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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 26, 2013

Updated on May 27, 2013
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Flight
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Flight | Source

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.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

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.

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Mallard Ducklings

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.

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker | Source

Downy Woodpecker

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.

Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal | Source

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 | Source

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.

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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.

Tree Housing European Starling Nest
Tree Housing European Starling Nest | Source

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

Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird | Source
Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper | Source
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Flight
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Flight | Source
American Coot
American Coot | Source

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Glimmer Twin Fan! Many people not connected to the natural world don't think of animals, as they have their families to think about when disaster strikes. Glad that you have been enjoying the stories.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      More beautiful photos. I enjoyed your opening. Rarely do people (myself included) think about what happens to wild animals during natural disasters. I guess I just always thought they would fly away, but that is probably not the case. Your hubs are so lovely and I am enjoying reading them.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Nell! All the birds are in a protective mode right now. They will do anything for their little ones. Glad that you liked all the pics.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      First of all I loved all your photos again, they are amazing. and that Flycatcher romance was lovely. It does seem that at this time of year the blackbirds or other smaller birds do start the attack mode! lol! I often watch the blackbirds over here totally chasing the huge Red Kites birds of prey away from their nests, its a bit like watching a film with two planes going for it! the smaller bird always wins! great hub as always, nell

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Okay, precy anza. I think I will try to look up some of that material on Youtube.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 years ago from USA

      Well, I was just browsing the channels at the right time and I happened to watch hummingbirds and birds of paradise. I believed that was on Discovery :)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, dreamseeker! It gets a lot easier if one recognizes the sounds of these beautiful birds, then one knows eaxactly what to look for, unless you have a mimic like a mockingbird or a Brown Thrasher.j

    • profile image

      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      Beautiful and unique pics, avinnovice!! : ) You always amaze me with your photography. I feel honored just viewing the pics of so many birds and fowl. Another great hub!! Voted it up and awesome!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, precy anza! Sounds like you have some good bird stories to tell.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 4 years ago from USA

      Those ducklings are so cute! ^-^' And you had made me laughed too with the story of the brown thrasher... probably giggling with its mischief with the orioles. Thanks for sharing us this weekend's photos! And the flycatcher photos are just beautiful! It reminded me of some birds of paradise's mating ritual I had watched. :)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Also, know your birds calls and songs. Keep your ears and eyes open, and you will find a lot waiting in the wings. Best of luck on your adventures.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Thanks Deb for the response to my question. Nice tips. I am sure they will come in handy.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Peg, a lot of people enjoy that one. I have done a lot of baby pictures, and I am looking for more fledglings. I plan to do a story on the little ones, too.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! Thanks for saying that, a lot of others have, too, but I am still in my infancy. However, I am learning fast...

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Your narrative is engaging and your photos, spectacular, Deb. You are quite the bird-er. Loved every one of these pictures but the one of the three baby ducks was a real smile maker.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      LOVE the pic of the 3 baby mallard best of all - altho - it's difficult to choose! You have talent, girl - and your love and appreciation for nature and birds shines through because of that talent! We thank you for sharing your beautiful perspective!

      Interesting how you never hear of the 'bird fatalities' in any storm...hmmmm...

      voting/sharing

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Suhail! Downy is smaller than the hairy, so that is the big difference. For owls, you need to look for scat on a conifer. It is white like whitewash and runs down the tree. Then there will likely be pellets(regurgitation) under the tree. Ducks are usually first and last thing in the day.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Another great update as usual Deb.

      Well, I tried some bird watching in early May, but did not certainly have patience for it. So it was back to hiking with K2 for me.

      What I had tried is that I went to a neighbourhood conservation area with K2 in the hope of seeing Goshawks, horned owl, and incoming ducks. But I was only able to see mallard drake and his mate.

      Btw, going back to your hub, pictures of flycatchers are awesome! And that Downy Woodpecker has come out sharp too. They are a difficult bird to get because they always play with sunlight and shade when on a tree.

      Just a quick question. Are downy and hairy woodpeckers names of the same bird?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Jackie! I searched ALL the trees last year and found where everyone was residing. This year, I just went back around, and i had to wait about 10 minutes for a parent to return, and this is it. You have to do a lot of spotting and check what you have as often as you can.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Another wow one. I love it. The flycatchers so so beautiful but you have caught a photo like I go after and seldom get, a real prize. The tree looks like it has its mouth open holding the bird with its mouth open. Fantastic shot. ^^^

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Connie! So far, so good, everything is quite well here. So glad to hear that you found the events this week as entertaining as I did. I'm still searching for fledglings, and hope to come up with more soon.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb, your flycatcher in flight is a wonderfully awesome picture! I enjoyed seeing the mating ritual you so fortuitously captured for us; and I loved the story about the thrasher mimicking an oriole! Birds never cease to entertain, do they! Thanks as always for sharing your stories and pictures. I am very glad you and your birds have avoided the horrible storms out there ;) Connie

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mel! How about another story about your area specific birds, so I can see what your birdwatching day is like?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Wayne, I look around, too, to glimpse those natural wonders. Some folks are in tune, and others are not. Sometimes, they need a little coaxing in order to see what they are missing, and then, when they discover the beauty, most are hooked.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, yes, Jim, indeed it was. I got lucky again for the scissortails, and in looking at the assorted flycatchers, there are others in the area, so I must keep my eyes peeled.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Precisely, Alicia. One of the young men that I work with was out chasing the tornado. He ended up in Moore to see the devastation, as well as the people that experienced it. He said that it was heartwrenching. Next time, he will take me along, so I can try for some pics and naturally, a story..

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I posted this after I finished my ten-hour day, Billy, even as tired as I was. Today was almost as bad, and I am exhausted, but I will go to the lake shortly.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, kislany! They are adorable, and they are curious, too. I have had baby birds fly up on something so they are right at eye level, and start chattering away. Every experience is a new adventure.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thank you for visiting, whonu. I do so enjoy what each day holds for me.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mary! Every outdoor trip hosts new opportunities, and I am still learning with my camera. I never had a camera like this before, so it takes a lot of exposure to it. Glad that you are enjoying my work, as I enjoy doing it.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Anna, I finally graduated to a professional camera a few months ago, so now, I am not on top of the birds. Many times, they don't even know that I am photographing them. However, there are a few that expect it!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Deergha! Welcome to the world of birds. It was an exceptionally good day with the flycatchers. You just have to be ready for anything, and know the birds calls/songs, so you know what is around you.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 4 years ago from San Diego California

      Great bird hub as always. I loved your scissor tailed photos. Out here in SoCal our prominent flycatchers are the Black & Says Phoebe and the Western and Cassin's Kingbirds. Your Brown Thrasher was great too. Besides the Mockingbird, our representative Mimidae species is the California Thrasher, which is found in coastal canyons on the edges of residential areas, but it never enters the neighborhoods themselves. Happy Birding!

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      I love the information you give on the avian wildlife and the pictures that accompany them. I am one of those who constantly observes nature, whether it be the tiniest bug, a critter running across the phone lines or the different kind of birds in the trees. It amazes me that others can be standing right next to me and not see the beautiful chameleon on a plant next to them or the Bald Eagle that is soaring right over our heads. People miss out on true beauty.

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Deb, those photos of the scissortails alone were worth the trip! Great shot of the Thrasher and ducklings too. Another great day at Boomer Lake!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the interesting writing and photos, Deb. As always, it's lovely to see how the year is progressing at Boomer Lake. I'm very sorry about the horrible tornado in Oklahoma. Nature can be cruel as well as beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This must have posted late because I didn't see it last night....and now I have to run and get some writing done. Thanks for the quick visit this morning, Deb....loved it as always.

    • kislany profile image

      kislany 4 years ago from Cyprus

      How adorable those birds are - I loved watching the pics. Interesting page.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      These were all such beautiful pictures and the information is well received. Thanks for sharing this nice work. whonu

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I always enjoy your "bird" hubs but I have to say your photos are more and more outstanding. How wonderful you have the opportunity (and talent) to get such beautiful pictures to share with us!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      Hi, your pictures as always were amazing. How do you get so close?

      The birds sounded almost human with their confrontations and fostering of another's young, which was a surprise.

      I am learning every week from you!

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 4 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      So amazing the pics are here.....a standing ovation you dear...you are really excelling here in this hub.....votes all up and shared, tweeted :-)