So today’s winner for the photography challenge were the two sparrows that I managed to get a picture of two weeks ago on an afternoon walk.
Unfortunately, I can’t really tell which type of sparrow these two are. I know that there are several different types that call Stillwater home during spring to fall months, but I’ve never really been good at telling them apart.
It is even more difficult to tell them apart when you’re looking at their back ends (as the most distinguished marking are usually on the front & head). I do know that the sparrows like to sit and fly through the tall grasses and bushes along the edge of the lake, so hopefully this summer I will be able to get some other pictures and maybe even determine which sparrow species I’ve been photographing lately.
So today’s post is going to be rather short, as I am not one hundred percent confident on the identification of the butterfly.
Looking at pictures of butterflies that are found in Oklahoma at this time of the year, it is either the orange sulfur butterfly (also known as the alfalfa butterfly) or the clouded sulfur butterfly. Since I couldn’t get a picture of the butterfly with it’s wings out–I can’t say for certain which one it is.
So that is a goal for the summer–get more pictures of this pretty butterfly, but at the same time get a few pictures of it with it’s wings open so that I can hopefully determine which one it actually is.
So today’s post is going to be on the short side–mainly due to the fact that it is a Monday, and it took me a little longer than I thought it would in choosing today’s picture series.
So on my walk yesterday I managed to get several pictures of this heron fishing for it’s lunch. I really liked the result of this picture, where you see the water actually splashing up as it goes under water to grab it’s meal. This was after it had already caught and eaten one fish.
So I was able to quickly snap a picture of the heron coming up with the fish caught in its beak.
Then I managed to snap the picture of it swallowing the fish–though it popped it in quicker than I could get the picture–but you can see it’s throat slightly bulging from where the fish is sliding down to it’s stomach.
By the time I got around to the other side, to where I could try to observe without scaring it off, that is when I managed to get the picture at the top. I was a little too far off to notice if it actually had caught the fish or not (and if it did–it quickly swallowed it).
Hopefully over the course of the summer, I may actually be able to get a photo series of it fishing from start to finish.
So on my walk today around Boomer Lake, I noticed that it isn’t just the geese that have already hatched a brood this year–there is a small number of baby mallards on the lake now as well.
I came across this family starting to swim out into the lake, shortly after seeing a great blue heron catch it’s morning snack.
So some facts about how mallards nest and raise their young:
Usually the female will form a shallow depression/hole in moist areas (that are usually close to the water), and as she is doing that she is pulling vegetation towards her. So in other words—she makes a nest in a area that provides ample protection and material to line her nest.
She will lay anywhere from five to fifteen eggs (with the average being seven to ten), and the incubation time is anywhere from twenty-three to thirty days (so basically three to four weeks). The young are able to leave the nest within a day after hatching. They stay with their parents (mainly the mother), and are able to fly within fifty-two to sixty days after hatching. Mallards usually have just one brood a year (as it is basically three months from egg laying to the time the ducklings are able to fly), though if they have the first one early enough in the year—they might have a second one mid to late summer.
The winner of today’s photography challenge is the turkey vulture. While I was on my walk this weekend, there were quite a few that were soaring overhead and I actually managed to get a couple of decent pictures of at least two of them.
Since turkey vultures are scavengers, they can be seen
soaring overhead in the suburbs, out in the country over farm fields and even
around different areas such as landfills, construction site and even trash
heaps. They’re early risers, they will roost together in large numbers on
telephone poles, towers, fence posts, and dead trees. I might have to try
taking a walk near dusk and see if I can spot any roosting around the
neighborhood (as we live close enough to some farm land) in the evenings.
One weird fact for the turkey vulture—it can be found in part of the state (Oklahoma) year-round, and then other part of the state only during the spring-fall months (basically the breeding season). We’re in the part of the state that only sees them from spring to fall.
Another interesting little fact—they try to ensure that their
nests are isolated and away from any potential human contact. They will nest in
caves, abandoned bird nests (namely hawks and herons), and even abandoned
buildings. They also only have partial nests (they never actually finish
building the nest).
While they currently aren’t listed as an endangered species
they do face some threats from humans that impact their numbers. At times they
do fall victim to lead poisoning (due to eating carcasses of animals that were
shot by hunters but got away from the hunters), also victim to poisoning (if
they eat the carcass of an animal that had been poisoned by humans). Also they
have been trapped and killed due to the misconception that they spread disease
by eating rotting meat.
So today’s post is probably going to be on the short side (text wise)–as pictures can at times speak for themselves. Looking through some of the pictures I took this weekend, and I realize that at times birds can have similar expressions as humans–or maybe I’m just projecting onto my photos.
For example, the robin looked like it had woke up on the wrong side of a nest, or in the wrong shrub. Though I think it just didn’t like the music that the band students were playing at the time.
The mockingbird looked like it was trying to figure out how to make the sounds of the drums. Personally I think that it would be extremely interesting (and funny) to find a mockingbird that could make a call that sounds like a drum in a marching band.
The heron was startled out of it’s hunting spot when the band started to play–it didn’t look happy giving up such a prime fishing spot.
There have been some other birds out and about the past few days in the yard–but I know that if I go to get my camera they will wait until I come back out and then fly off before I can even try to focus on them. One thing I’m going to try to do is have a camera around so that if I do see something of interest–I hopefully get a picture taken.
So with today’s photography challenge, there is actually going to be little said (as the old saying goes–a photograph is worth a thousand words). I think that most of the pictures can speak for themselves. These photos are again from my walk over the weekend. I managed to be in the correct spot at the right time to film this particular gull.
So today’s photos are from my afternoon walk at Boomer Lake. Since we’re going to be coming into spring, I should hopefully be getting back into the routine of doing a small walk in the mornings (mainly to catch the sunrise) on the weekends. Right now it’s still a little too chilly and I’d rather drink a nice hot cup of coffee and watch the sunrise.
Today was a perfect late winter/early spring day—mainly sunny with a few clouds and not that much of a breeze, with the temperatures in the mid fifties.
Since it was only partly cloudy–the clouds were more wispy today. Though there were some of the more fatter clouds, but I was more in the mood to take pictures of the wispy clouds. If I had to guess the type of cloud, I would have to go with the cirrus clouds, since it does look a little like a horse’s tail.
One thing I’ve noticed with doing a walk at any other time other than dawn, the odds of seeing a great blue heron is usually pretty slim. I know in part its due to their hunting (they do change locations during the day), but also it is due to the amount of traffic at the lake–when it is really crowded I don’t see any, when it is moderately crowded I may see one or two (like I did today–though I think it was the same one that I saw twice).
There were also numerous turtles out sunning themselves on the different branches throughout the park. I managed to get pictures of at least four different groups of turtles as I walked around the lake (I do know that later in the day is better timing to see the reptiles and amphibians at the lake). I’m still hoping that at some point this year that I can see the beaver(s) at the lake–you can tell that they are around, but so far I haven’t seen them.
There are also red-wing blackbirds coming back into the area. The robins are migrating through, and I think the double-crested cormorants are also migrating back through as well. The gulls and terns are gathering as well to head back towards their summer habitats. I’m hoping this spring to get a picture of the white pelicans as they make a brief stopover at Boomer Lake.
Note: The references listed at the bottom of the post will take you to two different birding websites (allaboutbirds and audubon). While some of the facts may be general knowledge–I decided to play it safe and add in the reference links.
So today’s photograph comes from my walk to the student union during my lunch break. I kept hearing a unusual bird call, and when I was going past the cedar tree I looked back, and saw the mockingbird sitting on one of the branches singing. I find these birds fascinating in their ability to mimic (or mock) other birds, insects, amphibians, and other sounds (we once had some mockingbirds around our house that could mock our dog’s cough).
So what are some cool facts about mockingbirds?
are medium size songbirds (so they’re the same size as a robin). Their bills
are long and thin with a slightly downward curve. When they’re flying their
tail seems to be long, but that is an optical illusion since their wings are
more broad and rounded.
Their diet consists of berries (mainly in fall and winter), and insects. They like to eat grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, wasps, spiders, earthworms, snails, rollipollies, and if they are really adventurous—crayfish.
very territorial and will attack others that venture to close to their nests
during mating/nesting season.
two to three broods a year (and that ranges from 2-6 eggs, with the average
being 3-4). Both parents will feed and protect the young.
Use to be
considered a target for pet trade from the 1700s to the early 1900s.
states that the mockingbird probably isn’t spotted in includes: Washington,
Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North & South Dakota, Minnesota, & Wisconsin
(though it might be seen in the very southern parts of the state). It is found
in the far southeastern tip of Wyoming and parts of southern Maine.