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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday December 16, 2012

Updated on December 30, 2012
Bufflehead Taking Off From the Water
Bufflehead Taking Off From the Water | Source

Winter is Almost Upon Us

It has been nippy in the mornings, but it has been well worth it with some of the wonderful photos obtained. The birds have been puffing themselves up to take advantage of that wonderful natural insulation, so they look larger than they are. To me, that just shows another beautiful side of their make up.

The only time that birds will have trouble staying warm, is if their natural oils have been compromised. This happens routinely in oil spills, another reason why we need alternative fuel. Perhaps one day our voices will be heard and destruction of our natural habitat will be no more. I know that is wishful thinking, but we must look to the future for our own survival.

We got a little bit of rain Friday, and I happened to be caught in it about halfway home. Fortunately, it wasn’t too terribly cold, but it was cool enough in the dark. Actually being thankful for the little moisture that we received, it was a small price to pay.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal | Source

Payne County Audubon Society

A met another birder on the lake a few days ago who had his spotting scope out, so that is always a good way to recognize a fellow birder. We managed to discuss a few things about birding, and perhaps a small hope for the city of Stillwater putting in a blind or two for this great birding area. I also paid a visit to the Payne County Audubon Society web page, and found an area checklist. The first thing that I looked up, was sightings on our elusive Snow Goose from the December 2 edition. It seems that they are uncommon in this area, so it pleased me that I was able to see them at Boomer Lake. Now I will be looking for rare and uncommon birds in my jaunts around the lake. There is also a visiting birder/photographer that will be giving a few local talks upon occasion in this area, Tom Ulrich of West Glacier, MT http://tomulrichphotos.com/.

Male Mallard Stretching
Male Mallard Stretching | Source

Your Local Audubon Society

Do keep a watch on the happenings of the Audubon Society in your area, too, for you could find out some things about birds that you might not have known about. It will also give you the chance to meet other birders in your specific area that might know a few special places that are good to watch birds. There are also meetings, talks, and bird walks, which are always good to learn new birds in your home areas.

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull | Source

Official Sighting on Glaucous Gull * Correction

Sunday morning was an important time for Boomer Lake. I’m not sure when it happened, but an area birder saw a rare gull on the lake. At first, it was possibly identified as the Glaucous Gull, which is rare inland. I met a member of the Audubon Society at the lake this morning, who mentioned the sighting. He identified the gull as the Iceland Gull, which is also rare inland. The Iceland Gull has pink legs and feet, a white tail, is a little larger than the Ring-Billed Gull, has gray tinted or white primaries, and a red eye ring. You never know what will migrate through this area, so it makes me even more determined to visit the lake on a daily basis.

**Through the efforts of the Oklahoma Bird Records Committee and other birders, the local Audubon Chapter has determined that the gull was a Glaucous Gull as originally thought. The best field mark to separate the two species concerns the length of the primaries. These feathers extend well beyond the tail tip when the wings are folded in Iceland Gull and just barely past the tail tip on Glaucous Gull.


Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source

As we all know, Boomer Lake is a very important area on the Central Flyway, and evidently, many rare to uncommon birds tend to show up here from time-to-time.

Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next week!

Female Mallard
Female Mallard | Source
Ring-billed Gulls and Double-Crested Cormorants
Ring-billed Gulls and Double-Crested Cormorants | Source
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird | Source
Canada Geese
Canada Geese | Source

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Chris, if you come to central Oklahoma, let me know, and I will take you around Boomer Lake. Bring your camera, and we could well discover something interesting. Yes, they ARE Canada Geese and we have gulls, not seagulls.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I'll begin traveling a lot soon in my work and am looking forward to birdwatching in different parts of the country. You are an inspiration in this regard. It is nice to see someone refer to that particular goose as Canada Goose and not Canadian. I don't think they carry passports. Thanks for the great writing and photos.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Kaili, do tell. Recently a Glaucous Gull was seen at the lake, it was NOT an Iceland Gull. Today, I saw a Bonaparte's Gull, much smaller than the common Ring-billed Gulls. I think we will be seeing a lot more northern birds due to the global warming problems.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi Deb, just to follow up, it was an immature ivory gull, a very rare bird from the Arctic, that visited Ottawa. First sighting here ever. There was a sighting of another rare bird recently as well...I'll have to find out if it was confirmed.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for the definitive word, Tim, and definitely, thanks for reading. If you're interested, I do this on a weekly basis. I have been trying to watch the gulls, but I don't have the power that you do with your digiscope.

    • profile image

      Tim O'Connell 4 years ago

      Hi Deb,

      I finally tracked down your website. This is great!

      I'm afraid I need to issue a correction for your site, however: In consultation with other Oklahoma birders - including the Oklahoma Bird Records Committee - we have determined that the gull at Boomer was in fact a Glaucous Gull, not an Iceland Gull. The best field mark to separate the two species concerns the length of the primaries. These feathers extend well beyond the tail tip when the wings are folded in Iceland Gull and just barely past the tail tip on Glaucous Gull. If you get a chance to see it again while it's perched check it out to see if this mark is apparent to you.

      Sorry to have led you astray! ~tim

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Those are probably all Ring-billed Gulls. The youngsters have brown on them. The younger they are, the more there is on their feathers. Gulls are everywhere, inland as well as on the oceans, especially Ring-bills and Herring Gulls. They will even visit the dump to eat.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb, the storm is due tomorrow starting with rain and then changing to snow. Estimates start at 2" and then go up from there, depending upon when the low pressure system interacts with the cold front. I prefer my birds to a weatherman any day! If you don't hear from me for several days, it's because the electric went out, as it does almost every time we have a storm roll through.

      By the way, today I saw probably 75 gulls in an abandoned parking lot drinking at the little pools in the broken pavement and sitting or standing separately. Most of them had the black ring around their beak and the black on their wing tips, but some were white with brown only; and one was all white, but did not have pink legs and feet. I was fascinated and watched them for about 10 minutes. Since there is a grocery store not too far away, I expect some people have been buying bread and tossing it out to them. Otherwise, I don't know why they would gather there instead of around a large body of water somewhere else?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Highland Terrier. Behind blinds, one can get some excellent pictures without the birds even knowing that you are there. There are several natural blinds around the lake.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Connie, Boomer Lake got its name from Boomer Creek, which flows into it. Did your storm come yet? I also recall an inordinate amount of birds at my feeders when a storm was brewing. They are quite good at detecting changes in atmospheric pressure.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Nice hub. Excellent as always. The female mallard having a wash is very good.

      Thank you

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb! The Iceland Gull is beautiful with its pink legs and feet and all those pure white feathers! I keep wishing they would stop destroying all of our natural habitat as well. I am a strong supporter of the Audubon Society because they do such a good job of protecting habitats and birds. I subscribe to their newsletter so I can add my voice to any issue that needs to be addressed by congress.

      It has been rainy and foggy here a lot this past week or so. But my birds were very active at the feeders today. That is always an indicator of a major storm coming soon!

      By the way, do you know how your lake got the name 'Boomer'?

      Voted Up and Awesome

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Billy, the Iceland Gull rarely comes inland. They are coastal.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, Kaiil, tell me what has come to you area that is rarely seen. I am so looking forward to the spring migration.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Martin. Glad that you dropped by, and I hope to see you again next week.!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Agreed, Johan! I saw a pink legged juvenile gull yesterday...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Eddy! I'm always glad to have you along on my trips, so that you get to experience what I see, too.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Bumpsysmum! I'll bet that you get some great birds in your area, too. Sometimes, you just have to go out there and actively seek them out. That's how I find many of my birds.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, I never know what I am going to see out there, it is amazing. When I spoke to the representative on Sunday from our local Audubon Society, a number of unusual birds will grace the lake. It really is an important area on the Central Flyway. Glad that you like the series.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the photo of the cardinal, Deb. What a beautiful color! You have some lovely close-up photos in this week's edition of your Boomer Lake series. I love the fact that there are new species of birds for me to see in each hub!

    • Bumpsysmum profile image

      Bumpsysmum 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Still jealous! You do get some very colourful birds. Of the above we get the Cormorants, Canada Geese and Mallards. I love the Cardinal, so bright. Well done again, very interesting.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh what a beautiful and interesting gem. Thank you so much for the hard work you put into this one and I save and share.

      Eddy.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great sighting of the Gull and lovely photos. Seeing a rare bird is always an exciting prospect and finding one even more so.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Stunning; thank you very much.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful photos as always Deb. Cardinals are one of my favorite birds, so thank you for that :-)

      There have been some rare birds spotted in this area lately too, including birds that usually make their homes in western Canada.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      With a wind storm approaching, and the power sure to go out, I thought I'd better visit you sooner rather than later. Great visit today, Deb! How rare is that sighting of the Iceland Gull? That's pretty cool if you ask me. :)