York Creek Road

eBird Link

Length:
2 miles round trip to the 3rd creek crossing.
1.6 miles round trip to the 2nd creek crossing.

Highlights:

-Good diversity of habitat in a 1 mile stretch of road
-Good diversity of sparrows and woodland species

The Location

York Creek Road is located at the far south-eastern edge of Hays County. It will lead you through a strip of hardwoods with a healthy understory that grow along a creek.

Multiple creek crossings make for small hotspots of bird activity, and keep birds near the road even during dry conditions. Gaps in the trees provide a window to view open fields that are often plowed or grazed, which yield meadowlarks, sparrows, bluebirds, and sometimes Sandhill Cranes in winter months.

This is one of the most consistent spots for Harris’s Sparrow in the county, and is great for woodpeckers. A good winter day will have 6 species of woodpecker and  8+ species of sparrow.

Rarities found here in the past include Mountain Bluebird, Pileated Woodpecker, and Great Kiskadee.

Little traffic will disturb you on this paved, quiet back road. The flat terrain makes for easy walking.

Birding Recommendations

Pull off the road and park in the grass just up from the intersection with Francis Harris Road.

About 100 ft. North of Francis Harris Road

Take a few minutes to bird around this intersection as it’s often productive, and then begin walking north along the road.

The intersection at Francis Harris is often birdy.

Arrive early around first light and you’ll likely hear a Barred Owl or two calling, plus maybe a Great Horned Owl. It’s also possible to get calling nightjars here during migration periods.

Keep your ears open as you look low in the brush, high in the canopy, and overhead for flyovers. Birds often travel in small groups, so when you see one or two, stop for a moment to see if more appear.

As you walk by horse and cow pastures, and agriculture fields, make a quick scan with your binoculars to pick up small perching birds and raptors on power lines, fences, and dead tree snags.

Agriculture fields provide some habitat diversity.

There’s not many secrets to this road. Simply give yourself time to slowly bird your way up the road and then double back to your car.

A good turn-around point is the third creek crossing because at that point you’ve covered all habitat types present along York Creek Road.

The third creek crossing.

You can also turn around just after the second creek crossing, where a large stand of hardwoods grow. This will shave off 20 minutes compared to the third creek crossing.

The second creek crossing.

A good morning in winter or spring has the potential to yield 50+ species in 2.5 hours of birding, although 40 species is more typical.

Other Info

Note: The county line crosses this York Creek Road just north of Soechtting Road, at which point you are in Comal County. There is a small sign that says “Comal County Maintenance Begins”.