Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday June 23, 2013
Life IS For the Birds
Whoever said "Life is for the birds," was so right. Granted it really means just the opposite, but when you have seen what I have over the past week, it is truly remarkable. Evidently, life really is what one makes of it. So, let's just have a gander at what I saw, and you can just make up your own minds from there. Furthermore, I do hope that your past week meant something to you.
Last year, I believe I saw one or two Brown Thrashers on the east side of the last. This season, the thrasher population is on the upswing, and every time I turn around, there is a thrasher in plain view. They will fool you, though. Their idea at having a great day is to call other birds in that they have no interest in. Like mockingbirds, mimicry is their game. For the most part, they were silent this week, and even though I had to look for them, I found a number of great hideaways and poses. Say hello to this beautiful bird. Wait a minute, shouldn't I be saying this in England? Nell!
A Plethora of Beauty Surrounds
Many, many other beauties are finally back home on the lake. For the past several days, I have been observing large numbers of butterflies, a couple of box turtles, the marsh rabbits are plentiful(yes, I know what they say about rabbits), and the flowers are outstanding and plentiful. Unfortunately, someone was jogging and frightened away one of the largest swallowtails that I have ever seen, so that picture was cast to the wind. With any luck, I can make it up to you.
Baltimore Orioles, Kith and Kin
The Baltimore Oriole family has managed to fledge their youngsters and head out elsewhere. I suppose that I can understand, as that big oak tree also houses Great-tailed Grackles and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, no less. One can hear the din from quite a distance away in those trees, plus there were baby grackles bouncing around on the branches. Flycatcher adults were and still are, chasing grackles, and grackles have been poking around in flycatcher nests. To be honest, it doesn't always make for the best of neighborhoods, but what can one do under the circumstances? Move out of the crazed tenement, just the the orioles did.
Yes, a new bird, and I will tell you this: there are more new birds. The Dickcissel is basically in the central part of the U.S. They are irregular east of the Mississippi and rare in migration on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Dickcissel seem to favor prairies, fields, and savannas due to the grass. They will become gregarious when it is time to flock, but during mating season and while raising the young ones, they are paired, while some are naturally solitary. Please forgive the bad picture, as I wanted to find it quickly and get an identifying photo. This is the first time that I have encountered this bird, and it was a good thing that I was able to get a few shots in.
- Dickcissel - YouTube
This video portrait is constructed from clips gathered in early May of 2010 at the Bradford Farm Experimental Farm near Columbia, Missouri. Dickcissels were ...
I spotted these chickadees a couple of times last year, and they move very quickly. As I recall, I wasn't even able to get a photo last season. This year has proven rather lucky, for I got several shots that serve their purpose, but none that are extraordinary.
There are several chickadees that you might encounter. Having lived in Maine, I was very well acquainted with the Black-capped Chickadee. I was under the erroneous impression that the only difference between black-capped and carolina was that they were found in different parts of the country. Was I wrong! The slight visual differences, are that the carolina has a gray rear collar and the black-capped does not. Also, the black-capped has white wing edgings.
In some winters, the black-capped variety will infiltrate into the range of the Carolina Chickadee.
Some Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are Parents
The tree where I got photos of a parent backing out of the nest has three lovely young. Yesterday, they were all in the nest, and today one is on the ground. Never fear, the parents are still taking care of the nestling, which cannot fly yet. It just has not officially fledged(flown on its own). This one is the oldest, and they just don't all fit in the nest any more, but these things happen. Aren't these gorgeous youngsters?
Need a Birding Guide?
I'm sure that we have some young in a nest somewhere at the lake, but I am still seeing couples that are paired performing their mating rituals. This still tells me that they aren't sitting on an active nest yet.
However, they have claimed territory, and they are making the attempt to drive every other bird out of the area that comes into it. It will be a tough endeavor, as there are currently numerous nests in this vicinity. Either these birds are very energetic, or my guess is that they are first-years. I wish them luck on expelling what they consider intruders, but I just don't feel that it is sensible. I think they will realize that soon enough, and might even move on. We'll just have to see how this plays out.
Yesterday I paid a visit to the Northern Reaches, which has plenty of water. If I had boots on, I could get to the Great Blue Heron rookery, which is now inactive. I found a Mother Mallard with her young sleeping on a log. When I returned to the main area, I heard the Red-belied Woodpecker and caught a quick glimpse. It appears that they are raising young and perhaps I have found the tree where they are nesting, but I won't know until the next visit, but they could be fledging by then.
Help Us Help Them
A wonderful friend that I used to volunteer with at Tri-State Bird Rescue informed me about an organization called Balloons Blow, which has a Facebook page. Did you know:
That when balloons are let go, they will deflate, and return to earth to pollute the environment
Ribbons and strings on balloons will often cause an animal's entanglement and death
"Biodegradable" latex balloons take years to break down, and mylar balloons taken even longer. All those years that they are around constitute all those years that wildlife can encounter them, get hurt, and perhaps die
Sea turtles confuse balloons with jellyfish, which is what they eat
When an animal swallows a ballon, it can block the digestive tract, causing a slow and painful death
PLEASE hold onto your balloons or tie them down.
Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next week, and let me know your birding activity.
One Year Ago
- Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Saturday June 23, 2012
Here's this weeks column, which includes more babies and several one-of-a-kind photos from Deb Hirt. Have fun reading this.