangered species in South Texas. Brent also serves as Editor for Christmas Bird Counts and coordinates Breeding Bird Surveys in Texas.

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Martin Hagne

Martin Hagne was born and raised on the Swedish west coast, where his grandfather instilled a love for nature and birds at an early age. He moved to the United States and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas in 1979. He served as the Executive Director of the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco from 2000 to 2013. He moved to Bandera, Texas, in the Hill Country in 2013, and was the General Manager of the Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera for four years. He was recently awarded the Executive Director's job at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson, Texas, and now resides along the Gulf Coast. He has also worked for many years, and still does, as a Field Biologist for ecological survey companies doing avian, mammal, herpetology, and habitat baseline studies. He has served on numerous local, state and national boards and committees over the years. Martin leads trips for festivals and organizations in Texas and Mexico. He spends his free time birding volunteering.

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Kyle O'Haver

Kyle O'Haver grew up in Missouri spending much of his time in the woods and ponds on his grandparents' farm. He grew up loving hunting, fishing, and catching all kinds of critters, and birds always got his attention. Attending the University of Missouri-Columbia, he found an amazing class called Ornithology and loved it. After working with Missouri Department of Conservation in Fisheries and then an internship and seasonal interpretation job with Missouri State Parks, he landed a job with Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas. Three years as a park interpreter and three years as the Natural Resource Specialist created the obsessed birder you get today. Kyle is now the Superintendent of his own Texas state park and continues to spread the good word on birding, and hopes his passion for birds pours into others, like his children, Sibley (not a coincidence) and Kaleb.

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Richard Redmond

Richard Redmond began birding in the spring of 1972 in Chico California. Up until 1991, he birded in California. In 1991, he visited San Antonio and birded in Texas. He saw amazing birds and the Lone Star state began weaving its spell on him and his wife. After that trip, they visited Texas to bird several times. While birding High Island, they met Greg Miller and he informed them he was doing A Big Year, and birded with them the next day and a half. He also made his first trip to the Hill Country and loved it. In 2001, Richard bought a place outside Bandera and moved there the following year. Richard compiles Christmas Bird Counts, leads field trips, and conducts bird surveys.

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Rhandy Helton

Rhandy Helton is a native Texan born in San Antonio. He attended Texas A&M and graduated with a degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences. For 31 years, he was a Fisheries Management Biologist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department retiring in 2002. He has been birding for over 30 years throughout Texas and most of the western states. He moved to Junction after retirement and is currently employed as an instructor with the Texas Tech University Outdoor School where he teaches school-age children such courses as Aquatic Biology, Geology, Soil Science, Watershed Enhancement and Field Ornithology (a course he helped design). Rhandy is the author of the publication "A Field Checklist to the Birds of Kimble County, Texas".

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Craig Hensley

Craig Hensley has been involved directly and indirectly with sharing the wonders of the natural world with children and adults for most of his adult life. He has worked at wonderful organizations including the Thomas Irvine Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, Minnesota, the Fontenelle Forest and Neale Woods Nature Centers in Omaha and Bellevue, Nebraska, Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center in Blue Springs, Missouri, Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty, Missouri, a stay with an environmental learning center public library in Kansas City, Kansas, Shumla School in Comstock, Texas, and now for a second time, as the Park Ranger/Interpreter/Naturalist with Guadalupe River State Park. He has a passion for the natural world and sharing it with others that has led to meeting and enjoying birds, butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers and all the rest with tens of thousands of wonderful people. He is still out there in the wilds chasing butterflies, banding birds, scooping up larval critters, calling for owls, gazing at the moon, catching dragonflies, photographing these and wildflowers of all kinds, botanizing and all the rest!

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Romey Swanson

Romey Swansonis the Conservation Project Manager at Hill Country Conservancy where he engages in conversations with private landowners, public officials, and organizational leaders to promote land conservation projects. Guided by a well thought out conservation plan and stewardship led initiatives, HCC plans to preserve a significant portion of our Hill Country for the benefit of all Texans. Romey pulls from nearly eight years as a Senior Wildlife Biologist with Plateau Land and Wildlife Management to relate to the challenges Hill Country landowners and stakeholders face. With Plateau, Romey's primary responsibilities included private lands technical guidance, property tax consultant, and ecologist with expertise in both game and non-game management. Romey graduated from Texas State University-San Marcos with both a B.S. in wildlife biology (2007) and an M.S. in wildlife ecology (2009). He is active with The Wildlife Society (TWS) and has served on several committees, including the Conservation Affairs Committee. He was confirmed by TWS as a Certified Wildlife Biologist. Romey is also a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the James G. Teer Conservation Leadership Institute's Early Professional Training program. He currently serves on the board of directors for Hill Country Land Trust based in Fredericksburg. Romey is a member of the Texas Ornithological Society, Travis Audubon Society, and Texas Herpetological Society. During his free time, Romey continues to travel and study the natural history of Texas plants and animals while contributing to popular and scientific publications. He created his blog, Adventures with a Modern Texas Naturalist, as a way to preserve and share his field experiences.

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Crystal Ledezma

Crystal Ledezma grew up in Wisconsin where she spent a lot of time in the north woods learning about nature from her grandpa. She moved to Texas in 1998, took a couple of years to get settled, and then started birding regularly. When she isn't stuck at work, she is traveling, anywhere from the next county over, to a far off country, birding, hiking, snorkeling, and eating.

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Jimma Byrd

Jimma Byrd Jimma Gray Byrd is a member of Texas Ornithological Society (TOS), a Texas Master Naturalist, and a Master Gardener. Ms. Byrd founded and is president of San Saba Bird and Nature Club. She is a TOS board member and represents 34 counties within the Edwards Plateau region for the state birding organization. She is a fifth-generation Texan and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada Reno. She has been enjoying and studying birds for over 30 years.
She and her husband John make their home in a pecan orchard on the river 14 miles Southwest of San Saba. When she isn't chasing birds, you can find her gardening or enjoying their grandchildren.

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