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