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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday December 4, 2013

Updated on December 4, 2013
Northern Hawk Owl
Northern Hawk Owl | Source

Field Notes

Alien Owls?

A Canadian owl invasion? Now I’ve heard everything. Between birds being arrested and being invaded by aliens what could POSSIBLY be next?

How to discern avian conjunctivitis
How to discern avian conjunctivitis | Source

Cornell Lab Needs your Help

Finch eye diseases are important to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please report your findings to them via the information contained in this article:

Common Linnet
Common Linnet | Source

The Linnet in the U.S.?

U.S. birders might want to consider purchasing the Crossley ID guide for Britain and Ireland. These birds aren’t just in their normal countries any more. The Linnet has been spotted in where of all places? Queens County in New York! For more on this exciting news, see:

BIRDS ROCK--A Video

This is a must-see video from the American Bird Conservancy. This will enlighten, educate, and cause you to see birds in a different light. Please protect them, and keep the “wild” in wildlife.

House Sparrow pair
House Sparrow pair | Source

The Seasonal Influx

For Boomer Lake, December signifies many things. It is a period of solitude, tranquility, and sleep. With dormancy will come rest, and a time for future regeneration. This slumber is important for all living things, as it allows growth and a much needed stretch to allow us revitalization.

We are in a new season for wildlife, but many of our familiar birds still remain with us. Not all birds tend to migrate, even some diehards in certain species choose to remain in a year round home, like Mallards, Canada Geese, Northern Mockingbirds, and the American Robin, just to give a handful of our wonderful denizens here in central Oklahoma. For example, the robin just moves into the area neighborhoods where it tends to be a little warmer, yet others of that species will move elsewhere.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher | Source

Belted Kingfisher

There are many striking and beautiful birds on the lake proper right now, namely the Belted Kingfisher. This young lady was here last year, and gave me many photo opportunities. She has since found herself a mate, but she’ll return with him soon enough. Patience, now patience, and we might just get pictures of them skimming the water for small fish.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe | Source

Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe is a gorgeous bird, whether or not it is in breeding plumage. The grebe family is rather interesting, as they have air bladders that allow them to both raise and lower themselves in the water. This one is in the process of diving, which is how they obtain food.

Female Bufflehead
Female Bufflehead | Source

Buffleheads

This is one of my favorite ducks, the little Bufflehead. They possess almost a satiny sheen to their feathers, and are very noticeable and beautiful. They have a very distinct mating ritual, and the males are clearly very possessive of the females that they choose to seek out. Many battles have been fought, and much pride has been hurt with the male of the species, yet they choose to persevere. For additional information on the secret life of this duck, feel free to peruse this piece

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch | Source

American Goldfinch

Here is a rare treat for those of you that admire the American Goldfinch. Finches adore thistle, and I happened to locate several while feeding. These birds coexist rather peacefully wile feeding, and there is no competition for food. As a matter of fact, they travel in small flocks in order to locate food for the good of the species, a commendable attribute.

Double-crested Cormorants
Double-crested Cormorants | Source

Ruddy Ducks

The Ruddy Ducks will soon be in breeding plumage, which is very unmistakable. The males will be sporting blue bills. They are stiff-tailed ducks, and the males also have white cheeks. Their habitat includes lakes, freshwater marshes and ponds, as well as salt bays and harbors in the winter. If you leave near these particular areas, keep watch. You’ll not be disappointed with these beautiful ducks.

Female Ruddy Duck
Female Ruddy Duck | Source
Male Ruddy Duck
Male Ruddy Duck | Source

Double-crested Cormorants

The Double-crested Cormorants are still out in full force, still managing to entertain me. They are also known as shags in some parts of the country, so do become familiar with that nickname. Additionally these birds have no natural oils to keep their feathers dry, so they wil often be seen with their wet wings spread out in order to dry them off.

Male Canvasback
Male Canvasback | Source
Female Canvasback(top)
Female Canvasback(top) | Source

Canvasbacks

I saw the Canvasbacks for a couple of days, but they could have been on their way elsewhere, as it is a bit early. I expect more of them later this month, and I know I’ll not be disappointed. They are also very beautiful. The Red-breasted Mergansers don’t seem to be around any longer, and I’m also expecting the Hooded Merganser when it gets colder. These are gorgeous, and I’m very excited to obtained pictures of these wonderful ducks for you. The female always seems to have a perpetual bad hair day, but that makes her easy to locate. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

Keep your eyes to the ground, and your head in the clouds. We’ll talk more next week. Give me a heads up on your irruptive species(birds not normally seen in your respective areas.) Oh, by the way, chances are VERY good that you might come across some Snowy Owls, even if you’re quite far south. Good luck in spotting new species, and happy birding!

Where Do I Find Deb's Boomer Lake?

Canada Geese
Canada Geese | Source
Two Male Buffleheads Asserting Themselves
Two Male Buffleheads Asserting Themselves | Source
Double-crested Cormorant in Flight
Double-crested Cormorant in Flight | Source
Belted Kingfisher in Flight
Belted Kingfisher in Flight | Source

© 2013 Deb Hirt

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    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      The weather has been off and on Deb. I was using my portable heater in my room at night in the second half of August - about the time of the mo. which I heard the geese during the day.

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

      Hey, Kevin! Back in August, eh? I have no doubt that happened. There have been a few night fliers around here recently, which is not uncommon, because some prefer to move at night(no predators).

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Hi Deb,

      I read this and forgot tocomment on it before, sorry. I gave it thumbs up right away! I read the article about the owl but I did not get much from it. After a brief talk of the owl, they were talking about other birds.

      I had heard a couple flocks of geese fly over my house back in August!!

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

      Hey, Kim! I have heard that many Snowy Owls are here in the South, too. This is totally out of character, even for a normal irruptive year.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      Your photos are truly beautiful. You can tell they are taken with love. We have had a first sighting here in Niagara again of our illustrious snowy owl with reports of an additional four that had to be taken in for rehabilitation.

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

      Mary, chances are good that they like the swamp because it is quiet, and not frequented by disturbance. Many birds like the quiet, too, except for the little Belted Kingfisher and the notorious Northern Mockingbird.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      You have quite a selection of birds in your area, that's for sure. Thank you for sharing with us, especially your beautiful pictures.

      We have a pair of swans living in a nearby swamp. There is just no place to park a car or I'd get a picture to prove it. We have several lovely lakes and can't for the life of us figure out why they choose to live in this horrible swamp!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.

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

      Tirelesstraveler--Kingfishers are amazing. Not only are all of them gorgeous, they are quick. Yes, they do have bedheads, but never let that fool you regarding their grace and being right on target.

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

      Hey, Anna! Glad that you enjoyed this week's edition. It is nearly time for another. Do stay tuned...

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Finally catching up on my birding. Those kingfishers crack me up. They look like they just got out of bed.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      I am learning as always, by reading your hubs. Your Belted Kingfisher in flight was amazing and I thought the Birds Rock video you included was really cool.

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

      If you saw a kingfisher, you'd know it. They're very fast, spin off the water for a fish, and they also have quite a trill during mating season. Geese will eat CONSTANTLY if you aren't careful. It really is best not to feed them, unless there is snow on the ground, and they really cannot get anything to eat. If you feed them, duck pellets from the feed store really are the most nutritious. No bread or other junk food is good.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Hm I think I might be seeing Kingfishers, he looks awfully familiar. I was at the lake a couple days ago and all I saw were duck and geese and they came running like we had something for them and then when we didn't feed them they went around and stared at the front car door. Boy lots of ppl must be spoiling those guys. We aren't suppose to feed them of course and I don't although I hate to be begged, lol. The walked on our heals all along the lake, must have been hungry.

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

      Hey, Dave! I didn't realize that you had finch diseases in your area, too. I'll have to look into that. Thanks for the info.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb, another wonderful visit. Love the picture of the kingfisher diving. We have had problems with finch virus's over here in the last decade or so. It seems to have affected the Greenfinch more than other species. Your work is excelent as always.

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

      Hey, Kathleen! Birds mean a great deal to me, and I am right across the street from my oasis. If you like the pictures, take a look at more here: http://debhirt.blogspot.com

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This is my first look at your work, and WOW, do you impress. What a gorgeous portrait of that Hawk Owl. And all the information shows a lot of work. I'll be back for more definitely.

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

      Hey, Alicia! Glad that you enjoyed this week's column. Thanks for taking a walk on the wild side.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another lovely, very interesting and very enjoyable hub in your Boomer Lake series, Deb. As others have said, the photo of the kingfisher in flight is impressive!

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

      Hey, Chris. The nice thing about this bird, is once they have been studied in motion, one knows how they move. They tend to dive, so I was ready.

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

      Hey, Nell! Thanks so much for letter me know what is in your area, and the votes. I appreciate your kind words.

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

      Hey, moonlike! Thanks so much for reading! My camera might be a little better than yours regarding the pics. I am able to choose my shutter speed for birds in flight, so that helps a lot.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Deb, that final shot of the belted kingfisher is awesome. Great job.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, another great hub about Boomer Lake, I love all the photos, there are hundreds of birds down here on the River Thames at the moment, its a winter thing, in the summer there are the usual amount but at this time of year there are thousands! Seagulls especially, inland for the warmth, or lack of it! lol! ducks swans and geese, its amazing! voted up!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Beautiful bird photos. I love taking photos of birds but my aren't as good. Thanks for sharing this hub. Voted up

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

      Sallybea, a good time to come here is in April, as it really is anywhere else when the birds are migrating, but this is definitely a hotspot.

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

      Thanks, deergha. Educating our world is the key to keeping wildlife safer.

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

      teaches, always look at finch eyes as a matter of record. Conjunctivitis will make them blind. It will also infect other birds and if you find it necessary to transport a bird so afflicted to a rehabber, wash your hands well and use betadine.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      aviannovice - S

      Stunning imagery, just love the Kingfisher and the Hawk Owl.

      I would love to spend a lot of time at your Boomer Lake. I think I would feel as if I had died and gone to heaven!

      Lucky you.

    • dghbrh profile image

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

      Very nice hub as always....Thank you for this one.

      Belted Kingfisher in Flight and all others including the you tube video are all very much awesome....as always....votes up and shared.

      Take care and looking forward to your next hub...God bless you

      deergha

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Your photos always amaze me with their beauty. We saw a small finch the other day and it appeared to now even notice we were around. It just kept hopping on the ground in front of us. We thought it strange. Now I wonder if it had that diesease. I will have to keep an eye on this next time this happens.

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

      Thanks, Mel. Yes, you do. I need to know what is off the Pacific coast.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      Your. Kingfisher in flight was award winning. I have yet to see a Canvasback, although we do get the occasional Redhead here. I have to break out my binoculars and get out by the water. Great hub!

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

      Hey, Faith Reaper! More birds await you next week.

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

      Yes, Suhail, the goldfinches are rather small, and their favorite food is thistle. You should still find them quite available.

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

      Hey, Bill! Thanks as always, and keep me informed about what is in your back yard.

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

      If it weren't for those influx of Canadian owls, more mice would be in people's houses, silly!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Deb, you really got some great shots there of beautiful birds, especially the Buffleheads! Thanks for continuing to educate us each week.

      Having a lovely week on Boomer Lake and I look forward to next week's hub!

      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

      Well, what can I say more! It is always fun visiting your report of the week. It seems like I am practically counting the birds in OK myself.

      Aren't those goldfinches very small birds? I think I saw them feeding on the thistle till the end of October. I haven't hiked that much in November. Since weather has been mild here, I will try to find them during this weekend hike.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Amazing photos Deb. Great job as usual. Have a great week.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      You americans - blaming everything on us poor downtrodden canadians..lol..

      canadian invasion, canadian cold front, wah wah wah...

      Love the last 2 pics, especially, Deb..i've never seen a commorant at all - never mind in flight!

      Love your work, you make it easy!

      sharing/caringxx

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

      Keep your eyes peeled, Connie. You're bound to see something out of the ordinary. I guarantee it.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Deb, that Belted Kingfisher in flight is one gorgeous picture! I love all the information you give us about these beautiful water-loving birds, and I am very excited about the possibility of seeing a snowy owl--that would be awesome;) Pearl

      Voted Up++++

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

      Hey, Linda! Glad to see you on the birding scene,too. You have been getting some pretty spectacular pics, yourself.

    • Linda Compton profile image

      Linda Compton 3 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Wonderful, Deb! Love the Kingfisher in flight. Stunning shot :)

      And lots of interesting information, as well.

      Thank you for all your time, effort and care. L.

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

      Thanks, Billy. It's always good to have you visit the lake and partake in the joys.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the Birds Rock video. Thanks for including that here, and as always the pictures are exquisite. Well done once again my friend.

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

      You are so right, Wayne. Maybe people would notice more if they saw something different in their neighborhoods.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Amazing work and photography, Deb. I think we could use a little more wildlife invasion.