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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday January 12, 2014

Updated on January 12, 2014
European Starlings
European Starlings | Source

Field Notes

European Starlings Have Personality, Too

The European Starling is a non-indigenous pest to some, and to others, a breath of fresh air. Others bring the information, so you decide for yourself about which camp you will follow:

Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope | Source

Red-necked Phalarope Makes Outstanding Journey to Europe

Red-necked Phalarope migrates 16,000 miles, longest for any European bird. To hear more about this record breaking, gender-bending bird, see more at:

Bills vs. Beaks and Food

With all the different bills and beaks that birds have, what can they eat? Research was done on that topic just for you, and here is the answer, courtesy of

African Tiger Fish
African Tiger Fish | Source

Twisted Fish Eats Birds

Birds eat fish, yes, but a fish that eats birds? A resounding YES! Learn more about the aggressive African tiger fish and our own monk fish.

Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swan | Source

The Arctic's Own: Trumpeter Swan

Here’s a mighty big piece of news for you. As far as I know, this is the first Trumpeter Swan to land on Boomer Lake, and I was lucky enough to record the event on Tuesday. This was a 12 degree F day, and I saw what appeared to be a swan coming in from the north around 8:30 a.m. When I returned from my walkabout, there was the swan closest to the west side of the lake. I made the attempt to get photos from the east side, but it just wasn’t working. For me to travel to the west side of the lake, especially on such a cold day, it has to be a matter of great importance. Even though I was shooting into the sun, this is not a bad picture, and it certainly shows the identity of this Arctic denizen. What a find!

Mallard Male(Left), Mallard-Cayuga Cross(top), Cayuga-American Wigeon Cross
Mallard Male(Left), Mallard-Cayuga Cross(top), Cayuga-American Wigeon Cross | Source

Mallards with Some Potential Crosses

There were even better things in store. There were three breeds of ducks, in one picture, no less. We have the Mallard and Cayuga(domestic) cross, the American Wigeon and Cayuga cross, and the Mallard male. This picture will clearly show the differences between all of them. This was a day where there was only a very small water patch available during this exceptionally cold week.

American Wigeon
American Wigeon | Source

American Wigeon

Here is the American Wigeon male, all by himself. He is a dabbling ducks, which is a duck that will upend in the water to feed. These birds will also feed on land. They are also known as the Baldpate, and ride high in the water. I consider this an exceptionally good photo of a very striking bird.

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

Great Blue Heron Winter Party

The Great Blue Herons have a rookery in the Northern Reaches, and that is seeing a good bit of activity. I saw half a dozen herons on the ice, some at home walking upon it, and others that were very unsure of their footing. I knew that you’d enjoy these shots as much as I enjoyed finding them.

Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron
Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron | Source

Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron

The immature(or juvenile) Black-crowned Night-Heron was in the Southern Cove today, which is water once again, instead of sheer ice. He or she was wide awake first thing this morning. The heron was busily fishing a few feet from Great Blue Heron, and paid no attention to be. I got several shots of this wonderful young bird, which is characterized by red eyes. Another bird that is very similar, is the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. I am pleased to say that I have seen both Night-Herons here in Stillwater.

Female Canvasback
Female Canvasback | Source
Male Canvasback
Male Canvasback | Source

Canvasbacks

The Canvasbacks also permitted some exceptional photographic shoots today. Both males and females were prevalent, and were also taking advantage of open water. These birds are very similar to the Redheads, which have a shorter, standard sized bill.

How Do I Find Boomer Lake?

There are also a few shots that I wanted to get, strictly for your enjoyment. I know that it has been a hard and cold winter for many people. I spent a little extra time out in the field this week, looking for more striking bird poses, as well as natural shots. May these bring a smile to your face, and meet with your approval.

My report now ends for the week. Keep your eyes to the ground, and your head in the clouds until next time. As a reminder, keep a watch for irruptive species that don’t generally come to your areas, and record the information for me. We will talk again soon, and stay warm.

American Wigeon in Flight
American Wigeon in Flight | Source
Cold Great Blue Heron
Cold Great Blue Heron | Source
Canada Geese in Flight
Canada Geese in Flight | Source
Great Blue Herons Balancing on Perch
Great Blue Herons Balancing on Perch | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Suhail! Yes, there are canoes and kayaks on Boomer Lake, which I prefer to see instead of motor boats, which are also allowed. All birds need a little extra now, and the deep freeze is coming back once again. Thanks for the bird report in ON, and I know that yo will do your part to help our winged friends. Thanks for all tat you do.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Boomer Lake looks different from our lakes now haha. Our lakes are all frozen, but there is water at some level of depth below.

      Good information on European Starlings (I see them here all the time), Trumpeter Swan, American Wigeon and bird eating fish.

      Is canoeing and kayaking allowed on Boomer Lake?

      I can see lot of birds in our woods here - Robins, Cardinals, doves, chicadees, redpolls, etc. all greet K2 and me and keep us within their sights for a possible throwing of seeds. I am thinking of putting a bird feeder in the conservation area and the ravines to let them have some and stick around.

      However, no indicator of Horned Owl yet that you had advised me to keep an eye on to see if that magnificent bird is resident in our open woodlands or forests here.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hoping for Sunday, Dave.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Not,all doom and gloom Deb, there are species that are doing well and others recovering by way of conservation and habitat work. Good to share information . Look forward to next outing at Boomer Lake.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like you have serious conditions there. It is nowhere near that to be affecting the common species, who tend to adapt so well here.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hi deb,re starlings,

      It seems that pesticides insecticides and loss of habitat have all contributed to the declines. Sadly this is the case also with the house sparrow and also many farmland species.,

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Catfish, too? Amazing. I could not imagine the swans swimming around in my yard. I'd have to go out there in waders and take pics, as well as offer duck pellets.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Beautiful hub as always, Deb, and your photos always make me smile and yearn for warmer weather so that I can go down and take some pictures myself, its flooded at the moment in the River Thames, so the Swans are swimming in peoples gardens! now thats a sight to see! love that scary fish! In fact I saw a program the other night where in Italy the fish, catfish I believe had grown big enough to jump onto the river shore and grab the pigeons! wonderful!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, teaches. Feel free to write any curriculum from my material.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      The Africa Tiger Fish is huge and I would not want to come across it, even as a human. Another interesting article filled with wonderful educational value.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ?Que pasa, Kris? Hope that all is well in your part of the south, and that you are happy.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 3 years ago from S. Florida

      Been a while since I had time for Hubpages, but I'm glad I visited.

      (tweeted it too)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Glimmer Twin! They do rather well on the ice, all things considered, even the more youthful ones. They are amazing birds, and they are lighter than they look.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I always love your Great Blue Heron photos and I love the birds too. Luckily we them here frequently and they are always so "composed" to me. Thanks for another lovely visit.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ChitrangadaSharan, yes, the natural world means a great deal to me. Glad that you're enjoyed the different material about birds.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, I'm so glad that you like the columns. Can't get the local paper interested in any birding news(sigh).

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Amazing pictures and interesting information by you! You are a true Nature lover.

      Thanks for sharing another interesting hub!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Very interesting and enjoyable, as always, Deb. I always look forward to your weekly reports. I learn a lot from them!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Kevin, it is rare to catch a cold on a cold day. The germs tend to breed on the warm days, like NOW(grin). Glad you liked this week's kids on the block.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Quite all right, Billy. As long as you're here, you still get to see the sights.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Dave! Are your starlings being killed off?

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I loved it as usual Deb! I really liked the photo of the crossbreeds with the Mallards. You forgot to mention that another one of the American Wigeon's tricks was walking on water. lol I know that it is ice, but it looks like water. Good shots, keep them coming - but do not catch a cold!

      Kevin

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry I'm late. There was road construction and I had to detour, but I'm here now and you did not disappoint. As always it was well-worth the journey.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Beautiful relaxing and informative as usual. Your images are worth a visit alone. The European starling here in the UK, is declining at an alarming rate. Once so common as to be a 'pest species' it is now declining so fast that they are being considered for the Red List of conservation concern { losses of over 50% in population/distribution numbers over the last forty years or so. Love the shot of the American wigeon in flight, well captured.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, whonu, they do need care during this trying time of year. Keep your feeders full and have a source of water for our birds.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Mary, each bird DOES have its own personality. I worked with birds involved in a crude oil spill, and at one point, I was caring for over 150 Canada Geese. All of them were different from one another, so they were easy to tell apart. I could tell SO many stories, even with ducklings.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

      Interesting as always my friend. Nice pictures and bless our birds in this weather. Whonu

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Looking at your pictures makes me think each bird has its own personality. The trumpeter swan just doing its own thing, the three breeds of ducks overlooking their differences to glory in the water, the widgeon testing the ice to see if he can make it across, and the great blue heron gliding gracefully across the ice. Each photo tells a story. Thanks so much for sharing Deb.

      Voted all but funny.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, lyric writer! So pleased that you enjoy the fruits of my tree. Not to worry, there will be so much more to come.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Faith Reaper! The world is my oyster, and I am just passing on the pearls...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You know, cygnet(and I know what a cygnet is), I could very have easily missed that, ad nobody EVER would have known that this bird came to Boomer Lake. I am still in awe.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Another great article Deb. Hope all is well. I admire your passion on birds and your well detailed articles on them. Amazing interesting story Deb. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, what a wonderful surprise to see the Trumpeter Swan and to be able to get to the other side of the lake to get a photo! All of the photos are extraordinary! You have had a busy week. Love all the stories too. Yikes on that bird eating fish! That last photo is especially awesome. Look forward to see what's happening on Boomer Lake next week! Exciting week for you and thank you for sharing it with us dear Deb!!!

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith reaper

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Wonderful photos. You've even got a picture of my favorite, the swan!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Leslie! There is never anything lacking in the world of nature!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      This is up there in the top 3 of 'most interesting', Deb! that gender bending phar-whateva is super duper cool and the bird eating fish is...prehistoric! Pics are incredible, as always!

      HUGS dear friend!

      loving and sharingxx

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad you liked the starling story, Jackie. This was an outstanding week for me.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great pictures, esp the last and so loved the Deb and Buddy story! Amazing that he lived and then how he sounds just like her. A bird with an accent! That will keep me smiling a good while! Thanks!

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