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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday April 23, 2014

Updated on April 23, 2014
Tennessee Warbler
Tennessee Warbler | Source

Field Notes

Warbler Watching Made Easy

Here are some of the best ways to find the elusive and rapid moving warblers during migration times in the spring. You will discover the best habitats and how to ‘call’ them by pishing. Learn to get more out of your birding adventures with warblers.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl | Source

How to Learn Your Owls

In just a few minutes, you can learn to recognize various owls by their calls and their pictures. This is invaluable for the owl enthusiast.

eBird map
eBird map | Source

e-Bird Migratory Interactive Mapping

Courtesy of e-Bird, these are the birds on the move right now, and approximately where they are. This is an interactive map that will give you valuable information in order to make the most of your birding experiences.

Where to Get iPhone Bird Guides

Here are your iPhone bird guides, as well as the pros and cons for them all. While out in the field, this is a simple way to listen to bird calls and make identifications on the spot. Don’t leave your birding guides at home, though.

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

Weather and Birds

We’re running about two weeks behind with the spring weather, which has been colder even in the warmer parts of the United States. There are drought conditions in many states, yet the birds still go to their old stand-by areas in order to rest from those long migration routes. During this critical time of year, please keep your feeders filled and have plenty of fresh water for our avian friends. They lose a lot of weight and are dehydrated on these long trips, so all help is appreciated by them, and can make the difference between life and death.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl | Source

You Can Bird by Sight and Sound

While I am working on this piece, I can hear Baltimore Orioles The American Crow, and I know that a Great Horned Owl lives on the property next door to me. How do I know about the owl? Scat(whitewashlike substance running down conifer trees is a sure sign, as well as pellets that owls regurgitate with bones, beaks, legs, and feathers that they cannot digest. They throw up these pellets, which are often under the tree where they live.) You will hear them at night while they are nesting, so during daylight hours, you can wander about. Look upwards for the nest. You might find it, or see mother and father owl bringing food for the youngsters.

As many of you know, I just returned from South Padre Island in Texas, and I am back on the job at Boomer Lake. Even though I have only been back for three days, I have seen many wild and wonderful things to know that Oklahoma has not been left behind in the birding world.

Male Purple Martin in Flight
Male Purple Martin in Flight | Source

Purple Martins

Parks and Rec has put up several extra Purple Martin houses. Martins are wonderful and helpful birds, for they eradicate our mosquito population. Mosquitos tend to be near bodies of water where they lay their eggs, but the martins need both food and water. While taking a little water, they feed on the mosquitos in the area.

Blue-winged Teal in Flight
Blue-winged Teal in Flight | Source

Blue-winged Teals

Blue-winged Teals seem to be hanging on in the area, and chances appear quite good that we might even have a nest or two, if they stay much longer. I have never been around breeding teals, so I am hoping that this area will be able to afford me the chance. I’d love to show you photos of teal ducklings.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source

Bald Eagle

Boomer Lake has a resident pair of eagles now, as well as a nest. Nothing could be better news than that. When I went to the Northern Reaches this morning, one of them was in the area looking for fish from the treetops. The smaller birds kept out of the area, but the Canada Geese, Great Egrets, and Great Blue Heron pays the eagle no mind. After all, they are large birds, so they have nothing to fear.

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

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons also happen to have a rookery in the area, and I’m certain that we have youngsters on the nest now. The breeding males are easily disturbed, and I was lucky enough to get a shot of one of the two. The one that I got was clearly a resident, and not an intruder like the one that he was chasing.

Canada Goose with Goslings
Canada Goose with Goslings | Source

Canada Geese

Goose Island is like a college apartment complex. It is loud and full of fighting geese. I saw several battles between the males, who were just driving each other off the island. The water was roiling and churning with all the activity, which is quite a show for the uninitiated.

Black Swallowtail
Black Swallowtail | Source
Monarch
Monarch | Source

Butterflies, Too!

Not only were the birds out, but there were a number of butterflies, too, including the Monarch and the Black Swallowtails. There were also skippers, and no doubt, many others that I didn’t have the time to seek out. However, I did manage a couple of shots, just so that you could see them.

Great-tailed Grackle in Breeding Plumage
Great-tailed Grackle in Breeding Plumage | Source

Great-tailed Grackles

Great-tailed Grackles are in full force, also in breeding plumage. I do so adore these grackles, as they have remarkable personalities. All the black birds have a great deal of intelligence, and if you have seen them, you’ll agree with me. I have born witness to many amusing things with these birds, ad once you have interacted with them, you’ll never forget their antics.

And Much More!

There are also Northern Cardinals, House Finches in breeding plumage, hosts of Ring-billed gulls, red ear slider turtles, Red-shouldered Hawks, beavers, and just so much more. As a matter of fact, if you come to the lake, you might just see even more than I have mentioned. So I will leave you with that thought for now. Keep your eyes on the ground, and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next time!

Boomer Lake, Stillwater, OK

Canada Goslings
Canada Goslings | Source
Red Eared Sliders
Red Eared Sliders | Source
Blue-winged Teal Pair
Blue-winged Teal Pair | Source
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Birds are remarkable, Kevin. I have seen Green Heron trying to bait fish in order to draw them in. He had a crawdad that he kept tossing in the water. Where there's a will, there's a way.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Another good one Deb. I watched the warblers (they are cute) and the owls. I have never seen, or heard, an owl yet - live that is. I remember when I began bird watching how I thought I heard one when I first heard a Mourning Dove. LOL

      I think all, or most, of the blackbirds have a reputation for intelligence. Crows and ravens have gone through tests to prove it.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for all the shares, Eddy, and all your help for the birds.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Like Nell I have never heard of a Grackle before either and this whole hub was as interesting as always . Voted up and shared.

      Eddy.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Dave. I think it is my lot to educate for our animals.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Deb, You always mange to convey so much information to anyone who is interested in our feathered friends, and as always such great photography. my visits here are not only very enjoyable but educational. voted up,useful and interesting.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Prasetio…I am working on catching up. I'll be getting to your writing sooner or later. Thanks for your patience.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Wonderful hub about the world of wildlife. I learn much here. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Johan! I really like raptors, too.

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Great news as Spring begins. Thanks for another excellent Hub and more outstanding photos. I loved the Owl and the Eagle specially.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks again, Faith Reaper. The world of wildlife really does thank you for your support. You are always there to pass on the word for them.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, AliciaQ The wonders of nature are amazing. It is odd--some things are late arriving to Boomer, yet others are early, even with the chilly weather. It is amazing, for much of the country is still on the chilly side.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub as always. I always enjoy reading and learning from your articles and seeing what is happening on Boomer Lake with your amazing photographs. Congrats on your newspaper column too!

      That is interesting about being able to obtain bird guides via iPhone.

      Up and more, tweeting

      Have a lovely weekend ahead.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very interesting hub, as always, Deb. I haven't seen any butterflies this year where I live, but they'll be around when the weather warms up a bit. Spring is an exciting time of year! Thanks for sharing the lovely photos.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Billy. The important thing, is that we know each other and accomplish much.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm late to the show, Deb, so I apologize. Wonderful article of course, but I want to take this time to congratulate you on your newspaper column. That is just a marvelous accomplishment, and now I'll be able to look back and say, "I knew her when."

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glimmer Twin, you sure can't beat spring! Glad to hear about the activity in your area.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Lovely lovely hub. Everything is percolating around here. Our mama robin has come back again to raise some babies under our deck. She always builds our nest on a plank underneath so we can all see the babies grow and leave the nest. Hearing owls hooting in the woods and seeing the goldfinches again. It really is a lovely time of year.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell. Enjoy the owl, and perhaps there are young ones around those parts!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, I have never heard of a Grackle before! What an amazing bird! and I would love to live next door to an owl, we do get to hear one ever so often, I believe it lives in the tree about 50ft away from my house, in the allotments, great hub and photos as always!

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