Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pre- and Post Flood Natural Birding Wonders



One of many of these birds found at Sooner Lake.  This was one of the few days that it didn't rain, providing a wonderful day birding.

                                                                 Swainson's Thrush

                                                                 Savannah Sparrow


This was a couple of days after the flood.  This beautiful Swainson's Thrush sat out in the open in the current swampy area, where I also located a late-migrating Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a singing male Common Yellowthroat, and both Alder and Least Flycatchers.

The Savannah Sparrow is known as a later sparrow migrant, providing a couple of nice shots in a drier area.

The lake had receded slightly, but it still was not completely back within its banks.

First Green Heron Clutch of the Year Comes to Boomer Lake


0700-0857/partly cloudy/S-12/87-75% RH/30 Hg and rising to 30.09 Hg and steady--shortly after early morning rain

Both proud parents were tending and feeding their young this morning.  There were four nestlings discovered at approximately 0700 hrs. this date.

Suspicions that there were or would soon be young were raised yesterday, as the parent(s) were sitting much higher on the nest.

It is true, as can be seen, that young Green Herons really do have green skin.  The young will be protected until most of their feathers grown in, as tender young skin will be subject to sunburn.

Once again, we are parents, and may the weather stay cooler for these young birds, as it has been.  This is the first year that a Green Heron nest has been fully visible and at eye level.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Storms of 2019 Flood Boomer Lake and Beget Shorebirds Galore

                                                           Hooded Merganser (Right)
                                                                  Ruddy Duck (Left)

                                                           Female Hooded Merganser

                                                                   Ruddy Shelduck

                                                                    Willow Flycatcher

                                                             White-rumped Sandpipers

                                                              White-rumped Sandpiper

                                                             Semipalmated Sandpiper

                                                    Ruddy Turnstone ( Center of Group)

                                                                Franklin's Gull (Center)

                                                                      Black Tern

                                                              Franklin's Gull (Bottom)

                                                                         Forster's Terns

0855-1012 hrs/65-66 F/mostly cloudy/89% RH--shortly after heavy rain stopped

A few dozen Canada Geese were in the arms of safety on the southeast corner of the our beloved Boomer Lake with low areas growing in size with water, which had two or three Mallards swimming within.  Three Great Blue Herons were seen in transit from all directions.

Beloved Boomer was flooded to the mow line and police units were out to deter traffic in flood areas on the west side. Heron Cove was my biggest worry, with the Green Heron nest just over the water and in full view.

Relaxing a little when I observed Mother Heron upon her nest, fast asleep, wet and bedraggled, the stick fortress was sinking lower just above water.  Two Willow Flycatchers were heard on the Cove, one safely hidden, yet obviously fearful and calling from the mulberry bush at The Cove.  On the west side of Heron Cove was a female Hooded Merganser near shore with a sleeping Ruddy Duck.  A Baltimore Oriole was in attendance, along with plenty of Great-tailed Grackles, a Common Grackle, and an Eastern Kingbird could be heard, while a Brown Thrasher was atop the trees, having taken sentry duties.  A yellow-shafted Northern Flicker always seemed to be foraging in front of me, always just ahead to pave the way.

At least one southwest jetty was nearly covered by water, yet the southeastern jetty was close to the same with a twelve-foot span toward the end of the cove submerged.  Franklin's Gulls could be observed, giving writer a good idea that there were shorebirds there.

On the way to the southeastern jetty, several familiar areas were choked with excess water with at least two more Willow Flycatchers flitting about in a normal nervous manner.  All birds were doing their best to stay above the rushing water line.  Mourning Doves were performing their plaintive wail atop the new power lines.  Ducks, both wild and domestic, and Canada Geese were going about their business foraging in wet grass.

Rounding the corner to reach the jetty, a friend was scoping the area.  He had come up with most of the photographed birds.  While we inched closer to these birds, he was walked beside me, telling me what he had observed.  We both continued to get as close as possible without driving the shorebirds and gulls away.  Upon approach, Black Terns were flying by closer than I had ever seen them, allowing wonderful observation of behavior.

The real question was nearest the bench at the end of the jetty, breached by several feet of standing water.  Was there a Common Tern among the Forester's Terns?  It turned out to be a false alarm, but this was a fabulous search for shorebirds, some of which I had never before seen in Oklahoma.

My standing joke has always been that birds that have never been here eventually come to see me and they Payne County list grows.