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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Thursday July 24, 2014

Updated on July 24, 2014
You're animal.  They are harmful to you and your family, too.  Do your kids play on your lawn?
You're animal. They are harmful to you and your family, too. Do your kids play on your lawn? | Source

Field Notes

Caution--Another Harmful Substance to Birds, Bees, Animals

Neonicotinoids are killing birds, bees and other animals, as it is destroying the insects that they feed on. I am all in favor of science, but when we are killing off food that we or other animals need, it is time to pull in the reins.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source

Bald Eagle Returns to San Clemente Island in CA

For the first time in over half a century, the Bald Eagle is back on San Clemente Island in California. Read more about this joyous news here, and see what could happen next.

Greater Bird of Paradise
Greater Bird of Paradise | Source

Greater Bird of Paradise of Aru Islands

The Greater Bird of Paradise is just as noteworthy as the rest of its kin. Let’s take a short peek into the life of this bird through the mating ritual:

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source

It Pays to Watch Carefully

Many things occurred at the lake this week, which means that we must always look around and see what nature has in her grand bounty. Once in a while, things will happen directly in front of us and we cannot miss them, but many times we actually must book ahead, behind, or to the right and left. When it comes to smaller birds that might be silent, we just might not see them, unless we have a sharp eye. This week, there were a couple of wonderful events that played out for me, and I will share them with all of you.

Purple Martin
Purple Martin | Source

Purple Martins Left a Vacancy

The Purple Martins vacated their apartments, as the youngsters fledged. Once the last bird flies, they are out of structures of any kind. However, they are still working hard to control mosquitos and other small biting insects, as water draws them in. This is why insect eaters are so valuable in a wet location. They cannot get every insect, but they make it a lot more bearable for us.

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source

Great Egret Dance of Flight

Earlier this week, our Great Egrets tripped the Light Fantastic and beautifully choreographed a lot of wonderful dances for those of us in attendance. These stately birds are every bit as graceful as they are lanky, and as you can see, it doesn’t matter if a bird is missing a leg. This gorgeous adult handled itself as well as a whole bird would, perhaps even with a little extra flair. Nature provides for those that survive.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret | Source

Unusual Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret also came to visit, which is not completely unusual, but it was the first time that I had seen one in this area. These water birds are shorter than Great Egret, and they move faster and shuffle along the bottom with those bright yellow shoes in order to stir up the bottom feeders to the surface. Snowy also made it to the main part of the lake for a short time, then returned to the safety of the Northern Reaches where it is much less congested and quieter.

Male Eastern Bluebird
Male Eastern Bluebird | Source

Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is still nesting and we will have another crop of fledglings shortly. These gorgeous songbirds will grace many yards with their presence, as long as you build a nestbox exactly to their specifications. You can run a search on this and come up with a plan to build your own, which is very easy. You can even build a nestbox without power tools if you’d prefer to go that route.

Mallard Ducklings
Mallard Ducklings | Source

Mallards and Ducklings

There are still new Mallard ducklings, as well as those that are nearly grown. Some are still on the main part of the lake, and a few still prefer the Northern Reaches.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source

Great Blue Herons

Great Blue Herons are still doing very well in all sections of the lake, but the greater population is in the Northern Reaches, as are the Great Egrets.

Green Heron in Flight
Green Heron in Flight | Source

Green Herons

There are two pairs of Green Herons, and I was treated to a delightful show today. These herons are generally much more skittish, but today there didn’t seem to be a problem with being shy. There is an active nest for one pair of these vocal beauties on the Southern Cove, but I shall not search for it. I’d like to have this family return again next year for breeding purposes.

The Smallest Herons


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Juvenile American Robin
Juvenile American Robin | Source

Juvenile American Robins

There are several fine-looking juvenile American Robins that have been showing themselves off. They are no longer bothering their parents with procuring food, as they are fully able to handle that themselves. They all appear very healthy. We won’t know if they are going to be resident birds, as nature will tell them what they are going to do when it is time.

Male Northern Cardinal
Male Northern Cardinal | Source

Northern Cardinals and Brown Thrashers

The Northern Cardinals and Brown Thrashers are still all over the lake, but the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has taken a bit of a breather and has disappeared for a while. They always seem to return in a couple of weeks, but they generally are one of the first birds to leave for fall migration. I saw a handful of them still around, but it won’t be much longer until they disappear, too, for a temporary reprieve.

Female Great-tailed Grackle
Female Great-tailed Grackle | Source

Great-tailed Grackles and Eastern Kingbirds

There are still plenty of Great-tailed Grackles and Eastern Kingbirds protecting their respective territories, mostly on both sides of the Southern Cove. The Red-winged Blackbirds are living nearest the water, and keeping poor Great Blue Heron at bay. However, when he can make it through the Front Line, he stays on some of the logs and snags, quietly preening and doing a little fishing when necessary.

We all know that the Western Kingbirds are all living at my place, right? How appropriate can that be?

Mississippi Kite
Mississippi Kite | Source

The Hawk and the Cat, A True Story on Intervention

My friend, Jeannie, told me about an interesting experience that she had yesterday. There was a gaggle of Canada Geese crossing the road on the east side of the lake. She had stopped her car for them and was watching the plot unfold, when a black cat came into view. I know exactly what cat she is referring, as I have seen it hungrily looking for songbirds, also on the east side of the lake. Then, she said, suddenly a hawk swooped out of a tree and made that cat jump head over heels. You see, the moral only goes to show that nature can win in a big way when all the cards are on the table. That hawk likely saw me admonishing that cat around the songbirds, and took it upon itself to assist me in my quest. Isn’t life sometimes a bowl of cherries?

The Neighborhood

I also had a short trip to The Links Golf Course, which is a wonderful wildlife area. The area is north of the Northern Reaches, and hosts a number of Mississippi Kites, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Green Herons, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, and most likely a number of other wonderful things that I hadn’t even seen. It is beautifully landscaped, and was relatively quiet while I was there. I managed to get a few pictures, and if I can, I will go there again, and see what other beautiful birds and animals I can photograph and observe.

With those words, I will leave you to think about your own week birding. If anything noteworthy occurred, you can certainly keep me informed. Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds until next time when we meet again. Happy birding!

Where is Boomer Lake in Stillwater, OK?

Green Heron
Green Heron | Source
Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron | Source
Red Eared Slider
Red Eared Slider | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Pamela, you can't imagine how good that made me feel. My goal IS to shoot and write for National Geo. I think I still have a long way to go, but I'm getting better. The animal kingdom is truly amazing, and my next plan is to prove that they are sentient beings.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Amazing photos -- again. And I loved the narrative throughout. It's better than any column I might read during the week in a newspaper -- paper or online. That's sure something about the one-legged Great Egret doing so well. I'm happy. I hope, though, he didn't suffer too long when it first happened. There he was -- out there all alone and needing food and water -- and in pain. The hawk swooping in to upset the cat's plans -- so good! Who needs fairytales to read to our grandkids at bedtime when we've got your weekly hub?

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, teaches! There's so many interesting things out there now on the wonders of birds. It amazes me some of the things that I am learning, too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      The Bird of Paradize is so beautiful! Thanks for the awareness on the bald eagle population. Another great read today!

    • it-solution profile image

      MD. ZAKIR HOSSAIN SIKDER 2 years ago from Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University

      Please follow me on hubpage: http://hubpages.com/@it-solution

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      All right. I'll take a gander...

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Deb, there are a couple of pics of an Egret (not the one legged one) in the Beach Resort on FL's Gulf Coast article. They're not the quality shots that you can get with your camera, though. I have a small digital camera with limited zoom.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Birds and other animals are extremely resilient, if they manage to escape harm. Owls are famous for window strikes on cars, they receive a good deal of eye injuries. They tend to fly low, which doesn't help them. Do you have any pics of your FL egret?

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Deb, these pictures are amazing. I'm glad to know that Egrets can and do survive well with only one leg. I've been worried about one that lives on the beach in Florida where I vacation. He is a graduate of the Bird Sanctuary there and I've seen him many times.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, herons are my favorite birds, as you can likely tell, and egrets are in the same family. Definitely keep a watch for Green Heron, as they can be quite interesting to watch, especially when they bait fish.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your weekly reports are very enjoyable, Deb. I hope you continue them for a long time. My favorite photos this week are the big ones of the two herons. I see the blue one often where I live, but not the green one. The green heron does make its way here, though. I'll have to look out for it.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Faith Reaper! It sure was a fine week. You never know what you're going to see at the lake.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, another busy week at Boomer Lake for you, Deb ... joy! I just love songbirds and that Eastern Bluebird is especially lovely.

      How amazing that the Hawk step up ... or flew down to help you! Life is a bowl of cherries.

      That is certainly disturbing news about the pesticides.

      Have a great weekend on Boomer Lake, and I will look forward to next week's installment.

      Voted up ++++ and away

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Agreed, Nell. There are many things out there that are harmless to birds, bees, humans, and animals. For crying out loud, hot water will kill the roots of anything.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Bill! Many things are looking up, but we have a long road to travel.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, travmaj! Many problems are universal, and we will be heard. I am encouraged with many things that have taken hold, and we must be persistent.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! The turtle is just average sized, but we do have larger ones in this lake.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, whonu, the bees are some of the most important creatures in this world. We must be there for them.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      I love the birds of paradise, I saw a program on tv about some the other day, as for the pesticides its time we came up with another solution for problems that need them, too many bees and animals are being hurt, great hub as always! nell

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great news on the Bald Eagles returning to San Clemente Island. Beautiful photos as as always Deb.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Sad about the pesticides, it seems to be a universal problem. How beautiful the eagles are, we see a pair regularly here. Stunning photos, and most informative hub. Thank you.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 2 years ago

      Stunning as always, Deb.

      Interesting that an atomic bomb couldn't kill the bees, but humans? no problemo! sigh..

      love the green heron and wondering how big that turtle is?

      I used to have a snapping turtle that looked just like him. His shell was about 14 inches across...

      hugsxx

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      Well done my friend and we share a common interest in preserving our wildlife, especially the bees that help all creatures on this earth. whonu

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, ChitrangadaSharan. There are too many poisons in our lives that should not be. It is simple enough to make effective eradicators that will not piston our families and our wildlife. I won't even get into our ground water...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for your vote on Green Heron, Dave. He was performing well yesterday. The sad thing is, that big business is not even giving farmers the truth. When they begin to experience the effects of neonicotinoids on their bodies, only then will they believe. Ask any vet that had no protection(all of them) regarding Agent Orange.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Frank, knowledge is indeed power. We must become powerful on our own, as the large conglomerates are not telling us the truth. When one becomes directly involved in a few things, it becomes very apparent.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Theresa! Summer school can sure take a lot out of you, with those fast paced courses. I have taken a few of them, so I understand your time constraints. Glad to hear that your mosquitos are at bay. The birds really do a lot in way of keeping them under control. A few birds have natural defenses against West Nile Virus and such, but raptors and corvids do not.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Another wonderful hub in your excellent series!

      The use of Neonicotinoids is really a cause of concern. Lot of care is needed to maintain the ecological balance.

      Beautiful birds and very informative hub!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      The use of Neonicotinoides is a big issue over here and across Europe where they have now been banned for a period of time in most countries, even though many Governments are reluctant do have done so ,through pressure by the farming lobby. My favourite picture this week is the Green heron. Have a good week.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      i hate to use an old cliche. but knowledge is power.. great hub

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Deb - I have been way too busy teaching (summer school after the regular school year). What a pleasure to visit Boomer Lake though your eyes, words, and photographs. :) The news about the pesticides was distressing, but your other news was encouraging.

      The three acres my brother bought in Middle Georgia has relatively few insects and almost no mosquitoes, even though one edge of the property is bounded by a very, very slow moving (sauntering) river. We attribute the lack of mosquitoes to the local bird population and the sandy soil which allows rain water to drain away quickly. We are very grateful for our local birds. :) Take care. Theresa

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I didn't think that you did, Kevin. You're as much a naturalist as I am!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Personally, Deb, I do not use pesticides (and I mention it often) I try natural repellents. Such as I use cinnamon for ants, which confuses them and they go back the way they came from.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for sharing, Kevin. It helps to get the word out about what is going on, and people can decide for themselves. Some people will opt for organic pesticides. I'm sure that most people wouldn't want their kids playing on pesticide ridden lawns...

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      It is a real shame about the pesticide but it seems that no matter what is done they will keep using them. :-(

      I am happy for the Bald Eagles that are back on the island in California. It was also nice to watch the Great Bird of Paradise (of Aru islands) do its mating ritual/dance. I voted this up and shared it.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Jackie. I will go look for it.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      These are so beautiful! I watched a migration movie last night; it was just 7th heaven! Wingless Migration (I think); took about 3 years to make. I mean anyone who could watch something like that and not feel spiritual...I don't know! lol Think it was at youtube if you haven't seen it. ^+

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Billy. There are some great things happening, but others we have to work on. It won't be easy, but as long as we raise awareness, that's part of the battle.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's cool about the bald eagles returning to California....every little bit of good news is needed these days. Keep spreading the word my friend. Nicely done as always.

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