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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday June 23, 2013

Updated on June 24, 2013
Purple Martins in Flight
Purple Martins in Flight | Source

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.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source
Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

Brown Thrasherville

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!

Marsh Rabbit
Marsh Rabbit | Source
Box Turtle
Box Turtle | Source

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.

Female Baltimore Oriole
Female Baltimore Oriole | Source
Mother and Nestling Baltimore Orioles
Mother and Nestling Baltimore Orioles | Source

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.

Dickcissel | Source


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.

Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadee | Source

Carolina Chickadee

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.

Three Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nestlings on 06-22-13
Three Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nestlings on 06-22-13 | Source
This was Yesterday's Nestling That was on the Right (06-23-13)
This was Yesterday's Nestling That was on the Right (06-23-13) | Source

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?

Pair of Eastern Kingbirds Near Veteran's Memorial
Pair of Eastern Kingbirds Near Veteran's Memorial | Source
Eastern Kingbird from Husband Street Treeline Across from Southern Cove
Eastern Kingbird from Husband Street Treeline Across from Southern Cove | Source

Eastern Kingbirds

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.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source

Northern Reaches

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.

Mallard in Flight
Mallard in Flight | Source
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers(the one on the right has a cicada in its mouth)
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers(the one on the right has a cicada in its mouth) | Source
Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye | Source


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    • profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      6 years ago


      You remind me of Sheldon in "The Big Bang Theory" with his ornithophobia. :-)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, The Examiner. There is a nice thrasher near the house who likes to pay its respects every once in a while. I happened to catch a good pic of a meadowlark is non-breeding plumage during late winter/early spring. Perhaps I will get one soon enough in spring. One GBHE enjoys having its picture taken so much, will follow me until I take the shot.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      6 years ago

      When I lived in NJ, I saw the Black-capped Chickadee at my feeders and it became 1 of my 2 favorite birds. Now I have also seen the Carolina Chickadee and seen the differences and likenesses.

      I have a thrasher in my yard that is occasionally on the deck but usually in the tall grass. It is easy to hear but hard to see.

      I used to watch a Great Blue Heron wade slowly on the other side of a lake when I was in NJ. Great photos again!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Meldz! Great to see you, as always. The wild kingdom really can teach us so much, if we stop to listen with our eyes and not our ears. They really show you what makes their lives the way that they are.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      They all look so amazing Deb! Thanks for introducing some birds to me like the Scissor-tailed flycatchers.

      Voted up and more. :-)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Tess! Thanks for coming by to see Boomer Lake. Many people have a fear of flying creatures, and I have been told that if you are around them as much as you can be, it will help lessen the fear to some degree. You know what I will endeavor to help any living creature, which really seems to be my calling. I feel that educating people is the key to the longevity of animals.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      I am scared of anything with feathers but I do appreciate the beauty of birds (from a distance, lol). I have taken pictures of birds myself (variety of them including geese and ducks) and it gives me goosebumps when I see them close-up (silly me) especially a shot I took of a Bald Cardinal (made me scream in front of my laptop when I tried to enlarge the photo), but it doesn't stop me from taking pics of them. They are just beautiful and attractive that I cannot ignore their beauteous nature (just not the baby ones, that scares me more).

      I know someone who has a beautiful mature backyard garden and animals like a number of different birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. frequents her backyard. It was at her place where I had the opportunity to watch the birds and zoomed on them with my camera!

      I really enjoy the action of birds on flight in your photography. You got lovely, interesting, informative and helpful hubs of the winged creatures. I appreciate your work and talents and your sincere concern about them, Deb. Keep it going for the birds' sake.

      Cheers and tweet!! ~Tess

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mel! I tried to find the Dickcissel in another area of the park today. I could hear it, but not see it. Also heard another bird that I hope to see and identify. Since I am off for the next two days, I can get out there in the a.m. Will let you know more on Sunday.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      6 years ago from San Diego California

      Congratulations on your Dickcissel. Great photo. I have also noticed that members of the Mimidae, such as your Brown Thrasher, are very sporadic. We used to have dozens of Mockingbirds in our neighborhood but in the past few years they have disappeared. We also have the California Thrasher here in the canyons between the houses. Happy birding!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, precy anza! There are so many young ones at the lake, as well as everywhere else that I go. The little ones tend to announce themselves, so it is always good to keep one's ears tuned. Thanks for coming along, and I will see YOU on Sunday!

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 

      6 years ago from USA

      Wow, beautiful nestlings! :) It feels as if I was there on the lake. Really a paradise to be at and just watch these beautiful birds. Love all the photos!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, D.A.L.! Thanks for visiting the lake once again, as well as taking something home with you.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      aviannovice, I always enjoy reading your hubs. I feel like I am visiting the location in person. It is like a breath of fresh air. I see you managed to capture many of your subjects in flight which is an achievement in its self.

      Amazing photography once again. Thank you also for introducing the Dickcissel what a fabulous name. Great hub as usual and very informative.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Hollie! Glad to have you at the lake, and I am certainly pleased that you enjoyed what you saw here in the central U.S. There will be plenty of other interesting things for you as time goes on, especially when the young ones get older.

    • HollieT profile image


      6 years ago from Manchester, United Kingdom

      Deb, your photography is amazing, I especially like (although I like them all) the images of the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, the Eastern Kingbirds and the Purple Martins. Interestingly, I'd never heard of the Chickadee, but in the UK we use that word as a term of endearment. Quite apt, I think. I really enjoyed reading about the wildlife which you encounter at the lake, packed with information, your hub makes me feel like I'm actually there. A great read :)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Connie! All the butterflies are out and about here now, too. With any luck, I will get at least one photo of the huge swallowtails.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      6 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Wow, Deb! I am glad you got a shot of the Dickcissel; and all those lovely little nestlings and pre-fledglings. You have some awesome pictures this week with all the activity. I loved seeing the birds in and on the nest, and the beautiful butterflies. This has been a banner year for butterflies here as well; great job as always ;) Connie

      Voted Up++++

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Alicia. Yes, the natural world is alive and well. There should be a LOT more babies in the upcoming weeks. Mama Vireo has her group, too, but that might well be a REAL challenge to get those kids.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for adding to my bird knowledge in such an enjoyable way, Deb. I've never heard of a dickcissel before! As always, I enjoyed looking at your photos and reading your descriptions very much.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Anna, that is high praise! I try to include material that will help us all keep our earth a better place for us and our wonderful natural world.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      You have stunning pictures of a variety of animals. The reminder about the balloons was poignant. It is the responsibility of us all to look after our beautiful world. As always your hub was brilliant, educational and encapsulated the bigger picture.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mary. Yes, the mocker never sleeps. They are such wiseacres, too.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Okay, Leslie, I will put a link to Balloons Blow. I originally tried, and that was what came up, so I will try to work it again. Glad that you like the kids around the lake.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Gawth, this is at Boomer Lake, which has a 5km walkpath around it, and appears to be very important on the Central Flyway. I really didn't get the name call, either. Maybe we both just need to hear the bird more.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I so look forward to your weekly hubs at Boomer Lake and you never disappoint! Your photos truly are extraordinary. Seeing so many birds and animals so close up is truly a wonder. You never disappoint.

      This week the variety of birds held a few surprises; Dickcissel and the chicadee. We have the black capped chicadees here but mostly in winter.

      So, we also have a mockingbird in the tree in front of our house. Every night when we try to go to sleep we are serenaded by a cacophony of bird songs.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting and shared.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      6 years ago should put the link to Balloons Blow in your blog..

      i'm going to search it out but many who wouldn't - might if it were just a click away..

      I'm a big believer in being 'just a click away'

      Love that 'fuzzy' got another viewing! Now - stop drinking before snapping!

      Love you much!

      sharing, tweeting, voting

    • Gawth profile image

      Ron Gawthorp 

      6 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

      I am amazed at the variety of birds you have in your backyard. Most fascinating this time was the Dickcissel. I watched the YouTube and was fascinated, however I cannot reconcile the sound I hear with their phonetic spellings. Am I dense or just hard of hearing?

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Nell, the fox is magical. As a matter of fact, I was picking up trash at the lake today. Evidently, the city has put more trash cans around, so I didn't have to go far to find a receptacle. I asked for more trash bins last year, and I finally got them. It will definitely help, especially since it can be so windy around here.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, I totally agree with you about balloons, and of course other such rubbish laying around. I often see things floating in the river near me an I want to jump in a grab it out. Plastic bags, cans, and even old fishing line! Your birds are lovely as always, and the photos are awesome. Love the marsh rabbits! I saw a fox the other night again, which is ironic considering I live in a house with Fox in the name of the street! lol! three in the morning, and I looked out the window, and there he was under the street light! magical!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      We can help each other. Believe me, I don't know everything about birds.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      6 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Another good nature report Deb!

      I won't say much other than that you know me and I seek lot of your advice and even help on the basis of your expertise and the niche.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Jim! This was a good couple of days, since I had the days off, so I could be out in the mornings. Everything at the lake is spectacular.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Wow, i8 beautiful photos and some new and rare birds too! This was a great day for you and now for us Deb.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Johan! Thanks for reading.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds like you are really tuning in to nature, Jackie. Yes, the mocker is a troublemaker, all right. He'll probably still pester your cat, because that's what they do. The cardinal might just bite that old mocker!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Peg, thank you so much for appreciating that little tidbit on balloons. We do so many dangerous things to wildlife and don't even realize it. I'm just glad tat I was able to help get the word out. Many states and countries have already banned releasing balloons.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're welcome, Billy. Hope you have a spectacular day, just like I am doing.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great birds and excellent photos - Thanks!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      What gorgeous pictures! There is nothing like a bird in flight, no wonder God loves them so, He has the best view! I have a pair of cardinals in a tree just off my front porch and a mocking bird living there too or just causing trouble not sure which. The mocking bird fusses and flies at my old cat a lot but she is almost deaf and blind and pays it no mind. lol I noticed yesterday evening the beautiful sounds of all the birds. I don't think I remember them ever being so beautiful sounding.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Deb, these are excellent shots. I always enjoy seeing what you've seen at the lake and learned something important this week about balloons. Thanks for letting us in on that critical factor in keeping wildlife safe.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We were just about to head out for a walk in a gentle summer shower, but first a visit to Boomer Lake.

      Beautiful as always and now I'm in the mood for some bird-watching. Let's hope there are numerous varieties for me to look at.

      Thanks Deb!


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