2020 OKC CBC Official Count resulted in a total of 118 species and 5 Count Week birds.
A cold front swept through the metro area shortly before midnight on Dec 18 and quickly dropped unseasonably warm temps in the low 50s down to the mid-to-upper 30s, coupled with a brisk but manageable north wind (~ 8-15 mph) by sunrise. However, the wind calmed down by noon and by mid-afternoon, with a bright sunny sky along with the temps creeping into the upper 40s, the afternoon became increasingly pleasant for the field warriors still out counting.
Our official species count is at 118 with five Count Week (CW) birds. And we had 20 count teams comprised of 45 participants which is impressive considering the pandemic!
Preliminary noteworthy sightings/misses I detected primarily from studying the lists and listening to members on our 12/22 virtual meeting are as follows:
I’m calling the Most Valuable Bird (MVB) on this year’s Count considering the excitement its created in Oklahoma this season a Mountain Bluebird! Steve Davis and Mary Lane found 10 in the junipers at Harding High School, 102nd and Kelley. Grace Huffman found 30 Mountain Bluebirds the next day also near Harding.
Jumping into Lake Hefner, both the Mays and Diffin teams closely coordinated at leveraging their respective party-hours and cleaned up on several species of uncommon to rare diving ducks as well as waders. In addition to a Pacific Loon, all three species of scoters including seven Surf Scoters were found! Also, Diffin’s team counted 340 Greater Scaup and a Long-tailed Duck. Consensus is building that the ever-increasing population of zebra mussels in the lake is becoming a major attraction for these species. The Mays team also counted 17 Black-crowned Night Heron at the Bluff-Creek Canal inlet, another positive trend.
Speaking of waders, moving over west to Silver Lake, Tucker’s team counted a whopping 57 Great Egrets and one out-of-season Snowy Egret. Tucker’s team also found one of the six Bald Eagles reported from four separate teams so far.
American White Pelicans, where do we begin?! High counts of 480, 523, 135 from just three of the teams where double-counting appears to be minimal is remarkable! Maybe our Club can conduct a coordinated pelican survey soon.
Ted Goulden’s team logged a tardy Yellow-headed Blackbird mixed in with thousands of starlings and smaller flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds at the compost facility off Morgan Road. Betz Hacker had found likely the same bird earlier in the week for back-up if needed. Woodard’s team later found a late Franklin’s Gull mixed in with hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls also at this location.
Kuhnert’s team at the Overholser rollover dam found a Tree Sparrow which of course is much more difficult to find these days.
Multiple teams including Shackford and Yocum found Vesper Sparrow(s). Impressions I received as well as reading lists indicate that kinglets were up this year. As expected, due to earlier reports starting back in November, multiple teams found unusually high numbers of Purple Finches and Pine Siskins. Also, multiple teams reported small flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese that some years are hard to find.
I took note of an observation from Howery’s team covering the zoo area. They logged an impressive 16 Carolina Wrens but the interaction between both the males and females calling back-and-forth they mentioned was a good reminder for me to slow down and soak up behavior and other general observations which arguably is just as rewarding than numbers alone. Their team also got a lone Greater Roadrunner and found 57 Ruddy Ducks!
Misses include Barred Owl as well as Greater Yellowlegs, Eastern Towhee, Orange-crowned Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. Other misses turning into trends include Common Mergansers. We do have at least four CW birds including Orange-crowned Warbler (Huffman), Lesser Goldfinch (Davis) and Iceland and California Gull (Marra).
Participants include John Cleal, Marion Homier; Steve Davis, Mary Lane; Bill Diffin; Carla Bruggen; Feodora Steward; Neil Garrison; Mark Howery, Sharon Henthorn; Patti Muzny, Nancy Vicars, Brian Munzy; Hal Yocum; Cheryl Allen; Brian Marra, Branden Farris, Grace Huffman; Betz Hacker, Robert Holbrook; John Sterling; Larry Mays, Chad Ellis, Aaron Mechem, Jan Fisher-Bachman; Morton Payne, Matthew Payne, Johnson Hightower, Steve Parker; John Shackford, Warren Harden, Terri Underhill; Jimmy Woodard, Nadine Varner, Valerie Bradshaw, Emily Muns; Nathan Kuhnert, Susan Prescott, Allison Jones, Nathan Jones; Kathleen Tucker, Valerie Kepler, Deanne McKinney and kudos to Warren Harden for his time and patience in getting our club more acclimated to Zoom.
Nathan Kuhnert, Compiler
|2020 OKC CBC (Official) Count|
|Greater White-fronted Goose||42|
|American Green-winged Teal||38|
|American White Pelican||1194|
|Great Blue Heron||95|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull||5|
|Great Horned Owl||3|
|Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)||100|
|American Tree Sparrow||2|
|20 Count Parties and 45 Participants|
|118 Species and 5 Count Week Birds|
|49,685 Total Birds Counted|