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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

 Express-News Weekly Article
Saturday, May 13, 2006
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director,
and Horticulturist 

“Birdathon Results”


            The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center held its annual Birdathon last weekend.  A birdathon is like a walkathon in that donors pledge to support their favorite participant.  Instead of miles walked, the birdathon bases pledges on species of birds spotted. 


This year despite the heavy rains on Saturday morning, 23 individuals birded and approximately $20,000 was raised.  Birders who obtained pledges totaling $500 or more were rewarded with the opportunity to “bird” with Kenn Kaufman, author of several books including Birds of North America, Butterflies of North America, and Guia de Campo Kaufman a las Aves Norteamerica.


            Overall, it appears that about 125 different species were identified.  Marge Lumpe, long-time Mitchell Lake Wetland Society and Audubon supporter, identified 101 species herself.  The Gardening South Texas/KLUP Radio Team, of which I am a member, along with Jerry Parsons, and Milton Glueck, identified 80 species (with the help of Kenn Kaufman) on Friday morning.  We had pledges of over $1,000 from listeners of the radio show and Milberger’s Nursery matched all pledges for a total of over $2,000.  The largest portion of the $20,000 came from the Tesoro Team, their birders raised $10,000.


            Other business supporters included the H.E.B. Environmental Group, McCarter Communications, Starbucks, Allied Waste, Curious Naturalist, and Dr. Lynn Parsons.  Councilman Roland Gutierrez, and Councilwoman Elena K. Guajardo of Districts three and seven, respectively, also provided support.


            Of the 125 species of birds identified, a Caspian tern and willet were most unusual for the Mitchell Lake area.  Iliana Pena, Center Manager, speculated that the storms may have brought them in.  The storms did not seem to reduce bird numbers, but they sure made it exciting for the birders.  Several times during the course of the day, Ms. Pena had to call everyone into shelter because of the threat of hail and lightning.


            Some of the interesting birds on the Gardening South Texas list were painted buntings, American avocet, common yellow throats, indigo buntings, and orchard orioles.  We saw a horned owl forced out of its roost by mobbing mockingbirds and there was a lonesome yellow parakeet that accompanied us on our walk for 40 or 50 feet trying to figure out if he would persuade us to take him home or if he liked being free in the refuge. 


            If you are interested in the entire Gardening South Texas Bird list, it is posted on the website.  This year I was able to eliminate the Cessna, Boeing 707, and Wendy’s chicken sandwich that appeared on our list last year.  Jerry Parsons is good at spotting birds, but is not skillful at identifying them.  Sometimes he does not take our yearly participation in the Birdathon as serious as he should.  Susan Albert, Audubon Development Officer, who accompanied us on our trip around the Refuge, kept catching him making shooting motions, and shotgun sounds as we observed the ducks, pelicans, and shorebirds.  Milton Glueck was a little more sensitive about his duties as a birder, but next year we need to make sure he does not wear his glow in the dark yellow shirt. 


            If you have never visited the Audubon Center at Mitchell Lake, now would be a great time to do it.  The Center can accommodate individuals, families, or special groups.  Take 410 South to Moursund Blvd., and travel south for one-half mile to the Center entrance.  Call (210) 628-1639 to check on hours and receive more information.