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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 20, 2012
I bid you good morning. This has been another week with some overcast skies and high winds. Yesterday's gusts were between 25-40 mph. It was an eventful week, as fledglings(babies out of the nest) have been making an appearance and discovering new things never ceases. You might see some old faces once again, and I'm sure that you'll appreciate what a Great Blue Heron must do in order to capture some tasty morsels. He allowed me to watch him search for breakfast, as long as I kept quiet, so I agreed.
I managed to get a photo of this male Common Yellowthroat, though granted, not very good. One of the most numerous and widespread warblers, they tend to hide in vegetation searching for insects, spiders, and caterpillars. They will hawk insects, which is what I think he was doing in this picture. They are also somewhat wrenlike, by skulking in vegetation and climbing vertically on stems, cocks and flicks tail, and also droops and flicks its wings. They also prove to be rather fast moving, so I was not going to ignore this photo in hopes for a better one later down the road. It will happen, but I just didn't want to let you miss this opportunity.
I happened upon a couple of baby birds in my travels that I wanted to share with you, for some of you have never been lucky enough to see these. The first was totally silent in a tree, the little Great-Tailed Grackle. As vocal as his parents are, it surprised me that he was not the same.
The little robin was on the roof of this duplex and he was being very talkative, so I could not miss him! With robins, they always want something to eat, so he was likely hoping that I would show him an insect or a worm.
Babies are sililar to the adults, but it can be easy to ascertain their age. For example, look at the blackbird's head and you will see some bare spots that aren't yet feathered in, plus some very fine down on his head. The robin has a spotted breast, which is not an adult breast. Also their tails are very short, so if you spot a bird with not much of a tail, it is most likely a young one. There are exceptiuons to every rule, but you won't go wrong if you see down on a bird's head.
This was another quiet bird where I happened to just see some movement on a tree to catch my eye. The Hairy Woodpecker was looking for insects to eat in the bark, and they peck at it to drive potential food out of their holes. They also enjoy seeds, nuts, and larvae. They will move up and down a tree in their search for insects, common woodpecker behavior.
Remember this bird? He had to relocate as a pair of European Starlings took the cavity that he was preparing for himself and his mate. He graciously permitted the starlings to retain the upper berth and he and his mate took the lower one. Poor little guy had to hollow out that one, too.
I suppose he wanted us to know that he was still in residence and I hope to hear and see the little ones sometime soon.
Here's another great bird that happened to hold still for a moment. This vireo is not well known by most people other than birders. It can be difficult to spot, as its plumage is camouflaged. They tend to catch insects in flight and forage for food high in the treetops. They winter in Mexico and Central America, and this was the first chance that I had to see one.
This egret was also fishing while I happened to be in the area. He was perching on logs in the water and searching for a meal for a good half hour, having flown past me more than once. This is a very graceful bird and the largest egret over most of its range, that can be identified by its black legs, yellow bill, and its size. They will eat fish, snakes, frogs, large insects and crayfish.
I hope that you enjoyed this week's discoveries with me. The Double-Crested Cormorants seem to have left the area to migrate in a northerly direction where it is a little cooler. I enjoyed their stay, as did many other people, some of whom mistook them for what I was told was the Black Pelican. In the meantime, keep your head to the clouds and your eyes on the ground. Happy birding!