Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 13, 2012
This Week's Overview
I just couldn't think of a better picture for this week's activities at Boomer Lake Park. The weather has been rather cloudy, much cooler, and has brought with it a few different birds and butterflies. The flora has been gorgeous, and the wild grasses have that stunning spring glow about them, for soon they will be hosting many more wonderful butterflies and animals once they get to full height. Every time parks and rec mows, there has been that enticing odor of onion grass, and I just take a deep breath or ten, every time it happens. Ah, the simple pleasures seem to be the best as far as nature is concerned. I thank my lucky stars every day, that I live across the street from such a wonderful oasis with so many beautiful pieces of nature at my disposal.
With flowers that have gorgeous colors like these and butterflies that appear to be artwork by themselves, I feel that the fact that there is no art gallery here is simply a moot point. Boomer Lake Park is full of incredible works such as these, where one can just simply look around while taking one's time, and see things every bit as beautiful as is in fine galleries like the Smithsonian Institute or even Longwood Gardens. With a canvas like this, nature can certainly show things that can be interpreted differently in changing shades of light and the effects are staggering. Fortunately, in the digital age, this can easily be captured as I have done here. To have a fairly inexpensive camera as I do, and even though I have been pushing it to do a lot of things, it certainly has been doing a fine job. So, enough of my prattle, and on to the meat and potatoes of some of the fine birds that I have seen this week...
Now, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon the Least Sandpiper. It moves differently than the Spotted Sandpiper and is smaller, which drew my attention to it. These birds are sometimes referred to as "peeps", and the male incubates the eggs They also fly in a zig zag pattern and are the smallest of the native North American sandpipers and among the smallest waders in the world.
Now, here's another beauty, the Mute Swan, which really is not mute. They don't make it a point to be overly vocal, but there is a voice. As you can see, they are very decorative and graceful on the water, but are not at all suited for land travel, due to the location of their legs and their center of gravity. As you have heard from the recent story about the man that was killed by a Mute Swan, they can be very aggressive when defending a mate or a nest. When I was volunteering at Tri-State Bird Rescue, we used to have to sit on their backs in order to get a pill down their throats. They can also easily break an arm with their wings, so they are not harmless.
This is the most common kingbird in the western part of the country. Fortunately, the good side of the story is that this particular bird has learned to adapt well, unlike many birds that lose their environment and they become endangered. The Western Kingbird will nest anywhere, including telephone poles and other artificial structures. As you can see, they will perch anywhere, too. They also turn the tables on hawks and the black birds, and will chase them just for the sport of it.
I have heard that they have a rather interesting courtship ritual, but not as elaborate as some of the more colorful tropical birds. They will dart upward into the air, flutter, vibrate feathers, and deliver a trilling song.
This owlet is a brancher, which means that he has moved from the nest to do a little exploration. Many branchers will just travel up and down their tree. Some even find their way onto the ground, and it is a bit more challenging to return to the nest for the night. Since this photo, this owl has left the nest. The other one did last weekend. There is no longer any use for this nest by this particular owl family, so it could be taken over by another bird. My understanding was that a hawk of some kind had it last year.
As all good things must come to an end, I will leave you with the south side of the Canada Geese. Today, they were doing a little dabbling, which means feeding off the bottom. I was lucky enough to capture two of them, but I was hoping for more. As they say, the timing is everything, and two of them happened to be in synch. Keep your head to the clouds and your eyes on the ground. Happy birding!