Sunday, December 27, 2015

122715 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas With the Birds

                                                               American Kestrel

                                                                       Blue Jay

                                                                 Downy Woodpecker

                                                           Eastern Red-tailed Hawk

                                                                    Ruddy Ducks

0730-1250 hrs./37-57 degrees F/partly to mostly cloudy/15 mph wind gusts

This was a wonderful Christmas with terrific weather and wonderful friends.  There were
a couple of shots that I need to try to obtain later, but I'm confident in doing so, as all good
thing come to pass.

If your holiday was as good as mine, you had a top notch day, too.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Northern Reaches Boasts Visions of Joy for the Holiday Season

                                                         Yellow-rumped Warbler(Fall)

                                                                Slate-colored Junco

                                                                   Red Fox Sparrow

                                                                Northern Mockingbird

0730-1005 hrs./42-43 degrees F/partly cloudy/15 mph wind gusts

Not quite as chilly today, but it was cool, nonetheless.  However, The Northern Reaches were filled with song and merriment.  It was plays time for all the Yellow-rumped Warblers, half a dozen Slate-colored Juncos, a Red Fox Sparrow, the Northern Mockingbird, a couple of Blue Jays, several American Robins, a Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Brown Thrasher, Downy Woodpecker, and whatever else I might have missed.  I was thrilled to find a living Red Fox Sparrow, as the last one had died in flight a couple of months ago.  As you can see, it is a beautiful bird, worth
having as a picture.

Let's see what tomorrow brings!  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sparrowing Along

                                                                   Song Sparrow

                                                                  Savannah Sparrow

                                                                     Swamp Sparrow


                                                                     Eastern Bluebird

                                                                   Harris's Sparrow

                                                                       Cedar Waxwing

0730-1045 hrs./33-47 degrees F/sunny/18 mph wind gusts

Under normal circumstances, 33 degrees isn't bad for birding, but there was a wind chill, as you
can imagine with 18 mph wind gusts.  What kept me going was the fact that I was finding so many
sparrows.  What clinched the deal, was the fact that I saw a Swamp Sparrow, which is a bird that I had never seen before.  When you're an avid birder like I am(it just happens to be my latest field of
study), the cold doesn't matter.

Then I soon ran into a friendly crop of birds, where there was a little of everything, like the Eastern Bluebird, followed by a couple of Cedar Waxwings, and THEN, a photo op for the Harris's Sparrow.
I could not let that bird escape one more time, especially at reasonably close range.

From that point, it was easy to go to the Northern Reaches, and it was starting to warm up just a little,
but those wind gusts still were not pleasant.  What could I do if there was a rare bird in the area?  I
had no choice with this being an El Nino year, which means that it is going to be in the 50s in the
middle of December.

There was nothing noteworthy at The Reaches, but on the way back, I saw a beautiful Merlin.  I
should not have procrastinated so long for a photo, so it was my loss.  Sometimes, you just can't
get everything that you see.  To be honest, that really is a general rule, for if you do get everything,
you're really very lucky.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Beauty Awaits After the Pre-Winter Rains End

                                                             Male Downy Woodpecker

                                                                     Mallard Hen

                                                Great Blue Heron(Rear) and Mallard Hen

                                                            Pied-billed Grebe

0730-1024 hrs./45-54 degrees F/sunny/18 mph wind gusts

A pleasant day for all concerned, after a couple of days of rain.  The birds hungered for
pleasant weather as much as I did, and a good many were out enjoying the sun.  Large numbers
of the American Robin were out, and Red-winged Blackbirds have been roosting at the lake.  I
found 24 of them this morning, along with an American Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, several
Carolina Chickadees, the American Kestrel(still attempting to get a good photo), and the light morph
of the Red-tailed Hawk.  Six Great Blue Herons were seen between the lake proper and The Northern Reaches, and a band of five House Finches rounded out those in attendance at The Reaches.

I have high hopes for the weekend, which promises good weather!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best of Boomer

                                                         Male Northern Shoveler(left)
                                                         Canvasbacks(Male in center)

                                            American Robin with Eastern Red Cedar Berry

                                                                Pied-billed Grebe

                                                               Pileated Woodpecker

                                                                Great Horned Owl

                                                          Buffleheads(Male on right)

                                                         Immature White-crowned Sparrow

                                                                  American Robin

                                                       Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker

0730-1020 hrs./34-50 degrees F/partly cloudy to sunny/light and variable winds

Today was more like a spring day, rather than going into the throes of winter.  Bird behavior
was about the same for spring, as well.  Besides these beauties, there were also plenty of
Brown-headed Cowbirds, large groups of American Robins, Slate-colored Juncos, and other
birds that are normally making an entrance for the season.

The biggest surprise of the day was a clear shot of the Pileated Woodpecker and a rather respectable shot of an adult Great Horned Owl, who I have been hearing on-and-off.  I know that there is
another one in the area.  Hopefully, Boomer Lake will host a nest for them, and if I can keep a handle on their whereabouts, maybe I can get photos of the young, too.  We'll just have to hope for the best.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rare Birds at Sooner Lake--Oklahoma Power and Electric Property

                                                                    Wilson's Snipe

                                                       Female White-winged Scoter

43-48 degrees F/partly cloudy/18 mph winds

Today, my Audubon friend, Susan, and I made an excursion to Oklahoma Power's property on
Sooner Lake.  We expected to see a few things, but we were lucky enough to see these two
rarities.  The last time that Wilson's Snipe was reported on the property was three years ago.

This female White-winged Scoter was in the company of several Lesser Scaup, all deep water divers.
This bird was reported to be last seen on Sooner Lake in 2010, so we were long overdue.  Susan
suspected that this bird was a scoter before I did, so we managed to locate two important birds
on my first trip to the power plant.

We also saw a number of hawks, most notably the Harlan's, a very dark subspecies of Red-tailed
Hawk.  There were also numerous sparrow species and several American Kestrels.

It was an excellent four hours around the lake and we even took a short excursion to Teal Ridge
Wetlands, where we saw more hawks and the Song and White-throated Sparrows.

I have a few notable photos from Boomer Lake that I took last week, so let's see what else I can
find there over the next couple of days.  Wish me luck!

120615 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Winter is Coming, Say the Birds of the Season

                                                                American Goldfinch

                                                                     American Robin

                                                          Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                              Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                                     Field Sparrow

1200-1530 hrs./44-47 degrees F/partly cloudy/18 mph wind gusts

These are mostly shots at The Northern Reaches, which I suspected was going to be "that" kind
of day. It was a rather chilly day, by the standards of a northern transplant, so I expected a day of interest.  My feelings were not disappointed.

Waterbirds were on the lake proper, and there were plenty of sparrows and berry eaters awaiting
a  feast, which they received at The Reaches.  It was a good day of cajoling and cavorting, and tomorrow should be just as good, if not better.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Waterbirds, Corvidae, Raptors, and Songbirds Wish to Greet You

                                                              White-throated Sparrow

                                                               American Goldfinch

Saturday, 11-14-15
0710-1020 hrs./40-56 degrees F/partly cloudy/light and variable winds

This was a day of great interest, as many birds were out enjoying the day once it warmed up.
Canvasbacks and the Cackling Goose were on the water early, the corvidae(jays, crows, magpie clan) were not to be outdone, and the raptors were in tow.  Sparrows were well-represented, as were songbirds.

Plenty of birds are still out there to be enjoyed even as the cold begins setting in, so get out there to enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cedar Waxwings Make a Boisterous Fall Entrance

                                                             White-throated Sparrow

                                                                 Female House Finch

                                                           Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                               Slate-colored Junco and Chipping Sparrow

                                                         Female Slate-colored Junco

                                                             Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                               Slate-colored Junco
                                                     Under Umbrella of Collective Term
                                                                 Dark-eyed Junco

                                                                   Cedar Waxwing

                                                             Juvenile Cedar Waxwing

                                                             White-throated Sparrow

Tuesday, 11-03-15
0650-1010 hrs./55-65 degrees F/partly cloudy/18 mph winds dropping to light and variable winds

This was an exemplary day, noting the arrival of 46 Cedar Waxwings, including juveniles.  This
was also the the second day of a low pressure system and the sun did its best to come through the clouds, but wasn't able to stay for long, providing a very challenging time for pictures.  Among this crowd was the White-throated Sparrow, close to a dozen Slate-colored Juncos, which falls under the collective term of Dark-eyed Junco.  Juncos have several subspecies, and even though I wished to be in the presence of the Gray-headed Junco, it was not to be.  A couple of Chipping Sparrows popped
out from the mix, so there were definitely no complaints.

There were an easy dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers, allowing good clicks, a pair of House Finches, but no superb rarity.  I do get my share of those, but this wasn't the day for it.

There could be something in store over the weekend, but time will tell.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Birds of Fall Await You

                                                            Yellow-rumped Warbler

                                                                  Eastern Bluebird

                                                               Eastern Towhee, Red-eyed

0640-1015/50-62 degrees F/partly cloudy to sunny/light and variable winds

This is day two after a low pressure system that hasn't cleared until today, and all of these birds were
located at The Northern Reaches.  Being the first day of the time change, it didn't hurt that I was out
in the field an hour early.  The birds were out in full force and they were hungry.  Our migrants are still coming in, and I was counting high on all the birds, except the lone little Eastern Towhee, which is a rare bird in this area.  Usually we have the Spotted Towhee, which is basically the same, except it has white spots on the wings.  For some reason, I get more than my share of rarities, so it always pays
to have one's eyes open.

Look around for the sparrows, as they are coming though now, so they will be more apparent, especially the Song Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco.  These two birds tend to spend the cool seasons with us, just like the Yellow-rumped Warbler, which is the only warbler that will be in the country over the winter.

Welcome to the cooler time of year with a small current sampling of what you will see.  There will still be plenty of old favorites for you to get black-oil sunflower seeds for.  Enjoy the birds this winter!