April 2010

Welcoming over 50 newcomers

When April began, the beautiful purple flowering redbuds were highlighting by the gray winter forest, which suddenly turned various shades of green as all the leaves burst forth.  The last frost was on the 7th with another one skirting the western side of central Oklahoma on the 26th.

April 1st Cynthia Van Den Broeke reported a beautiful Yellow-crowned Night Heron by the Sam Noble Museum in Norman, and Jim Bates saw a Little Blue Heron fly over his house in Oklahoma City.  Bill Diffin found an Eared Grebe on Lake Hefner and a Swamp Sparrow at the Coffer Dam on Lake Overholser.  On the 3rd at the Coffer Dam he saw a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk take off above the wooded swamp and slowly circle higher and higher until it drifted off to the north.

On the 4th Jennifer Kidney found a Prothonotary Warbler along south Jenkins in Norman, and on the 6th Dick Gunn found an Eastern Towhee, a fly over Northern Harrier and heard a distant Northern Bobwhite Quail.  On the 7th Sue Lutze saw the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Tuttle, Jimmy Woodward found an Eastern Kingbird at Lake Stanley Draper, CJ Metcalf spotted a small flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds in a flooded pasture off Reese Lake Road, and Feodora Steward reported a cloud of 75 to 100 Cedar Waxwings in west Oklahoma City.  On the 8th Jim Bates saw American Golden Plovers at the sod farm at SW 149th and MacArthur, Brian Davis ran across over 70 Upland Sandpipers in Norman along Franklin Road between NW72nd and NW60th, and along South Jenkins Dick and Matt saw a singing Northern Parula presenting it’s magnificent self in the early morning sunlight – just dandy!

On the 10th the OCAS field trip at Pat Murphy Park led by Jerry Vanbebber had 4 American Avocets, a fly over from an Osprey carrying a fish in its talons, and at the Police Station Pond Bonaparte’s and Franklin’s Gulls.  Later Jimmy’s group saw a Western Grebe at Prairie Dog Point on Lake Hefner, and at Rose Lake Jerry’s group found Semipalmated Sandpipers.  On the 11th Jimmy found a House Wren at the Yukon Park and along Wagner Road some Lesser Yellowlegs.  At the Oklahoma State Arboretum Vince Cavalieri found Chipping and Clay-colored Sparrows, at South Jenkins Ana Starr and Jenifer Kidney saw a Common Nighthawk flying down the river, and Jim Bates put out four of John Newell’s Prothonotary Warbler boxes along the Coffer Dam road.

On the 12th along South Jenkins in Norman Dick found a Green Heron on the Beaver Pond, and on the 14th Matt had a Grasshopper Sparrow and Spotted Sandpiper.  On the 16th it rained all day and Cattle Egrets appeared in a grassy field next to Esther Key’s yard.  On the 18th Joe Grzybowski saw an adult Bald Eagle circling in Norman.  On the 20th the Tuesday Morning Birders led by Bill Diffin found a female Surf Scoter on the Lake Hefner water treatment ponds, and later a Gray Catbird.  Near the Coffer Dam at Lake Overholser Jim Bates saw a Sora Rail run across an open area between bunches of cattails and utter the whinny call.  In Edmond Terri Underhill’s Carolina Wrens fledged.

On the 21st at Lake Hefner Bill heard a Warbling Vireo.  On the 22nd Matt and Jenny Foster heard their first Chuck-will’s-Widow in Blanchard.  On the 23rd along South Jenkins Matt and Dick found Blue Grosbeaks, an Indigo Bunting and a single Sedge Wren.  In Mustang Jimmy had a Baltimore Oriole come to both hummingbird feeders and try to get some sugar water which was a very nice surprise.  Later he birded Pat Murphy Park and found a Swainson’s Thrush.  On South Jenkins Dick found a Red-eyed Vireo, Snowy Egret, and possibly heard a Great Crested Flycatcher calling.  Mississippi Kites flew over Matt and Jenny’s home in Blanchard and Terri Underhill’s home in Edmond.

On the 24th Jimmy and Nadine found a Summer Tanager at the Yukon City Park, the Yellow-billed Loon at Lake Hefner, 30 Wilson’s Phalaropes at the Yukon Treatment Plant, and heard two Prothonotary Warblers at the Coffer Dam.  Matt had Bell’s Vireo and Black-crowned Night-Herons at the Coffer Dam and Western Kingbird along Morgan Road.  Eivind Vamraak and Bill Diffin were birding the west side of the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge when a Peregrine Falcon briefly flew over and later Ernie Wilson saw one near Rose Lake.

On the 25th at Lake Stanley Draper Jimmy had several Kentucky Warblers, a female Painted Bunting and Broad-winged Hawks.  Pat Velte discovered that the Surf Scoter is still at Lake Hefner.  At Lake Carl Blackwell Timothy O’Connell found a Pine Warbler, Jim Bates flushed an American Bittern at Rose Lake, and Bill found 41 Willets at the Coffer Dam.  On the 26th Tim Ryan and Debby Kaspari birded the eastern edge of Lake Thunderbird and found 3 Black Vultures, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Nashville Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Summer Tanager and Great-crested Flycatcher.

On the 27th the Tuesday Morning Birders led by Bill found a Bank Swallow at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, and Dana Holbrook and Susan Prescott found a Palm Warbler at the Coffer Dam.  On the 29th Bill and Charles Douglas walked the east Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and had a Caspian Tern fly over the trail heading to Lake Overholser. Angie Holt saw a White-faced Ibis and Dickcissel at 10 Mile Flats in Norman.

During April over 50 new bird species were reported for a total of 170 bird species making the Central Oklahoma area to date total at 214 species.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by turning in reports.  I can be contacted by email at emkok@earthlink.net.   Esther M. Key, Editor.