Saturday, December 31, 2016

More From the Latter Half of December

                                                      Bald Eagle Over Boomer Lake

                                                Fox Squirrel in Wood Duck Nesting Box

                                                           Female Belted Kingfisher

                                                                     Gadwall Pair

                                    Herring Gulls (in rear with Red Dots on Lower Mandible)

These are more shots from the latter half of the month and the time period encompasses both cold and warmer mornings, which is still happening.

Since it has been more warm than cold recently, we just haven't been getting normal duck influx, but
the area has been getting plenty of longspurs not far from here.  Chances are excellent that I might be
able to get a shot or two if Lady Luck is on my side tomorrow.  Keep those fingers and toes crossed for me, but don't do that with your eyes.

I'm behind on editing and posting pictures, as this new photo program is not yet to be trusted in my hands without a little guidance, so by next weekend, I hope to have more shots for you to see.

Head over to the lake, especially on those days when the barometer is falling, as that is the best time
for you to see plenty of birds.  They can detect air pressure and will lie low during those times, so what is already there will not go elsewhere.  Try it, and I guarantee that you won't be disappointed.  Get a weather station and you'll always be in the know, just like I am.

Happy New Year, and may you experience spectacular birding in 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Pre-Christmas Surprises of the Season

Greater White-fronted Geese

                                                                   Bewick's Wren

                                                                     Brown Pelican


                                                                Flying In From Dam

                                                                     American Robin

                                                                  Northern Cardinal

                                                      Dark-eyed Junco (Slate Colored)

                                                                     Harris's Sparrow

12-05 - 12-17-16

This assortment was taken both before and after the Deep Freeze of 2016.  With the freeze
came the first photo, the Greater White-fronted Geese.  They were in the company of Canada and Cackling Geese, as well as a Wood Duck, Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, Mallards, and a
handful of domestics.

It wasn't as cold as it had been for that shot, it was just coming out of sub-zero wind chills, some of which were a little above zero.  I'd been out during those days and it wasn't pleasant, but good shots came with the territory.  Birds still must eat no matter what the temperature is, and they will come
nearer the colder that it gets.

Harris's Sparrow, the Dark-eyed Junco, and Bewick's Wren were braving the wind just as I was, so
that was my reward for those endeavors.

The birds and I wish you the happiest of holidays and we'll still be seeing you after Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Summer Relinquishes to Fall's Finer Showings

Eastern Bluebird
Double-crested Cormorants
Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk
Female Downy Woodpecker

Great Horned Owl

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk

Great Blue Heron Holding Berries

Great Blue Heron Releasing Berries

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron


American Goldfinch

11-20 through12-02-16
El Nino still holds on fast to many things, even though its time should be up.  Global warming 
 has taken on a stronger foothold, so birds that should have been on their way to more southern climes are still with us in mid-December, like the Great Egret, juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron, and even a vagrant Brown Pelican from the briny waters.  I did not see the pelican yesterday, but my sources are very trustworthy, so I know that it was on Boomer Lake. 

Rumor has it that winter will be warm and wet for the Great Plains, but the northern areas will be even colder and snowier.  Good fortune to all, and keep warm. 

121116 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Friday, November 4, 2016

Before the Flood--The Entire Movie

As an infant, I had a mobile over my own crib.  It was soft colored plastic with soft covered birds.  There was a Northern Cardinal, a Blue Jay, and a Goldfinch.  I reached out and played with them several times a day before nap times and bed time.  These birds brought me so much joy.

Finally, as a scientist--a chemist, biologist, and now an ornithologist, trust me when I relate to you that global warming has been quite real for a half century.  This movie speaks the truth, and a friend paid a lot of money to do this with scientific collaborations to make certain that it is the truth.

Watch this movie, not for me, but for your own information that this is what is really happening in an analogy.  After you have finished think about it, and I beseech you to help me help our animals.  This is something that will not wait.  Do it for yourself, your family, and the people on the earth that you do not know.  Help me help them.  Please.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

View Warblers and Tanagers on a Coffee Farm

This video made on a Columbia coffee farm in the Northern Andes shows where some of our birds spend the "winter" season.  It is critical habitat for them in shade grown coffee stands, which is also much
healthier coffee for us to drink, WITHOUT pesticides if certified as bird friendly, as our birds would be killed if they are foraging for protein.  Help me help them, by viewing this important video with fellow scientist Amanda Rodewald of the Cornel Lab of Ornithology.  She is every bit as passionate as I am with her work in ecology as I am with ornithology. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Days of Their Lives

                                                                  Great Blue Heron

                                                                     Snowy Egret

                                                         Double-crested Cormorants

                                                                Spotted Orbweaver

                                               2nd Summer Yellow-crowned Night-Heron


                                                                     Great Egret

                                                                 Clay-colored Sparrow

                                                                     Bewick's Wren

                                                                     Carolina Wren

                                                               Juvenile Eastern Phoebe


Red-spotted Purple

These are shots over the past several weeks, as there hasn't been a lot of migratory
movement.  Weather has a way of being a deterrent, but one also must be in the right
place at the right time.  It cooled down for a little while, long enough for a few more
ducks to come through the area, and temperatures are finally quite seasonable and 
pleasant.  May those people that had to endure Hurricane Matthew be all right and may
you recover from that ordeal as soon as possible.

As a general synopsis, our young Yellow-crowned Night-Heron stayed with us at
Heron Cove for the better part of September, and chose the best willow to rest in
during the day, the same one that the strongest Green Heron chicks were hatched in.

Both Boomer Lake and Boomer Creek hosted more different species of herons than
normally this year, including a strong possibility of the Little Blue Heron, as well.

Larger than normal woodpecker numbers stayed at the creek, and many of them
were hatched here, including one female adult red-shafted Northern Flicker as a parent.
  It is not known if there are any red-shafted offspring as a result of this uncommon union.
There were also good numbers of the Red-bellied Woodpecker young, and a few Red-
headed Woodpecker juveniles.  No Pileated Woodpecker young were observed.

The Clay-colored Sparrow spent about a week with us on Boomer Lake and there were at 
least two of them in our midst.  Good numbers of the Carolina Wren were seen over the
season, and Bewick's Wren is once again in our midst.

Sadly, butterfly numbers were down by half, but on the positive note, this was the first
year that I have noticed the Red-spotted Purple in the five years that I have been in 
Stillwater, and I only observed it on the Kameoka Trail at Boomer Creek.

Ambient water temperatures have risen two degrees F in the time that I have been in the
area.  If this continues to increase, birds and other animals are expected to remove 
themselves in a northeastern pattern.

100916 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Friday, September 23, 2016

Plenty of Heron Action to Delight You

                                               2nd Summer Yellow-crowned Night-Heron


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Top)
Green Heron (Bottom)  

                                                         Yellow-crowned Night Heron


                                                                  Great Blue Heron

                                                                    Snowy Egrets

                                                               Adult Green Heron

0745-1249 hrs./62-80 degrees F/partly cloudy/8 mph SE winds/61% RH

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron is quite at home at Heron Cove, allowing for several shots, as
well as behavior observation.  When the sun hits a high range and seems to be in the bird's eyes, it no
longer wishes to be out in the open.  This most likely is due to its red eyes being sun sensitive.  At that point, it wishes to retire to a favorite tree where it sleeps until late afternoon.

For size perspectives, the photo with the Yellow-crowned Night Heron and Green Heron is shown,
so one can get a rough idea on how large they are by sight.  Great Blue Heron is the largest heron.
The night-heron is medium sized, and Green Heron is small.

1030-1200 at Boomer Creek

This was my first time at the creek for a good week, and I observed and took several photos of this
wonderful Snowy Egret pair, who most likely spent breeding time siring young at the heronry.  This
Great Blue Heron had been watching me creep up to a natural blind the entire time in order to get closer to the snows, and never uttered a squawk, which would have made them go into high alert.

Luckily, I was between two young trees with a small opening between leaves in order to photograph
the snowies.

                                                          Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

                                                            Double-crested Cormorants

                                                                      Gulf Fritillary

0755-1045 hrs./65-75 degrees/partly cloudy/8 mph SSW winds/94-63% RH

The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, a rare visitor to the area, is shown so much just to record
the possible changes to its transition from juvenile to adulthood.  It is unknown how long it intends
to be in the area.

The Double-crested Cormorants are returning to the area and should be juveniles for the most
part.  The adults will be coming in again from their breeding grounds, but it is possible that they might not stop at Boomer Lake on their return southbound.

A larger number of butterflies were observed, mostly the gulf fritillary and a few monarchs.  The monarchs should be migrating right about now.

                                                          Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

                                                                  Great Blue Heron

                                                       Yellow-crowned Night-Heron




0740-0922 hrs./73-81 degrees F (feels like 89)/partly cloudy/7 mph S winds/80% RH with a
heat advisory for the day

Due to the extreme heat, my point of exploration was under the trees at Heron Cove to spend
time with the herons.