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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday September 29, 2013

Updated on September 30, 2013
Horseshoe Crabs Spawning
Horseshoe Crabs Spawning | Source

Field Notes

The Delaware Bay has had a number of problems since the Athos I oil spill of ’04, which devastated the horseshoe crab ecology. Last fall, when Superstorm Sandy hit the area, the substrate was exposed, which could threaten the lives of this shell fish now. If the substrate is not correct, the crabs will not spawn. How will this affect hundreds of thousands of migratory birds? Read more at National Wildlife:

Male Prothonotary Warbler
Male Prothonotary Warbler | Source

Warblers Migrating Now

Warblers are migrating now throughout much of the US and southern Canada. Dig out your cameras and binoculars for some of the most lovely birds now, according to Stokes:

Kenn Kaufman
Kenn Kaufman | Source

Kenn Kaufman Discusses Fall Migration

September begins the season for fall migration, and you have the opportunity to listen to a pre-recorded broadcast from birding expert, Kenn Kaufman. He is the author of The Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America, as well as The Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding. Hear some noteworthy tips and get the most from the migration in your area, courtesy of Science Friday:

Birding Doesn't Have to Cost a Lot

Are you one of “The Big Birders” or a backyard birder that might venture into the field once in a while to see what is out there? This story will appeal to one and all, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy nature, unless you want to do it:

Immature Red-tailed Hawk
Immature Red-tailed Hawk | Source
Bald Eagle that Frightened Young Hawk
Bald Eagle that Frightened Young Hawk | Source

Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle

The big story of the week is about the immature Red-tailed Hawk spotting a Bald Eagle. My little buddy from last week was hovering near a tree, and I was just setting up my camera and tripod for a spectacular shot. A Bald Eagle was scouring the lake looking for a possible fishing opportunity, but the red-tail wasn’t going to take any chances. He actually moved northerly twice, and the eagle was still in view the second time. Sadly, the red-tail is no longer near the lake, but has instead relocated to a stand of trees about a quarter mile away. However, I managed one more striking shot before the disappearance. I never knew hawks feared eagles, but evidently, he felt like he was a part of the possible food chain. After all, eagles are a lot bigger than hawks.

Two Immature Mourning Doves
Two Immature Mourning Doves | Source

Young Mourning Doves

I also found some young Mourning Doves at the lake. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch mom feeding all four of her charges, but two of the babies enjoyed being photographed at fairly close range. Do you think that we can say that a star is born?

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret | Source

Cattle Egret

There was another rare sighting of a Cattle Egret, and once again, I was in the right place at the right time. Every time I see this bird, I have to be amused, for we share the same color hair/headdress! Perhaps silly things like this make my world go around, but I just can’t help it, as far as this bird is concerned.

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source

Great Egret and Great Blue Heron

Great Egret and Great Blue Heron are still in the area, both surveying the lake and partaking of the fish within. A dozen were together on the same day that the Bald Eagle was here, and I had wondered if they were migrating south and intended to take the Boomer Lake clan with them. This time they were not successful, but the egrets will leave eventually. They just weren’t ready yet.

Question Mark
Question Mark | Source
Viceroys, Japanese Beetle, Young Wasp
Viceroys, Japanese Beetle, Young Wasp | Source
Tawny Emperor
Tawny Emperor | Source


Several species of butterflies have been cohabitating on the butterfly tree off the northern jetty near Goose Island. Not only are the butterflies on the same tree, they have been sharing real estate with a few Japanese beetles and their larvae, as well as some wasps. Talk about diversity! I’m surprised that the birds haven’t been hanging around more than usual, to pick up this fine feast. Who’s to know?

Where Did You Say Boomer Lake Is?

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers

For several days, hordes of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers have been parading around the weeds on the outskirts of the lake, as well as a certain tree near the former Baltimore Oriole habitat. Try as I might, due to their high speed, I have still been unable to get a photo of an adult. It appears that I was very fortunate to get that photo of the youngster several weeks ago.

Male Red-winged Blackbird
Male Red-winged Blackbird | Source

Red-winged Blackbird

This picture-perfect shot of this male Red-winged Blackbird in flight could not have been any better. I was rather pleased with the way the rays of the sun fell upon him at the precise moment that the shot was captured. It was truly fabulous luck. These birds have been a bit scarce, and it appears that some have already left for the season.

Area Songbirds

The Northern Cardinals have gone back into hiding, the American Robins have left for parts unknown or nearby neighborhoods, and the Blue Jays are still on the outskirts of the lake as always. They come to the Northern Reaches, but for some reason, they don’t seem to care for the fare at the lake. Perhaps there are too many people there for the likes of them.

"The Handsome Couple"
"The Handsome Couple" | Source


Most of the Mallards are close to being out of their eclipse mode, save for a few more feathers, but most of them are now in flight. Most of this season’s ducklings are nearly full grown, too.

Another American Coot has shown up, and we’ll see how long that this one decides to stay. Last night, temperatures were in the 50’s, and I believe that seasonal weather is going to make an attempt to try to stay with us. My eyes are peeled for new visitors, and as soon as I see some, I will shout it from the rooftops.

All good things must come to an end, which means that I must be on my way this week. Keep your head in the clouds and your eyes on the ground. Happy birding!

Great Egret in Tree
Great Egret in Tree | Source
Young Mourning Dove
Young Mourning Dove | Source
Immature Red-tailed Hawk Before He Left Area
Immature Red-tailed Hawk Before He Left Area | Source
Young Viceroy
Young Viceroy | Source

© 2013 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Bob! No doubt due to global warming. A lot of birds, especially the pelagics, have ended up in the central US, having no obvious business there. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at Boomer Lake again.

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image

      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 

      5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Such beautiful hubs Deb. We have noticed new bird varieties in Kentucky too probably due to global warming. I will try to come back often.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Eddy. There are so many fun things going on around the lake...we just have to seek them out.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Wonderful as always Deb and here's to so many more to come.

      Enjoy your weekend.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      D.A.L., there will be a lot more about nature with me, for I find it refreshing, enlightening, and a way to retain both compassion and composure. Thanks for visiting, and there will always be more columns.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      5 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      The photographs you take are getting better with each article. I have visited your web site and was mightily impressed with your photography there also. Once again I have enjoyed my visit to Boomer Lake and meeting your feathered friends and other animals. Hope there are many more to come.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Suhail! The immature hawk was petrified of that eagle, so I don't know if it had seen something, or its parents warned it to steer clear. Under normal circumstances with an adult, I don't think that would be the case. And thank YOU, for sharing the Wildlife of Pakistan sites. I'm learning a lot there.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Nell! They're all easy to get when the just show up. Can't wait to see what I can get this winter!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! They're all kinda cute, I think. Thanks for the share, and spend some time in the wild...

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      A good report yet again. I didn't know that hawks would be afraid of eagles.

      When we were at Grandfather Mountain Sanctuary near Boone, NC, we were told by the curators that they kept their golden eagle female and a bald eagle male in the same pen, but then golden female was so aggressive with bald male, that they had to separate them.

      Btw, thank you very much for sharing all those pictures, your reward of hardwork, with us. Without these, I would never have been able to determine which of your birds are also seen in my area.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Always fascinating to read about Boomer Lake and those wonderful birds. How you get those photos I just don't know, but they are so lovely. Also love the butterflys too, wonderful Deb, nell

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      5 years ago

      There's that gorgeous eagle! I love your hubs, your passion and your 'field notes'...

      it's as if they stand still for you in mid air..

      beautifully done, and that bird boy's kinda cute, eh?



    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, whonu! Thanks for topping to viit the lake, and may it inspire you.

    • whonunuwho profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Nice work and beautiful photos. whonu

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Deergha, it is always nice to see you along for the weekly journey. Life can hand us a number of things, but one thing is for certain: nature is always there in our corner to bring that smile to our faces.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks so much, Alicia! Right now, I am having coffee while answering comments. I will be on my favorite spot very soon, gathering pictures with you in mind. Share some seed with a bird, especially now during migration, and you will see some uncanny things, too.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Faith Reaper! I have always been around a body of water, which has led me to so many interesting things. Opening ones eyes to the little things that surround us, opens a remarkable world. With me, it always made me try to look deeper and deeper. See you next week.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Happyboomernurse! Yes, I have passed the sign for Slaughter Beach on my way to Dover! Mourning Doves are interesting birds. When I was volunteering at Tri-State Bird Rescue, I recall having an outer cage filled with them. They used to cling to me and climb up my pants leg. We also have Eurasian Collared-Doves, which are very similar to to MoDo. Thanks for stopping by once again, and enjoy your wildlife.

    • dghbrh profile image


      5 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      As always I am back to read your weekly birding hub....Its awesome and thank you for sharing it here. Loved all the photographs are amazing in that. Shared and votes way up.

      Waiting for next week sure.

      Thank you


    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is yet another enjoyable hub in your collection, Deb. The start of the week is always nice, because I have your Boomer Lake report to read!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Deb,

      I truly look forward to when you post about all the ongoings at Boomer Lake. Congrats on the magazine! I am not surprised in the least, especially with your great writing style and phenomenal photography! Your photos always take my breath away. You bring much awareness to serious issues, yet you always manage to add your sense of humor when appropriate.

      Up and more and sharing


      Faith Reaper

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      5 years ago from South Carolina

      So many beautiful photos and interesting info make this hub a fascinating read.

      Since I live only a few miles from Slaughter Beach, DE, which is one of the main locations that horse shoe crabs spawn, I was particularly interested in the Field Notes that you wrote.

      Voted this hub up across the board except for funny.

      Thanks for posting this info and sharing your photos. I have Mourning Doves in my yard but until I read this article, I didn't know what they were called.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Sounds good, Mary!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the tip on Pinterest and the info on the lense. See you next week ;)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Connie! Thanks so much, you just have to love them all.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks as always, Billy. It is always good to have you stop by the lake and enjoy what we have there.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      5 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Deb, that redwing image you captured is flawless! All your photos are amazing--the immature hawk, the egrets and herons, all the butterflies and bugs--Good Stuff, my friend ;) Connie

      Voted Up++++ and shared

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I bragged about you so much that you just knew I'd stop by this morning and see how things are at the famous Boomer Lake. :) Well done as always; beautiful as always; informative as always.

      Until next time, have a great week Deb.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mary! Glad that you enjoyed the lake once again. I also began writing for the local Audubon chapter, which is basically a compilation of Boomer Lake columns for the month. I have a 150-500mm lens. I deliberately locked out Pinterest, as they claim ownership to all photos on there. Hopefully, some migratory birds will come by when I'm at the lake, so I can get shots of them for you. Hope that all is well in NY!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      I so love your photographs. What beautiful shots of the hawk and eagle. Your commentary is amusing and educational at the same time. You have such a knack for this writing and I am glad to hear that a magazine is interested in you, your writing and your photos. How wonderful and well deserved!

      The red winged black bird was everywhere early last winter. I wonder if he will hang around this winter?

      One quick question, what size lens do you use on your camera? Just curious.

      Voted all but funny, and shared. The Pinit button is missing again! I'll come back later to see if it appears.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Martin, you are so welcome, as always. It was sure an interesting week.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mel! Those are the local gnatcatchers that spend time in this area, and they have been like this for quite some time. When they were nesting, they were heard in their trees, but never seen. Their speed is incredible. I'm sure that they're on their way out soon enough, since it is quickly cooling down here.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Jackie, those were likely migratories. They are conversing, just like we would. The din gets louder and louder, because they al want to be heard.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      martin says thank you for taking me out.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      In your next hub or the one after you'll probably be talking about migrating shorebirds stopping at the lake. The smell of fall is in the air and it's about that time. I think the blue-gray gnatcatchers migrate in flocks, and they are active little sprites, as you say. On my route I once saw a bare shrub that was full of them but they were only passing through and I never saw them again. Would have made for a great shot. Thanks for the fantastic report!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You know Deb you catch birds in their most beautiful form and also in their most awkward which really is quite beautiful too. I must tell you what happened to me today. I went way out back to feed my chickens and in the trees over me birds were gathered for migration is what I assume and what a sound! I am sure you have heard it and I have but not just feet above my head. There had to be hundreds and it was something I won't soon forget. Maybe you can tell me what that noise is for that they make? Eerie.


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