Tag: morningwalk

Photography Challenge Day 113: Following the leader, and other odd notes

So I did a mini walk up at Boomer Lake yesterday after the storms moved through the area. That meant that the humidity and temperatures were climbing, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and hardly a breeze.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that there seems to be some large carnivore (fox or coyote) that is stalking the geese and ducks at Boomer Lake. The reason why I think this is that there are a lot of feathers laying around that should probably be on a bird (namely a goose), but aren’t.

An one-legged mallard.

So I’m wondering what type of shape the other animal is in–I’m assuming other ducks, and possibly geese came to the aid of this mallard (which is why it’s only missing a leg and isn’t dead).

Following the leader, the leader….

So I’d noticed that while there are a decent number of both goslings and ducklings—there isn’t an overabundance of them (especially goslings). But I have noticed that the geese (and ducks) without young have been gathering together during the days now.

A rather large grouping of Canada Geese

I’d say that I would try to get to the lake at night to get a glimpse or a photograph of the carnivore–but that isn’t going to happen. For one thing–I have no idea of the type of carnivore (and I don’t want to possibly be facing a coyote), and the other reason–I have no idea of the time (and I’m not going to be camping out at the lake trying to get a glimpse of it). So I’ll just have to make do with knowing that something is going through, and maybe catch a glimpse in the early morning (if I get back up there to get some sunrise pictures).

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge day 112: Fungi Sunday

I know it should be Fungi Friday, but I did Fishy Friday last week, and feel like showcasing a couple of fungi pictures today.

Small fungi growing at the lake.

So we are still wet enough, that there are some mushrooms still popping up here and there. I almost walked pass this small group of mushrooms.

I particularly like how I also managed to get the spiderweb with the morning dew in the photograph as well.

Some of the mushrooms looked like they’ve had better days

Since these guys are so small, it looks like they’ve been walked upon a few times. These could be fairy inkcap mushrooms (though that’s only a guess and trying to compare them to other images on the internet). In theory if they are fairy inkcap, they’d be edible–but the only wild mushrooms so far that I’ve eated are oyster mushrooms (those I know how to id).

Then there is the more traditional death-cap mushroom (or toadstool)

Then I saw a single toadstool mushroom in the middle of one area–which makes me think that within a couple of days (possibly by the weekend) there should be at least another three or four popping up as well. I’ve hardly seen just one toadstool mushroom before.

I think that another mini-goal for this year is going to be trying to see how many other fungi pictures I can throughout the rest of the year.

No Comments naturePhotographyScience

Photography Challenge Day 107: The growing goslings and ducklings at the lake.

I’m going to more or less let the pictures speak for themselves today.

Young mallards with their parents

So the ducklings aren’t usually as visible during my walks as the young goslings are–probably because there aren’t nearly as many mallards as Canada geese at the lake. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this group swimming around the other morning.

Canada goose stands guard as the goslings bask in the morning sun.

This was about as close as I was willing to get to goslings (and parents) the other morning. I was able to walk down to the edge of the lake to see if turtles were out–but I wasn’t able to actually walk on the sidewalk. The geese had taken it over.

Another parent and young out swimming on the lake.

Well I know that these are ducklings and a parent. The only thing I’m not sure of is the exact species of duck. But it looked to have a good start at raising a good number of ducklings.

Goslings and parent grazing in the grass

It will be interesting to see how many more broods the geese and ducks have since it seems that they started a little early this year.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 106: The (not so) elusive killdeer

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). I’d have missed seeing this guy if I hadn’t stopped to take the lens cap off the camera and wonder what race I was going to be dodging on my walk.

 This plump plover is one of the few shorebirds that doesn’t need to be near a beach (though I’ve always noticed them around Boomer Lake).

Killdeer in the park
Killdeer in the park

Their diet is mainly insects (beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers), but will also eat spiders, earthworms, centipedes, snails, and will even “fish” for crayfish.  They can be found in fields (which may or may not be near water), and will follow the farmers plowing the fields to eat the grubs that unearthed.

They usually have one brood a year (though in the south, it can be possibly two broods a year) that ranges from three to five young (average is four). Both parents will incubate the eggs, and this ranges almost a month (24 to 28 days). Depending on location, parents may soak in water before returning to the nest in order to help keep the eggs cool.

The young leave the nest within a day of hatching. While they stay with their parents, they are able to feed themselves. They are able to fly roughly three and a half weeks after hatching.

Some cool facts about killdeers include:

They got their name from their call, which is a shrill, wailing kill-deer. They are also known as the Chattering Plover & the Noisy Plover.

They use the broken-wing act to lead predators away from the nest. Though since they nest on the ground, they have to be weary of other animals potentially stepping on the nest—so they try to charge the larger animals to get them to change directions.

They are actually proficient swimmers (both adults and young).

Their nests are quite small and bare to begin with, but are added to after eggs are laid. There was one nest somewhere within Oklahoma, where people found over 1,500 pebbles adorning the nest.

They can live quite a long time—the oldest recorded Killdeer was at least 10 years & 11 months, when it was recaptured & then re-released in Kansas.

References:

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/killdeer

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

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 105: Swimming and sunning turtles (short post)

Today’s winner(s) are again the red-eared sliders living around Boomer Lake. With doing a morning walk–I may not see as many sunning themselves on logs, but I do catch sight of several more swimming around the lake.

Red-eared slider swimming in the lake.
Nice size red-eared slider swimming in one of the coves at Boomer Lake.

I saw one swimming in one of the “coves” as I was walking across the bridge. I managed to get a picture where it almost looks like it’s looking back at me.

Two red-eared sliders sunning themselves.
Two red-eared sliders sunning themselves.

Then there were the ones that had already made it some of the more sunny spots along the bank. These two were in the area that normally the great blue herons fish at first thing in the morning.

Since the water levels are slowly returning to normal, there has been a change in where some of the logs are located. Some of them were washed up on shore, and others were pushed further out. No matter where the logs have ended up, there seems to be turtles (and snakes) that can find them. While I didn’t see the soft-shelled turtle today, I’m sure that it was on the other side of the lake sunning itself in peace and quiet away from the noise of society.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptiles

Photography Challenge Days 103 & 104: The soft-shelled turtle makes an appearance.

So today’s post is a double, since I decided to go computer free last night. Instead of being on the computer–I watched Captain Marvel instead. Loved the movie (and a mini review is pending).

So on my walk this morning I noticed that there was an odd grouping of turtles on a log–two were red-eared sliders and the third is either a soft-shell turtle or a snapping turtle.

Three turtles on a log

When I zoomed into the picture–the tail of the turtle in question looks like it could be a soft-shell turtle. The snapping turtle tail usually has several ridges on it, so unless this is a young snapping turtle–I’d put it down to a soft shell turtle in the lake.

Which makes since I think that I got pictures of it on a smaller log last week on my walk:

I think someone is a little to large for the log.

At first I was wondering if somehow a larger red-eared slider had gotten stuck on the log, until I walked a little further and got a look at the face. I’m thinking that it was just irritated that the log wasn’t as big as it looked from afar (or from underwater).

And here is another view that gives a better look at it’s face:

It’s got a pointy nose–I’m thinking it’s a soft-shelled turtle.

So besides keeping my eye out for the turtles in different areas–I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the soft-shelled turtles as well. These guys are quite large when compared to their harder shelled relatives.

There are actually two species of soft-shell turtles that live in Oklahoma–the smooth & spiny soft-shelled turtle. The only way to tell the difference is that the spiny soft-shell turtle has distinct spines on the front & back end of the shell. Currently I’m going to go with the identification that they’re the smooth soft-shell turtles living in Boomer Lake.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilesScience

Photography challenge Day 7: Another heron playing hide and seek

Peek a boo…….I see you……..

So it was another cloudy morning during my walk at Boomer Lake, though I can’t complain about the temperatures (it was in the fifties). Since the temperatures have been up and down for the quite awhile, it doesn’t seem that there as many birds up at the lake, compared to early last month.

But of course I’m not going all the way around the lake, so there could be more birds on the other side of the lake (also there are little coves that are harder to get to, and there are probably numerous birds in those locations).

This morning, while there weren’t numerous birds at the lake I did manage to see three different great blue herons. I saw the first one at the beginning of the walk, and then I saw two basically back to back close to the first little bridge. This one was standing under a tree among the roots and other brush looking for small fish (or other small critters) for breakfast. The third one was actually walking up from the lake and I did manage to capture a picture or two of it taking flight and flying off.

I am going to continue doing my weekend walks, but probably only in nice to slightly warm weather (mainly because cold weather makes it difficult due to cold weather fogging up my glasses–which makes it difficult to see what I’m trying to take a picture of; and then thick gloves makes it difficult to actually focus and get the good photograph). Cold weather photography is something I’m going to work towards, but it may not be this coming week.

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Hawk sighting at Boomer Lake

So I’ve been trying to do a nature walk in the mornings (at least on the weekends) as a way of waking up. While it is a little harder to do in the winter because of the colder temperatures, there are the unexpected sightings that makes the morning walk worth it.

Today’s unexpected sighting was this hawk (I’m assuming that it is either a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk or a juvenile Copper’s hawk).  As I walking back across the one foot bridge I’d startled it from it’s original roost.

After sitting nearby for a few minutes (so that I could get one good picture) it flew off to another nearby tree. I was able to get a couple of good pictures of it’s profile. The main reason why I’m assuming it is a juvenile and not an adult is the brown coloring (though it could be a adult that isn’t in it’s mating colors; or it’s a female).

Here was the last picture I got, before it flew off again. These sightings are what makes the morning walks so enjoyable–you never know what you will see from day to day. That is why nature walks (even to the same place) are so fun–nature changes day to day. What you saw yesterday, you might not see today, and what you saw today–you may not see tomorrow or next week when you go back.

So even though the temperatures are getting cooler (and they can be frigid first thing in the morning)–get out and go for a walk, look at things with a fresh eye, and find the enjoyment in the little things.


No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 4: Mississippi Kites

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the pair of Mississippi kites that I saw on my morning walk at Boomer Lake. Truthfully, I almost missed seeing them—I’d turned at just the right time to see a bird swoop into a tree, and when I went to get a closer look, I realized that it was a pair of Mississippi kites.

                           Mississippi Kites

I’ve seen the kites all summer—but usually when they’re just swooping around in the sky foraging for flying insects and they’re usually a good block or so away and I can never get a good picture. Today I managed to get several good pictures of them.

       Swooping Mississippi Kite

The Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) is a bird of prey that spends its summers in both the southeastern and southwestern parts of the United States (it winters down in central South America). Unlike larger birds of prey, the Mississippi kite feeds primarily on insects though will also forage on small reptiles, amphibians, smaller birds, small mammals and bats.

These graceful birds can be seen throughout the day flying and soaring though the sky as they hunt for their meals. Since these are social birds, usually they can be seen in groups as small as just a pair, upwards to a dozen or more (depending on how main breeding pairs and yearlings are in the area).

                  One Mississippi Kite

As much as I’d like to get a picture of the youngsters—I’m going to need a better lens that zooms as the pairs are fiercely territorial and will dive bomb anything that gets to close to the nest. Obviously this morning, either the tree where they were perched didn’t contain the nest, or the youngsters are old enough that the parents don’t dive bomb any more, or I was still far enough away that they didn’t see me as a threat.

             Two Mississippi Kites

And here are a couple of more unusual facts about these graceful birds:

They may build their nests near (or incorporate) a wasp nest to help protect their eggs and chicks from climbing predators (because who wants to mess with a colony of wasps?).

They allow certain smaller birds to nest near them (namely mockingbirds, blue jays, and house sparrows).

Facts and trivia were found at: www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mississippi_Kite/overview

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography