Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 26, 2013
Oklahoma Tornado Watch
As you all know, the weather has been very unsettled in Oklahoma, which includes the devastating tornado in Moore, that took a number of lives. For those of you that are curious on how birds and animals weather storms like this, they just do as we do, hang on for dear life and hope for the best. With high winds, many are not able to do that, and sadly perish like people do that are not prepared.
Humor in the Bird World
A few humorous things occurred this week. On Monday, three male Red-winged Blackbirds chased one of the resident Red-shouldered Hawks through bushes and trees. It erred just because it happened to go through what they claimed as their territory. I observed this poor hawk try to lie low in a cluster of trees, but the blackbirds just infiltrated and drove the hawk out of the area completely. It was quite a show.
On Saturday, a Brown Thrasher was apparently in a mood for trouble, hiding within leaves of a tall tree calling like a Baltimore Oriole. It attracted one, too, and when the oriole saw who had been calling, he did an about-face. I can imagine the thoughts that were running through that poor oriole’s head. The Brown Thrasher soon showed himself, obviously proud of what he had done, and continued to call for other unsuspecting orioles, but to no avail. Even birds like to irritate each other.
Numerous Mallard ducklings were around the lake, learning the ropes of the duck world and were being led about by their proud parents. One male chased after another couple, and drove two single males away from his young family. The largest family that I noticed was a dozen, which could have included some adoptees. Pairs of Mallards will care for other youngsters in need, but they have been known to lay from five to fourteen eggs. This really could have been one family.
I noticed a quiet Downy Woodpecker looking for insects under the bark of a tree. He allowed this photo opportunity, but quickly departed the area just before darkness.
Southern Cove Respite
The Southern Cove has several regulars, including American Coots, Mallards, Great Blue Heron, and a male Blue-winged Teal. Some kind of water snake was also there one day, which the birds were doing their best to evade. I suspect that it could have been a poisonous variety of snake, since they were so dead set upon keeping away from it.
Fledgling European Starlings
Fledgling European Starlings were found on the north end of the lake, but there was still no sign of the displaced Red-bellied Woodpeckers from last year. I have heard some of them out in the Northern Reaches. With any luck, I will be able to catch a few guest appearances this season.
Rare Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Mating Ritual
We are in luck this week, though. I originally spied three Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in a tree. Upon observing them, it was two males trying to interest the lone female. She managed to pick an interest, and the ritual of courtship ensued. It was not the air diving courtship that I have seen, but more of a personal type of interlude. They spread their wings for one another, made calls to each other, the male bowed to the female, and she accepted him. It was the most endearing little show of interest that I have ever seen between the flycatchers. The nice thing is, that I am able to show this to all of you. The fortuitous situation certainly was welcomed.
Spring is Baby Season
Babies are being born, parents are madly dashing about trying to feed the little ones, and life appears to be good for many of them. I looked at a former tree that had an European Starling nest in it last year. It is also being used by starlings again this year. A Brown Thrasher nest at the Southern Cove is still empty, and numerous nests are alive and well with youngsters in the Red-winged Blackbird family. One American Robin nest that I knew about last year is quiet thus far, but I do believe that the Western Kingbirds are going to use last year’s nest that I watched and reported on. We shall know more at a later date.
That’s it for this week, birding fans. Keep your head in the clouds and your eyes to the ground. Let me hear your experiences, and happy birding until next week