Birding Hot Spots


Birding Hot Spots
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March 2015

At last the snow is gone and spring has arrived along with many migrants and a few rain showers, but the drought continues.  With the low lake levels, shorebirds are stopping, along with swallows, Eastern Phoebe and maybe a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  Which counties will report these birds and which ones are missing reports?  Furthermore what adventures are our Oklahoma county explorers and the Birds Without Borders Reporter having this month?

On the 1st Zack Poland spotted an American Tree Sparrow in Logan County.  On the 3rd Nadine Varner, Valerie Bradshaw, Patti High, Zach Poland and Jimmy Woodward assembled at Lake Stanley Draper to watch the displaying American Woodcocks.  On the 6th Sydney Everett noticed a Northern Harrier in Lincoln County.  On the 7th Joe Grzybowski identified a Glaucous Gull at Lake Overholser and Baird’s Sandpipers at Lake Hefner, while along South Jenkins John Tharp heard a Fish Crow.  A Red-Breasted Nuthatch was seen at Couch Park by Zachary Hemans, and on the 8th by Jason Shaw in Chickasha. 

On the 9th a Common Redpoll showed up at Dala Grissom’s feeder until the 16th.  On the 10th Dick Gunn noticed a shift in bird species along South Jenkins, the beginning of spring.  At Martin Park Bill Diffin watched Cedar Waxwings eating soapberries and heard an Eastern Phoebe singing near the bridge.  On the 11th Jerry Taylor discovered Blue-winged Teal at Lake Hefner and this species’ arrival was reported in 6 counties. 

On the 12th Dr. Chris Butler located the first Purple Martin at UCO and later they were reported in four other counties.  On the 13th at Lake Hefner Zach Poland identified Pectoral Sandpiper, and John Shackford had a pair of Carolina Wrens building a nest on a robin nesting shelf attached to their house.  On the 14th an Eastern Phoebe was located by Larry Mays at Lake Elmer in Kingfisher County and Jimmy Woodard in Pottawatomie County leaving only 2 counties with no reports.  On the 15th Valerie Bradshaw discovered Rusty Blackbirds near the Canadian River in Oklahoma City. 

Finally, on the 17th Bill Hopping checked an area near Seminole State College and located Canada Goose for the last county report.  In Cleveland County at Riley Park Rachel Wrenn noticed a Northern Rough-winged Swallow.  A Vesper Sparrow was found along South Jenkins by John Tharp and at Lake Carl Blackwell by Corey Riding. At Lake Hefner Joe Grzybowski was surprised to find an early arriving Semipalmated Sandpiper.  On the 18th Scott Loss identified an Eared Grebe at Boomer Lake Park.  Phil Stepanian saw a Barn Swallow at Lake Thunderbird. 

On the 20th Zach Poland identified a Black-and-white Warbler and Sandhill Cranes in Logan County.  At Lake Thunderbird T K noticed a Snowy Plover and Tree Swallow and at Little River State Park John Tharp had a Purple MartinIn McClain County Joe Grzybowski located a Ferruginous Hawk at the Goldsby Sod Farm and an American Golden-Plover at the Adkins Hill Sod Farm.  At Lake Hefner Heather Shaffery found Lesser Yellowlegs.  At Lake Carl Blackwell Eric Duell had Baird’s Sandpipers, and east of Stillwater Evan Tanner spotted Short-eared Owls.  On the 21st in Logan County Andrew Schofield spotted a Great Egret which has only been reported in 5 counties.

On the 22nd Lou and Mary Truex made a report on their county listing project.  Starting in July 2011 their goal is to count 100 bird species in every Oklahoma County. A week ago they had 10 counties left and so off they went birding. Now they only have 4 counties left under 100 species and in these they have already seen 80+ species.  On the 22nd at Lake Thunderbird Phil Stepanian spotted Cliff Swallows.  In Kingfisher County Kent Turner birded a wooded area near Hennessey and observed a Swainson’s Hawk which has only one other county report, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher which have been located in 8 counties. 

On the 24th Dan Cowell spotted Blue-winged Teal near Lake Konawa in Seminole County.  At Timber Lake Estates in Norman Rick Farrar had a Louisiana Waterthrush .  Sharon Henthorn heard a Black-and-white Warbler at Lake Stanley Draper, and Jimmy Woodward found a Snowy Egret along the Canadian River. Oscar Pack reported Sandhill Cranes and one Whooping Crane west of Minco.

On the 25th Zach DuFran saw a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Norman.  At Mitch Park, Hal Yocum had three returning sparrows: Lincoln, Chipping and Vesper.  In Norman on the 26th Jane Boren discovered a Lesser Goldfinch at her feeder and Jennifer Kidney heard a House Wren singing near her yard.  On the 27 T K identified Long-billed Dowitcher at Lake Thunderbird’s Alameda Bridge.  Steve Davis and Mary Lane drove around the dam at Lake Hefner and saw 15 Common Loons as well as Pied-billed Grebes. 

On the 28th Larry Mays saw a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Garvin County along I-35.  In Canadian County at the John Nichols Scout Ranch Chad Ellis located Fish Crow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Chipping Sparrow.  At Lake Thunderbird Caleb Frome spotted an American Bittern and Lesser Yellowlegs while at Ten Mile Flats Joe Grzybowski finally flushed some Sprague’s Pipits.  On the 29th Joe located a Yellow-throated Warbler along South Jenkins.  In Grady County at Taylor Lake Bill Adams discovered an Osprey and Purple Martins.

On the 30th Jeff Tibbits saw a Barn Swallow at Lake Konawa. Rachel Wrenn spotted a Lark Sparrow at Little River State Park.  In McClain County, Larry Mays located a Louisiana Waterthrush.  In Canadian County along Morgan Road James Hubbell noticed a Grasshopper Sparrow and at Stinchcomb east gate a White-eyed Vireo.  At Lake Overholser Esther Key saw American Avocets on the west side, and Cliff Swallows nesting at the dam.  On the 31st Jerry Taylor reported an Orange-crowned Warbler in the Yukon City Park.  Jimmy Woodward spotted a Cattle Egret in northeast Oklahoma City, and the Evening Grosbeaks are still being seen at Hollis Price’s house in Oklahoma City.

For March 2015, in the Central Oklahoma area 170 bird species were reported with 37 new species bringing the year’s total to 178.  Because of the early February newsletter deadline several interesting reports were missed including 11 species now reported in all 12 counties.  In March another 11 species were added for a total of 32 species out of the 178.  Meanwhile, in South America Noah ends March with year-to-date total at 1,871 bird species seen. 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.