Tag: commonloon

Happy World Migratory Bird Day!! Though it is really every day…..

So today is World Migratory Bird Day–at least in the US and Canada. It is celebrated on the second Saturday in May, though if you live in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central or South America it is celebrated on the second Saturday in October.

I decided to look through all the pictures that I have taken over the past two years (give or take six months) and make a collage of all the migratory birds that have passed through the central part of Oklahoma.

So far I have managed to spot 28 different birds.

Those birds include (going from top left to bottom right):

The great (or common) egret, the ruby-throated hummingbird, the yellow-rump warbler, the eastern kingbird, the green heron, the western kingbird, the turkey vulture, and the scissor-tailed flycatcher.

The blue-winged teal, the bufflehead, the black-crowned night heron, the Baltimore oriole, the white-crowned sparrow, and the Mississippi kite.

The laughing gull, the yellow warbler, the purple martin, the spotted sandpiper, the canvasback, the dark-eyed junco, and the white pelican.

The double-crested cormorant, the cedar waxwing, the common loon, the osprey, the ring-billed gull, the northern shoveler, and the sharp-shinned hawk.

Plus the one that I somehow forgot to add to the collage: the cliff swallow.

Cliff swallows flying over Boomer Lake

So, technically then the number of migratory species seen is actually at 29.

Several of these birds already have their own page under the bird tab, and those that don’t will be getting their pages added throughout the year.

I’ve decided that a goal for the late spring/summer season is to see how many other songbirds I can spot at Boomer Lake, and a goal for the fall/winter is to get up there earlier in the day and see how many other duck species I can spot that are only stopping briefly during their migration to their winter grounds.

Did you know that the Oklahoma state bird is only present in the state during late spring to early fall? Do you know what the state bird of Oklahoma is (hint–it’s within the collage)?

No Comments bird watchingnatureoutdoorsPhotographyRandom Celebration Days

Three bird pages are live: the loons. They also showed more details are needed

So there are another set of bird pages live under the bird tab.

I managed to the pages posted for the order Gaviiformes, family Gaviidae, and the common loon.

Common Loon seen on Boomer Lake

As I mentioned on the Gaviiformes page–the limited amount of information present was due to 2 things–the first, there isn’t that much information on either the order or family, and the second was I didn’t want to be repeating the same information numerous times. I usually will repeat a little information between the order page, the family page, and then the individual species pages–but there just wasn’t enough to do that here.

Therefore the pages for Gaviiformes and Gaviidae are extremely short in terms of information and words. I think each page is less than 200 words, but it has also planted a seed of an idea–can I do enough research to be able to flesh out those pages? Because even if you google the terms–the wikipedia pages only contain the bare minimum of information. So that is something that I’m going to slowly start looking into over the next few weeks–seeing what information is out there, and then what is needed to fill in various ‘holes’.

There are four other loon species that can be spotted within either North America or northern Eurasia, and now one of my photography goals is to get a picture of each of them.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotographyScience

A rare sight: Migratory Common Loon. Photography Challenge Day 49

So on today’s walk I managed to actually see and get a picture of a migrating common loon (Gavia immer).  I thought I’d heard one yesterday–but hadn’t planned on walking all the way around the lake. Today I didn’t hear one–I was lucky to actually see one.

Common loon swimming on Boomer Lake.

This particular loon is already starting to show it’s summer colors of having a black and white spotted back. They are on their way back to the northern part of the US and Canada for the summer—which is where their breeding grounds are.

What are some interesting facts about loons?

They have solid bones, which make them better at diving than other birds. They can dive quickly and swim fast underwater. They are also able to slow their heart rate underwater to conserve oxygen.

And then it dives away……..

The loon forages by swimming underwater, where their diet consists of mainly fish, but they also eat crustaceans, insects, leeches, frogs, and mollusks. They will supplement their diets occasionally with pondweeds and algae. Loons reach sexual maturity at about three years of age. Both will build the nest, which is usually near the water. They have usually two young a year.

The young start moving around the surround areas within a day or two of hatching, and can swim and dive by the third day. The young can be seen riding on their parents back during the first few weeks. They are able to fly about two and half to three months after hatching.

The young once they migrate to the coasts will stay there for about two years—during the third year they will migrate back north. Though they may not mate for several more years (three years is the minimum age—that is when they start to migrate back)—it is usually still another year or so before they might take a mate.

These majestic birds will probably lose some of their habitat (namely in the north, where they have their breeding areas) to climate change, and their numbers could start decreasing.

The oldest recorded common loon was a female that was banded in Michigan in 1989, and spotted again in Michigan 2016—making her at least a little under thirty years old when spotted.




No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography