Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 5, 2013
Just like the rest of you all over the world experiencing fluctuating weather, never fear. It is still happening to me. But, it sure is not a deterrent for the wonderful birds of the world. As a matter of fact, birds that shouldn’t be in my area are, the prime example, the American Golden-Plovers. Two were in winter plumage, and the third was starting to change over to his breeding plumage. This bird is a long distance migrant and cruises at sixty mph, covering literally thousands of miles per year. Its nesting grounds are the Arctic tundra, and it winters as far away as Argentina. Normally, when it stops over in the US for a breather, it is generally around the Chicago area, but as luck would have it, it came to our Boomer Lake. Even better, I happened to be there when they were.
The Eastern Kingbird also is back in our area for the season. As some of you will recall, I wrote a piece on the comparison of the Eastern and Western Kingbirds last year. The handsome eastern variety is the King of the Tyrants, will bravely land on the backs of hawks and other birds that want to eat its eggs and young, pecking and pulling on their feathers. I personally don’t consider that evidence of a tyrant. It shows that they are simply protective over what is theirs. Don’t you agree?
The Baltimore Oriole was trilling his beautiful song in an oak tree this week, and it just so happens that he wanted everyone that reads this column to have a look at his lovely countenance. He came out of the thick leaves and paraded himself right in front of the camera just for you. The male happens to be the only bright orange and black oriole north of Florida.
The Spotted Sandpiper appears to be staying with us for a while on several locations on the lake. It is the most widespread and best known sandpiper on the continent. It is famous for standing with its tail up and its head down, teetering its little body.
Another strikingly beautiful water bird, the Wilson’s Phalarope, was seen on Friday just north of Veteran’s Memorial, if any of the Stillwater residents wants an exact date. Both he and she were seen in the late afternoon. These are very interesting birds who fish in a way that works well for them. Phalaropes will spin like tops—as quickly as sixty times a minute—creating little whirlpools that pull plankton and other good food to the water’s surface, where they can just pick it up with their long, slender bills. What a way to gather a quick snack, but it works.
I finally got a photo of the “Speedy Gonzalez” of bunnies, the marsh rabbit. This time, I let him think that I hadn’t seen him, so he stayed very still for this wonderful photo opportunity. This is a handsome example of rabbitdom, but unfortunately, I didn’t capture that beautiful white tail. Perhaps next time that can occur.
The Blue-winged Teal is also in the area, and here is a fine example of the male. Perhaps this year a pair will nest on the lake, and maybe I can get some duckling photos for my loyal readers. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck on that.
Again, a large group of Double-crested Cormorants gathered on Goose Island. I will wager to state that at least fifty were in attendance. Here’s a shot of a couple of them in flight, as well as a nice group photo. The early morning sun happened to catch their colors so nicely, along with that nice orange-yellow bill. I don’t see any of them wearing their crests yet, but I would think that they are ready to breed fairly soon.
The wildflowers are coming up, the grass is greening up nicely, and definite signs of spring staying are apparent. I actually had to pull out my winter jacket a couple of times earlier in the week, but I am convinced that it is done with now. Maybe.
This is all that I have to tell you right now, so do keep your head in the clouds and your eyes to the ground. Happy birding until next week. What uncommon birds have you seen in YOUR areas?
One Year Ago
- Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 6, 2012
This week's birding column highlighting the Great Egret, Spotted Sandpiper, Eastern kingbird, Clay Colored Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark.