February 2017

The Great Backyard Bird Count

What a busy birding month!! This year the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) dates were 17, 18, 19, 20 and Central Oklahoma did well, but were we able to have all central Oklahoma counties participate?

The GBBC was quickly followed by the arrival of the first spring migrants, and two surprise visitors arrived during the month but would they stay? On the 31st Robert Martinez spotted Wild Turkey at Sleepy Hollow RV Park in Kingfisher County. On the 1st Robert Martinez detected a Loggerhead Shrike and Western Meadowlark at Lake Hefner, and Jerry Taylor reported a Baltimore Oriole in his OKC backyard. On the 2nd Janet Mills noticed a Pileated Woodpecker in her yard in Logan County, and Zach Poland identified Le Conte’s and American Tree Sparrows at Lake Carl Blackwell.

On the 3rd Valerie Bradshaw and others encountered American Woodcock at Lake Stanley Draper, and Brian Stufflebeam saw an Eastern Towhee at Mitch Park. On the 4th in McClain County Tyler Miloy discovered Double-crested Cormorant and Northern Harrier at Wiley Post Memorial Lake; and Joe Grzybowski located Western Meadowlark at the Goldsby Sod Farm. On the 5th Zach Poland verified a Lincoln’s Sparrow in Logan County; Zach DuFran counted a Purple Finch at Lake Thunderbird Chapel; and Joe Buck got an Eastern Screech-Owl in Edmond. On the 9th at Lake El Reno Brian Stufflebean added Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose and Swamp Sparrow.

On the 10th Michael Anderson photographed a Harris’s Hawk in Oklahoma City which was later seen by numerous birders for the rest of the month. At Wewoka Lake Jimmy Woodward noticed Red-headed Woodpecker and Field Sparrow; and at Wes Watkins Lake he documented Rusty and Brewer’s Blackbirds. On the 11th Glenda Duvall recognized Sandhill Crane and Red-headed Woodpecker on Redskin Road near the Canadian River; Shane Sherwood tallied a Common Loon on the west side of Lake Overholser; at Lake Carl Blackwell Caitlin Laughlin came across American Woodcock and John Polo had Pine Warbler.

On the 12th in Guthrie William Radke checked Common Loon at Liberty Lake and Brown Creeper and Hermit Thrush at Mineral Wells Park, and T K recorded an American Woodcock at Lake Thunderbird Alameda Bridges. On the 13th Steve Davis had a Pileated Woodpecker at the Yukon City Park and a Greater Scaup along the west side of Lake Overholser.

On the 14th Larry Mays turned up a Horned Lark in McClain County. On the 15th in Kingfisher County Janice Russell spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch; and in Grady County at Lake Louis Burtschi Mary & Lou Truex identified a Vesper Sparrow and Spotted Towhee. On the 16th Amanda Stubbs noticed a Red-breasted Nuthatch near Mustang; John Bates saw a Le Conte’s Sparrow at the Purina Field in Edmond; and Zach Poland got a Barn Owl at his home in Logan County. And then the Great Backyard Bird Count started.

On the 17th at Wynnewood in Garvin County Jessie Hammond reported White-crowned Sparrows and Carolina Wren. In Lincoln County near Wellston Will Childress located Harris’s Sparrow and White-breasted Nuthatch. At Bridge Creek in Grady County Renee Kendall detected a Ring-necked Duck. At Blanchard in McClain County Laura Madden recognized Brown Creeper and Hairy Woodpecker. In Cleveland County at Lake Stanley Draper Brian Marra tallied Horned Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser. In Oklahoma County in Nicoma Park George Ann Tabor documented a Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. In Payne County at the Meridian Technology Center Pond Sarah Harren discovered Least Sandpipers.

On the 18th in Seminole County at a roadside pond Esther and John Key added Wilson’s Snipe, Greater Yellowlegs; at Lake Konawa NE boat ramp a Whitethroated Sparrow; and in Pottawatomie County a Loggerhead Shrike. At Bell Cow Lake in Lincoln County Brian Marra noticed Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Common Goldeneye. At the USAO Habitat Area in Grady County Jason Shaw located American Wigeon, Brewer’s Blackbird and White-winged Dove. On the west side of Lake Overholser in Canadian County Brian Stufflebeam counted Common Merganser and Herring Gull; while Valerie Boudreaux recognized American Goldfinch near Yukon. At Mulhall in Logan County Bridger Arrington encountered Chestnut-collared Longspur. At Lake Carl Blackwell Alex James identified a Hermit Thrush and CH Hemphill a Brown Thrasher. In Norman Diana Beal found a Great Egret; at Summit Lake Emily Hjalmarson checked a Canvasback; at Lake Thunderbird Little River Marina area T K saw a Spotted Sandpiper and at Ten Mile Flats Joe Grzybowski came across a Northern Harrier.

On the 19th Zach Poland spotted a Bald Eagle along Hwy #33 in Kingfisher County. In McClain County in Purcell Phil Floyd had a Greater Yellowlegs; east of Byars the Muzny’s reported American Woodcock, Hermit Thrush, Purple Finch; and at Wiley Post Memorial Lake Christine Bassett detected a Bald Eagle. In Logan County south of the Lazy Z Arena Will Childress came across a Purple Finch and Red-headed Woodpecker. In Norman Carol Enwall documented a Pine Warbler; Jeff Dosser added a Wild Turkey; and at Cherry Creek Park Jeremy Ross found a Loggerhead Shrike. At the OKC Zoo Zach DuFran discovered a Blackcrowned Night-Heron; and at Lake Carl Blackwell Drake Boone recorded a Lincoln’s Sparrow.

On the 20th Brian Stuffebeam counted a Swamp Sparrow at Mineral Wells Park in Guthrie; Cindy Cunningham encountered a Barn Owl at the Purina Fields in Edmond; Joe Grzybowski verified a Ross’s Goose at Lake Hefner; and the GBBC was over. On the 21st Deanne McKinney tallied a Green-winged Teal at Rose Lake, and Deb Hirt identified a Neotropic Cormorant at Boomer Lake. On the 23rd Alexus Singleton birded Wes Watkins Lake and located Brewer’s Blackbird and Pied-billed Grebe. At Lake Louis Burtschi in Grady County Caleb McKinney noticed an American Woodcock and Ruddy Duck. In Norman John Tharp saw a Lark Sparrow; and along South Jenkins Calebe Frome discovered Common Yellowthroat and Wren Winter. At Lake Hefner Brian Marra picked out a Franklin’s Gull, and in her OKC yard Deanne McKinney had an Eastern Screech-Owl. On the 24th Zach Poland spotted Blue-winged Teal in Logan County; while in Cleveland County Larry Mays also discovered Blue-winged Teal along with Cinnamon Teal at the sod farm along SW149th Street. Caleb Frome quickly arrived to find them before they disappeared the next day. On the 25th Wendy Abel got a Downy Woodpecker east of Shawnee; Bill Diffin encountered a Ruddy Duck along Lake Overholser‘s west side; and T K recorded an American Pipit at Lake Thunderbird Dave Blue Creek area.

On the 26th Tim O’Connell noticed a Pine Warbler at OSU Arboretum; and Scott Loss spotted an American Pipit at Whittenberg Park. On the 27th Jerry Butler reported a Common Loon, Orange crowned Warbler, Fish Crow and Purple Martin at Guthrie Lake. Barn Owls were seen by Griffin Sellers at the Lexington WMA and Jason Shaw at the USAO Habitat Area. 0n the 28th Jeremy Ross counted a flock of Sandhill Cranes in Norman.

In the Central Oklahoma area during February 141 species were reported with 14 new species added to the 2017 year making the total to date of 152. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by making reports at http:// ebird.org and can also be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net . Esther M. Key, Editor.