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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 13, 2012

Updated on November 18, 2012
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher | Source

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.

Mourning Cloak
Mourning Cloak | Source

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...

Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper | Source

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.

Mute Swan
Mute Swan | Source

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.

Western Kingbird
Western Kingbird | Source
Western Kingbird
Western Kingbird | Source

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.

Brancher Great Horned Owlet
Brancher Great Horned Owlet | Source

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.

Dabbling Geese
Dabbling Geese | Source

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!

Birds, Butterflies and Window Decals


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thank you, Nina.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for saying that, Tammy. Maybe one day I will be getting paid for it, too...

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I love your photos and you are so fortunate to be doing your passion!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Annie! Many birds want to be fed, and the swan is certainly no exception. Canada Geese have been known to nip legs, as they aren't being fed fast enough in certain parks. The brancher is curious and goes up and down its tree looking for everything. It is a time when they want to do things for themselves. Glad you're enjoying my birding material. I have just as much fun writing these hubs as you do reading them.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Nature provides the best art galleries and as I don't have the patience to capture birdlife I admire and respect your work greatly.

      The little sandpiper is delightful and interesting as is the white swan. We have black swans here, and though they do come out of the water especially in areas where the public have unwittingly fed them, they tend to come out and chase people, looking for food. They do look awkward out of the water though, as you say.

      I have never heard of the term brancher. Does the owlet travel up and down the branches looking for food? This owlet looks so cute, as if he is snugged up on a cold day.

      I love the photo of the dabbling geese, it is a great shot.

      Very enjoyable photography and commentary, thank you, my votes to you and sharing.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jackie! If you ever need any photos that i might have, check with me. All I ask is that you credit them to me.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from The Beautiful South

      These are the most fantastic photos I have seen since being here! I envy you! In a very nice way of course.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I’ve gone through your all postings, awesome piece of work. The words are catchy and speech is attractive. I really appreciate your efforts. Keep it up.

      Best Regards,


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Joyce. The birds and I tend to have fun together. The geese know me so well here, some of them are walking beside me.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Johan. I consider myself very lucky to be here, as there is no telling what will turn up.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Ghost32, I like the way that you think! When I did volunteer work for Tri-State Bird Rescue, I was involved with owl re-nesting, which is how I know about branchers.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jeanie! your son got a great pic with the lineup of owls! I couldn't imagine anything better than that. Would love to see that photo.

    • profile image

      jeanie dibble 

      7 years ago

      Your articles give so much wonderful information.

      Love the new pictures and especially the scissor tail. Great shot with the wings open where so much of the colors are.

      My son posted a picture last night of 5, perhaps 6 baby owls lined up on a telephone pole in his back yard. They live right in the middle of Richardson Texas. Goes to show you if you pay attention wildlife is all around..

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great work; I can see why you're "attached" to Boomer Lake. And I learned something--did not know about "branchers".

      Voted Up and More. (Including Funny. As Larry the Cable Guy would say re the dabbling geese, "That's funny right there." But my grin comes from realizing that when someone says he's "dabbling" in this or that, his bottom must be....)

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      7 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Loved your description of birding at Boomer Lake. What a priviledge to stay near such a great place. Interresting about the term 'peeps', not one we use in South Africa but heard it in the USA.Great photos!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I love you hubs all about the birds you see and your so lucky to across the road from the lake.

      Vote up beautiful and interesting, Joyce.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      7 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It was another fun hub to do, Gloshei. Glad that you enjoyed it. I never know what I am going to find out there to whet my appetite!

    • Gloshei profile image


      7 years ago from France

      Great hub again Deb I look forward to your visits to Boomer Lake. You certainly are lucky not to have to travel too far for such a spectacular sight.

      The photos are lovely and the colours of the butterfly are so vivid.

      Nothing like a bit of synchronize swimming to end the day.

      Thanks again for a great hub.


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