Sunday, August 16, 2015


At long last, and thanks to Tess Sherman, we now have a clear written narrative of the history of the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Project.  Check out this beautifully prepared and illustrated document by clicking of the following link History of the Commons Ford Prairie

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vegetation Survey Analysis

At long last, thanks to our new data analyst volunteer, Lilli Johnson, we are now able to present some concrete results of the prairie restoration efforts.  Essentially, we have been conducting annual spring/summer vegetation surveys, beginning with the year prior to commencement of the restoration project.  

The survey consists of approximately 10 static transect lines of 20 meters in length. The vegetation is catalogued out for one meter in alternative directions on every other meter of the transect.

While it was possible to simply look at the prairie and gauge the impact, it is comforting to see these actual comparisons of native and non-native species over the surveys.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bird Poker 2015

The first annual Bird Poker event at Commons Ford was a big success.  Nine teams participated in absolutely beautiful weather.  Thanks to all who participated.

So many birders in the park turned up two new species:  Long-billed Curlew and Barn Owl.  A total of (roughly) 98 species was tallied for the day which is a single day park record.  The full list is below. Most interesting misses were Greater Roadrunner and Eastern Screech Owl.  

The winning team, Crakes of Wrath, scored 53 points and also the most species (78).  Congratulations to Byron Stone, Noreen Baker, Christian Walker and Arman Moreno.

Birding the Hardway (Bryce and Rob Hardway) were only one point behind while the third place team, the Old Crows (Trent Miller, Fred Dalbey and Robin Doughty) had 39 points.

Thanks to all of our donors:  Native American Seed Company, Diane Sherrill of Native EarthScapes, artist Gail Woods, Brush Freeman and Barton Springs Nursery for their kind donations and support. All funds raised from this event will go toward continuing the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Project.  Our expanded efforts include placing some education signs around the prairie this year.  

Mark your calendars and join us for Bird Poker 2016 during the last week of March.

The species list as submitted by participating teams follows:

Wood Duck       
American Wigeon      
Blue-winged Teal                        
Northern Bobwhite    
Wild Turkey      
Pied-billed Grebe     
Neotropic Cormorant         
Double-crested Cormorant        
American White Pelican     
Great Blue Heron      
Great Egret      
Snowy Egret     
Green Heron     
Black Vulture    
Turkey Vulture 
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk          
Red-shouldered Hawk                
Swainson's Hawk      
Red-tailed Hawk       
American Coot 
Long-billed Curlew   
Rock Pigeon     
Eurasian Collared-Dove    
Common Ground-Dove      
White-winged Dove   
Mourning Dove 
Barn Owl  
Great Horned Owl     
Common Poorwill      
Black-chinned Hummingbird                       
Ringed Kingfisher     
Belted Kingfisher      
Golden-fronted Woodpecker      
Red-bellied Woodpecker   
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     
Downy Woodpecker  
American Kestrel      
Eastern Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher 
Ash-throated Flycatcher   
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  
White-eyed Vireo       
Blue Jay   
Western Scrub-Jay   
American Crow
Common Raven
Purple Martin    
Barn Swallow   
Cliff Swallow    
Carolina Chickadee  
Black-crested Titmouse    
Canyon Wren    
House Wren      
Carolina Wren   
Bewick's Wren 
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher      
Ruby-crowned Kinglet       
Eastern Bluebird                
Northern Mockingbird       
European Starling     
Cedar Waxwing
Black-and-white Warbler   
Orange-crowned Warbler  
Nashville Warbler     
Common Yellowthroat        
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler              
Golden-cheeked Warbler  
Spotted Towhee        
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 
Chipping Sparrow     
Field Sparrow   
Vesper Sparrow        
Lark Sparrow   
Savannah Sparrow    
Grasshopper Sparrow       
Le Conte's Sparrow  
Song Sparrow  
Lincoln's Sparrow     
White-throated Sparrow    
White-crowned Sparrow    
Northern Cardinal     
Red-winged Blackbird      
Western Meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark                   
Common Grackle      
Great-tailed Grackle 
Brown-headed Cowbird    
House Finch      
Lesser Goldfinch      
American Goldfinch  
House Sparrow

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get Ready for Bird Poker on Saturday, March 28, 2015!

So this year we decided to try something a little different for our annual Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization fundraiser. So folks, get ready for some Bird Poker!!

For a complete set of Bird Poker Rules, click on the following link

You can register for Bird Poker here

For more information, contact us at
We will also be offering some fabulous prizes, all provided by our wonderful (and very talented!) donors...
Want a chance to win a free weekend stay at Native American Seed's Cool River Cabin on the Llano River in Junction?
Up to 6 adults, donated by Native American Seed Company
How about a copy of the essential birding reference, TOS Handbook of Texas Birds, personally signed by both authors, Brush Freeman and Mark Lockwood?
Four copies, donated by Brush Freeman
Or a beautiful print of one of the "Birds of Commons Ford" by popular local artist, Gail Woods?

Five prints from original watercolors, donated by Gail Woods
Or a $25 gift certificate from Barton Springs Nursery?

5 certificates donated by Barton Springs Nursery
Or another great prize, like a free one hour landscape consultation by NativeEarthscapes, or an energy psychology session by Robin Heart Shepperd, or ????
Then you need to play Bird Poker at Commons Ford Park on Saturday, March 28, 2015!
Here's how it works:
Teams consisting of 2-5 members will bird Commons Ford Park on March 28, 2015, anytime between 5:00 AM (park opening) and 3 p.m. If you want to participate, but don't have a team, let us know, and we'll help you find a team.
Birders of all skill levels and all ages are welcome. In fact, we're encouraging new birders with a special prize. (See below)
Bird species will be assigned point values according to how likely they are to be found in the Park during this time of year. We may even have a wild card or two! The fun part is that birders won't know what each species is worth until they turn in their hand.
Once you've finished your birding day, use your bird list to determine your best "poker hand". Turn your hand in to the judges by 3:30 P.M.
Winners will be tallied and prizes awarded. A special prize will be given to the winning team with the most birders having less than 2 years experience.
Entry fee is $50.00 per team member. Corporate or organizational sponsors may be enlisted to contribute part or all of a team's entry fee. Sponsors will be recognized in all promotional material for the event, on our blog, and on our FB page. All proceeds will go toward funding 2015 prairie projects. CFPRO is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization operating under the charitable umbrella of the Austin Parks Foundation.
You can register for Bird Poker here

Questions?  Contact us at

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Don't Miss Out on the Last Commons Ford Bird Walks of 2014

The summer heat has officially given way to crisp, fall weather. And with that fall weather, comes fall birds! Common's Ford is a popular destination for wintering and migrating fall bird species, due in no small part to the abundance of food sources in the prairie.

Join us for one (or both!) of our two final bird walks in 2014:

Sunday, November 30, 2014 - Lead by Deb and Lee Wallace

Sunday, December 7, 2014 - Lead by George Kerr and Ronnie Kramer

The walks are free of charge but space is limited. Reserve your spot now by going to the Travis Audubon website  and registering.