Birding Hot Spots


Birding Hot Spots
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March 2017

Early Spring

Now is the time to be alert.  Migrants are arriving in central Oklahoma; sometimes several new ones in a single day.  The drought continued with wild fires in the state; however, by the end of the month some rain arrived, but much more is needed.  It appears the last frost for Oklahoma City was on the 15th, and the hottest day at 90° was on the 20th, the first day of spring.  All this early warm weather is causing an early spring.  So how does the early blooming of spring plants effect the migration and nesting of birds?

On the 3rd Joe Buck spotted a Short-eared Owl in north Edmond.   On the 4th Brian Marra came across Winter Wren at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge; Joe Grzybowski turned up Yellow-headed Blackbird at Ten Mile Flats; and Mike Yough recognized Fish Crow at Couch Park.  On the 5th Brian Marra reported a Prairie Falcon at Calumet and a Brown Creeper at Lake Elmer in Kingfisher County.  On the 7th Melissa Winans had a Cooper’s Hawk near Wynnewood on I-35 in Garvin County.  On the 8th Scott Loss saw a Purple Martin at Whittenberg Park in Stillwater.  On the 9th Joe Buck encountered Fish Crow in Edmond. 

On the 10th in Grady County Jason Shaw tallied Wild Turkey at USAO Habitat Area, Caleb McKinney found Wilson’s Snipe and Eastern Phoebe in Ninnekah and in McClain County at Wiley Post Memorial Lake Esther Key added a Loggerhead Shrike.  On the 11th Bill Diffin documented Baird’s Sandpiper at Lake Hefner, and Scott Loss discovered an Eared Grebe at Lake Carl Blackwell.  The 12th was a busy bird day.  An American Golden-Plover was detected by T K at Lake Thunderbird Alameda Bridge, and by Bill Diffin at Lake Hefner.  Barn Swallows were recorded at several locations.  Brian Marra counted a Barn Swallow at Guthrie Lake and Wood Duck at Mineral Wells Park in Logan County; Jimmy Woodard verified a Barn Swallow at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and a Tree Swallow at Crystal Lake; and Deb Hirt located a Barn Swallow at Boomer Lake Park. On the 13th Emily Hjalmarson got a Barn Swallow along South Jenkins in Norman. 

On the 15th Melissa Cunningham identified a Purple Martin at South Lakes Park in OKC.  On the 17th Paul Cook saw Vesper Sparrow along South Jenkins; and John Polo noticed Louisiana Waterthrush and Black-and-white Warbler at Lake Carl Blackwell.  On the 18th Larry Mays located a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Mustang; Joe Grzybowski searched Ten Miles Flat in Norman for Sprague’s Pipit; John Tharp uncovered a Black-and-white Warbler at Little River State Park; Brian Marra found a Pectoral Sandpiper at the John Marshall Mid-High School Pond in OKC; and Mike Yough acknowledged a Swamp Sparrow at the Cushing Water Treatment Plant. 

On the 19th Mitchell Jarrett located an Upland Sandpiper at the Goldsby Sod Farm in McClain County; Esther Key counted Purple Martins at Wildhorse Creek Site 107 in Garvin County; and Mike Yough added a Cinnamon Teal at Teal Ridge Wetland in Stillwater.  In Cleveland County Jeremy Ross discovered a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at the Oklahoma Biological Survey; and Samantha Wolfe identified a Yellow-throated Warbler along South Jenkins. In Grady County Brian Marra encountered a Barn Swallow at Marlow and a Cliff Swallow at Ninnekah.  On the 20th Richard Hasegawa found a Cooper’s Hawk in Lincoln County near Stroud. 

On the 21st Larry Mays tallied Purple Martin and Louisiana Waterthrush at Tuttle; Lindell Dillon spotted a White-eyed Vireo at Lake Thunderbird Alameda Bridge; and Bill Diffin saw a Cinnamon Teal at Lake Hefner.  On the 22nd Bill Diffin had an American Golden-Plover, Fish Crow, and Lark Sparrow at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.  On the 23rd Larry Mays saw a Baird’s Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Yellow-headed Blackbird at the North Yukon Parkway Playas; Bill Diffin detected a White-eyed Vireo at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge; and at Taylor Lake in Grady County Dave Woodson found Pied-billed Grebe and American White Pelican.  On the 24th Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were noticed by Brian Stufflebeam at Lake Overholser; Emily Hjalmarson along South Jenkins; and Jimmy Woodard in his Midwest City yard.  Chad Ellis uncovered Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at his home in OKC. 

On the 25th T K recognized Lesser Goldfinch in central Norman; Deanne McKinney turned up a Northern Rough-winged Swallow at Saint Francis West Lake in OKC; Brian Marra recorded Black-and-white Warbler at Arcadia Lake; Tim O’Connell saw a Tree Swallow at Lake Carl Blackwell; Scott Loss reported a Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Cliff Swallow at Boomer Lake Park and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Whittenberg Park in Stillwater.  On the 26th Ed and Rowena    were surprised to verify an Osprey at Dolese Lake Park in OKC.  In Logan County Zach Poland documented a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Guthrie and a Lark Sparrow near his home.

On the 26th Emily Hjalmarson saw Snowy Egret along South Jenkins.  On the 27th Brian Stufflebeam identified Long-billed Curlew at Arcadia Lake; Brian Marra encountered Lark Sparrow at Tinker AFB; Laura Madden found Lincoln’s Sparrow near Blanchard; Larry Mays added Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Cleveland County and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at his home in McClain County.  On the 28th Brian Marra documented an Osprey and Black-necked Stilt at Lake Hefner.  On the 29th at Meridian Technology Center Pond Scott Loss located American Golden-Plover and Kent Andersson a Pectoral Sandpiper; along Ten Mile Flats Jerry Vanbebber verified a Long-billed Dowitcher and Mitchell Jarret reported a Little Blue Heron

On the 30th along South Jenkins Emily Hjalmarson found a Marsh Wren, and Brian Stufflebeam recognized a Yellow-throated Vireo. Melissa Cunningham spotted a Cattle Egret near South Lake Park in OKC; and Deanne McKinney turned up a Little Blue Heron near Rose Lake.  On the 31st Scott Loss noticed a Little Blue Heron at Whittenberg Park; Jerry Vanbebber detected a Northern Parula at Lake Thunderbird; Joe Grzybowski recorded Brewer’s Blackbird and American Golden-Plover at Goldsby Sod Farm; and Pat Flannigan surprised a very large flock of Cedar Waxwings near Quail Springs Mall.  April is a big month for migration arrivals so get out, watch the show and then enter your sightings in eBird!!  

In the Central Oklahoma area during March 155 species were reported with 28 new species added to the 2017 year making the total to date of 178.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by making reports at http://ebird.org  and can also be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net .  Esther M. Key, Editor.