Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Please Cut Down on Your Plastic Usage For THEM

I am trying to do my part...Can you help me help THEM?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Green Herons Have Returned and Are Now Nest Building

                                                                   Green Heron

                                                             Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                                 American Robin


                                                                  Blue-winged Teal
                                                                   Female in Front

                                                                Neotropic Cormorant

                                                                  Barn Swallow

                                                                   Northern Cardinal

                                                                      Barn Swallow

                                                                     Barn Swallows

04-16 to 04-22-17

This was a good week, too.  Perhaps it wasn't as much as last week for migratory action, but photo ops were still excellent, even though we did have rain and a couple of cloudy days.  It is to be expected.

The biggest news is that our Green Herons have moved back in at Heron Cove AND I noticed today that nest building is going on.  I actually photographed the nest this morning, as it can be seen being
built.  It is right over the water and high, which makes it perfect from where I stand to observe it on the berm.  The birds that returned are the elder birds, and there is at least one more in residence, but in another tree.  Isn't that exciting?  We could well have an early crop of Green Herons if conditions are right, so keep your fingers crossed!

Three Spotted Sandpipers were seen on Tuesday, once the fog cleared, of course.

A Sedge Wren has made an appearance at the lake, which only happened once before, but this year I heard the bird for two days now and actually got a glimpse of it this morning.  Perhaps it will stay long enough for me to have a photo.

Also today, there were four Clay-colored Sparrows at our beloved Boomer, three of whom are in the same area.  They breed in the northern states above us, as well as in the southern part of the Canadian provinces.  They are all recognized by their buzzing trills, which sound more insect-like, but they are heard easily enough, if not seen.  They don't try to stay concealed like our Sedge Wren, though.

My good fortune was also in the cards yesterday, when a couple of the Barn Swallows stopped to land.  They don't do this too often, which is why I was able to get some photos of them to show you what they look like standing still.  There were Cliff Swallows in the mix, but they were not as accommodating.  There was also a Tree Swallow, but that picture didn't turn out well with the cloud cover that kept interrupting.

There are still plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers coming in from the south, and before we know it, our group will be leaving here for all points north in order to breed.   I think the best photo that I have of a male Yellow-rumped Warbler is in the above posting, so luckily I was able to do that this spring. When the warblers return in the fall, they are much duller looking, which is one of the hazards of the fall.

Looks like good weather is ahead, so hopefully there will be a few more things for me to show you in the near future.        

042317 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Pre-Storm Impetus

                                                      One of Three Eastern Meadowlarks

                                                       Male Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                              One of Three Migratory Savannah Sparrows

                                                    Migratory American White Pelicans


The winds have definitely been sweeping down the plains with a good southern push and trying to get the birds through the area before the rains come rushing down again.

Today was by far the best migratory movement that I have observed in the past two days.

Two days ago brought a group of three Savannah Sparrows that landed in this tree right in front of me.

Today brought two hundred American White Pelicans through the area, which was a sight to behold.  I was in awe watching those birds wheeling through the air with the sun hitting their feathers and causing an explosion of white.  They were also circling in different directions, which provided a show that was better than a flat three dimensional image, since they were in different planes in front of me. Fortunately, I saw them coming, but the group was so large, I could not get them all in one image.

Both Eastern and Western Kingbirds sported one member each, and a very early Baltimore Oriole female sang to me from on high.

These are the kinds of memories that show the true beauty of migration at its finest hours before the storm.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Peregrine Falcon Makes a Migratory Pitstop

                                                                Peregrine Falcon

                                                             Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                                Blue-winged Teal

                                                                  Northern Cardinal

                                                              Beaver with Branch

                                                             Great-tailed Grackle

04-02 through 04-10-17

Spring gives us a little early action, with the addition of the migratory Peregrine Falcon.  These
raptors only pass through Oklahoma.  A juvenile bird was observed a couple of days prior to this one, and I never realized what it was until it was too late.  Sadly, I could have had a beautiful airborne shot, but I'll settle for this one, even though it was quite a distance away.

A Red-tailed Hawk chased it away with its territorial scream, so I was very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.

The Great-tailed and Common Grackles have been around for a couple of weeks now, and I do so
enjoy finding them in the midst of the foliage.

These Blue-winged Teal males were asserting their dominance in the midst of the females.

I had lost track of our beaver and found him on the opposite end of the lake carrying a large branch.
It's no crime to move periodically into better territory.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Little Action Between the Purple Martins and a Cooper's Hawk

                                                             American White Pelicans

                                                                    Cooper's Hawk

                                                                       Turkey Vulture

                                                                   Brown Thrasher

                                                             Neotropic Cormorants

                                                                   Harris's Sparrow

                                                           American White Pelicans

03-20 to 04-01-17

Quite a storm came in several days ago and with it, came a number of water birds and shore
birds, all distributed in a number of areas in Payne County.  Some of them are still hanging on
and it is POSSIBLE that we might be in for another storm tonight.  We shall see, as we don't
always get the bad weather since we are in a valley.

The pelican population has been growing since the storm.  All of these beautiful birds appear
to be in breeding plumage, but I have not been able to see all their lovely faces.  Some have
managed to sleep during some tumultuous Canada Goose uproars.

We could have more than seven Purple Martins on the east side of Boomer Lake, but it seems
that many of these birds have been exhibiting more kingbird behavior than their usual manners.
Some of their houses had been infiltrated by European Starlings and House Sparrows.  They
have graciously allowed these birds to stay, but they forced their way in to their settlements.

What few of the martins there are, they are also patrolling an additional house, so they each
have two homes.  Imagine that!

Now here's the kicker (sorry).  The house across from Kicker (Stillwater Designs), has been the most active and the most watched by a Cooper's Hawk.  Yesterday, I had a group of four martins over my head carrying on, and they were following me.  A quarter of a mile later, I found out why, as you can see in the above photo.  Their home was being used as a lookout post by this Cooper's Hawk, who didn't like the fact that I was photographing his transgression.  The hawk then settled in the trees west of the martin house, whom I again photographed on my return trip from Boomer Creek.  He then flew across the lake and the martins returned home from where they were sitting on the electric wires just east of their home.

Today, our brave heroes were in hot pursuit of the Cooper's Hawk, which I noticed upon my return
from Boomer Creek.  These birds are relentless and apparently, fear very little.

The Brown Thrasher was my first of year bird a couple of days ago, and now there are two.

These three Neotropic Cormorants were from last month, and they were conveniently all seated together.

Tomorrow, I will see you in the paper with Life at Boomer Lake.  Happy birding!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Weekend's Wonders Are Still Inbound

                                                              Red-shouldered Hawk



                                                                Neotropic Cormorant

                                                              Downy Woodpecker

                                                                Blue-winged Teal


                                                                Gadwall, Position 2

                                                                      Horned Grebe

                                                            Juvenal Great Blue Heron

03-18 and 03-19-17

We're back to spring weather again, as the low pressure system that had once been affecting
the eastern part of the country has moved on.  This makes migratory movement get into a
higher gear and bring us more birds that are northbound.

The Red-shouldered Hawk shots are all from today, and I practically walked into the bird before
I noticed it.  This gorgeous bird gave me these three shots and he was farther away from me in the first shot, and came closer.  These hawks are excellent mousers, and will prefer a mouse over a bird.
This is one of the many species that you'll save if you forgo rat poison.

The Neotropic Cormorant, a warmer weather bird, is rare in these parts, but has given us presence
since at least 2015.  February 21 of this year is the earliest that it has been here, and I strongly believe, even without a band, that this is one of last year's juvenal birds, now a pristine adult in breeding plumage.

Many Downy Woodpeckers were showing themselves today, and this one happened to be cavorting
with a female, also in the area.  Try as I might,  was unable to get a shot with the two of them together.

The Blue-winged Teal were not on the lake, but they were the only ones in the area.  They were found at the creek, spending a little extra time foraging before they go to their breeding grounds.

A lone Gadwall was in the company of the teal, and was still there when I quietly left the area.  None of them had any idea that I was in their presence, as it should be.

This Great Blue Heron is a beautiful example of one of last year's crop born here at Boomer Creek.
This bird is definitely a first year bird, due to its gray coloring.  A 5-year bird will have black epaulettes and tan shorts.  Due to their coloring, it is easy to age them.

This lone Horned Grebe was located near Goose Island in the area of the geese.

031917 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Life of the Present Bird Party of the First Part

                                                                      Field Sparrow

                                                                  Common Goldeneye

                                                                    Mourning Doves

Great Horned Owl

03-03 - 03-15-17

March was off to a slow start with a fair amount of inclement weather and cold wind chills in the early mornings.  Migratory movement was somewhat slow, but again, when it was good, it was
much better than expected.  As of this posting, weather is much more seasonable and movements have been closer to moderate, some species earlier than normal, others slightly later.

Our Bald Eagle has been around more, and I suspect that since one bird is in the vicinity, we have surprises in the nest.  We have come a long way since that first sighting in the winter of 2012.

Ducks and other water birds have been moving through the area, and I was both pleased and surprised to see several Common Goldeneyes visiting, as well as the fact that even though they were still a little distant, I could at least provide some photos this time around.

As you can see Mourning Doves are nesting, our first Purple Martin scout showed up on the lake on March 16, which also happens to be my birthday, so that was a wonderful present.  Since the winter hadn't been cold enough for a long stretch, these birds have enough protein to fill their stomachs, and those early mosquitos, gnats, and no-see'ums, will be kept at bay.

I have seen TWO American Kestrels a couple of times this winter, and there is a possibility that one could be the offspring of our usual resident male bird.  If he stays too long, he will be pushed out of the area by the older bird, which is normal practice.

There will be more photos to come, and at present, our Blue-winged Teal have been coming through the area before they continue on, so you'll see plenty of them as time goes on.    

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Red-breasted Mergansers and Hawks Visit Boomer Lake

                                                       Red-breasted Merganser males
                                                                in breeding plumage

                                                                Red-breasted Merganser

                                                                    Ditto on Species

                                                                Pied-billed Grebe

                                                                    Canada Geese

                                                                  Mourning Dove

                                                               Juvenal Cooper's Hawk

                                                               Juvenal Red-tailed Hawk



                                                                    Male Buffleheads

February to early March 2017

These are the highlights of the month, and I am proud to feature the male Red-breasted Merganser
in breeding plumage.  This is a common water bird found in winter in Oklahoma, but to see the male in its gorgeous breeding plumage was a first for me.  A single male was first seen March 2 and the two males were seen the day after.  They were gone after that, but not until they gave me several wonderful photo ops.

Even though these birds are less common on inland lakes, they do tend to show themselves on Boomer Lake upon occasion.  Even though they summer in Canada, it was nice to be able to get shots of these two in high breeding plumage with their black, shaggy crests, thin red bill and dark breast.

A young Cooper's Hawk (juvenal or juvenile bird) also came to Heron Cove where I captured the likeness of a similar bird almost in the same vicinity drinking water in the winter.  Cooper's Hawks are in the eastern part of the state year round, but they tend to be uncommon.  There will tend to avail themselves on an open perch, though.

Winter is never complete without the tiny Bufflehead, which means Buffalo Head.  These classic
little ducks are easy to identify with the male's large head and the female's classic chocolate color with oval white patched head.