Monday, October 2, 2017

September's Stars and Top Quality Hunting Birds


                                                                    Grasshopper


                                                                      Bald Eagle


                                                                      Cattle Egrets


                                                             Juvenile Prairie Falcon


                                                               Adult Bonelli's Eagle


                                                                         Ditto


                                                           Juvenile Mississippi Kite


                                                                      Harris's Hawk


                                                                   Peregrine Falcon


                                                                       Turkey Vulture


                                                                            Osprey


                                                                     Franklin's Gull


                                                          Juvenile Little Blue Heron


                                                                        Ditto


                                                             Juvenile Turkey Vulture


                                                                    Snowy Egret


                                                              American White Pelican


                                                                      Snowy Egret


                                                            Juvenile Little Blue Heron


                                                             American White Pelican


                                                                    Ditto, View 2


                                                                  Peregrine Falcon


                                                                   Red-tailed Hawk


                                                            Female American Kestrel


                                                                       Great Egret


                                                                     Green Heron


                                                    Juvenile Male Red-winged Blackbird


                                          Great Egret (L), Snowy Egret (C), Cattle Egret (R)


September 2017

The summer has been relatively quiet for the numbers of birds that we used to see.  By the same token, our numbers for wading birds have increased dramatically, especially migratory Cattle Egrets
and semi-resident Great Egrets.

We have gotten a slight trickle, especially at the end of the month for migratory songbirds, and our Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are still hanging on, perhaps until the end of the month.

We had several late nesting birds, which included woodpeckers and songbirds, but our Green Heron colony lost fledglings, as well as nestlings.  That could have been due to a Cooper's Hawk that was found in the area a couple of times, but that is inconclusive.

A couple of unusual birds that normally reside south of here managed to visit southwest Oklahoma.  The Groove-billed Ani hasn't been seen in in our fair state since 1979 and it appears that Mexico's Masked Duck spent a couple of weeks in US waters.  The ani was around for a much shorter period.

Also photographed above are a number of raptors that we don't get to see at such close range.  One of them is the Bonelli's Eagle, which is a raptor from Africa and Eurasia.  This beautiful female beat the odds.  She was picked up in the Middle East where she was for sale.  She was the victim of a shooting, and a terrible disease.  It took three solid years of the best care to get her back into the falconry circuit, and I wish to commend the gentleman for the best care that she could have received.

Also, the above young Mississippi Kite was born much later than normal, and he or she was fortunately found by a caring individual shortly after a rain storm.  He is being cared for by an area rehabilitator  and was taken in on August 15, possibly at the age of 32-35 days.  He weighed in at 288 grams and had a setback that dropped his weight to 200 grams.  In this photo, he was approximately 69 days of age.  There is no question that without human intervention, he would have died.

There are also numerous shots of wading birds from Great Salt Plains in the spillway area.  Note the egret with a grasshopper in its mouth.  We also noticed large numbers of dead carp there, too.

The rest of the birds pictured above are identified and are some of the best specimens.  They are all very healthy birds that got a new lease on life.  First and second year raptors have an 85% mortality rate their first two years of life.  With proper human intervention, they can be trained to hunt to the best of their ability.  Healthy adults will be released into the wild with their new skill set and will make their handlers proud of their newfound keen and confident hunting prowess.

Please enjoy the photos.  Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds.  Happy birding!