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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Saturday August 30, 2014

Updated on August 30, 2014
Resplendent Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzal | Source

Field Notes

Mexico and Endangered Birds

Mexico is doing extensive work, sometimes investing twenty years, to see that endangered birds don’t become extinct.

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird | Source

Mercury Has Been Altering Bird Behavior

Not only will mercury kill birds, but it will alter their songs, behavior, and kill their chicks. This chemical has quadrupled before industrialization, and organic matter is at seriously high levels. We most stop it before it kills animals and us.

Hoopoe
Hoopoe | Source

Hoopoe Eggs Change Color Due to Preen Glad Secretions

Preen gland secretions cause Hoopoe eggs to change color. This can signify the health of the mother and how well the young can fight disease, in order to live longer and better.

Green Heron Juvenile in Flight
Green Heron Juvenile in Flight | Source

Green Heron Youngsters and Parents Have Moved On

Our Green Heron family in the Southern Cove has moved on. It was only a matter of time, and as the old saying goes, nothing lasts forever. It has made me a little sad, though, as the youngsters were really very entertaining in how they reacted with each other. They also met their parents for instruction on a daily basis, then went about their business in looking for food. I wish them all the luck in their survival, but it is a fact that only half of them will make it to their first birthday.

Mallard Hen
Mallard Hen | Source
Mottled Duck
Mottled Duck | Source

Differences Between Mallard Females and Mottled Ducks

I took pictures of both the Mottled Duck and a female Mallard, so that we can do a comparison. They both look very similar, and I will outline the differences for you, so you’ll know what you are looking at when you see it. A female Mallard has a dark bill on the top with orange patches and orange feet, if you can see them. Mallards also have a white tip on the tail. The Mottled Duck has an unmarked yellow bill with a dark spot at the base, where the lips would be.

Mississippi Kite
Mississippi Kite | Source

Mississippi Kites Make an Appearance

The Mississippi Kite was on the lake this week, and several are in The Northern Reaches. This bird likes to soar, and are graceful birds of the Southern persuasion. They are very common, and enjoy reptiles, rodents, and large insects. Most kites are shaped like falcons but are not power fliers. If you see them overhead, the adult has a black fan-shaped tail with black wingtips and inner edges of the wings. The body is dark gray, as is the rest of the wing. The juvenile will fool you. It has a streaked brown body and sections of the wing closest to the head to mid-body. The tail is banded and square-tipped.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler | Source

Yellow Warblers on Scene

There are numerous Yellow Warblers hanging in the Southern Cove. The males show a bit of streaking, but for the most part, they are a duller yellow, like the female. They usually retire to Baja California and the western coast of Mexico for the winter.

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow | Source

Savannah Sparrow Returns Home

Also seen in the same area is the Savannah Sparrow. They are fairly common birds and this area is part of their winter range, so you should be seeing a lot more of them.

Beauty of The Northern Reaches
Beauty of The Northern Reaches | Source

The Northern Reaches

Here’s a picture of the quiet Northern Reaches. Today it was filled with all varieties of woodpeckers, the Belted Kingfisher, Tree Swallows, the Turkey Vulture, the Mississippi Kite, the Eastern Kingbird, numerous Mallards, and a few Canada Geese. I didn’t stay long, as the area had a few kayaks and fisherfolk, but I was there long enough to determine some of the birds that were in the area. No doubt there were more. Leaves have been dropping to some degree, so it will be getting lighter in these deeper woods, much easier to see a few other birds that prefer to be hidden.

Last, But Not Least

There are still Great Blue Herons, the childless young Green Heron couple, and several Great Egrets. Goose Island has been picking up some migrants that will be heading south for the winter. Never fear, as migration should still be going on. I’m still expecting to see a few more warblers at rest, like the Black and White, the Common Yellowthroat, and the Blackpoll Warbler and American Redstart, if we’re lucky. The Buntings and the Eastern Bluebird should still be around. Also, keep your eyes open, as there will most likely be a few surprises, too.

This concludes birding for the week. Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next time.

Where is Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater, Oklahoma?

Adult Green Heron #2, Childless
Adult Green Heron #2, Childless | Source
Gulf Fritillary on Sunflower
Gulf Fritillary on Sunflower | Source
Mississippi Kite in Flight
Mississippi Kite in Flight | Source
Great Egret
Great Egret | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      SOmetimes, Lisset, more knowledge can work wonders….kudos!

    • profile image

      Lisset 2 years ago

      Hi! I rarely watch The Doctors beascue I always feel like a hypochondriac when I do LOL! However, I caught about 20 minutes of it that day and saw your segment. I was immediately interested and thought it sounded like a lot of fun! I have been married for 13 years to my incredible husband, and we have two younger kiddos keeping life pretty busy. I always know that he wants/needs more, but I too often find excuses to avoid it too tired, haven't shaved, etc. I like your method beascue it gives that time to prepare and gear up for it, and makes him feel more in control than he ever was before in that department. So, I bought the book secretly and loved it! I was still apprehensive about trying it out though, wondering if I could keep up with him or if it was even necessary. Of course it's not necessary, but I wanted to spice things up and make our marriage even better than it already is. So I planned it all out for Valentine's Day yesterday. I was so excited, but nervous at the same time. I decided to give it to him after our typical Valentine's night time together in bed, beascue I'm always more bold and confident afterwards. He was so funny with a big goofy grin on his face! I love that I surprised him and how excited it made him and me! Needless to say, he's already dropped a bead this morning. (I knew he would!) So, thank you for a great idea and I know he thanks you too!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Those were the babies of 2014. They should be back, provided they survived, but they usually take three years to breed. My second set of Green Herons should be breeding next year.

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 2 years ago from chichester

      I hadn't seen a green heron before - they are gorgeous! Here's hoping they surprise everyone with a few babies at some point! We'll keep our fingers crossed!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      SteveKaye, you hit the nail on the head. I did everything but directly say it, and the sooner that people understand the better.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 2 years ago

      The toxins that harm birds also harm people. We need to protect birds for our own sake.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, manatita. The Force IS with me...

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      So much beauty, Deb.So much knowledge as well. May your heart be filled with the grandeur of such life and cosmic forces of love. OM Shanti!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Excellent, Suhail! I still have my adults, one of whom flew over my head yesterday, calling. Recognition is grand, especially with wildlife!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Update: Ah the green herons in my neighbourhood ponds are still very much there. Took many pictures last Saturday.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, DealForALiving! It is my favorite pastime to observe the birds the are in the area.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      These are such wonderful bird photos!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It's a huge part of my life, midget. I have been around birds and animals for quite some time.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 2 years ago from Singapore

      Goodness, your observances of nature are astounding!!!! Let's shake hands!!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Birds get the mercury from the environment through the fish that they eat, Dianna, just like they were getting lead from the shot that was all over their environment. Lead shot goes everywhere.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I am wondering how the birds pick up the mercury from the environment. Seems a shame that people are not more aware of this harm to birds. Glad the green herons were successful in moving on, even if a bit sad for you.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for the shares, Kevin. It could make a big difference.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      I was glad to hear about the work which was being done by the park in Mexico to save all of those endangered species. It is not, and yet it is, surprising to hear about the mercury harming the birds, and the environment, plus us. I voted this up, shared and G+ it.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ChitrangadaSharan, thanks so much. Perhaps the bird world will have more support, too, due to more people who are advocates for them.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very informative and useful hub as always! Your pictures are incredible-- the butterfly picture needs special mention.

      Keep up the good work! Thanks and voted up!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Anna, industry and government is well aware. Sadly, the dollar signs say it all. Everyone has a price. Even I have a price, but mine is to keep our flora and fauna surviving. I will stop at nothing to share my beliefs, but the good thing is, is that I have the wherewithal and the data to back it up.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Mary, those are very kind words, and I appreciate what you have said, but I do have a journey. This is the beginning of that path, and where it takes me, the world of ornithology will truly benefit. Those that want to make birds part of their lives will also walk the path that I have taken, but will not be far behind me. They will see what I see, even though they were not with me at the time.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Beautiful work as always. Your love of our earth's beautiful creatures and precious habitat shines through intensely. Hopefully soon the days will be upon when industry begins to understand the damage they are doing for commercial gain.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Beautiful again Deb, in word and photo. I have no doubt you ARE an ornithologist, you just need the credentials to officially be called one.

      Your knowledge and love of birds shows through in every hub.

      I've never seen the yellow warbler before but we do have goldfinch that are similar but much brighter in color in the summer. Their colors fade for protection in the winter. The Mississippi Kite is interesting too. Much like our hawks who glide along looking for prey.

      Voted all but funny.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Pamela! We are in the throes of fall migration now, so I am seeing and hearing a lot. Methinks we could be in for a totally out of character winter, so do keep lots of black oil sunflower seed handy.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mel! I got a fantastic shot of the Common Yellowthroat this spring, right out in the open. Can you imagine? Kites are gorgeous birds, and the raptors are coming in now. Saw a red-shoulder zip in on the lake...

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Enjoyed all your knowledge of these birds you were able to see this week. I can almost imagine your feelings about the Green Heron family having moved on. 'Are they safe?' When and how will some of the young ones die?' As you said, some of the young will not be able to survive evenuntil their first birthday. It's just so awful -- the best we can do for all the animals we meet even so briefly is hope that when it's their time to go, it will be swift and as painless as possible.

      Thanks for another great report and great photos.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Awesome pics. I especially love that Kite, as its cousin the Black Shouldered Kitie is a special, life changing bird for me. No pressure, but I hope you can get some good pictures of those warblers when they roll in. I know that photographing warblers requires patience and luck. Great hub!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Alicia. I saw the butterfly land, and I knew that I had to have it. That is in an area where the birds planted all those sunflowers.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for keeping us updated on the happenings at Boomer Lake, Deb. The colors in the butterfly photo are beautiful!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Sounds good to me Deb and will look forward to the opportunity. :)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, whonu. I appreciate your support.

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      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      Nice work as always my friend. whonu

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Cris! If you should fly over OK, think of me and I will be with you for a fleeting moment, as I traipse through Boomer Lake Park and into The Northern Reaches, where I hide from industrialization. Perhaps one day we will share a cup of Cerulean Warbler Conservation Coffee from the tropical rainforest.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Refreshing and educational as always. This times favorite is the graceful birds of the Southern persuasion - Mississippi Kite, specially because I hate rodents and so they are perfect to be around.

      Have a pleasant Sunday Deb!

      Love from the sky~

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Exactly, Sha. More has been going on the State over the past couple of years than it ever has before, like window strikes. The Feds mandated a law to shut down lighting on multi-tiered buildings at night. The closer that I get to becoming an ornithologist, the more that I am seeing in their behavior and how to best help them. Many people are strongly fighting Dow, Monsanto, etc. and care about the food that goes into their bodies. It has been slow going, but for every step forward, there is more help behind us.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Deb, I just wish America would do what it can to save our birds. Too many of them are near extinction because they've been driven from their habitats due to deforestation, land conversion, and use of chemicals on our land.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Peg! We'll just have to wait for them next year.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Informative and beautiful, Deb. Lovely insight to the beauties of nature. Sorry to hear the Green Heron family left. Wishing them and you well.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There's lots more to come, ohme. I'll bet that you will recognize a good number of them.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I sure enjoyed seeing your beautiful photos and learning more about these birds.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Dave, and I'll keep an eye out for additional discoveries. You just never know what is going to happen in the bird world any more.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Perspy, you make my humble heart sing. It is all for the joy of it to help the birds.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Great work going on in Mexico {and in many other parts of the world by conservationists}. However, new threats seem to spring up every week as you have highlighted in your article {mercury}. I think I will miss the Green herons as much as you will it has been a very interesting few weeks with this family. Great read, and once more a very enjoyable visit. Have a great week.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I made it eighth this time, just saw the posting and Hub hopped right over. Another tour de force. Thanks for the great info and pics.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      They are quite prolific right now. It is incredible to see them soaring on the thermals and calling as they do.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Michael-Milec. The more that I can educate, the more people will understand the fine balance in which we are living.

    • Rizwana Yasmin profile image

      Rizwana Yasmin 2 years ago from Lahore

      Mississippi Kite is beautiful thanks to share xx

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Thank you for the treat , my insight being enriched.

      More then informed and entertained - by presented beauty of the creation- the gift to all mankind

      demonstrated by the loving Master of the Universe.

      Voted beautiful and interesting.

      Peace with us.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! I've been missing you. I trust that all is well? We never get to talk any more...

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 2 years ago

      My question is: Why is always the mother's fault? (lol)

      The information you pass along is incredible my friend!

      As are the glorious photos! You have definitely found your place in the sun - or - at the lake!

      xx

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      OK that is consoling, Deb :-)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hreons usually nest in a rookery that is either on the water or close to it. You could have blues nesting with egrets and even spoonbills. They are usually in deciduous snags, sometimes 100 nests together, no more than a foot apart. If you can find that in the area, you will have lots of youngsters around. Observe carefully, and don't let them see you, as herons have been known to never return to a rookery if they feel bothered. Some rookeries have been in use for twenty years.

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      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Maybe because I am in the south but my blue herons seem to be here all season. There are two for sure; I didn't know for awhile but even though I still haven't seen them together I saw one flying where I had just passed one and when I got back they were both gone. Hopefully they will have some babies nearby next spring. Would be nice.

      Great pics as always. Funny Green Heron. ^+

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Billy. If it wasn't for the lands south of us, we'd not have important lands being saved in the jungle for growing coffee the way that it is supposed to be grown, in the tropical rainforest. Rainforests are home to many birds, including the Cerulean Warbler, which breeds in Northern AR up into NY. Many coffee growers grow beans in full sun, which will give us bitter coffee.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am actually very surprised to hear that Mexico is investing so much effort to help birds. I am pleasantly surprised and hopeful. As always, an excellent source of information.

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The little ones are gone, but not forgotten, Suhail. I easily have five hundred good shots of them. They will likely settle on the lake next year. It has been three years now, and I know where everything is on that lake.

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      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Once again, a great show by you, Deb. I can't believe you are still at it, day after day, month after month, in season and out of season, so on and so forth, LOL.

      I felt a bit sad at the fact that little buddies - green herons - will no longer be seen on these pages for sometimes. May be next year?

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