Sunday, September 25, 2016

092516 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.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Heroes of the Boomer Lake Brigade

                                                2nd Summer Black-crowned Night-Heron

                                                                        Green Heron


                                                          Black-crowned Night-Heron

                                               Immature Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker

                                                           Great Blue Heron in Flight

                                                               Red-winged Blackbird

                                                                        Great Egret

09-05 through 09-13-16

This is an assortment of some of the temporary residents who will likely be migrating out of
here this fall.  We are in the middle of migratory activity, some light, and sometimes with moderate numbers.

There is a fairly heavy population of water birds and this has been an excellent year for Green Herons, yet many of the other herons have and will show themselves in smaller numbers.

It is still a pleasure to have the sub-adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at Heron Cove, and the
area has been a valuable respite and resource for many others of the heron clan.

Red-winged Blackbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Eastern Kingbirds are still roosting.  Both
the kingbirds and flycatchers are tyrants, so it makes sense that they will travel south together.
It is always a sad time to see them leave, but they always return the next year.

The weather wasn't always co-operative this summer, so I missed a few things due to rain, as well
as heavy clouds, but we'll see if it will be better from here out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Less Birds, But Good Quality Ones at Boomer Lake

                                               2nd Summer Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

                                        Bird #2, 2nd Summer Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

                                                       Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Flight

                                                           Female Red-Spotted Purple

                                                            Male Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

These photos were taken over the past several days.  It was quite surprising to see two
immature Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at The Southern Cove. (which I should perhaps
rename Heron Cove?)   These birds were not seen together, and are clearly two different birds.
There has been no eBird record of Yellow-crowned Night-Herons since June of 2012 on Boomer Lake, which would have made that sighting in 2012 an adult bird.  Since these birds are on their second summer, they could have been born at Teal Ridge, which has had adult Yellow-crowned Night-Herons every summer that I know about.

The Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly had been seen just off the Kameoka Trail near Boomer Creek, and they seem to be slightly more prevalent than usual in the tri-state area this year.  For the most part, our butterfly population appears to be on yet another yearly downward spiral, due to loss of habitat,
lack of native milkweed, and too many pesticides wafting through the air.

Our Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are being seen again, soon to be heading south.  They have been roosting together overnight, so chances are excellent that you'll see a good group of them at Boomer
Lake just before nightfall.  Last year, they were seen on the northernmost jetty just south of Goose
Island.  In previous years, they had a roost tree on the west side of the lake.

Also at dusk, you'll see more grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds at Boomer Lake, which are
nearly non-existent on the lake during the day.  During the day, there have been large numbers of
Mallards, and less than the usual numbers of Killdeer.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

090416 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

The Birds Say That Summer is Nearly Over

                                                            Juvenile Brown Thrasher

                                                                Green Heron, Clutch 6

                                                                 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

                                                                    Eastern Kingbird

                                                               Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

                                                               Green Herons, Clutch 6

Sunday 08-21-16 through Wednesday 08-24-16

There birds generally indicate that summer is over and things are soon about to change.  The
days have been cooling down, and the length of the daylight is shortening.  Migration has
already begun with a light to medium shorebird movement, and songbirds have started to take to
the air.  

Here is our last clutch of Green Herons that are growing up and still in the area, even though
their birthplace had been taken over by other herons and they were left on the sidelines.  They managed to raise themselves and persevere, while the parents went elsewhere, but that is quite normal this late in the season.  Many of the other Green Herons from various clutches remained in various locations on Boomer Lake, Boomer Creek, and even in smaller western waterways in the vicinity.
This was quite the year for Green Herons, and next year will help us fill in the story even more.

We also saw plenty of juvenile birds, like Brown Thrashers, Northern Mockingbirds, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, and many, many more.

Many of the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets came out and settled on the lake from the Boomer Creek Rookery and are still in our presence.

                                                      1st Summer Broad-winged Hawk

                                                                      Great Egret
                                                            "Making a Withdrawal"

Tuesday, August 30

0728-0954 hrs./70 to 80 degrees F/partly cloudy/light and variable S winds

A beautiful first summer Broad-winged Hawk came looking for breakfast, stayed a while in a few different area locations, and was escorted off by three brave American Goldfinches when they had
enough.  Even young hawks can raise alarm calls with songbirds, and they will even brave the odds
in order to protect each other.  The young Green Herons watched and waited, not even paying the hawk any mind.  Hawk watch has begun, and a few visitors have been in our midst.  Turkey vultures
are also returning to the area, and soon it will be Songbird Central for the southern push of warblers,
vireos, and other familiar faces that we just saw heading north just a few short months ago.