December 2014

The Final Tall

As the year comes to an end in spite of the weather, Birders flock to participate in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in various counties. And when all information is collected for the year, which county reported the most species in eBird?  What were some of the best birds you saw this year?

On the 4th Hal Yocum saw an adult Prairie Falcon hanging around Lake Carl Blackwell as he was checking out the Lewis’s Woodpecker.  On the 3rd at the east side of the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge Bill Diffin spotted an American Kestrel, Brown Creeper, and Brown Thrasher.  On the 6th Corban Hemphill located White-throated Sparrow and Harris’s Sparrows on a ranch in Logan County, and Joe Grzybowski had a Common Yellowthroat along South Jenkins.

On the 7th at Lake Overholser Larry Mays reported a single Sandhill Crane and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and in McClain County he spotted a Clay-colored Sparrow.  At Little River State Park John Tharp and Rachel Wrenn identified a Spotted and Eastern Towhee, Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Golden-crowned Kinglets.  At Bluff Creek Park Bill Diffin located a Swamp Sparrow and American Goldfinches.  Joe Grzybowski was able check out Lake Hefner and ran across Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon and a Franklin Gull.

On the 8th John Tharp noticed a Western Grebe at Lake Thunderbird’s 108th Ave Boat Launch.  On the 9th Matt Jung scanned Lake Hefner from several vantage points and discovered Greater Yellowlegs, Horned Grebe, and Ruddy Duck.  Caleb Frome identified a Dunlin at Lake Thunderbird’s Twin Bridges. Meanwhile, when driving east of Paul’s Valley John Sterling had a Burrowing Owl fly up from a ditch next to the road and land a short distance away on a pile of dirt left by a badger looking for gophers.

On the 11th Jerry Taylor found a Red-breasted nuthatch in his yard in Oklahoma City.  On the 12th Kevin Groeneweg took a spin around Lake Hefner and identified a Great Egret, Forster’s Tern, Least Sandpipers, Winter Wren and Common Mergansers.  In Grady County east of Chickasha Joe Grzybowski spotted a Prairie Falcon, and on the 13th John Bates saw Snow Geese near Council.

On the 14th at Lake Thunderbird’s Twin Bridges Joe Grzybowski had Black Vultures and Turkey vulture.  On the 20th during the Oklahoma City CBC Patti and Brian Muzny got a beautiful Ferruginous Hawk just NW of the Integris ProCure facility; Chad Ellis noted a Le Conte’s Sparrow at Lake Overholser, and at Lake Hefner Rachel Wrenn and John Tharp observed a California Gull from the Stars and Stripes Park.  At the center of the Stillwater CBC John Polo saw a Horned Lark.

On the 21st Jimmy Woodard birded Pottawatomie County and found 78 Rusty Blackbirds, 24 Wood Ducks and a Great Egret along Tecumseh Creek at the southwest corner of Tecumseh Lake on Sharon Road, a Bald Eagle at Wes Watkins, and later Lapland Longspurs.  On the 23rd Mary and Lou Truex located Brewer’s Blackbirds at Reservoir 12 in Kingfisher County. On the 24th Spencer Doffey spotted a Purple Finch at Crystal Lake on Hwy 9 just west of Riverwind Casino in McClain County.

On the 27th Don Maas found an American Tree Sparrow at Lake Thunderbird.  On the 28th T K identified American Pipits at Lake Thunderbird’s Twin Bridges.  On the 29th John Tharp saw an Eastern Phoebe at the Little River State Park.  On the 30th Bill Diffin discovered two Eared Grebes at Lake Hefner at the overflow column. On the 31st Corey Lange located an American Kestrel in Grady County, and a Northern Harrier along I-35 in Payne County.

In the Central Oklahoma area 138 bird species were reported in December with 1 new species.  The total number of species reported in e-Bird for each of the counties is as follows:  Kingfisher almost made 100 species but fell short by three.  Seminole had 112 and McClain had 114.  Garvin stayed at 121 since October and Lincoln stayed at 122 since August.  Meanwhile, thanks to Jimmy’s journey this month Pottawatomie jumped to 132.  Grady stayed at 146 and Logan jumped up two to 159. Canadian made it to the 200 club by one and Cleveland followed at 227.  Payne came in at 233 and Oklahoma finished at a magnificent 250.  With the year total for central Oklahoma at 290, there is a lot of variation in the area.  What birds will be reported where next year?  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at .   Esther M. Key, Editor.