Tag: migratingbirds

Photography Challenge Day 86: Cormorant taking flight

Today’s post is probably going to be a little on the short side–I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

So while I was on my walk Sunday, I noticed that there was still at least one cormorant that was still either hanging around, or passing through town.

So either there is a cormorant that has decided to stay in town, or one that is taking it’s merry time migrating.

Though if it’s passing through town, it’s taking its time migrating–since it is basically mid May already.

Obviously it was tired of getting it’s picture taken

This was one of the first times that I saw one starting to run across the water to gain the traction they need to launch into the air.

It almost looks like a gargoyle.

I wonder if people got ideas for gargoyles from watching certain birds take off from the water.

And then it flew off.

Will have to see if I can spot any at the lake this coming weekend, or if they’re migrated on already.

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Photography Challenge Day 50: The cormorants are still in town.

So the topic of today’s photograph series are the cormorants. These guys are still in town and hanging around on Goose Island in the middle of Boomer Lake.

Cormorants sitting in their tree

So there were a good dozen or so, sitting in the one tree at the edge of Goose Island, though I saw others sitting in some of the other trees on the island as well.

Then there were the ones swimming out in the lake.

First there were two..
Then there were four….
Then there were six….
And then there were quite a few more….

Then they started swimming back towards Goose Island, taking turns on who was popping up out of the water when–or they were taking turns feeding under water as well.

I will miss these guys whenever they do move on to their summer range–they are such great animals to photograph.

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Birds overhead: Photography Challenge Day 38

So today’s photos all have a central theme–birds flying overhead or flying away. It is a challenge to get a good picture of a bird as they’re taking off or landing on the water or a songbird flying between different bushes. Though this is one challenge I’m willing to accept–getting a good picture of a bird in flight (or possibly taking off or landing).

Neotropical cormorant flying overhead.

Since cormorants haven’t left town yet, I’ve managed to get several pictures of them in flight, taking off, and landing in the water. Now that I’ve seen where they roost, I know better than to make the assumption that any large low-swimming bird is automatically a loon (which is what I did when I first saw them on the water).

Cormorant flying low over the lake.

So here was one that was flying low over the lake, but around the little island in the middle of the lake. This is where they had found a tree to roost in (the geese were “nice” to share their island with the migrating cormorants).

Great Blue Heron heading towards a different fishing area.

I have enough pictures of the great blue heron that I’m probably going to dedicated an photography page to this beautiful animal. Since there are at least four herons at the lake, I have pictures of them hunting, standing, and in flight (as I’ve accidentally rousted them from their stations several times during my walks).


Northern Shovelers taking off

So the shovelers decided that they didn’t want their photos to be taken (or they decided to leave before the storms really came through).

Turkey Vulture riding the wind currents

One bird that this back for a good six months or so–is the turkey vulture. With living close to the lake, we usually always see at least one of them circling in the sky daily. Hopefully this summer I can get a closer picture of one.

One goal is to see how many different birds I can get pictures of–both perching somewhere and then in flight. With the migration season upon us again–there are numerous different bird species coming through and I’m thinking that a cool afternoon is the perfect time to walk around the lake again and explore to see what birds and other critters I can get pictures of.

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Migrating Northern Shovelers: Photography Challenge Day 35

Four male Northern Shovelers and a single female.

Today’s science Sunday post is brought to you by the migrating northern shoveler (Anas clypeata).

I saw several of these ducks over the weekend while I was walking at Boomer Lake, and was able to get decent pictures of them today. These birds winter in the southern states (especially along the coasts), migrate through the Midwest and summer in the northern states and up into Canada and Alaska. Theses ducks can also be found throughout Europe and Asia (as they breed in the northern areas), and they winter south of the border (where it’s warm—southern Europe, Africa, India, southeast Asia, Central & northern South America).

Though it is hard to tell from the picture, but those dark heads on the ducks with the white bodies are actually a green color. I didn’t have my large zoom lense on me to really get a close up picture of them. But you can see the red patch on the sides of the four males—all of which are trying to court the same female duck for the year.

Some cool facts about the northern shoveler:

Their bills are big (~2.5 inches long) and shaped like a shovel (hence the name). The bill also contains fine hair projections all along the edges that act as a sieve, allowing them to filter out tiny crustaceans, aquatic invertebrates, and seeds from the water.

They are yearly monogamous birds. They form bonds on the wintering grounds and then stay together until it’s time to return to the wintering grounds.

There is usually a clutch of 9-12 eggs that are overseen by the female only for about three to four weeks. The mother will lead them to the water and keep them close to cover of the marsh vegetation, and the young are capable of flight somewhere between fifty-two and sixty days after hatching.

Resources:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Shoveler/overview

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/northern-shoveler

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