April 2012

An Active Month

As our winter species disappear and summer species arrive, April plants were treated to a frost free month and twice as much rain as average.  It was a lively month with plants breaking dormancy early, several tornados, and the arrival of singing migrants and summer residents.  Birders were kept busy discovering new arrivals every week.

On the 1st at the Yukon City Park Jimmy Woodward watched 6 Yellow-crowned Night Herons, 2 American Crows, and 2 Cooper’s Hawks building nests, saw Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Spotted Towhee, Chimney Swift, heard a White-eyed Vireo, and at the Coffer Dam on Lake Overholser he heard at least half a dozen Marsh Wrens and four Fish Crows.  At Lake Thunderbird Lindell Dillon and Jane Boren also located a White-eyed Vireo and an Osprey.  John Sterling discovered Yellow-crowned Night Herons nesting in large trees only a few blocks from the OU campus. On South Jenkins in Norman Joe Grzybowski discovered an Orange-crowned Warbler.  On the 2nd in Norman Kim Wiar heard a Barred Owl.  On the 5th Joe made a very quick pass by Lake Hefner and located about 15 Common Loons, one Red-throated Loon, a Western Grebe, and at the Coffer Dam Jim Bates found a Cinnamon Teal.  In Payne County at the Meridian Tech Center Pond, John Polo observed Semipalmated Sandpiper.


On the 6th James Hubbell took a short walk along the Coffer Dam at Lake Overholser just before work and enjoyed Black-and-white Warbler, Marsh Wren, Pintail Duck, and Swamp Sparrow.  Pat Velte was surprised to see five Western Grebes swimming together at Lake Hefner.  In Norman Lindell Dillon observed a Broad-winged Hawk, and Joe Grzybowski saw a Swainson’s Hawk.  On the 7th Jason Heinen located a Northern Parula near his home in Stillwater.


In Norman on the 8th Joseph Brian Davis discovered a House Wren, and on the 9th Diane Landoll saw her first Western Kingbird in a tree near the Biological Survey.  Chimney Swift were located by John Polo near his home in Stillwater, and Dave McNeely had them twittering and fluttering over Edmond.  On the 10th in Norman along South Jenkins Louis Truex announced the arrival of a Prothonotary Warbler, and Joe found a White-faced Ibis at Lake Hefner.  On the 11th John Polo photographed a group of Pectoral Sandpipers and saw Cattle Egrets at Meridian Tech Center Pond.  Esther Key heard an Upland Sandpiper flying over the parking lot in The Village during the night.


On the 13th Jim Bates found a Green Heron at Crystal Lake, and on the 14th he saw a Loggerhead Shrike in central Oklahoma City.  On the 14th Joe Grzybowski took a little time to poke around for birds starting in his Norman yard with Swainson’s Thrush and House Wren and along a windy South Jenkins he had a Great Crested Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo and an Upland Sandpiper. Later Jennifer Kidney located a Lark Sparrow.  In Stillwater at Boomer Lake John Polo discovered an Eastern Kingbird. Joyce Konigmacher drove to the dairy barn at OSU and saw a group of Yellow-headed Blackbird bathing in the shallow puddles and eating seeds from the dandelion heads.  At Lake Carl Blackwell Tim O’Connell located a Kentucky Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Pine Warbler, and Northern Parula.


On the 15th Jimmy saw a Grasshopper Sparrow along the Mustang Road Ponds, and at Sara Lake a Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Plover, Baird’s Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Bald Eagle and Osprey.  James Hubbell located a White-faced Ibis and American Golden Plovers at NW 50th and Morgan Road.  On the 16th Nancy Reed had a Black-chinned Hummingbird come to her feeder in Norman for the first time.  On the 17th Doc Garland confirmed a Mississippi Kite patrolling his neighborhood in Guthrie.  At the Teal Ridge Wetland Kent Andersson located a Solitary Sandpiper.


Along South Jenkins on the 18th Dick Gunn and a bunch of folks saw a Nashville Warbler.  On the 19th Steve and Mary Davis went by 50th between Morgan and County Line Roads and photographed four Wilson’s phalaropes, and at Lake Thunderbird’s Indian Point T K found a Wilson’s Warbler.  On the 20th Matt Jung reports the flooded field to the southeast of NW50th and Morgan Road had lots of Long-Billed Dowitchers, other shorebirds and ducks. On the 21st Jim Magovern heard a Chuck-will’s-Widow in Norman, and in Stillwater on South Stallard and Eastern Cheryl Baker discovered American Avocets.


On the 22nd Jimmy found a Baltimore Oriole at his hummingbird feeder in Mustang. On the 23rd at Lake Purcell Lou and Mary Truex and Kurt M. reported Semipalmated Plover and later along South Jenkins Dick Gunn ran into them and they located Indio Bunting, Painted Bunting, and White-eyed Vireo. On the 24th Jimmy was working outside at work near Mustang and flushed a Common Poorwill.  In Stillwater at Couch Park Cassandra Cullin found a Gray Catbird.

On the 25th Jim Bates observed a Summer Tanager singing high in the top of a tree near his work in Oklahoma City.  On the 27th T K located an Orchard Oriole at Lake Thunderbird’s Indian Point and on the 28tha Caspian Tern at North Sentinel Campground. At Sentinel Park James Hubbell discovered a Yellow-throated Vireo and Yellow-breasted Chat.

On the 29th along West Stinchcomb, Matt Jung had the first Dickcissel, and in Norman Nancy Reed had a beautiful male Lazuli Bunting visiting her feeder.  At the Lexington WMA Brian Davis noticed a Common Nighthawk, Common Yellowthroat, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Gray Catbird, and American Woodcock.  On the 30th on his way to work Jim Bates stopped at Crystal Lake and heard a strange Vireo song that turned out to be a Philadelphia Vireo.  Meanwhile, along the drive into Fort Reno, Nealand Hill & Max Fuller found at least two adult male Lark Buntings in breeding plumage.


During April 178 bird species were reported with 58 new species which increased the year’s total to 225 species in the Central Oklahoma area.  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.