Eagle

An Eagle surveys the landscape at Boomer Lake. 

No news to report on Payne County rare birds for the week, though we did have a nominal 0.19 inches of rain that was received in Stillwater over the past seven day period.

We have seen beautiful weather and we have recently experienced more seasonal temperatures as well.

The spring countdowns are already in print on a daily basis.

We have rung in the New Year with both fireworks and more quiet celebrations, much of which includes our birding treks, even in the bitter cold.

Boomer Lake has been experiencing much of the normal winter fare, all excellent news. There is something on the water, on the ground, or in the trees at nearly any time of day to please the discriminating birding palate.

On Jan. 3, we were greeted with nearly two dozen beautiful Hooded Mergansers on the south side of Shorebird Jetty. Though the attempt was made to do so, no matter how much we squinted and blamed the sun, there was only one species of merganser.

A Bald Eagle was perusing what might have been pleasing fare from both Boomer Lake and the dam area. The next moment it had departed without adieu. There will be more eagles as the winter marches on.

We also discovered Blue Jays harassing a quiet, though hungry Red-shouldered Hawk, which appeared to be one of this year’s birds from The Pines nest. Perhaps the lone Gadwall was too much trouble, the speedy Bufflehead divers were too fast, or the Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinches, and Song Sparrow generated no particular interest, when it also left the area.

A couple of days later, we had a barometer pushing its limits, intense wind chills with more than a light breeze, so the hunting seemed like it was probably going to be an interesting late morning to early afternoon.

A dozen Canvasbacks were not far from the Lakeview Road Bridge taking their meals. Several Dark-eyed Juncos also provided antics throughout Heron Cove, while a couple of Great Blue Herons literally sat around doing nothing to warm themselves. It goes to show what wonderful insulating properties that their feathers hold.

A pair of Buffleheads were soon joined by a third, then out of nowhere, one of our hero Red-shouldered Hawks came from the east, circled the area, and then disappeared from view where the Buffleheads and other collections of birds were taking their morning sunbath. No flight of those birds was observed, so it likely silently and stealthily took up space on a tree branch. A short while later, either a second red-shoulder appeared and took the same route or the original tried again to scare up some breakfast.

Try as we might, there were no Eastern Bluebirds, only a silent Mourning Dove that answered our call. Let’s hope for more on another morning.

Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

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

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