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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday June 9, 2013
Isn't Nature Grand?
There’s still water around the outskirts of the lake that the Mallards, grackles, frogs, and Red-winged blackbirds are using. Today, we might finally hit 100 degrees, which will be the first time this year. Last year, we hit three digits quite a bit before this, but that’s all right. There have been other surprises in the natural world to keep me from wishing for warmer temperatures.
Canada Goslings are Growing
A number of Canada Geese have been shuttling their young charges back and forth in the area. This week, they greeted me twice on land with the youngsters, who are really growing. There are still a number of little yellow babies, several pre-teens and many teenagers, who have been feeling their oats and trying to run the show.
Nesting and Babies
Many birds are on nests, which include the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Purple Martin, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, and this is just a few of them. I know where a White-Eyed Vireo has set up housekeeping, and try as I might, I cannot get a better picture of the happy parents.
Red-winged Blackbirds: Terror of the Skies
The Red-winged Blackbird males have been driving every bird away that they can possibly pick on, including the red-shouldered Hawk. I got a terrible picture of that battle, and I say terrible, because it was a good half mile away. The hawk may have had dinner in his claws, but I cannot swear to that, since it was hard for the camera lens to pick that up, plus the sun was very unforgiving, too. Yesterday, a Great Blue Heron was even chased away from his fishing spot, due to an ever diligent blackbird. Male birds seem to take it a little far during the spring, whether or not they have a nest, it is just a natural event for them to be protective over what they consider theirs.
Baltimore Oriole Nest
Finally, I spotted one of the Baltimore Oriole nests. It was going to happen sooner or later. It is in an oak tree where I first got a picture of a male bird, in a prime area for late afternoon shade and early morning sun. There are definitely nestlings in that gorgeous basket weave patterned nest, for the parents both are being run ragged.
Purple Martins and Nestlings
The Purple Martins are also back and forth with food and the removal of fecal sacs. One youthful bird actually peeked out of the condo for just a moment, then pulled its head back inside, nearly right at the same time that father arrived with a butterfly for a mid-morning snack. I stayed around the area for about a half hour trying to get some good shots and ascertaining that there really are babies within those walls.
Active Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Nest
There are also a number of Scissor-tailed flycatcher nests that are hosts to young, at least since last week. The proud parents are staying close to home, and doing exactly what their names imply. They don’t have to go far in order to snag unsuspecting small insects on the fly. As a matter of fact, I saw one nest with a waving banner and a tail sticking straight up like a flag to alert me to it. It was a good thing that I stuck around to capture this outstanding material for you. The parent actually has to back out of the nest in order to extricate itself before it can fly off. How interesting is that?
One of the flycatcher trees also has a Western Kingbird nest in it, too, and that makes for a little rivalry, but nothing in the way of any problems. It looks like they can manage to live in harmony with others if kingbirds choose to do so.
Box turtles are also in the area, and I was able to see this wonderful specimen yesterday. This one is a lot smaller than the one that I spotted last year, yet the shell is so much more ornate. Since I am not an authority on turtles, I am wondering if there is more than one type of box turtle living on Boomer Lake. Anyone from OK know if that is the case?
Fledgling Great-tailed Grackles
Fledgling Great-tailed Grackles are out and about, and today, they were with their fathers. They certainly kept the adults busy, hanging around the southeastern side of Goose Island. One male had his hands full with a pair of them, and it seemed like a male Red-winged Blackbird was enjoying the show. I’m sure that he’ll understand once he has his own young ones.
The Great Egret still has small numbers at this point, but it is only a matter of time before that population rises. It seems that they like a bit of an increase in temperature, especially overnight before they will be here in any numbers.
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There are also more butterflies out and about, too. I got several shots throughout the week, and I’m still hoping that many more are on their northern flight pattern. This was the first time that I got a beautiful swallowtail like this one.
There still has been no sign of any Green Herons on the lake. I know that they have got to be out there and will show up sooner or later.
Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding, and keep me informed on your new discoveries. Until next week’s issue, I bid you good day.