Sunday, August 27, 2017

082717 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

Saturday, August 26, 2017

We Are Ready For the Fall Migratory Birds


                                                          Adult Mississippi Kite


                                                         Juvenile Mississippi Kite


                                                                Adult Mississippi Kite

08-20 through 08-25-17

The Mississippi Kites are pulling out of all the area neighborhoods to catch dragonflies and cicadas at Boomer Lake.  They are teaching the youngsters how to survive, and they know that the perfect place to do it is in the throes of our greatest body of water.

Several fine examples of both juvenal and adult birds are quietly hunting from the tallest bald cypress
and oak trees on the southeast corner of the property.  Since young birds have difficulty staying silent for too long, they manage to announce themselves, which makes it easy for me to find them.  There are at least three young birds that were hatched in this area.

Large numbers of Mallards are also in residence at the lake, and young Red-shouldered Hawks are also hunting here.  Plenty of Turkey Vultures are gracing the skies on thermals, and there are several Northern Flickers, Downy and Red-headed Woodpeckers, and the Yellow Warblers are coming through the area now.

The web worms are all over the deciduous trees, which means plenty of potential food with protein and we are well on our way with large numbers of rough-leafed dogwood for the migratory birds that will soon be at Boomer Lake and the creek on a well-deserved rest stop.

Keep your eyes on the skies and may the birds be in your sights...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mississippi Kites Come to Boomer Lake!

                                                                  Adult Green Heron

                                                                 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

                                                             Juvenile Mississippi Kite


                                                             Adult Mississippi Kite

                                                                     Ditto, a Day Later

080717 through 081917

Photos were few and far between due to high heat indices.  Quite simply, neither the birds nor I were out for any more than necessary.

As tropical as our state bird, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is, it has taken refuge elsewhere, as have the kingbirds.  These things happen.

But, by the same token, Mississippi Kites have come out of the neighborhoods and others are beginning to head south.  As a matter of fact, on Friday, we had nine of them at Boomer Lake, the greatest number that I have ever seen.  They were perching between a large oak and an even larger bald cypress tree on the southeast corner of the lake.

I had three juveniles in a tree with an adult.  As you can see, one of the juveniles was looking right at me.  Originally, I only saw the adult, and a passerby happened to see one of the juveniles perched over the adult's head.  I then scanned the tree and located the other two.  The youngster facing me was quite vocal, so that bird was easy to find.

I saw a juvenile Mississippi Kite in the air last year, but was unable to obtain a good photo due to the deflection of the sunlight.  This year's shots were so much better, including a shot of my juvenile calling the familiar, "PEE-teeeerrrrr!"  Notice the first shot of the juvenile with its beak open.

Other shots include the Yellow-billed Cuckoo from Boomer Creek on Aug. 11.  I saw my first juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker out there, too, but the photo is poor.  I believe that bird was hatched here, as it was still in the company of a parent.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Green Heron Clutch #5 Makes Debut In Nest on 072917

                                                              European Starling

                                                   First Green Heron Nestling, Clutch 5

                                                   Black-crowned Night Heron Subadult

                                                   Two Green Heron Nestlings, Clutch #5

                                                           Black-crowned Night-Heron

                                                        Green Heron Parent For Clutch 5

                                                             Green Heron Nestlings

                                                                      Ditto 080517

                                                             Black-crowned Night-Heron

07-25 through 08-05-17

This was a longer stretch than usual, but most of these days got hot very quickly.  With both black metal camera and tripod, it was difficult to keep sweat out of the eyes and any kind of comfort level.  Now that I have a few photos, I am proud to announce that we have another clutch of young.

It is unknown what happened with clutch 4, which I never saw.  I had a bird on its nest, but no young were produced.  It appeared to me that one of the Green Herons was a little young, so I am assuming that the male was not yet reproductively mature.  It was also possible that there was a malady or perhaps the nest was infested with something malicious.  Since we will never know, let us be grateful that we have young that I was able to capture at a very early age.

The first photo with clutch #5 was on Saturday, 07-29, nine days ago.  I could only see one bird at the time, and I am almost certain that we now have three nestlings, some of whom are now sitting on the rim of the nest, just itching to escape.  In order to obtained the photos that you see here, I have to have at least 12 mph wind gusts, enough to move both leaves and branches out of the way in order to view the youngsters.  Luck gave me a few shots over the past nine days.

I also believe that I missed seeing the subadult Black-crowned Night-Heron every day, but I don't think it ever left the area.  Going to the west side of Heron Cove each day has sometimes afforded me the opportunity to see the bird perched in a tree.  The photos tell the story, and I am grateful that this bird is allowed to co-exist in the area of the Green Herons.  If it returns as an adult in 2018, we'll see
if they are willing to allow it nesting space.

Even though it has been a terrifically hot summer in this part of the country, it appears that we'll see a reprieve in August.  Perhaps we can all get in some long overdue birding.  If the month is cooler, we might even see an earlier migration, as the days are shortening slightly.  Perhaps the cooler month will give us a push with a few early birds in the area.  I saw three Forster's Terns cruising the lake on Saturday, so we'll see what is in store for us this season.

Dr. Deb

080617 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake