February 2011

In like a lion; out like a lamb

February started out with two historical three-prong storms.  By the end of the storm on the 1st, a record 12.1 inches had fallen at Will Roger’s Airport with winds up to 40 mph whipping the snow into drifts up to 6 foot tall.  Then arctic air arrived, and on the 3rd temperatures in the Panhandle dipped into lows not seen since 1984.  A week later another ferocious storm arrived with less snow and smaller drifts but colder temperatures.  In the end, all that snow adding little moisture to a drought stricken area.

On the 1st during the height of the blizzard in south Oklahoma City, Patti Muzny enjoyed birding from the warmth of her cozy den but many of the birds weren’t so comfortable.  Some of her visitors were Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, a possible Tree Sparrow and a Copper’s Hawk.  Her husband brought in an American Robin that looked near death, and even though it was inside warming up, it died.  Dave McNeely and John Shackford in Edmond and L.D. Flores in Norman had Brown Thrashers at their feeders. In Stillwater, Tim O’Connell heard some cackley goose honks and looked up to see about 16 Greater White-fronted Geese battling the winds and poor visibility.  On the 2nd Dick Gunn had his first Fox Sparrow at his feeder in Norman.

On the 4th Susan Prescott in Nichols Hills watched a Cooper’s hawk catch and dine on an Eurasian Collared Dove.  Dave found a covey of Northern Bobwhites just east of MacArthur on 150th in a small, short grass pasture.  On the 5th Angie Holt discovered two Snow Geese in a flock of over 800 Canada Geese in the 10 Mile Flats area, 3 Trumpeter Swans on Summit Lake and 1 immature Glaucous Gull on Lake Thunderbird.  On the 8th EIvind Vamraak and Bill Diffin birded Lake Hefner and located a Thayer’s Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Cackling Geese, and Ross’s Geese.

On the 9th C.J. Metcalf noticed a first-ever Spotted Towhee at his back yard feeder.  On the 10th along South Jenkins Dick found Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Wilson’s Snipe, a Greater Yellowlegs, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.  On the 12th at Lake Hefner Joe Grzybowski had Common Loons, Greater Scaup, and one probable 2nd-cycle Glaucous Gull, one 1st-cycle Thayer’s, and one first-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Long-tailed Ducks, and 2 Greater Scaup.  At Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge on the 14th Matt Jung heard a Barred Owl, and on the 17th he located an Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Field Sparrow.

On the 18th Dale Kane decided to check the northwest end of Lake Stanley Draper in Midwest City at the large dirt lot where the equestrians unload their horses and discovered several American Woodcocks doing their dances. On the 20th James Hubbell heard a melee of about 150 Cedar Waxwings in a berry tree three doors from his home. While looking for quail in Payne County, Dwayne Elmore flushed 3 Long-eared Owls off a roost in a red cedar tree.

In Payne County on the 22nd and 23rd John Polo had good American Woodcock displays.  He was joined on the 23rd by his girlfriend and a few of Tim’s ornithology students.  Meanwhile Alcia Riddle and her husband watched American Woodcocks in their neighborhood east of Arcadia.  Matt walked the Coffer Dam and discovered Blue-winged Teal.  On the 24th Jim Jorgensen observed his first bat of the season.  On the 25th Jimmy Woodard and Nadine visited Lake Stanley Draper and saw 35 Sandhill Cranes flying over the lake and later enjoyed a great woodcock display, and Joe found a Ferruginous Hawk in the 10 Miles Flat area.

On the 26th Patti Muzny led the OCAS field trip to Lake Purcell and her cabin in Byers where they saw the first Purple Martin, a Bewick’s Wren, and White-throated Sparrow.  In Tuttle Esther Key heard a Western Meadowlark and had a Brewer’s Blackbird visit her feeder.  On the 27th along South Jenkins Dick Gunn heard a Fish Crow, saw a Turkey Vulture and Jennifer Kidney reported a LeConte’s Sparrow.

During February a total of 110 bird species were reported increasing the 2011 Central Oklahoma area total to 138 species.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by providing reports.  I can be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net.   Esther M. Key, Editor.