Stillwater had more rain over the past week with another two inches, which has the lake at healthy levels for fish, birdlife, and other water denizens. Parks and Rec is assuring your comfort in the area, only spraying for wasps around high traffic areas like shelters, playground areas, bridges, etc. Otherwise our beautiful Boomer Lake is pesticide free, so join the festivities and nature assured that you’ll not be bringing any poison home to your pets and families.

Good flyovers last Tuesday, included both Upland and Semipalmated Sandpipers, as well as several non-breeding or juvenile Spotted Sandpipers. Killdeer are migrating through the area, so note their daily fluctuations. While spending time on Shorebird Jetty, one should notice outbound ducks and shorebirds that might pass through, as it is good area for diversity with open skies. Don’t expect these birds to be near land, as most long distance migrants are high fliers, unless they come in for a rest stop. One can hear many flight calls, so look higher than tall oaks, and don’t forget the binoculars.  

Great Egret has been making itself known, topping out at seven this summer. Great Blue Heron has been leading at eight. Watch for other popular herons like Snowy and Cattle Egrets, who will not disappoint. We even get occasional Little Blue Herons as the white immature, followed by the pied (blue and white combination), and blue and red adult (breeding plumaged).

Wednesday of this week brought additional migrant activity with more Yellow Warblers, an early Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the Nashville Warbler, and both Warbling and Bell’s Vireos.  Much more action is to be expected as summer comes to and end and traipses into fall.

Numbers of migrants are going to be on the upswing, even as we speak. For the first half of the month, we can look forward to observing Swainson’s Thrush, Bobolink, Blue-headed and Philadelphia Vireos, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Pintail, Merlin, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, and more in Payne County.

Boomer Lake is going to be changing and growing this year, as some of you are no doubt aware. Look for improvements and cleanup projects to make the area much more wildlife friendly with the discovery of native trees like the mulberry, native milkweed for monarchs, and more native sunflowers. Our birds, bees, and bats are the best pollinators and do this free of charge. Many of our forest trees must go through the digestive system of birds with stout bills in order to grow and flourish as tender seeds in a strong hull. Thank a bird today and provide food and water, especially when they need it most in the dead of winter when the ground freezes. Atwood’s carries many black oil sunflower seed brands to choose from as well a no-melt suet. 

Sept. 14 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., join the Nature Conservancy at Pontotoc Ridge Preserve, Roff, Oklahoma, to collect seeds from native grasses and wildflowers to use in future restoration projects.

See http://support.nature.org/site/Calendar/?view=RSVP&id=12737

to register, lunch provided.

Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.

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