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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday May 6, 2012
The General Events of the Week
Breeding season is in high gear, and adult birds are madly feeding their babies. Other birds are mating constantly. Butterflies are filling the air on the wing, spring flowers are blooming and wondrous scents fill the air. The only time that I turn my head from the water's edge is when I hear calls that I don't recognize and flashes of color in my peripheral vision. Nature's sights and sounds give my mind's eye such stimulation that I am sometimes unable to focus on just one thing, so I must keep all my senses at new heights. Maybe this is the true meaning of multitasking. If it is, then I will move forward and take in as much as is humanly possible and train my brain to "see" with every sense that I have. There is so much to see. You know, with everything that I have been lucky enough to see, it makes me wonder how much I have been missing...
Most of the new birds this week were seen on Monday, plus there was a few old favorites that also made a reappearance. The first sighting on Monday was the Great Egret. This bird is so white, I could see him a quarter of a mile away, so I moved as quickly as I could walk in order to get a photo as close as possible, which wasn't really that close by. I knew that this bird would be a little skittish with its first appearance of the season, but I was fortunate enough to be able to get one in flight. This was an added bonus. Besides the Great Blue Heron, these egrets roost in trees.
This gorgeous Spotted Sandpiper is the best known and most widespread in North America. It is easily distinguished on the ground by the fact that it teeters its body as it stands with tail up and its head downward. A female will have more spots than her counterpart male and is larger. The young leave the nest soon after hatching, like the Killdeer, which is also related. The male is the one that incubates the young, but it is possible that the female will help with the final clutch of the year. Here in Oklahoma, I believe that they will have up to three clutches per season, just like the Killdeer. A pair will usually have 3 to 5 eggs, which can be brown, green, pink or buff colored with brown blotches. Like the Killdeer, the eggs are generally on the ground, but they make a true nest, whereas the Killdeer generally does not.
The Eastern Kingbird is the only kingbird nesting in the east north of Southern Florida. Its breeding area covers the better part of the United States. When the need arises for this bird to defend its nest, it is so aggressive that it has been known to land on the backs of vultures, crows, and hawks, pecking them and removing their feathers.
The Clay Colored Sparrow is one that likes to be in fields, thickets, and around the edges of forests. If you have a feeder, they will go to feeding stations for bread, cracked corn, millet, and sunflower seeds. They usually nest under 5 feet to the ground, and they will lay 3-5 eggs that are blue-green in color with dark brown and black markings.
Sibley Field Guides
The Eastern Meadowlark implies just that: they love being in fields and meadows and have the loveliest call. Unfortunately, they are a common host to the cowbird populace. Many nests and eggs/young have been destroyed due to mowing. With homebuilding as it is, these birds are somewhat vulnerable due to humanity, since open fields tend to be developed and cows or sheep graze there, as well as farming.