Birding Hot Spots


Birding Hot Spots
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December 2015

As birds are busy snacking on seeds in our winter feeders, it is time to plan our yards and gardens to create a natural environment for the next food crop for birds both in our yards and beyond.  A day-long symposium about Monarch Butterflies, pollinators, and native plants is being hosted by the Oklahoma Native Plant Society on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the OSU-OKC campus.  For further information see https://oknativeplants.wordpress.com/

On the 1st Larry Mays was rolling south with the homeward bound rush hour traffic on I-44 when he looked up and saw a single goose flying south alongside the interstate between SW 104th and SW 119th.  “How strange” he thought, “to see a lone goose”.  But as he came alongside it, he was really surprised to discover it was a SWAN!  His rough guess was a Trumpeter, but it was never seen again to confirm the identity. 

On the 3rd Rachel Wren spotted an Eastern Towhee at the Little River State Park which was seen several times during the month.  On the 4th Janet Landry noticed a Chipping Sparrow near Newcastle, while Larry Mays reported an American Tree Sparrow and a flock of Smith’s Longspur at Lake Stanley Draper.  On the 5th Brian Muzny’s bike riding companions spotted an adult Bald Eagle in a tree in the vicinity of I-40 and Agnew in Oklahoma City.

On the 6th Bill Talbert had a Ferruginous Hawk east of I-35 in Purcell.  Sharon Henthorn birded several places around Oklahoma City and at Lake Hefner she found a variety of ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, dozens of Red-breasted Mergansers, Horned Grebes and Common Loons. Matt Jung also birded the area and found Hooded Mergansers, Franklin’s Gull, and Song Sparrow while in Norman Jennifer Kidney had a male Purple Finch at her ground feeder.

On the 8th Dylan Hopkins spotted a Ferruginous Hawk near Calumet.  On the 9th Joe Grzybowski noticed Greater White-fronted Goose and Cackling Goose on some flats east of Chickasha in Grady County.  Jennifer located a Merlin perched on a utility pole on Wylie Road across from Rotary Park in Norman.  Later she surprised a Brown Thrasher picking around in the leaves in the corner of her yard.  On the 12th in Payne County Scott Loss identified a Rusty Blackbird at Whittenberg Park, and Caitlin Laughlin discovered Short-eared Owl west of Walmart.

On the 14th Deb Hirt had a Purple Finch at Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater.  On the 15th Joe Grzybowski saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch in Norman.  On the 16th Larry Mays birded Kingfisher County and located 13 new species for that county’s year list including Hooded Merganser, Horned Grebe, Sandhill Crane, and House Wren, plus another sighting of Lapland Longspur.  Jason Shaw found a Northern Pintail at Alex Marsh in Grady County.  On the 18th Zach Poland spotted an American Tree Sparrow in Logan County, and Deanne McKinney discovered a Common Loon at Lake Overholser in Canadian County. 

On the 19th during the Stillwater CBC at Lake Carl Blackwell Tim O’Connell located American Tree Sparrow, L Conte’s Sparrow, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.  He also pIcked up Great Horned Owls, Barred Owls, and Eastern Screech-owls. Interestingly, on the Oklahoma City CBC there were five species reported that were not reported in all of central Oklahoma during the month in eBird:  Greater Scaup, Great Egret, Osprey, Marsh Wren, and Orange-crowned Warbler. How many other species are missing from each of the 12 counties report each month?

On the 20th Eric Duel located Smith’s Longspur and Rusty Blackbird in Kingfisher County southeast of Hennessey, Esther Key had a flock of Hooded Mergansers at Elmore City Lake; and Bob Ellis discovered a Greater White-fronted Goose at Rose Lake.  On the 21st Susan Thompson added Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Pine Warbler just west of the Shawnee Reservoir to the Pottawatomie County list.  On the 22nd Chad Ellis identified a Virginia Rail at Lake Overholser’s Route 66 Park.  On the 23rd Jason Shaw saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the USAO Habitat Area Upper Pond, and on the 24th T K spotted a Black Vulture at Lake Thunderbird. 

On the 25th Deanne McKinney saw an Eared Grebe at Lake Overholser in Canadian County.  On the 28th Larry Mays spotted an American Tree Sparrow in his yard in McClain County, and Martin Fee had Brewer’s Blackbird near the Yukon Water Treatment Pond.  On the 29th T K identified a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Hefner.  On the 30th Zach located a Greater Yellowlegs at Liberty Lake in Logan County.  TK found an American Tree Sparrow, Le Conte’s Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow at the Natural History Museum field in Norman.  Corey Riding saw a Prairie Flacon, Le Conte’s Sparrow, and American Tree Sparrow at Lake Carl Blackwell.  On the 31st Eric Duell identified a Snow Goose, Brewer’s Blackbird and Hermit Thrush in Crosley in Kingfisher County. 

From Antarctica to Australia over all 7 continents Noah Strycker ended his birding adventure for 2015 by photographing a rare owl in India.  His total number of bird species for 2015 was 6,042. What birding adventures await us in 2016 as we journey with our feathered friends?

In the Central Oklahoma area 134 bird species were reported in December leaving the year’s total at 287. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net .  Esther M. Key, Editor.