Friday, April 20, 2012

4 Birds, Insects, 2 Turtle Rescued!!!

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
We were in San Antonio, Texas a two days ago and had some time on our hands, so we did some searching and decided to check out Mitchell Lake Audubon Wetlands. Once we got there we thought we had hit a road block and were not going to be able to get in. The entrance was gated and the call box wasn't working. We looked up the number and they let us in! The first bird we spotted before we even paid the fee was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher perched right by the gate we snapped a few pictures.

We then went inside and got a map and saw some recent sightings; the Black-bellied Whistling Duck was on there! We headed down the pathway and found a spot to park the truck. It was hot and humid with little wind; not exactly preferred conditions but better than rain! We could head all kinds of birds and there was just a ton of butterflies and dragonflies all over the place! 

We spotted Northern Shovelers, American Coots, Blue-winged Teals, and Red-winged Blackbirds. Nothing new so far. We walked a little more around the next pond and spotted some Black-crowned Night Herons and Green Herons flying away. 
Unidentified Butterlfy

Female Blue-winged Teal 

Then we finally stopped something new! A small flycatcher was flying around in a tree, we identified him/her as Least Flycatcher. Moving on and happy to be getting a new year bird. As we walked down the path some more we caught sight of a few insects. I hope you don't mind me sharing my insect photos. 

Least Flycatcher
Checkered White
Unidentified Dragonfly
 So, we were to began we wouldn't see too many birds at this place. We were thinking we would see more insects than birds. I think we actually did! Up the road we came to an intersection and looked down one of the paths and saw two turtles! One seemed to be waiting for the other 9one to catch up; which was about 30 feet back. Being the romantic that I am I assume they are a couple and the one behind is the female. So "she" is sauntering down the path; "he" must of got tired of waiting for her because he made a right into the weeds and headed down for the water. She kept coming I don't think she noticed us or just really wanted to get down to the water. We stayed at about 30 feet away until she got to the spot were her mate went down to the water and Simon went over and got a close up shot! After we left her alone she headed back the way she came and then finally went down to the water. Turtles are so cute!

Unidentified Dragonfly
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
The next pond had most of the same thing; Coots, Shovelers, Teals, and Mallards. On the other side of the pond we spotted a Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpipers, and Black-necked Stilt. Then on the other side of the pond there was a bird, that was just out of range for my 500 mm lens (I hate when that happens). But we could still tell what it was; Glossy Ibis. New lifer! We wanted to get a better picture so we went around the back of the pond and we found there was no clear shot. We kept on walking around and we came to an area that we could walk down to get a good picture, so Simon went down and got a good picture and also got Pectoral Sandpipers. That's also a lifer! Three lifers isn't bad; we thought for only having to pay $2 each! But we weren't done yet. We still had the trail around the visitors center to bird.
Glossy Ibis

The hole they were in.
We were almost back to the truck when I came across a big hole next to this big pipe in the ground and being the curious person that I am I looked; I saw two turtles inside the hole. I was so sad and I had originally thought they were dead but it turned out they were not. One of them was very brown and the other was still greenish. I assumed the brownish one had been in there longer since he was brown, but I don't know for sure. The other one was peeking his head out, probably screaming out for a rescue! And that is exactly what they got! There was a spider web over the top of the hole, so that will tell you how long they could have been in there. Again I don't know how long it takes a spider
The turtles
The release of the green one was great!
to make a web either. Simon grabbed a stick and noticed it had a scorpion on it, so he calmly put down the stick and took a picture of the insect and moved it off with his boot. Then clearing away the spider web he then figured that the hole was about 3-4 feet deep. He was sure he would be able to get down there and get them out. So he did just that! I was so happy he climbed down in the hole. Then he picked the turtles up and set them on the ground; he told me that the brown one did poke his head out when he jumped down in the hole. That was a good sign, since I thought he was dead for sure. We took some pictures of the hole and the turtles to share. Simon picked up the turtles and we went to find a good place to release them into the pond. First, we put the greenish one in the water and he took off right away! Second, he put the brownish one in the water and nothing happened, Simon checked out his feet they all moved but maybe he was just shy or still scared for being in that hole. So, we splashed water on his shell and set him on the shoreline. Hopefully he snapped out of it and got into the water.
This one didn't swim away:( But
we splashed water on him.
Hopefully he makes it!

We made our way to the visitor center and reported the turtle rescue! They said they would look into it the next day. I sure hope they did!

 After leaving the visitor center we decided to check around the grounds for hummingbirds. We heard a bird calling from the tree top and were searching and I spotted it! That usually doesn't happen, Simon usually spots them first. It was very noisy and it turned out to be a Long-billed Thrasher! Bird #4 for the day!

We checked out the trail behind the Visitor Center but that turned up nothing just birds we already have this year; Verdin, Black-throated Hummingbird, and Red-winged Blackbird. We are now up to 242 and we are heading eastward hopefully we will pick up some more warbler among others!
Long-billed Thrasher

Pipevine Swallowtail

Happy Birding!


  1. Great stuff! That Mexican Mallard sure looks like a Blue-winged Teal hen to me, though.

  2. Thanks Liam I'll check it out! We were a little on the fence about that one.

  3. After a closer look you're right; Blue-winged Teal! I thought it wasn't because of the lack of white on throat. thanks again!