There was a little rain over the weekend that brought the water table up to a healthier level. We will not be a host for avian botulism this week, so the birds continue to be safe while feeding.
The American Goldfinch has been on the east side of the lake in droves, especially in the sunflowers just past the Southern Cove, if heading north. Butterflies have also been spending time there, allowing a number of wonderful photographic opportunities.
The early mornings are quiet and in a spirit of a perfect day, one can hear and see the Canada Geese arrive and take off with all due fanfare. Flight patterns are holding well with the Mallards coming in and landing from the east-west direction. Air traffic control has their hands full, but the picturesque scene is perfect.
Herons and egrets have been flying in at slower and lower altitudes from both north-south, and usually announce themselves in alto and bass voices, while the conductor of the lake points a baton at the minor players. If one could set up a small table and watch this over breakfast, it would truly be the best start to the day that could ever be had.
The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are back on the scene. They roost on the west side of the lake, and are almost ready to leave for the fall season. They’ll be taking spots in more southerly regions, and if I might warn you: if you go birding in Central America over the winter, you will see them there. The best time to go birding is when our birds are home in order for you to see the winged wonders that you don’t normally encounter.
The leaves are dropping, so our little shy birds will be apparent soon if they haven’t already gone south. Don’t let that fool you, though. There are still plenty of songbirds here for you to see and rub elbows with, along with a number of beautiful butterflies. The bright Northern Cardinal will serenade you in the mornings from on high. The beautiful Blue Jays have been visiting the lakeside a lot more than they normally do, and there are still plenty of Northern Mockingbirds and juvenile Brown Thrashers available for the avian connoisseur.
Keep a close watch for our larger birds, the aerodynamic and majestic raptors. We have Mississippi Kites, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, the Northern Harrier, Rough-legged, Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, and Ferruginous Hawks, as well as the American Kestrel that frequent Oklahoma. I guarantee you that it will be an exciting time for you if you spot any of these beauties, especially if they are hunting and have prey in their grasp. You’ll never see a sight grander than that, unless you might happen to witness a couple of them going head-to-head. This is Boomer Lake where anything can happen.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and professional photographer living in Stillwater. Half of her wildlife photo sales are returned to the birds via the Payne County Audubon Society. She can be found wandering around Boomer Lake on almost a daily basis monitoring the wild bird population.