April 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

While the drought continues along with random outbreaks of fire, spring bird migration continues in full swing.  Due to the drought, lake levels are low making this an awesome month and year for shorebirds.

On April 1st Bill Diffin checked the mud flats on Lake Overholser and noted American Golden Plover, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling, and Stilt Sandpiper.  On the 2nd at the OSU Botanical Garden Tim O’Connell reported a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush.  On the 3rd along South Jenkins Dick Gunn, John Raeside, and Anais Starr got great looks at the Yellow-throated Warbler and a Solitary Sandpiper.  A Ruby-throated Hummingbird showed up in Lexington in Phil Floyd’s yard, and on the 6th in Norman at Nancy Reed’s feeder.  On April 4tha Lesser Goldfinch visited Pat Folley’s feeder in Norman, and Lisa Bewley saw Yellow-headed Blackbirds at a pond in NW Edmond.

On the 5th Sue Lutze identified a Black-and-White Warbler in Tuttle.  On South Jenkins Dick Gunn had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Harrier, Little Blue Heron.  Les Imboden reported Cliff Swallows along the H.E. Bailey Turnpike near Chickasha.  On the 6th Matt Jung hiked Lake Overholser’s NE mud flats and observed White-faced Ibis, Spotted Towhee, White-throated, Harris’s, and White-crowned Sparrows, and on the 5th White-rumped Sandpipers and Sanderlings.

On the 7th Jennifer Kidney had a Northern Parula on South Jenkins.  On the 9th the OCAS Zoo field trip located Ruddy Duck, Wood Ducks and Cattle Egrets.  On the 10th Jimmy Woodard spent a couple of hours at Yukon City Park where surprises included Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-crowned Night Herons, Brown Creeper, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Swainson’s Hawk, House Wren, Nashville Warbler and Pine Siskin.  At Eldon Lyon Park Matt found Western Kingbirds, White-breasted Nuthatch and at Lake Overholser’s Coffer Dam one singing Prothonotary Warbler.   Jim Bates at Lake Hefner saw an Osprey, at a small cattail marsh he flushed a Green Heron, and at his house four Chimney Swifts swooped overhead.  On the 11th along South Jenkins Dick located an Eastern Kingbird.

On the 12th Matt heard a single Baltimore Oriole in the Yukon City Park, and along South Jenkins Jennifer Kidney saw a singing Bell’s Vireo.  Jimmy Woodard checked Lake Overholser NE and found one Hudsonian Godwit,  a Snowy Plover, and at Rose Lake a Willet.  Two days later Bill Diffin and Matt Jung found 40 more Hudsonian Godwits, and Dick reports Gary Schnell’s Ornithology class located Northern Rough-winged Swallows along South Jenkins.

On the 16th the Payne County Audubon had their first official Big Day bird count with Tim O’Connell and Dustin Lynch locating Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, Eared Grebe, Broad-winged Hawk, Spotted Sandpiper, Chuck-will’s-Widow, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, and Grasshopper Sparrow; another team found a lone Black-necked Stilt at the water treatment plant in Cushing.  On the 17th Damon Doye and Elaine Stebler advised Tim there were about 100 Yellow-headed Blackbirds at the OSU Dairy Barn.  On the 18th along west Stitchcomb WMA Matt discovered a Great Crested Flycatcher, Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler and Indigo Bunting.  On the 19th Jennifer Kidney had a Prothonotary Warbler along South Jenkins.  At Lake Overholser Matt discovered 3 White-faced Ibises, a Semi-palmated Plover, on the 20th Matt found a Swainson’s Thrush at the Yukon City Park and on the 21st in his bird bath a pair of Tennessee Warblers.   On the 21st Judy Jordan heard and saw a Wood Thrush.

On the 22nd Jimmy checked Lake Overholser NE and discovered a Wilson’s Phalarope, Caspian Tern, Yellow Warbler, and 4 Cackling Geese and at the zoo a Warbling Vireo.  At Rose Lake Matt located American Pipits, and Dave and Sue Woodon had a Mississippi Kite circling overhead at 150thand Penn. On the 23rd along South Jenkins on the Canadian River section Joe Grzybowski located 3 Black-necked Stilts.  At Yukon City Park Jimmy and Nadine had a Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Red-breasted Nuthatch and at Lake Overholser a Peregrine Falcon.  During the week along South Jenkins Dick reports Black-poll Warbler and Blue Grosbeak.

On the 24th rain finally arrived in central Oklahoma.  In Stillwater Brian Sheehan had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in his yard, at the Teal Ridge Wetland Tim’s highlight was a singing Sedge Wren, and in Norman Joe had a male Lazuli Bunting in his yard. Gayl Wells photographed Inca Doves in her Midwest City backyard. On the 25th Jennifer Kidney and Cecil Johnson were lucky to see a male Painted Bunting along South Jenkins and on the 27thNancy Reed had one in her Norman yard.  In the Yukon City Park Jimmy found a female Summer Tanager and Bill heard a flock of Harris’s Sparrows calling in the twilight.

On the 28th Bill saw a Whimbrel at Lake Overholser, and at Lake Arcadia Dave and Sue heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and saw a Broad-winged Hawk.  A Piping Plover was located by Jim Bates at Lake Overholser and Angie Holt at Lake Hefner while James Hubbell saw a Sprague’s Pipit in the Yukon City Park.  On the 29th at the Lake Hefner Parkway ponds Joe found a Neotropic Cormorant and in Norman a Mississippi Kite.

During April a total of 175 bird species were reported including 61 new species which increased the 2011 Central Oklahoma area total to 227 species.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by turning in reports.  I can be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net.   Esther M. Key, Editor