Life at Boomer Lake with Deb on Saturday, March 24, 2012
It is a beautiful, sunny day today after mostly five days of precipitation. The water level has raised a couple of feet in the lake, a welcome change. The ground is still saturated to some degree, and I was out at the park between 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. At the start of my adventure, it was about 52 degrees. When I left Boomer Lake it is was close to 70. The birds tell me that it is spring, for the gulls have been gone for about a week and are heading back up north to mate and raise their young. There was a lone Ring-billed Gull in the middle of the lake, for reasons unbeknownst to me This part of the Flyway should be getting quite active very soon with new birds coming in for the season, as well as those others that I might be lucky enough to see that are just passing through. There were plenty of cardinals searching for prospective nest spots, and I noticed that the Great-Tailed Grackles have already chosen a few trees in the neighborhood. Peering into one dogwood, I saw a nest, but it was quite hidden, so I was unable to get a photo. I heard creaking and squawking and several of them making their way into this tree, so things are happening. Before long there will be evidence of youngsters running their parents ragged for food. Savannah and Chipping Sparrows have been in the area, and I got a little better photo of one today, but they certainly like to cover themselves well. Having just seen only two Double-Crested Cormorants yesterday, I saw five of them today. They were rather skittish, and were doing their normal wing drying when I was out. The females are a good deal lighter than the males, and they stuck close by the others instead of venturing off by themselves. Luckily, I also saw a very large snapping turtle, who was easily eighteen inches long by the shoreline. For obvious reasons, I wasn't about to take a measurement, as I wasn't sure if he was dead or alive, but I noticed that when I got closer to him he moved, so that answered that question. The poor Great Blue Heron that I've been stalking recently, flew off to land next to some geese, one of which drove him off from that location, too. Poor thing, but he'll get used to me sooner or later. I've been searching for Killdeer eggs, but it just might be a little too early for those. They usually raise two or three clutches a year here, which keeps them rather busy. Does anyone know if a Killdeer is a shore or land bird? Next time you see one, take a look at the feet, and that will answer your question. I have only seen numerous yellow sulphurs but have not been able to get a picture of one, though I have been trying quite hard. These butterflies never sit still, so it is going to be quite a challenge. Northern Mockingbirds have been out in throngs, so if you think you hear an uncommon bird, but can't find it, don't be alarmed, for it is a mocker. You can't miss them, they seem to be everywhere right now. If anyone sees or hears about any other birds arriving earlier than normal to the area, let me know, and I'll be interested in keeping an eye out for them. Have a great weekend, and happy birding in your neighborhoods.