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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Saturday December 29, 2012

Updated on January 1, 2013
Ring-billed Gulls and Mallards
Ring-billed Gulls and Mallards | Source

Winter Migration

Northbound migration is certainly underway. It is time for the gulls to head to Canada and the islands of Maine to breed, so they have been starting that inevitable process. People have asked me how birds determine breeding times and I have simply explained that it is all biological, that they are duty bound. It makes what the circle of life is in the animal kingdom in a natural way.

The past few mornings have been as cold as sin, so I have bundled up and headed out to show you this magical time of year. I have braved windy days in the low 20’s because I know that this is an important part of migration. A camera can be a very cold object to bare fingers when it is time to zoom in and snap that picture, but I am driven to see what there is and to bring it to my loyal readers.

Source

Bonaparte's Gull

This was the week of interesting events. Friday brought the Bonaparte’s Gull on that windy morning that I just mentioned. My eyes were drawn to a shallow area on the lake just north of the dry Southern Cove. There has been a smaller group of gulls that had been hanging around here over the past several weeks, mostly the very common ring-bills. When I saw tinier gulls, I zoomed in on them, which was how I discovered Bonaparte’s Gulls in their winter plumage.

Snow Goose(left) with Canada Geese
Snow Goose(left) with Canada Geese | Source

Dark morph Snow Goose

This morning was just as interesting, for several groups of Cackling Geese arrived on the lake between 10:15 and 10:30. These geese are still Canada Geese, but just a smaller version with a stubby bill. It was roughly 100 geese, so I wanted to get a photo of a good group of them, then I saw what appeared to be an oddity out there. I zoomed in the camera, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that among this group was a lone Dark morph Snow Goose! Since I was unable to get my own picture of the White morph Snow Geese on December 2, I was excited about this presence. Not only that, I had never seen a Dark morph!

Source

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-Eyed Juncos were out in full force, and I got several lovely photos of them. They are finally getting quite used to me, as you can see in these pictures. They still rapidly dart around looking for food, but it was starting to warm up a little, so they also happened to be enjoying a little sun close to the tops of the trees. After all, they had to handle 13 degree temperatures this morning.

Canada Goose on Ice
Canada Goose on Ice | Source

Several of the resident Canada Geese were on the water, which had its share of ice in it since there was a hard freeze overnight. As I slowly approached them, some began swimming about a little, and I heard the sounds of the ice cracking as they did so. The sounds of nature are truly amazing, so if you get the chance to see your geese on water this winter, do listen for that musical melody of breaking thin ice. It really made me appreciate the sights and sounds of winter even more.

I hope that you all enjoyed your holiday season of 2012, and if I don’t see you, have a wonderful new year. I have many hopes and dreams for 2013, and I know that some of them will come to fruition. I can feel it in my bones, and I want exactly the same for you. Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding in 2013!

Ring-billed Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls | Source
Canada Geese That Just Arrived on the Lake
Canada Geese That Just Arrived on the Lake | Source
Dark-morph Snow Goose(center) with Canada Geese
Dark-morph Snow Goose(center) with Canada Geese | Source
Three Bonaparte's Gulls(bottom) with Ring-billed Gulls(top
Three Bonaparte's Gulls(bottom) with Ring-billed Gulls(top | Source

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

      Those aren't babies, Beckie. Those are the Bonaparte Gulls. I took the photo next to the Ring-billed Gulls, so you can see how tiny they are. That's why they attracted my attention.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I am mesmerized by the dark-eyed Junco. Adorable.

      The Bonaparte Gul and their babies is truly a sight to behold!

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

      And the same to you, girishpuri. I'm glad that you enjoyed the birds in my area.

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

      Thanks, Jackie.

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

      Thanks, Tim! I guess I never noticed the difference in the geese, which I should have done. Thanks for the great comments, I really appreciate you heightening my awareness.

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

      Thanks, Eddy. We'll both be sharing a lot of information.

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

      Oh, I understand, M, things happen from time to time that we must attend. Glad to see you back, though!

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

      You have a great new year, too, Alicia. I can't wait to see what surprises the lake will hold in 2013.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Amazing hub about Boomer lake, Thank you and Happy new year 2013. God bless.

    • profile image

      Jackie 4 years ago

      Bird Pictures by Wildlife Photographer AnnMackieMiller: Mother Goose

    • profile image

      Tim O'Connell 4 years ago

      Hi Deb,

      Nice work on the Snow Goose and the Bonaparte's Gulls! If you look closely at the Canada Geese in your penultimate photo with the Snow Goose zoomed in, you'll see that most of them are really tiny (way smaller than the Snow) and have absurdly stubby bills. Those are actually Cackling Goose, a species recently split from Canada Goose. Unlike our Boomer Lake residents, these Cackling Geese breed in the Arctic and are only here for winter!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub Deb and your photos were amazing.

      Here's to a great 2013 for you and here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.

      Eddy.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i missed reading this article , "life at Boomer Lake".. been busy these past few days :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I loved seeing the dark morph snow goose in your photos, Deb! I'm so glad that you noticed him or her amongst the Canada geese. I'm looking forward to your 2013 record of bird life at Boomer Lake. I hope you have a happy new year.

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

      Thanks, Nell! I'd like to see some of your photos in one of your own stories.

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

      Jackie, I don't see it. Can you tell me what it is called so I can look it up?

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, another lovely hub about Boomer lake, I love seeing the birds and the names always make me smile, the Bonaparte's Gull is fascinating, I really must get down the river to take some photos too, I am missing my walks and photos, have a great new year, nell

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      If you haven't you should go check out this bottom left picture of hubs above below yours. (mother goose) I swear it is the funniest thing I have seen! I know you will love it.

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

      CC, I am just me. If I only had a camera like yours...but it will happen one day. I am sure of it.

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

      Connie, I'm glad that you were able to see them, too. It is almost like you're really there with me on a birdwatching tour of the lake. Nothing makes me happier than to share the lake with everyone willing to read about it.

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

      Highland Terrier, it has been my pleasure, each and every issue was done with love and the hopes to educate and entertain. Here's looking forward to 2013 filled with more time at Boomer Lake! Thanks for your continued support.

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

      Martin, I love a nice rain that you can here in the evening. It tends to quiet my soul...

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

      Actually, Billy, the junco's feathers were fluffed, due to the cold. Feathers are great insulation, and birds use them naturally. I had to go to the lake Saturday, as I had to work a lot today, and I wasn't sure if I'd have enough time. To me, it was more important to get the column out on my day off. BUT you must stay on your toes for Life at Boomer Lake, as it could come out at any time.

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

      You never know what might happen accidentally, Jackie. I have found that more than once. Keep on taking that camera along, and don't be afraid to keep trying to get the pictures that you want. It WILL happen.

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

      Hey, Bill! No snopw here, as of yet, but I have ice around that helps with winter scenes. You have a greatr new year, as well.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Okay these are fantastic photos. I'm so glad you braved the cold to share them with us. You're amazing!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb, as promised I revisited and found the pictures came through just fine. It may have been due to the snowstorm, I'm not sure. Wow, what a lot of geese at one time. That reservoir I talk about had a whole bunch of snow geese bobbing along on it just before Christmas. I haven't been anywhere since then, but I hope to check it out again soon. I like the Bonaparte Gulls, they seem smaller and daintier somehow. Glad I was able to see your awesome pictures!

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Thank you so much for ending 2012 on such a lovely note.

      And thank you for all the interesting article and photos and for making my life that much more enjoyable than it had been.

      I wish you all the very best that 2013 is capable of giving you and more.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. It is so beautiful to read mid SF's evening rain and a quiet house.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The Junco in the picture hasn't missed any meals lately, has he? Plump little guy! LOL What the heck are we doing at the lake on Saturday? You completely threw me off, Deb! :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You were lucky then. The only time I see anything like this I have had no camera, now I go nowhere without a camera, no such luck, lol. I came across a picture a couple of nights ago I had never opened with some sort of huge bird...owl, eagle...I don't know. All I know is it was an accidental shot I had no idea I had. No that is the luck I need!

      You have beautiful shots as always. ^

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Deb. Great week there on Boomer Lake. The Snow Goose is beautiful. We are getting our second snow storm this week, winter has arrived! A happy and healthy New Year to you.

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

      Thanks, Connie! Sorry that you could not see all the pictures, there are a few good ones. When I walked by the lake an hour later, the 100 geese were gone, as well as the Snow Goose. I was very lucky.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb, for some reason a lot of your photos did not show up on my computer. Don't know if it's me or Hubpages. But I did see the morph Snow Goose. What an opportunity you had to be able to see and capture it on film for all of us. Thanks for braving the cold to obtain these wonderful shots. Hopefully I can revisit this and see the rest of your pictures.

      We have been inundated with over 12" of snow in 3 storms since the winter solstice on Dec. 21st. It has been a time of shoveling snow, and watching the birds enjoying it. They seem to make the best of any situation, don't they?!

      Voted Up across the board.

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