Tag: BoomerLake

Photography Challenge Day 149: The turtles are all in a row

Since I’ve been trying to do my walks at Boomer Lake a little earlier in the day–because let’s face it, summer temperatures in Oklahoma are not fun–especially mid-morning onwards. So, I’ve been trying to get up to Boomer Lake to walk, hopefully no later than say quarter after eight.

Turtles lined up in a row.

So, since I’m there fairly early it has been hit and miss with getting pictures of the turtles. Sometimes they’re out, and sometimes they’re not. This particular morning I managed to catch sight of almost half a dozen of them sharing a log on the other side of the small cove. The only reason why I managed to spot them–the sun was already warming up that part of the lake.

Red-eared sliders, are unable to regulate their own body temperatures–so they need to sit in the sun for a time to warm up. If they get to warm–they slide back into the water to cool off, then back into the sun to warm up again.

Depending on the size of the log or branch, there can be anywhere from one or two turtles upward of half a dozen or more.

One interesting thing about sliders–come fall to winter, you usually stop seeing them out in the wild. This is because they’ve gone into a stage of brumination, which means they become seriously inactive. They slow down all their metabolic pathways, their breathing, and their heart rate to the bare minimum that they need to survive. They can stay like that at the bottom of ponds and shallow lakes, or in hollow logs, or under rocks. This makes sense, since they can’t regulate their own body temperatures and the surrounding environmental temperatures start dropping and instead of trying to migrate or store food in a den somewhere–they just slow everything down and basically chill until late spring.

I wonder how many of them chill on the bottom of Boomer Lake in the winter??

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Photography Challenge Day 148: Baby Mallards (short post)

Well, this week there isn’t going to be a theme for the photography challenge. It could be due to my mood–but I can’t think of a challenge that I’m willing to do for the week. So this week will be random photographs–though they’ll probably all share a common location–Boomer Lake.

Baby ducklings

So on my walk this weekend, I came across a mother duck and her duckling wandering around near the sidewalk. They look so cute and cuddly (though I’m pretty sure they’d peck at me if I tried to cuddle with them). There were actually five of them grazing under the watchful eye of their mother.

While pairs are monogamous throughout the breeding season–it is the female that takes care of the young.

I’d notice that even the ducks around Theta Pond on campus have ducklings–though they seem to be a bit smaller than these guys. But thanks to the rain we got this spring–it’s been a good season for the ducks and geese in terms of raising their young.

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Photography Challenge Day 146: The white false garlic

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is another early spring wildflower: the false garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve), and also goes by the names of crow poison.

This is one of the more numerous wildflowers up at Boomer Lake in the early spring time, it looked like the entire field was covered with them.

Numerous blossoming white false garlic

It will bloom in the early spring, and potentially again in the fall (now I have something to keep an lookout for on my walks this fall). It is called false garlic, because it looks like a wild onion but lacks the onion odor.

It is a native wildflower to the south plains and south eastern states (basically from Arizona east to Virginia), and it’s blooming schedule is March through May, and then again possibly in September and October.

It can also be found growing in Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile as well.

I wonder that even though it doesn’t have the garlic/onion odor—would it have the garlic/onion flavor? This could be a possible native wildflower to plant in the yard to help naturally deter the moles from coming through and destroying everything—it is something to look into.

It would also be interesting to try to find the origin of the other common name–crow poison. Just a quick google search didn’t really turn up anything–it might require looking into older botany papers and books to see if origin (or even old wise tale) about the other name. My hypothesis: someone (years upon years ago) found a dead crow in the middle of a field of false garlic, and though it ate the seeds and died; they therefore named the flowers crowpoison.

That is one of two main reasons why I haven’t done much gardening over the years—the moles have a habit of eating the flower bulbs (didn’t realize they liked tulips as much as they did until they ate like two dozen tulip bulbs the second year we were living here). The second reason why I haven’t done much gardening—is the soil—it is really nothing more than solid red clay, and it is a pain to dig in. You need to add in some much extra mulch and topsoil and hope that you’ve added enough extra that the soil will actually drain and not drown the roots of your plants.

It’s looking like it could be August before I really try to do any type of even weeding of the front garden—starting Tuesday it’s going to be triple digit weather for at least 10 days—and that means I may not even get my morning walk in at Boomer Lake next weekend (depending on what the temperature and humidity is at 7am).

Starting tomorrow I’m going to try to do another week of pictures that follow a certain trend—something for me to think on tonight and most of tomorrow.

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Photography Challenge Day 145: White and Purple wildflowers

So I’m doing a dual flashback Friday post for the color/flower challenge. These flowers were some of the wildflowers that bloomed earlier this year up at Boomer Lake. I managed to spot both of these white and purple flowers, and I’m pretty certain they’re from the same family (if not the same flower species–just different color genes were activated during germination).

White Carolina anemone

So this plant goes by two different names, and depending on what name you call it—it can change it’s scientific name.

One name is the Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana), and that places it within the genus Anemone and the family Ranunculacae. It is also native to the central and south eastern parts of the United States.

Purple Carolina anemone

The plants flower in early to mid spring, with coloring of white, soft rose, and occasionally purple flowers, with one flower per stem.

The other name that they can go by is windflower. Now windflowers can refer to anemones in general (so that is fine)—but the main anemone that goes by that common name is Anemone nemorosa (or the wood anemone), and it found mainly in Europe.

So if one is referring to them as windflowers—we also need to add in the other common name of Carolina anemone.

I’ve always loved anemones, as they’re some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring time. We have some of the smaller purple anemones planted in the front yard, but they’re slowly dying off (since it’s been about twenty years since I originally planted the seeds). I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to get some more seeds and start a new batch of anemones in the front yards.

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Photography Challenge Day 144: The pink-purple (maybe wine colored) poppy mallow

Today’s flower/color photography winner is also a Thursday throwback to the spring when more of the flowers were in bloom. That was one of the really nice things about walking up to Boomer Lake–the hill closest to where I’d cross the street was in full bloom of wildflowers during late spring and early summer months.

The bright pink/purple (or maybe even wine colored) flowers are poppy mallows and the main winners of the photography challenge.

The poppies and other wildflowers were in bloom

This is the common name for the nine species found within the genus Callirhoe. These plants are all native to the prairies and grasslands of North America.

Since I see these flowers basically yearly (though I will admit I’ve only really started noticing plants as I’ve started to get more into photography), I’m pretty sure that these are one of the species that are perennials (meaning they come back year after year).

One of the things I’ve been thinking of doing is figuring out what type of native flowers and plants we could get that would add both color to the yard and also attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

I’ve actually looked into trying to get seeds of the poppy mallow to plant around the house–but they need basically full sun, and there is only one area of the house that gets full sun. That would be the side of the house, and it is also the side that everyone forgets about–these are such pretty flowers, they should be planted in an area where they’d be seen more than maybe just once or twice a day (or week).

So I still need to do some research into different types of flowers and plants that are hardy for the extreme weather changes and seasons in Oklahoma, and that can also deal with either total shade, or part shade/part sun. It would be nice to get some color (other than mainly green) in the yards again.

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Photography Challenge Day 142: The coral (or trumpet) honeysuckle

Today’s winner of the color/flower photography challenge is the orange-red honeysuckle flower. The name honeysuckle refers to members of the genus Lonicera, which include arching shrubs or twining vines (though most species are vines).

This particular type of honeysuckle I see on my walks around Boomer Lake, and also up at the bus stop in the mornings. They are definitely more of the twining vines than arching shrubs. I’m pretty sure that this is the coral or trumpet honeysuckle, with how the flowers look like mini-trumpets.

Trumpet honeysuckle growing at Boomer Lake.

These plants are native to the northern hemisphere (so this includes any country/land mass that is north of the equator). To date there have been ~180 different species identified throughout the northern hemisphere, with over half the species being found in China.

I love the flowers as they are nice and fragrant, and bring back childhood memories of picking flowers and sucking the nectar out of them. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies that also like to drink the nectar as well. Though I do see some bees around the backyard honeysuckle in early spring when they’re just started to flower.

The trumpet honeysuckle is a native species to the eastern parts of the United States. There are several different cultivars of the plant that have been grown and selected for their variation in flower colors. Depending on where they’re growing in the US, they can be considered either evergreen (in the warmer climates) or deciduous (in the colder climates), this also can result in their flowers being pollinated from mid-spring through the fall by hummingbirds and various insects.

One thing I didn’t realize (or more accurately haven’t thought of) is that they also produce fruit. The honeysuckle fruit can be either a spherical or elongated berry that can be either red, blue, or black in color. While the most of the fruits are non-edible for humans, they are edible for wildlife—which allows for the spread of the plants (which is one of the numerous ways that plants ensure their survival).

I’m going to have to try and be on the lookout for the berries this fall—not to eat, but to photograph.

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Photography Challenge Day 139: Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The winner of today’s photography challenge is the state butterfly: the black swallowtail butterfly.  These butterflies are found throughout most of the eastern United States, parts of Canada, and south through Mexico and Central America. It is also the state butterfly for New Jersey and Oklahoma (where it can be seen from March through October).

Black Swallowtail Butterfly on wildflowers

On my walk this morning, I was fortunate to see the black swallowtail butterfly on some of the wildflowers along the shore. I wasn’t able to get super close to the butterfly—I didn’t want to scare it off, so pictures don’t do full justice to the beautiful butterfly.

I’m not certain whether I managed to get several pictures of a male or female black swallowtail. The distinguishable area is towards the bottom of the wings–the females have more blue towards the bottom of their wings. Also the males have larger yellow spots than the females do, but since I could’t get closer to it (I didn’t want to scare it off), I can’t say for certainty which sex it is.

Black swallowtail

These are rather large butterflies, as their wingspan can be between three and a quarter and four and quarter inches (so somewhere between eight and eleven centimeters). Females will lay eggs on the leaves and flowers of host plants (such as carrot, celery, dill to name a few), which then serve as food to the caterpillars. The young hibernate as a chrysalis (pupa) before emerging as an adult.

Black swallowtail

The adults feed on nectar from flowers, which include milkweed, thistles, and red clover (to name a few). One goal for this summer is going to try to identify this flowering plant. The black swallowtails aren’t the first butterflies I’ve seen on it this summer.

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Photography Challenge Day 137: the dragonfly and the rabbit

Well there was a draw when trying to decide the winner of today’s photography challenge–therefore there will be two today.

I decided to go ahead and do a morning walk (as I wasn’t sure of how congested the pedestrian traffic was going to be at the lake this morning). I’ve realized that depending on what time I walk, determines what wildlife I may see on my walk.

Since I’ve been trying to do early (though not super early) walks due to the weather I haven’t seen that many turtles out and about. I also haven’t seen that many different species of birds. I have been trying to keep my eye out for other wildlife (such as turtles, dragonflies, rabbits, and so forth).

Today I was lucky to be able to get the picture of the following dragonfly and then one of the many rabbits that are living up at the lake.

Dragonfly resting on a blade of grass

I’m not sure what type of dragonfly this is, but it is a beautiful one (even if I got the picture of the back end). Since I’ve decided to do more than just bird watch at the lake, I’ve been able to get pictures of animals that I normally would pass by, but they turn out to be wonderful photography subjects.

Then a little later on my walk I noticed that there was a cottontail rabbit out grazing in the grass.

Cottontail rabbit having its breakfast

I just didn’t think that I’d actually capture a picture of one with a mouthful of grass. I’ve noticed on my walk that there are at least four to six rabbits up at the lake, and they all look to be fairly large, so they’re probably all adults (how old–that I don’t know).

That means there is a healthy rabbit population at the lake, and also a healthy predator population as well. I know through reading up on cottontail rabbits, they have several litters of young a year because most don’t survive–so with seeing the number I have, it means that next spring I should probably still be seeing at least four rabbits around the lake.

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Photography Challenge Day 126: Spotting a large turtle at the lake

So today’s photography challenge winner is the very large female turtle that I spotted on my walk yesterday. I think it is a red-ear slider, but it could be a painted turtle–the only thing I’m positive about, is that it isn’t a snapping turtle.

Large turtle heading back to the water

I noticed this turtle towards the end of my walk, and it was heading back towards the water. I’m going to assume that she just laid her eggs and is heading back to the lake.

The back end of the turtle as it heads back to the water.

It can take about two to four months before the eggs hatch–and the turtle could possibly lay another set of eggs in another nest. The area that it picked was perfect–it is away from at least human interference (I was looking down the hill at it, and I’m not going to go playing around in that area), so the only possible dangers are the normal predators that are in the area.

I had been told that there was a very large turtle living in the area, and I think this is probably the one that the fisherman was talking about. I’d wager a guess that it’s probably at least fifteen to twenty years old (mainly due to the size).

Though this could very well be a male turtle, that was just out wandering trying to find a sunny spot to sun itself–I’m still going to go with my first guess it’s a female that was laying it’s first round of eggs for the year.

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Photography challenge day 121 (Short Post and a day late): A rabbit chilling out

The winner of today’s photograph challenge is the rabbit that was chilling out at Boomer Lake the other morning.

A rabbit munching on some grass

So when I was on my walk at Boomer, I noticed that there was a rabbit that was just almost sunning itself, though it was attuned to it’s environment.

This rabbit was enjoying some moist greens as we had just had a rainstorm earlier in the morning.

It’s eating its greens….

I’ve seen at least three (and I’m pretty sure they’re three different ones) rabbits up around Boomer Lake, and walking to the bus stop I’ve seen at least one in the wooded area by the bus stop. While rabbits can have numerous litters, many of the young don’t survive the first year–which is one reason why they aren’t overrunning the neighborhoods. It is nice to see them every so often–they’re an essential part of the ecosystem.

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