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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 27, 2012

Updated on November 15, 2012
Barn Swallows with Bank Swallow
Barn Swallows with Bank Swallow | Source

The Wind Has Been Sweeping Down the Plain..

This was an unusually windy week, but fortunately for us, it grounded some of those birds that it is normally hard to keep out of the skies. For starters, here is a photo of two different types of swallows. About the only thing that keeps them out of the air is breeding season and inordinately high winds. That gave me the opportunity to get several pictures that I think you'll like.

This Bank Swallow looks a bit unusual, and reminds me a bit of "E.T." That will put a smile on the faces of you Sci-Fi lovers. Both males and females dig burrows in vertical banks with their bills, and finish the job with their feet. Some of these tunnels that they dig can be five to six feet in length.

Fledgling Great Tailed Grackle
Fledgling Great Tailed Grackle | Source
Fledgling Barn Swallow
Fledgling Barn Swallow | Source
Fledgling European Starling
Fledgling European Starling | Source

Eggshells, Birdlets, and Babies, Oh, My!

Last week began the Great Fledgling Race. I have seen between 50 and 75 eggshells strewn about all around Boomer Lake Park. No matter where I go, I see them, and to back them up, there are the young, too. It isn't hard to see them out and about, as they always keep begging for food from their parents. The little grackles look like quite a sight when they are young, but they will get their feathers and be just as good looking as their parents before long. The little swallows were grounded in the wind, and actually hoped that I had a tidbit or two for them, which is why they let me get so close. The little starling has been diligently working on obtaining his own food, but his parents were right there looking on.

Since parents are working extra hard to feed their young, it is hard for them to get enough nourishment themselves. I advocate feeding the birds both in winter and spring. In the winter they need that extra boost to help them keep warm, and in the spring, they need a little extra and quickly, for themselves. They will also bring their young to your feeders so it is very possible that you might get some wonderful candid shots of them, too.

Green Heron
Green Heron | Source

What About Me?

Surprisingly, while I was taking a picture of a female Red Winged Blackbird, I heard a bold and abrasive deep call next to me. I looked and there was this gorgeous Green Heron. I have encountered him before, so we were acquainted. He was no more than two feet from me, so I could have touched him. I didn't even need to zoom in on him, as he was so close. I got about half a dozen shots of him before he decided to move on for a snack break. The beauty of being out on the lake is that one never knows what could be nearby.

Monday's Discovery, Another Nest
Monday's Discovery, Another Nest | Source

Early Monday morning, there was a storm with high winds, and this nest was a victim of Mother Nature. I found it on the ground, and brought it to the back yard, with all the feeders and the birdbath. The last one was taken apart and used by other birds for nesting material, so we'll see what happens with this one.

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow | Source
Mallard Duckling
Mallard Duckling | Source
Female Red Winged Blackbird
Female Red Winged Blackbird | Source

Here's another picture of a couple of Barn Swallows hanging onto some reeds in the winds. They are fond of insects, which makes them very popular with the farming community. They will even follow lawnmowers and farm equipment, just to feed on the insects that have been stirred up. They also have an interesting courtship ritual, that I believe I will save for a future hub.

This Mallard Duckling appeared to be alone, but the parents could have been nearby, since I was near a curve in the lake. He was dabbling just like an adult, so he is learning well. I also encountered a larger group on the northern part of the lake. The group of 19 was not seen, but chances are good that they are now in the northernmost part of the lake where it is a lot quieter, with a lot less boating activity.

This is the female Red-Winged Blackbird that I was photographing when I was contacted by the Green Heron that I found beside me. This part of the lake is also home to marsh rabbits, Brown Thrashers, Blue-Winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, and a few American Coots.

Goose Island is almost silent, but there are a few families still located there.

This wraps it up for Life at Boomer Lake this week. Hopefully, there will be less wind next week, so it will be easier on the birds. It was still an enjoyable week, nonetheless. Keep your head in the clouds, your eyes on the ground, and happy birding. I will see you again next week.

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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Tillsontitan! I have been doing these weeklies since March, and have been enjoying doing them, as well.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Your pictures are great! How exciting to be able to get so many wonderful pictures. Your explanations are interesting too. This was a lovely hub and I do have to say I think the Bank Swallow is adorable!

      Voted up, beautiful and interesting.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Moonlake. I have yet to meet the Sandhill Crane, but I will, one day.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      6 years ago from America

      Beautiful pictures, enjoyed reading your hub about all the birds. I tried to sneak in the field today to get a picture of the sandhill cranes with their little ones but they were spooked and took off across the field. Voted Up.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Why, thank you, Johan. That's what I try so hard to do.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great Article! You make the experience come alive. Thanks!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jackie! You're going to spoil me!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Especially liked the green heron but all are wonderful as always!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      i understand, Angela, they can be hard to capture in motion, unless they are sitting or standing.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      We have had a resure of bald eagles flying around that I wish I could catch on camera. However, it is rare to see them and even when I have I was not anywhere close enough to get a good photo!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Angela. Windy days are the only times that I can photograph these birds.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Very nice pics!!!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Joyce. I have such fun doing this every week.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I always love to see your name on Sundays knowing I'll get a good read about the birds around your lake and wonderful photo's.

      Voted up and interesting, Joyce.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, sparrowlet. These are wonderful birds, but never stay still for long. Orioles have been here for a while, but I don't have a good pic in my collection.

    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Some beautiful photos this time, Deb! I especially like the one of the Barn Swallows with wings spread. Our Barn Swallows in this part of the country are much plainer than those! Today I saw a Baltimore Oriole, and I'm hoping there is a nest nearby so I will see more of them.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Well, do tell this mystery.

    • gamby79 profile image

      gamby79 

      6 years ago

      I believe I just solved the mystery! :)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am Gamby79 or..Muddbyrd...I am still perplexed as to why the past week your photo, and your name, is showing up, instead of mine, next my comments. Another of life's mysteries...hahaha

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Enjoyed it immensely as always. Seems as if all the birds are getting quite accustomed and taking a liking to 'the bird lady'. lol Love the pic of the friendly heron and the swallows!

      Reading your hub truly brightens my day!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It surprised me, Nettlemere, especially since he drew my attention away from what I had been doing.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Very enjoyable read as usual and amazing to have got so close to the heron. Our UK herons are very flighty and suspicious of humans close by.

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