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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday December 11, 2013

Updated on December 12, 2013

Field Notes

You Can't Beat This

Who says that there is no such thing as an owl with personality? Take a look at this beauty, and you’ll know that she is atypical. This snowy is a real prize.

Orange-bellied Parrot
Orange-bellied Parrot | Source

An Australian Rarity

The rarest bird is Australia is the Orange-bellied Parrot, with fewer than 50 in the wild. There is no shortage of theories over the years. To learn more about this sad dilemma, see

Source

World Birding Center Headquarters

In Austin, TX at the World Birding Center Headquarters, thirty-five acres of land will be added to the property. This is a popular area for tropical birds and butterflies. If you’re in the Austin area, in the vicinity of the Rio Grande, this is the place to see in the spring and summer.

Hoopoe
Hoopoe | Source

Most Unusual Birds of the World

Curious about the most unusual birds of the world? You need look no further than this link:

Great Blue Heron Backlit on Ice
Great Blue Heron Backlit on Ice | Source

Birds of Unofficial Early Winter

Even though an extended deep chill has been in the air, plenty of birds are still available in and around the lake. I walked the east side of the lake this morning and travelled to the Northern Reaches on a whim. There is very little available water, as most of the lake is ice covered.

Over the past several days, I have seen six American Crows, a few female Northern Shovelers, four Great Blue Herons, an increasing supply of Mallards, Buffleheads, a couple of Kingfishers, and Canvasbacks. Today the Bald Eagle pair from Sooner Lake was hoping to obtain fish, and the male was so hungry, he did his best to capture a murrelet, no less. A murrelet in Oklahoma? Don’t ask me which one, as it was being pursued quite heartily, I might add, and they can be quick. All I saw was a chunky bird with white undersides and black upperparts. It eventually made it rather close to where I was, but it was so fast, I didn’t have a snowball’s chance to get that shot.

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird | Source

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird was seen once this week, and what a prize shot I got. As you know, these birds are characters, and they will do nearly anything to draw attention to themselves. I automatically look when I see one, and will you look at this? To the victor belongs the spoils, and he was gone!

Canada Geese
Canada Geese | Source

Canada Geese

A good number of Canada Geese are available this week, and the numbers are increasing, as it will be breeding season soon enough. How about this for striking a pose? Nothing could have been any sweeter, and I don’t even have to go to Carolina to get it.

Ring-billed Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls | Source

Ring-billed Gulls

Ring-billed Gulls are out in full force, sans the water. This little grouping was just hanging around waiting. There is very little to perch on now, as the water(or should I say ice) levels are much higher than usual.

Bald Eagle Near Southern Jetty
Bald Eagle Near Southern Jetty | Source

Stalking the Bald Eagles

It was SO cold this morning, but I had to get out. Due to my schedule, I haven’t been able to get out for three days, so I had to make an unusually good effort today. With 25 degrees at 9 a.m. and wind gusts up to 20 mph, it was not pleasant, I assure you, but it had to be done. I had a driving force within me telling me that I was not wasting my time.

It was true! One Bald Eagle was in my sights in the distance and what appeared to be a pelagic bird fleeing for its life was playing out before me. Whoosh, and the chase was over. However, I saw where the eagle went, and what did I spy? It wasn’t Santa, but it was even better. The eagle’s mate was also there. The further I got, I saw why our eagle was not going after fish, it was the ice situation. We have had several days worth of hard freezing, including a couple of nights that hit 12 degrees F. I got a few shots, but this cloudless day and the position of the sun didn’t do me any justice. I considered going to the west side of the lake, where the eagles were fairly near, but a mile walk was not in the cards today.

I got closer and tried for better shots off the southern jetty, which still had the intrusion of the sun, and nothing that I could do about it. Then one eagle left, and ten minutes later, so did the other one.

Juvenile American Crows
Juvenile American Crows | Source

Enter a Murder of Crows

The Northern Reaches, I thought. Is it possible? Then came a murder of marauding American Crows. Perfect shot in the distance, but I needed to continue my quest. As much as I despised the idea of walking an extra mile to the Northern Reaches, I just had to do it. I also kept my eyes peeled for the Belted Kingfishers. Nothing. But I saw a large band of ducks in a channel by Goose Island. I had to make a pit stop, for it was imperative that I record this large group of waterbirds.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source
Bald Eagle Readying for Flight
Bald Eagle Readying for Flight | Source
Bald Eagle in Flight
Bald Eagle in Flight | Source
Bald Eagles(Female on Left)
Bald Eagles(Female on Left) | Source

Eagles at Northern Reaches

By then, I was committed to that mile, and nothing was going to stop me, even that horrible arctic blast. Running through my head was the thought: my stars, I’m a twitcher. Where is Debby S’s 600mm Nikkor lens with teleconverter? I’ve surely lost my mind to endure this. But I had to do it. I have never taken a good eagle picture with this lens, and I was going to give it my best shot. So I plodded on, ignoring the cold chiseling my face, snaking through my wool gloves, and that aluminum tripod didn’t help me a bit. So I quickened my pace, all the while watching for everything that could possibly be in my path.

As I crossed Airport Rd., I got a couple of shots of ice formations, then headed for the water. I looked up. There they were, both Bald Eagles in a naked deciduous tree. My heart was racing. I kept my pace slow and silent, I was in stalking mode. I tried to position myself to keep the small branches out of the shot. It just wasn’t working. Then I headed west on Airport Rd. The bridge, surely I would get a beautiful shot there. Then came the Kingfisher crossing over and over in front of me, hovering in the air. I ignored those shots. My mind was intent, I could not waste any time, for I had to obtain those eagle shots. And there, before me, was that beautiful and stately countenance. I sucked in my breath and went in for the shot. It was perfect. Another one, and then I crossed over the guardrail to the water’s edge. Top shot, another. The eagle turned and was going to fly, I knew it, I saw the position, and bang! I got that shot, then I got the flight shot. I returned to the boat ramp, ten minutes had passed, and there they were, together in the same tree. The sun was causing a problem, but I got them together. Five minutes later, they were gone. I said my thanks, grateful for that wisdom that I was given when I began my trek on the lake. My resilience paid off, and I was proud. I had my shots, and now I present them to you, my readers. We have done it, and my day was resplendent, and complete.

Where Do We Look For Eagles?

American Goldfinch, Non-Breeding
American Goldfinch, Non-Breeding | Source
Female Ruddy Duck
Female Ruddy Duck | Source
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal | Source
Pied-billed Grebes(top) and Ruddy Duck(bottom)
Pied-billed Grebes(top) and Ruddy Duck(bottom) | Source
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source

© 2013 Deb Hirt

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

      Hey, Pamela! Glad that you're enjoying the column, which is not far from two years old, by the way. Thanks for the votes.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Beautiful shots, Deb. And great narration, just like someone else said on here, too. I was on the edge of my seat with the Snowy Owl article you posted. Sent it to my Facebook page. Voting this way up.

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

      Hey, Alison! They do very well in the cold. They were very prolific in Maine, and it gets really cold there.

    • alison monroe profile image

      Alison Monroe 3 years ago

      Love your goldfinch. He/she seems to be dealing with the cold.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Their range covers the lower half of OK Deb and they are probably seen either rarely or occasionally in the upper half too.

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

      I have been told that they have been seen where I live, as well as being more prevalent on the panhandle. My day will come.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      I saw a Roadrunner when I lived in AZ. It ran in front of our car and I watched it on the side of the road for a short ways (I was not driving).

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

      Hey, Alicia. It is a pretty interesting place. One of these days, I hope to see an armadillo and a Roadrunner. Wish me luck.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for bravely enduring the cold to get the lovely photos, Deb! I love seeing how Boomer Lake and its inhabitants change with the seasons. Your hubs about the lake are always beautiful and very enjoyable.

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

      ChitrangadaSharan, you are fortunate and blessed yourself, you know. I belong to a birding site on Facebook for Pakistani birds, so I know what travels through your area. I hope to get there one day soon, to drink in the beauty of your area.

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

      Deergha, you have just experienced he passion of a wildlife photographer. Welcome to my world.

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

      Amazing how time flies, Suhail. The more responsibilities we get, the faster it goes, too.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Lovely pictures and great narration as always!

      I was especially attracted to the Australian parrot. I have one cute pair of Australian parrots as my pets, definitely not the colour you have pictured above. Mine are a combination of Sunset yellow with shades of green and they are beautiful.

      Loved going through your beautiful pictures. Thanks!

    • dghbrh profile image

      deergha 3 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      My God...and I almost held my breath to eternity while i was reading your last descriptions...and really its worth very much..the Bald Eagle shots are amazing and thus your endeavor dear Deb. Its an awesome hub. Thank you for sharing. Take care and hope you are enjoying your week and days. Its almost weekend and I cant wait to read your next hub. God bless you and many smiles your way.

      luv

      deergha

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Surely Deb. It's just that it has to be in 2015, because the young puppy I am, my daughter grew up all of a sudden, graduated, found a job with PwC and decided to get married in August of 2014. It seems I used to carry her in my arms just yesterday and I woke up and there she was all grown up and making decisions by herself lol.

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

      Mary, I was not at all far from those eagles in those first shots. Ah, the importance of exploration!

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

      Zlyena, you are more than welcome! You'll have to tell me about the birding center. I am planning a trip to South Padre Island mid-April to spring migration, so I will have some interesting birds for you then.

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

      Hey, teaches! The best part of the day is going to visit the birds, as you never know what they'll be doing. The secret is to always have the camera ready.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I had to vote all but funny. The eagles (and the eagle shots) really stole the show. We see lots of crows around here and yes, and eagle or two but the closest shot I have of an eagle is one sitting high up in a tree (my husband took it without benefit of zoom).

    • ziyena profile image

      ziyena 3 years ago from ... Somewhere Out There ...

      Life there at Boomer Lake with Deb must be incredible! I had no idea that there was a Birding Center in Austin, not to far from my sis! I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip, and top notch Hub! UP

      Z

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I always look forward to your posts, Deb. They are so interesting and the photos leave me admiring the beauty of nature. I love the red cardinal pic. Thanks for the bright spot in my day. Blessings, dear lady.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      You definitely succeeded! :) Your imagery and description made it real.

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

      Thanks, Anna. That is EXACTLY what I wanted to portray, those specific moments in time.

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

      Hey, Peg! The column is a small part of the events. I must go into the field to learn what I can about the natural life. Thanks for joining me.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      I enjoyed reading about your quest for the eagle pictures. I felt like I was there freezing with you :) Your pictures were definitely worth the effort though, they are great.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Absolutely love that shot of the Canada Geese. It looks like a backdrop suitable for Valentine's day. Those Bald Eagle pics are amazing, Deb. And of course, I love the Hoopoe. I enjoyed this wonderful pictorial and your story. You are indeed brave to endure the elements to get these shots.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Mel! As always we travel through night and gloom, snow, and sleet..Hey, I guess we BOTH do what needs to be done to deliver the goods, right?

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

      Hey, Jaye! Thanks for the votes. With birds, just as soon as you THINK that you really know them, they will do something to throw you off the beaten path. Glad that you like this weekly as much as I enjoy presenting it.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      You are the intrepid photographer indeed for enduring the elements to get these fantastic photos for us. Great job!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Deb, your hubs and photography just keep getting better and better. Magnificent! I enjoyed this entire hub so very much. Although I'm a homebody who doesn't get around much, by reading your hubs and looking at the amazing photos, I get to enjoy the great outdoors and its natural wonders vicariously. Thanks for sharing!

      I also enjoyed the snowy owl story with photos you shared via link. Scary that the Australian Orange Owl is endangered--what a gorgeous bird! I hope the species can be saved.

      It doesn't surprise me that you are driven to brave the cold and biting winds to sight these birds and get your photos. You are truly dedicated to birding, and I still think you should change your HP name from "aviannovice" to "AvianMaster." You've earned it!

      Voted Up++++ and shared

      Jaye

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

      Thanks, Kevin. When least expected, remarkable things tend to happen.

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

      What about the Blue-footed Booby? There are a lot of amazing birds out there, Leslie. It can boggle the mind.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Tis one was great Deb. I liked looking at, and reading about, the unusual birds. I also watched the owl video and saw what you meant. What I liked the most were the potos of the eagles.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      Can i have a HOOPOE for xmas Aunty Deb???

      Pleeeease! I've been a VERY good girl! lol

      no seriously - what an amazing bird!

      Hugs, gfxx

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Jeannie! Birds don't forget you, especially eagles. If I am around them long enough, they will get even closer.

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

      Hey, srsddn! Glad that you're enjoying the scenery. There is always something wonderful here, but sometimes, one really must look for it.

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

      Faith Reaper, you are always welcome. I will share as much as I can with everyone to show life from another perspective.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Suhail! I have been studying my birds of Pakistan and I WILL get there. When you get a definite date, let me know when you are going. I also want to meet more of your countrymen and women.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, yes, Jackie, behave normally and don't stare at the window every moment. They will get used to you, realize that there is a window in-between and go about their business. Eventually, you will be inches away from them.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Billy! Yes, I was reporting to you after a hot cup of coffee or two and an extended shower.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Bill. I had to follow my instincts, and I hit pay dirt.

    • profile image

      jeannie dibble 3 years ago

      Great read and pics...way to go...very rare for Stillwater, Ok...Lived here 25 years and it took Deb Hirt living here and the birds just followed you in...Might call you the "bird whisper"....Truly a amazing day for you...I'm sure with the pair you will get more opportunities...

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      aviannovice, these birds are so cute. Northern Cardinal, specially is so colourful. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Always awesome, interesting, useful and beautiful!!! Wow, that Hoopoe is certainly unusual and beautiful. I love all of your photos, especially that cardinal and the Bald Eagles. You are a good stalker : ) Thank you for sharing all of your amazing photos and interesting facts.

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Super-mega-awesome! I was glad to find that your persistence paid off. Those were magnificent shots of bald eagles.

      And of course the Hoopoe , my favorite bird from my country of origin. I had taken lots of pictures of those birds. One pair used to nest in a tree in our garden, offering limitless possibilities of taking pictures, but back then I only had an Agfamatic 2000 (a 110 mm film camera).

      I am still seeing those northern cardinals here, but they are very elusive.

      I also liked that shot of Canada geese pair. That seemed to be like the perfect moment for that shot.

      Like I wrote in of my articles, when I am reading your reports, I am always comparing birds of north America with those in Pakistan hahaha.

      Voted up and shared!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Oh I loved that snowy owl! Beautiful; and the gold finch up there, just precious, well that all are! I have me a feeding place in my window and seeing all kinds but I scare them from inside and I can't move it any farther away and I have tried a curtain draped part way and that is no good either, lol, well we are getting glimpses of all kinds, maybe they will get use to use, you think? ^

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope you are inside getting warm after that trip to Boomer Lake. I was cold just reading about it, but the photos were topnotch once again. Thanks for the visit, Deb.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Beautiful shots Deb. The Bald Eagle photos are amazing. Well done.