Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bird Jackpot! - Sun., Dec.22

Today I saw a long-eared owl, vermilion flycatcher, mute swans, and an American wigeon. Quite a day at Mitchell Lake Audubon Wetlands in San Antonio. Bird-watchers have been a-twitter about the long-eared owl for over a week. Last week I couldn't find it, but today...jackpot!

Long-eared owl.
Long-eared owl in a mesquite tree.
Long-eared owl.
But that wasn't the only unusual bird seen today. We were walking along the isthmus between the East and West Polder. I looked across the pond and said, "Wow! Those are the biggest honkin' geese I've ever seen ** or ** those are swans!" When I got back to the Visitor Center, I asked if there were swans in the west pond and the answer was, "Yes." I wanted to know what kind and was informed they are mute swans.

Mute swans
Mute swans
I consider the swans quite a find in south Texas. Their range is the Midwest and Northeast, especially Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, along the northeastern seaboard, eastern Minnesota, eastern Iowa and eastern Missouri.

Bob and I had a great walk today, although a cold wind was blowing down from the north. As we were walking, we saw a number of people wandering through the weeds and brush taking photos. We heard a bird making a very unusual noise and couldn't identify it.

I tried to find the unique birds on our way back to the Visitor Center, but no luck. However in the Visitor Center, a birder was talking about adding TWO birds to his birding life list today: the long-eared owl and a common pauraque (which is a type of nighthawk). We're thinking the bird with the unusual call was the pauraque.

In addition to the above birds, we saw:

American wigeon and Northern shoveler

Snowy egret & tri-colored heron with four turtles.
Wind-blown snowy egret and five sunning turtles.
Northern shrike.
 Below is one of my personal favorites: the vermilion flycatcher.

Vermilion flycatcher
Vermilion flycatcher
Black-necked stilt
Great blue heron taking off.
Northern shrike
Three turtles sunning
I was very happy with the bird sightings today! Maybe I'll go back tomorrow to look for more. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

After our walk, we went home and I showered to get ready for our employee Christmas party at the RV park tonight. We headed over to the Rec Hall at 6 p.m. and were greeted with our choice of beer, wine, pop, water or spiked eggnog. Bob and I shared a bottle of prickly pear beer. It was good. The hall looked so festive decorated for the holidays and our party.

Rec Hall decorated for employee dinner.
Helen (co-worker), Brenda (manager), and Pam (friend).
The dinner was catered by The Big Bib BBQ restaurant. It was delicious! We had smoked turkey, smoked brisket, pulled pork, jalapeno sausages and regular sausages with fantastic BBQ sauce to put on the meats. In addition, we had scalloped potatoes, green beans with cut up sausages, corn bread, sourdough bread with cheeses, squash casserole, veggie tray, and fruit tray. For dessert, we feasted on banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, cheesecake and cupcakes.

Here are all the people who work in the park and their significant others.

Helen (office), Ron, Brenda (manager), Terry (manager),
Fran (activities director), Tom (landscape)
Dixie (cleaning), Felix (cleaning), Rose,
Mike (maintenance), DeAnna (Security) and Larry (Security)
Steve (landscape/maintenance), Jan (office), Lee (cleaning),
Delia (office), Virginia, Pam, Bob (maintenance)
Steve (landscape, Margaret, Vickie, Ralph (office),
me (office), Bob
We had a great evening with our RV park "family." And I'll tell you what, there was plenty of food. I'm still full five hours later.

After the party, we took care of seven loads of laundry. A very satisfying day from start to finish,

Travel Bug out.


  1. Great sighting of the owl and the swans; looks like a great place to walk ... hopefully we'll be able to check it out when we get to San Antonio.

    I didn't see an email address for you, so in response to your comment on my blog ...

    Luckily, I nipped the bronchitis in the bud early and don't feel too sore ... I do know how it feels to be coughing like you're going to turn your insides out and how that hurts as I've had bronchitis before. Bob really should go get checked out ... three weeks of coughing is too long. Do let us know if you come down this way ... we'll be here until Jan 20. Hope to get up to San Antonio later this year ... will let you know if we make it there or anywhere nearby. We would enjoy meeting you.

  2. My friend Birdie was out there last week and saw the long eared owl too. I don't remember about the other unique bird but she was excited about the owl. Sounds like a great party. That's a big staff.

  3. Wow - great bird finds! Love the owl and the swans.

  4. Great bird photos! That owl is too cool!

  5. More great bird pictures. You are truly lucky to see the long ear owl. Its great that you can ID all of them

  6. I'd never heard of a long eared Owl but thanks to you now I've seen one.

    Great looking Christmas party with your park friends.

    Merry Christmas to you and your entire family.


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