February 2010

February Surprises

National records were set in February regarding both snow and wind.  For the first time in the national weather records on February 12th snow fell in all 50 states.  Also, it was the only month since 1950 when there were no reports of a tornado in any of the 50 states.  In Oklahoma February started cold and wet but ended ‘warm’ and dry with the monthly precipitation total 0.91inches above average and temperatures 5.7ºF below normal.

In Norman on the 1st Dick Gunn commented that the January snow was still awfully pretty down on South Jenkins as he found Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s Snipe, Wood Duck, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and the tracks of river otter, beaver, coyote, bobcat, skunk, cottontail, raccoon and white-tailed deer. At feeders Kim Wiar had at the same time White-winged, Eurasian Collared and Mourning Doves; while Matt Jung had an Orange-crowned Warbler along with over 300 blackbirds of various species.

On the 2nd in Norman at South Jenkins Dick added Bald Eagle, Barred Owl, and March Wren, and Matt had a Brown Creeper, Fox Sparrow, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  On the 3rd at Lake Hefner Bill Diffin found at least 20 Herring Gulls in and around a raft of Common and Red-breasted Mergansers and one Glaucous Gull.  On the 4th John Manganiellow had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet at his feeder in Edmond. On the 6th along South Jenkins Matt and Cecil Johnson had a Hairy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatches, and the ‘white’ Red-tailed Hawk.

On the 6th at Lake Hefner Pat Velte photographed an immature Yellow-billed Loon just north of Prairie Dog Point.  On the 7th Jimmy Woodard and Jerry and Anita Vanbebber relocated the loon and also found a Western Grebe.  Both species were last reported in February on the 27th by Brian Davis.  On the 7th at Lake Hefner Bill Adams and his mother found a couple of Hooded Mergansers and Horned Grebes.  At Rose Lake, Mary and Steve Lane saw about 40 Northern Pintails. Over the weekend in her Norman backyard Nancy Reed had what  is thought to be gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco.

On the 11th Max Fuller reports the Lesser Black-backed Gull is at Lake El Reno. On the 12th Pat Velte reports the 8 Trumpeter Swans were still on Summit Lake in Norman, and on the 16th Mark Cromwell found 4 Trumpeter Swans on a pond in Logan County north and west of Crescent.  In Norman on the 16th Ben Holt had 121 Smith’s Longspurs, and on the 19th Brian Davis reported the Merlin was flying over the ball fields south of Jackson Elementary.  On the 20th Joe Grzybowski reports two adult Thayer’s gulls and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Overholser.

On the 25th Bill Diffin and the Tuesday morning birders found several interesting species:  Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese were at Lake El Reno; Ferruginous Hawks and Western Meadowlark were in the Fort Reno area; and several flocks of Mountain Bluebirds were west of Fort Reno.  Turkey Vultures were seen in Midwest City by Jim Jorgensen and over South Jenkins by Richard Gunn.

On the 26th Jim Bates saw Short-eared Owls in pastures near Fort Reno.  On the 28th about 1 mile west of Norman on Indian Hills Road Joe Grzybowski spotted 3 American Golden Plovers, which is about 10 days before expected.  Patti Muzny reported American Woodcocks were heard/observed calling just after sunset on their property in Byars. Where is spring?  Is this the beginning?

During February 121 bird species were reported making the Central Oklahoma area to date total at 133 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.