This spring the conservation staff introduced our first ever series of specialty hikes for the public hosting 16 total walks and a workshop. We held three Warbler Walks hosted by local bird experts incorporating an introduction to the golden-cheeked warbler’s life history, why it is endangered, and included bird watching to spot this iconic bird of the Texas Hill Country.

In addition to the Warbler Walks, Weekly Bird Walks were held from March through May with local bird expert Dawn Houston. On these walks, participants were able to see numerous interesting migrant and resident birds of the 150 species that call Westcave “home”. Some highlights included spotting the painted and indigo buntings, several vireo and warbler species, the yellow-billed cuckoo, flycatchers, goldfinches and many others.

Not to be left out, we also hosted Wildflower Walks led by local plant experts. The walks were well attended and visitors were treated to a hike on our beautiful wildflower-covered Uplands. Three new species of wildflowers were even identified and added to our plant list!

Lastly, we hosted our first ever conservation workshop: The Monarch Butterfly – Biology, Ecology and Research. Cathy Downs of Bring Back the Monarchs led the all-day workshop where participants learned all about this legendary and important pollinator.

All in all, Westcave’s new conservation programs served 99 visitors and we had a great time doing it. Many exciting fall programs are already in the works including more specialty bird walks, night hikes, native grass hikes, and more. Stay tuned for details!

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