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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Thursday June 26, 2014

Updated on June 26, 2014
tar balls and tar mat
tar balls and tar mat | Source

Field Notes

Four Years Later...

Four years later, tar mats are still showing up in FL due to BP oil. This is an additional four years that animals are suffering from this needless event. Thanks to the diligence of this cleanup crew, things are happening, even though it is so late…

Wind Power
Wind Power | Source

Wind Power Hazards

Renewable energy can and will work, if we take precautions. I believe a cage around propellers for wind generation just might be the ticket. Let’s see what we can do to help birds:

Bowerbird and his bower
Bowerbird and his bower | Source

Australia's Bowerbird

The courtship dance of Australia’s Bowerbird is certain to amaze and captivate you. This bird can build many interesting bowers(a shady dwelling), tailor made, with very interesting and unusual attributes. Welcome to this segment of the world of nature.

Male Purple Martin
Male Purple Martin | Source

The Cardinal and Thrasher Big Year

The perfect medley with sun is sufficient rain, and we have been having excellent combinations of both. The birds are happy with sufficient food, insects as well as flora. This is about the best year that I have seen for an assortment of birds. There are also plenty of Purple Martins that assist with keeping down the pest population--mosquitos, gnats, and black flies--in wet areas. We are inundated with Northern Cardinals and Brown Thrashers this season, and to me that indicates strong health of the lake. Temperatures are not as high as they were in 2013, so it has been very comfortable.

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk
Immature Red-shouldered Hawk | Source

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk

A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk was spotted in a nearby park with a nest and a youngster, perhaps two. The young one has fledged, a beautiful specimen. Last year at around this time, there were three red-shoulders visiting our lake and it was a wonderful opportunity for a number of photographs.

Great Egret in Breeding Plumage
Great Egret in Breeding Plumage | Source

Great Egret in Breeding Plumage

A Great Egret also came by, in magnificent breeding plumage. Several of them have been noticed in the Northern Reaches, cohabitating with the Great Blue Herons, which is not unusual. There is also at least one pair of Green Herons that tend to visit the Southern Cove and share that space with the resident Great Blue Heron.

Canada Gosling
Canada Gosling | Source

Young Mallards and Canada Geese

We still have plenty of Mallard ducklings and Canada goslings, but less Geese than we have had in the past. The ages of these birds varies, as we have some very young, as well as those that are almost as large as their parents. They still have a little of those fluffy down feathers, but are nearly classed as adults now.

Neighborhood News

Area residents have encountered a number of Eastern Bluebirds and Eastern Phoebes, most of the bluebirds having fledged already.

Male Great-tailed Grackle
Male Great-tailed Grackle | Source


There are also Common and Great-tailed Grackles, many of which are residing in the area of the Southern Cove. They are sharing space with numerous Purple Martins, who have several young.

Female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Her Nest
Female Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Her Nest | Source

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers

There are at least three active Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nests, and I managed to get a shot of the mother on this nest of eggs this morning. Last season’s nest had been blown apart by high winds, but she managed to build herself a little creation from what was left a few days. The rest of the nests on the east side of the lake seem to be a little ahead of this one, but I haven’t heard any sounds of life emanating from them yet.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

Northern Mockingbird vs. Brown Thrasher

An amusing item was seen this morning on the high wires. I expected to see a couple of mockingbirds bantering back and forth, and was surprised to see a competition between the Brown Thrasher and the Northern Mockingbird. Both are very eloquent mimics, and they were trying so hard to outdo each other. Needless to say, it brought a smile to my face. About the best thing that I have ever seen was a mockingbird mimicking a Baltimore Oriole. Once they came face-to-face, the irritated oriole left in a great huff. By the way, most of the orioles are located at the Northern Reaches. I located a group of them there this morning, enjoying a few mulberries. There are a couple of them on the main part of the lake, but nothing like in 2013.

Cost Effective and Natural Weed Killer

Here’s a natural week killer, but it might take a little more work than Monsanto’s Roundup. But the good news is, that it’s a lot more inexpensive and it will not kill birds and butterflies. Boil a few cups of water and put it in a tempered container with 1/2 cup vinegar. Pour it directly on the weeds daily until they die. The boiling water will cook the roots of the weeds. But be careful, as it will cook the roots of your plants, too.

That wraps up the news this week. Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

Boomer Lake in Stillwater, OK

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Mallard Drake in Flight
Mallard Drake in Flight | Source
Eastern Kingbird Coming in For a Landing
Eastern Kingbird Coming in For a Landing | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I got a nice pelican in flight when I went to White Rock Lake in Dallas.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Not great ones, although I got a couple of nice ones of Plovers on the beach. One of a pelican in flight, but it's sort of far away so I'm not sure how it will look when I zoom in. Pelicans are my absolutely favorite bird so I always love seeing them.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan. Were you able to get a few photos?

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      We just came back from vacation at the beach in NC and I was amazed at all of the beautiful egrets and brown pelicans. Every time we go those are what we look for. This year there seemed to be more activity which was very nice. Another nice post.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Alcia. So many things are not right with our environment due to big money, like tracking. However, many other things ARE eating better. It's just going to be tougher fighting billionaires. All it is about is awareness. Please share as much of this material as you can to help with our quest.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's so sad that the effects of the BP oil spill are still being felt. Thank you for publicizing the situation, Deb. Thanks for sharing another interesting report from Boomer Lake, too.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Lady G! You bet, and there's more where that came from…hope that all is well.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      5 years ago from West By God

      Thanks for the news and the great pictures of birds.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, teaches! Thanks, as always. There will be more to come as time goes on, as suggestions for saving wildlife. Things seem to be taking form in this important arena.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I agree with placing cages around the wind generators. Too many birds have been destroyed, even our beautiful bald eagle. Great message in this article.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are so welcome, Anna. The birds and animals will thank you for being pesticide free by visiting your yard.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      It is awful about the oil and so unnecessary.

      Your photographs are stunning as always and thank you for the tip, I will definitely try the vinegar based weedkiller instead of a chemical one.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Pamela, graclkes, like any other black bird will tend to mob and harangue in large numbers. However, they are very bright, too, and can be taught many things. I raised an orphan back in PA and he was extremely bright. The feral kitten was so intrigued with him. To make a long story short, he adopted another grackle family. I don't know his final outcome, as I moved here to OK.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      5 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      Great report and photos, Deb. Those grackles near the offspring of the Purple Martins hopefully have the adult Purple Martins on their toes. I read an article by a farmer some years ago who said one season some grackles came to visit at the same time flocks of small birds were there. They might have been sparrows -- I can't remember. The grackles ate the tiny little birds by the hundreds. The farmer was outraged. He had never seen such a devastation of birds all at once. He shoo'd them away as soon as could get to their location. It was somewhere in the mid or eastern area of the U.S. if I recall. I don't see big flocks of grackles here in Arizona, but I do know 30 or 40 live in many of the trees as I hear quite a commotion sometimes in the early dawn and early evening. And two or three like to bother my cat if I let her out for ten minutes under my watchful eye. Voting up and sharing.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks so much for your support, Jaye. I learn so much from the animals and willingly pass it on.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      As usual, Deb, your photography is glorious and your narrative both interesting and informative. I learn something (or several somethings) about birds and nature every time I visit one of your hubs. (I'm so glad you do have Boomer Lake!)

      Voted Up, Useful, Awesome, Beautiful and Interesting


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Perspy! I learn a lot about birds, too. You'd definitely need time off to do some natural weed killing, all right, but at least the flora and fauna would be a lot safer as a result. My next adventures for spring migration might be High Point Island!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I could take the week off, if it was your intent when you wrote this: "Here’s a natural week killer....." I learn a lot about birds (ornithology) from reading your hubs, but I bet having a personal Stillwater guide would be even better. Like you said, "Anything is possible."

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Maggie! Glad to show you what there is around here.

    • Maggie.L profile image


      5 years ago from UK

      A really informative hub and I absolutely love the pictures. They're amazing!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      Awesome as usual. I have seen shows on the Bowerbirds, and they are spectacular. I loved your photo of the Kingbird in flight. I've only see one Green Heron in my 15 years of watching birds. Great stuff.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      And thank YOU, ChitrangadaSharan. The environment is here and we only get one chance with it. If we don't act now, it will be destroyed forever.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub as always!

      I appreciate the first two paragraph highlighting the oil slick and wind energy as a renewable source of energy.

      The pictures of the birds are incredible.

      Thanks for sharing another great hub on environment concerns!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Kevin, birds are so amazing! If I didn't have my lake, I don't know what I'd do…(find another one, I guess!) Advertising is basically propaganda. You are told what they want you to believe, true or not. Now our government is trying to see if they can get businesses in high rises to turn off the lights, which will not attract the birds. Hope it works out. After all, why keep the lights burning all night and pay for it. Perhaps that is the answer…a surcharge for burning lights for no reason.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! Yes, that Lyrebird was sure amazing, wasn't he? Let's go to Australia so I can meet one!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      I read about the 'Wind Power Hazards' and I agree with that, put the protectors on the fans like the ones at home. I searched further and found out that millions of smaller birds are hitting windows/glass - and they have ways to make that safe.

      The tar mat is lousy. I hear a commercial for Chevron saying how great their gas is because it is tri-(such-and-such). The first thing that comes to my mind is "How is your oil?"

      I loved Australia's Bowerbird and I wish that I could have heard the mockingbird/thrasher contest! I have a mocker in my front yard and occasionally a thrasher in the back, but the two never meet.


    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      5 years ago

      i HATE BP! i see their smiling faces trying to bullshitting us into trusting them like our good 'ole relative! Grrrrr....they might as well be holding hands with the NRA - that's how much they 'care'!

      We have tons of windmills in my neck of the woods. The birds seem to make their ways around them, no?

      (Greckles?) lol

      love the videos of birds doing AMAZING things! Still nothing compares with the guy who imitates everything!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There was a study here and they have killed a lot of eagles and hawks, Dave. I think a cage around the blades would help a great deal.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      5 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb,great information and excellent photography as standard. The wind turbines are causing problems for migrating birds on this side of the water also. Another flying animal being affected are bats. There is currently a study going on to see how these turbines impact on wildlife.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Suhail. As the years pass, there is so MUCH to try to discuss and try to provide a viable solution. Will it ever end?

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      I love those mocking birds. There is one gray catbird that has decided to take up residence near GO Train station near my home. Every morning waiting for the train to Toronto I enjoy hearing its calls mimicking in a non-stop manner cardinals, robins, gulls, blue jays and even police car siren. So I enjoyed reading your piece on mocking bird versus thrasher.

      Long time ago, as a student of civil engineering, I did a project of solar desalination plant as an environmentally safe way for producing water. I had come to know that each of these alternate energy saving or producing methods have a pollution impact that has to be mitigated. It applies to wind energy too. I am glad that you touched on it as well.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Billy, it's what I have to do. I have to say these things like Rachel Carson, Dian Fossey, Betty White, Jane Goodall, and all the countless other people that there are. It will never end, I'm afraid, but it WILL improve. The voices will be heard by more and more people,

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Four years later and still oil slicks? Unbelievable? When will we ever learn? Probably never, Deb. As long as oil makes transportation convenience, we will pay the price as a society, while nature pays a whole different price. Thanks for raising awareness.


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