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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Thursday May 29, 2014

Updated on May 29, 2014
Cerulean Warbler Coffee
Cerulean Warbler Coffee | Source

Field Notes

Rainforest Trust

Have you heard of the Rainforest Trust? This is an organization that has been in existence since 1988 and protects threatened critical rainforests and animals with local conservation groups. This is one of the many top organizations on my list, as all donations purchase rainforest acreage. Some of the most rare birds and animals are found in these areas, including coffee plantations which are deemed “bird friendly.” Coffee is meant to grow in rainforests, which are shaded areas, not in the sun. A wonderful coffee that gives back to the birds and the rainforests is called Cerulean Warbler Conservation Coffee, which is priced very fairly, and is grown where it should be. It really is no more expensive than a coffee that we are used to in the US, and not only supports a good cause, but tastes a lot better. When paired with a purified water, this is a real treat, the way that coffee should be. Support your birds of the rainforest, which is the wintering spot for many of our birds, and have a great coffee to boot.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight | Source

Honeysuckle is one of the most invasive plants in the country, but you sure can’t beat that wonderful, tantalizing smell first thing in the morning on a sunny day. It gets my adrenaline pumping for a promising day of birding. Since we last spoke, some much needed rain fell, and even though the water levels are still a little low, Boomer Lake is doing well.

Great Blue Heron with His Fish
Great Blue Heron with His Fish | Source

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret are getting plenty of fish in order to stay healthy. This fine specimen showed me exactly what he got and was very proud of himself. Since herons happen to be some of my favorite birds, I admit that I spend more time than usual with them, but they teach me a great deal about their habits, too. They are very patient birds in order to put up with my stalking them.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

Brown Thrashers

Three pairs of nesting Brown Thrashers are residing on the east side of the lake and avidly feeding young. Baby birds are so demanding, as they grow so quickly and expend a lot of energy in doing so. They run their parents ragged and they are always on the go. When a young bird can nearly grow up in less than a year, that’s a lot of food to gather. Parenting is a hard job.

Canada Goslings
Canada Goslings | Source

Canada Goslings

Some of our Canada goslings are nearly full grown, too. Many of them are looking more and more like their parents every day, and it is remarkable how fast the time goes. Some of the young will return here next year to begin their own circle of life, yet others will go elsewhere. Surprisingly, even some geese in the same families are not always resident birds. Some will choose to migrate.

Male Ruddy Duck
Male Ruddy Duck | Source

Ruddy Duck is Homewrecker

A couple of ducks surprised me this week. I located a male Ruddy Duck with a female Mallard and her ducklings. The male Mallard was nearby quacking away when she and her little ones departed with the Ruddy Duck. She later returned to her mate, as the Ruddy Duck left the area.

Redhead Ducks
Redhead Ducks | Source


Yesterday three Redheads were on the lake, two males and a female, another surprise. These ducks generally are in the Canadian regions breeding by now, however, since we are one of the few lakes in the area with plenty of water, nothing really surprises me too much anymore. I didn’t see any sign of them today, so it was a definite fluke.

Blue-winged Teal Pair
Blue-winged Teal Pair | Source

Blue-winged Teals

Some of the Blue-winged Teals are still here, but there are no youngsters yet. It appears that it just isn’t going to happen this year for us here at Boomer, but stranger things have happened. I will still remain hopeful.

American Coot
American Coot | Source

American Coot Census Shows Less Population

One thing that I surprising, is that there are very few American Coots this year. Since other out-of-the-ordinary things are occurring in the bird world, perhaps we can cut the coots a little slack this season. We also seem to be missing the Eastern Meadowlark this year. I saw one earlier in the spring, but populations definitely seem to have been decreasing each year.

Male Baltimore Oriole
Male Baltimore Oriole | Source

Baltimore Orioles

There are still plenty of Baltimore Orioles gearing up for the season, but no youngsters yet. I was hoping that one of last year’s nests would be used, but it still remains empty. It still bears watching, but it does look like one of the males still intends to live in the same tree.

Killdeer Eggs in Nest
Killdeer Eggs in Nest | Source

Killdeer and Nests

Many Killdeer are also nesting and it seems like the populations are quite plentiful. Almost everywhere one looks, they are running across the ground, trying to keep one as far away from their nesting areas as possible. Here is a nest that I discovered this week, and after looking at the eggs, you can see why it is so hard to see them, as they are so well camouflaged.

Male Northern Cardinal
Male Northern Cardinal | Source

Northern Cardinals

There are still plentiful Northern Cardinals, but I hear that they are everywhere, so this is definitely going to be a year for them.

Eclipsed Mallard Male and Great Blue Heron(front)
Eclipsed Mallard Male and Great Blue Heron(front) | Source

What is Eclipse Plumage?

Some of the Mallard males and Canada Geese are eclipsing, which means that they are losing old feathers and awaiting new growth. This generally happens shortly after the young are hatched, but this year it seems to be a bit late, as many of the young are well on their way to adulthood.

Female Red-winged Blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird | Source

Other Songbirds and Woodpeckers

Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers have been visiting the main part of the lake, many of the Carolina Chickadees have moved to the north part of the lake by Goose Island, and some of the Red-winged Blackbirds are fledging young. I haven’t seen the Yellow Warblers any more, BUT we do have two beaver condos and two beavers in the Southern Cove. I’m not sure if they are paired and want the extra space, but we’ll find out soon enough. They aren’t seen every day, maybe once a week, if I am fortunate.

Maine Map
Maine Map | Source

Test Case--What Are These Birds Doing in Maine?

For those of you that are curious, Maine has been home to a number of birds that don’t normally go that far north, like the Summer Tanager, the Greater Scaup, White-faced Ibis, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. These have only been over the past several days. I suspect that they are there due to food and water, as many portions of the country where they are seen are very low on water supplies. Since they are having such a large influx of the Red-bellied Woodpecker, that could well have to do with the abundance of red cedar and the bugs which inhabit those trees that they seek for food.

Since I’m out of news, keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next week!

Where Is Boomer Lake in Stillwater, OK?

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing | Source
Great Blue Heron and Great Egret(front)
Great Blue Heron and Great Egret(front) | Source
Canada Goose
Canada Goose | Source
Canada Gosling
Canada Gosling | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, teaches! It is always so god to see you, and thanks for enjoying the pics.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Your photo of the great blue heron and the egret is breathtaking! As always, you have shared some interesting information. TAke care.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Peg! As you know, there's more where that came from, thanks to the Allstars.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Beauties all around. That Cedar Waxwing shot is awesome, but of course, they're all fantastic.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Dave! And I will tell you this--Brown Thrashers are some really party animals...

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      The Rainforest Trust is just one of the ways we as individuals can do our bit for planet and its wildlife. Well done for highlighting it. Your brown thrasher seems very similar to our Mistle thrush. Once again an enjoyable visit to your part of the world.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Doing my best, Cris. The wrk of a naturalist is never done!(literally)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Faith Reaper. Lots of amazing things happen at the lake...

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Love, love, love everything in here but most of all the Great Blue Heron and Great Egre snaps. So, beautiful! You are an amazing writer and photographer in one. What great talent!

      I'm curious about the "bird friendly" coffee. :) Will go to your Amazon link to find out more. I'll let you know how it goes. One thing for sure, it's nice to know that proceeds are also for a good cause. That's a win-win!

      Thank's Deb and keep up the good work!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Thank you for sharing about that wonderful coffee! I must get some for sure. That is fascinating about the rainforest and the coffee.

      I love honeysuckle too as the scent is just heavenly. Looks like you have had another wonderful week on Boomer Lake and have some really gorgeous shots there.

      Up and more and away

      Happy birding always!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Alicia! Glad that you found this week's column of interest.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The heron and egret photo is very interesting, Deb. I loved looking at the killdeer eggs, too. They are well disguised. Your Boomer Lake report was very interesting, as always. Thanks for the message about the coffee, too.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Honeysuckly has been with me on and off through my life, truthfornow. The aroma is something that I will never forget, invasive or not. Herons are some of my favorite birds. Thanks for your continued support.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      Honeysuckles made me think of my childhood, biking to go pick some on a hot day. Never see honeysuckles these days where I live. That Blue Heron is so proud!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, whonu!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Leslie! Glad that you found me. More than likely, I am missing contacts,too.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

      Great pics and interesting info my friend. whonu

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      well...i found you again, but - by accident.

      I don't know why i no longer get emails when you post something, but - i don't.

      In any case, great post, great birdies - great info - as usualxx

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Kevin, yes, coffee grounds are greater for cleaning the drain all right. I do that, too. Grounds are also excellent plant food for roses, too. I believe the birds just want food and water, so they are heading north where there was a lot of moisture over the winter, hence a lot of plant and insect pickings. It is also another reason why there are so many birds here at Boomer Lake.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      This week was neat Deb, especially the piece about the coffee in the rain forest. I do not suppose that one of them would have some extra grains to mail back here. I have to clear my drains. LOL I wonder why those birds went out of range, out-of-season? I shared this and voted it up.


    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Billy! Things are definitely looking up for the birds and other threatened species.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Johan! I'm still practicing my technique. I think I'm getting there.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mel! My goal is National Geo. Wish me luck. Maybe I can do it in a few more years of practice.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Jackie! Thanks for everything. I just received the coffee. I got whole bean so I can grind my own. I will get rid of this non-bird friendly coffee first, so I can savor the aromatic, properly grown coffee, then continue buying it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have heard of the Rainforest Trust, and honeysuckle may be invasive, but I love the smell on a summer's day. Well done as always my talented and caring friend.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Another interesting article and great photos. Waiting for your book!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      Always busy at the Boomer. I thought your Oriole photo was stunning and your Egret and Heron was very artistic and should get you the Pulitzer Prize easily. Great job!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      What beauties you have for us today! Yes; the honeysuckle is all around me and so wonderful smelling. I will check out the coffee; it is a great cause and would be a fantastic experience sharing it and the cause it is for! ^