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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday August 11, 2013

Updated on February 5, 2014
South Polar Skua
South Polar Skua | Source

National Birding News

There is exciting news in upstate NY. Redheaded Woodpeckers have been discovered there, which is a great rarity for this part of the country. More on this can be found at

The South Polar Skua has found its way to Oklahoma City early this week and was dining on Cattle Egrets, which could well be why I had eight of them at Boomer Lake this week. They could have been simply getting out of harm’s way. More of the Oklahoma City story can be found via ABA’s Nate Swick’s coverage here:

Since 1992, reproductive success for the Common Loon has been falling. Canada has 95% of these birds breed there, so it appears that the weight of the solution to pollutants will be falling on their shoulders. For more on this story, Canadian residents will want to peruse this article via

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret | Source

South Polar Skua vs. Oklahoma's Cattle Egret

As the picture becomes complete with the arrival of the South Polar Skua, are the lives of the Cattle Egret threatened here in Oklahoma? We won’t be able to answer that for certain, until more information comes in through Oklahoma City news regarding the South Polar Skua. I had a group of eight at Boomer Lake last week, which certainly surprised me, as the most that I had ever seen in the area was three, and that was during this past winter. This activity surely raises my eyebrows and I will be looking forward to more information, as I’m sure that many other Oklahoma residents will be, too. These little herons follow tractors, cattle, and horses to dine on insects that are stirred up, many of which are detrimental to farming practices. Since these birds generally prefer being in high grass than around water, if they return to the fields, will the skua follow?

Forster's Tern
Forster's Tern | Source

Forster's Tern

Forster’s Tern has been in the area for the past ten days, which shows me that more migration is underway. There have been very few terns, and it appears that the larger groups are not ready to leave the north yet, but movement is definitely on its way.

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source

2013 Birds for the Year

There haven’t been nearly the numbers of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets that I expected this year. Where have they been hiding themselves? Are more of them up north or down south? Also, the American White Pelicans disappeared from view, too. What has happened to birding this year? Many other people from all over the country have also been reporting missing birds as well as some odd arrivals. There have been a large number of Baltimore Orioles that settled here in central Oklahoma, as well as Eastern Kingbirds, but the Western Kingbird was nearly non-existent. I saw one pair on the lake in early summer, but they just disappeared. Perhaps Boomer Lake was not to their liking this time around. Also, I did not find one American Robin nestling. It also appears that the robins have retreated to area neighborhoods for the season, as well.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

Brown Thrasher

During first light today, a Brown Thrasher was perched on top of a tree, which made a wonderful photo opportunity. And wouldn’t you just know it, I also caught this bird leaving the area, too. What luck. As far as I know, the immature is still in the area with its family, but I just didn’t locate it this week.

Female Red-winged Blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird | Source

Less Red-winged Blackbirds

The Red-winged Blackbird population was as large as ever the first part of this week, but I noticed that numbers are also lessening. Perhaps we are in for an early winter, but I believe that time will answer that question.

American Coot
American Coot | Source

American Coots are Returning

There was one American Coot on the lake on Friday, so it appears that their return for the fall season is also imminent.

Forster's Terns
Forster's Terns | Source

What is Happening Where You Are?

Any other odd happenings in your part of the country and around the world? My understanding is that the southwest still has plenty of hummingbirds, but I saw none for 2013 here. There is a beautiful trumpet vine cluster that they always seem to cluster in and around, just behind the eastern lakeside Purple Martin house, but there has been no activity to my knowledge.

Caution--Water Bottle Retaining Rings

From a friend in Maine, I’d like to pass on a little bird protection suggestion to all of you, especially those of you that happen to be hosts of water birds. Many of the water/juice/soda bottles have thick rings with sharp ridges on them when the seal is broken. These have been becoming rather prevalent around the necks of dead birds in some regions. Basically, birds have been starving to dead due to these sharp rings, which will actually become imbedded in their necks, preventing food from going down their throats. Starving is a very slow and painful demise. If you purchase any of these items, please remember to cut the retaining rings in half that separate the cap on your drinks. You can even transfer your favorite drinks to glass or aluminum bottles. Our feathered friends will thank you for your consideration. Thanks, Hawk, for including this information on your Timeline on Facebook.

This is about all that I have to report this week. Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding, and we’ll visit again next week.

Mallards | Source
Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source
Mallard Self-Assertion
Mallard Self-Assertion | Source

© 2013 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The weather and seasons can send some very conflicting signals to our avian friends, KoffeeKlatch Gals. Many strange things have been happening all over the globe, as a result. Stay tuned...

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I always find your articles so interesting and informative. I do wonder if the weather is affecting the birds adversely. I know it must be.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The Examiner-1, I haven't heard anything since. There were never too many Cattle Egret at the lake, since they prefer cows and horses . I'm sure that the skua have moved on by now. I will find out though.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      I forgot to mention before that I hope the quantity of the Cattle Egret is not going to change because of the Skua.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The Examiner-1, we had a cool-down period of ten degrees in August, as well for about the same amount of time.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago


      Hello again! Perhaps the birds disappearing has to do with the weather this year. I have noticed a few of the regulars around my house seem to be gone early. I thought that it was just those birds. I should mention that I am in the SE. The other day I heard a flock of geese fly overhead. As for the weather, I was using an electronic heater in my bedroom overnight in the middle of August for about a week and a half! Now I am using the ceiling fans again. Go figure?

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell. It always seems to hit home when we have been involved in a situation that we can relate to with someone else, for it is that camraderie that seems to see us through. Do pass it on, and here's to hoping that it will save some lives.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      I love all your photos as usual, but the info about the danger to birds with those rings made me remember when I was getting really frantic a few years ago when i saw a swan with a fish hook and line hanging out of its mouth! I called the rspb through the rspca, and they came down and caught the swan thank goodness! we have to be so darn careful, it drives me insane when I see anybody leaving things around that are dangerous, great hub as always, nell

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Hollie, and pass the word on to everyone that you know. Any bird or sea creature has the same sorts of things to worry about, as far as these nasty plastics are concerned. There are areas in the ocean that are filled with plastic blobs that are huge. We can actually help combat this by using glass and aluminum containers, which are safe when reused. The petroleum leaches out of plastic if we try to reuse it, and as you know, it is carcinogenic.

    • HollieT profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, United Kingdom

      As always, your images are lovely. There are so many oddities in nature at the present time, the biodiversity report which I read recently indicates that nature is a bit helter skelter in the UK. I'm wondering if your part of the world has been affected just as much, and the things that you might expect to see in terms of birding are equally out of sorts?

      Great tip about the rings on plastic bottles. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't realise that leaving them whole could cause so much damage and suffering to birds. Rectified now, I'll always break them! Thanks.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Alicia! The Canadians sure have been making it in the birding news. They play a very important part in sustaining our wildlife.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Wayne! Yes, I do care about our future, and if our birds and animals are missing, life will be lacking an important attribute.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Connie, as always. It helps to get the word out any way that we can. Tell one youngster, and chances are good that the entire class will know about it.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, whonu! Thanks for visiting, once again, and seeing what the lake has to offer.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Billy, and I'll see you again next week--same bat time, same bat channel!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm enjoying reading the bird news that you're including in your Boomer Lake hubs, Deb. Of course, I'm enjoying looking at the photos, too!

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 

      5 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Great research and photography. You are an artist and a caring soul.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Deb, just look at that brown thrasher in flight with its toes all curled under so tightly--what an interesting shot! As to different birds being around this year, I have had house finches for the first time ever, and babies at that! There were 2 fledglings practicing wobbly first flights and short hops from bushes to trees.

      A pair of ruby throated hummingbirds came early this spring, were noticeably absent for much longer than normal after that, and now there are 6 of them at the feeders constantly--2 males and 4 females. That's more than I have ever seen at once around here. I am delighted with their antics and sounds every day.

      Thanks for sharing that good advice about the bottle rings, and their harmful effects on water birds ;) Connie

      Voted Up+++ and shared

    • whonunuwho profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Nice work as usual, and well received, my friend. whonu

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The seasons they are a'changin', and the view at the lake is changing as well. Your pictures never fail to inspire, Deb. Thanks for the visit and have a great week.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, deergha! Thanks for coming along and all the special attributes. The birds and I love your stellar interest in them.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Martin, good to have you along as always!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You know it, Jackie. Now, get your stuff together and do me up a story, so I can see what you have in your area. Back in Maine, I had a hummingbird moth battle it out with a hummer. My poor little bird was chased away for a short time.

    • dghbrh profile image


      5 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Very brilliant hub as always. All the pics with the details are awesome. The information regarding the rings in bottles of water is specially very much interesting and useful for the benefit of our beautiful little feathery friends. Thanks you very much for your weekly hub on birds dear friend DEB...take care and God bless you:-)

      Shared and votes way up....!!!!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Where is everybody? That's alright, now I feel special.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Oh that mallard looks like it is holding up its petticoat to not get wet! Oh and that thrasher dive! Oh and I know you put that Polar Skua there just for me!

      I did get some butterfly pictures something like yours last week and also a hummingbird moth that I just found out existed last summer. Haven't seen them all yet really good but looks like I got some pretty good shots. The HBmoth kept turning sideways so wasn't sure I got his green backside but I did get a few of it. He is pretty fast so it was lucky.

      Up (even funny) and sharing.


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