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