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Reminiscences of Adele Harding (1950’s and 1960’s)

When I was asked to recall some incidents relating to the Audubon Society, I found so many crowding in that I decided to touch briefly on several.

The first thing that came to mind was the Schoenfeld Farm (now under Calaveras Lake), where we got our first record of Whistling (Tundra) Swans, and where the pet goat thought he was a dog, running with them to chase rabbits, bleating as they barked, and once thought he was "people" when he climbed into Gerald’s open car and sat behind the steering wheel.

Mark Conro'’s Farm on the Medina River was special. Here we chased our frist Albino Robin, saw Wood Ducks and our first Brown-crested Flycatcher. If we took picnic supper, Mark built a bonfire and we listened to the Great Horned Owls across the river.

The W.L. Moody property south of town on the San Antonio River produced our first Purple Gallinule, Cattle Egret, and nesting Black-bellied Whistling Ducks as well as many other species. On this property we had a pond, a lake, a barnyard, fields, trees and the river. Field trips here were popular.

Farther out, Johnson's Pond on Rabel Road was another favorite field trip spot, especially if a hurricase sent things in, when every birder who was free dashed out.

Another fantastic spot was the Timberlake Farm, just west of Pleasanton Road. Again, varied habitat produced many birds, among them our first King Rail and Loon. It was a loss to all of us when Mr. Timberlake sold it.

Still on the southside, we all enjoyed the old Evergreen Nursery, but never more than when we saw the Red Crossbills, and the first record of Long-billed Thrasher. The was fantastic in spring--Mr. Willis would have Mrs. Willis call to tell me, "the little yellow birds are in," and I would call other birders. Birding help here included the dog Bozo, who "just loves Mrs. Harding," and who always ran ahead of me barking.

Mitchell Lake, of course, was one of the best, especially when we had access to much of the surrounding properties, and before so many improvements were made.

Then there is Maverick Ranch, before division, the most delightful of all. The is where we saw the first Bexar County Townsend's Solitaire, Black-capped Vireo, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. We found nests of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Chuck-will's-widow and Blue Grosbeak. And who can forget the melodious song of the Canyon Wren from the barn, or the strutting peacocks? At one time there was a goat here, also, and this one took a great liking to Maurine McFarland.

Sometimes we took our supper and watched the moon rise as we enjoyed comaradarie--but not before we had gathered wild onions and watercress at the creek.

There were, and still are, many other places to go, but space does not permit mention of them, so I have just been reminiscing of some of our earlier trips and areas.
~Adele Harding, October 1990


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