Last week, we had several teases of rain, but as is well known, any moisture during the heat of our Oklahoma summers is a necessity. Hopefully, it will continue again.
Mississippi Kites have been coming to Boomer Lake perching on the new high utility lines. The dragonflies brought them in, and they are also displaying interest in other larger species. Cicadas came for a short while, along with orb weavers, but it only appeared to be for one day. Writer cannot imagine that will be all we receive, which would clearly be out of the ordinary.
Juvenile Eastern Phoebes have made themselves at home at Heron Cove, always at least one that is constantly making itself known. They are very easy to identify, with a light lemon wash on the belly as well as their youthful call. If you hear it and believe it to be a young phoebe, your assumption is correct.
Purple Martins have been getting restless for a while, and there appears to be no recent evidence of juveniles on the ground being fed by adults. However, martins have been observed sitting in both trees and upon power lines. For the most part, they are just biding their time and joining in roosting behavior before they become part of the Tulsa flock, just prior to their southbound journey. It will not be much longer now, as most of the young are nearly ready for their first trip. All of the martins should be exhibiting this behavior now.
Spotted Sandpipers have been paying homage to our beloved Boomer Lake. The ones observed still have their spring plumage, the brown spots. However, they are skittish and not willing to entertain the presence of anyone other than a bird. Since fall migration is more leisurely, they will visit with us longer than they do in spring.
Both juvenile American Robins and Northern Mockingbirds are nearly immature birds now. The youthful robins are sporting partially red breasts, and the mockingbirds are as mischievous as the adults, yet their spots are still designating their pre-teen status. In that, we realize that summer will soon be drawing to its inevitable end.
There were visiting Cliff Swallows for a single day hiatus early this week. They left without a goodbye wave, yet the Barn Swallows still continue to hang on and do their part in the removal of pesky insects.
Birds were much more apparent at all venues this summer, including young which still continue to remain shy to some of our views. After the past couple of years, it was a welcome change to see old friends and meet the fresh ones.
We continue to count down the days when fall migration will greet us again. It is with high hopes that we receive the bountiful gifts that met us during spring, though the change in the cast of characters will be apparent. The shorebirds will soon visit, hopefully with plenty of young in tow.
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.