January 2014

From Arctic Blast to High Fire Danger the weather toggled back and forth during the month. Swimmers moved from lake to lake as they froze and thawed while other birds scrambled to find food in the changing landscape. Gull watchers were rewarded with a variety of unusual species and several birders ventured out beyond their county lines.

On the 1st Joe Grzybowski checked Lake Thunderbird’s Twin Bridges and relocated the Little Gull; while at Lake Hefner Jimmy Woodard, Mary and Lou Truex also spotted another Little Gull, as well as, a Pacific Loon, Red-throated Loon, and Eared Grebe. Kristi Hendricks relocated the Loggerhead Shrikes in Amber, and at Lake Carl Blackwell Torre Hovick had a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

On the 3rd Dala Grissom reported a Prairie Falcon in Seminole County. On the 4th Matt Jung walked South Jenkins and noted a Greater Roadrunner catching grasshoppers. T K identified a Mew Gull at Lake Hefner; Larry Mays noticed a Hermit Thrush at Lake Louis Burtschi in Grady County.; in Stephens County Jimmy Woodard discovered a Sandhill Crane and Jeremiah Ables surprised a Barn Owl.

On the 5th at Lake Hefner Sharon Henthorn located Common Mergansers and Least Sandpipers. In Logan County, Donna Mackiewicz had a Spotted Towhee and Carolina Wren. Torre Hovick spotted Northern Bobwhite at Lake Carl Blackwell and a Red-breasted Nuthatch at Sierra Lane. Larry Mays watched as thousands upon thousands of blackbirds came in to roost in an area roughly where west 48th Street and Lindsay would theoretically intersect the Canadian River between Newcastle and Norman. George Sutton’s “Oklahoma Birds” first mentioned this roost when he visited it in 1952-53. On the 6th Larry reports Lake Overholser is frozen over and birders only have one lake to check now.

On the 7th in Grady County Larry spotted a Le Conte’s Sparrow at Taylor Lake. In Stillwater Deanne McKinney drove by Boomer Lake and found a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Meanwhile, at Lake Hefner Jeff Tibbits spotted a Glaucous Gull, Doug Wood and a couple of his students located a California Gull and Bill Diffin spotted a Great Black-backed Gull. On the 8th at Boomer Lake Torre Hovick and Scott Loss located Ross’s Goose and Trumpeter Swan, and on the 9th Torre also located a first year Glaucous Gull. Meanwhile, at Lake Hefner Deanne McKinney noticed a Black-crowned Night-Heron, Mark Peterson relocated the Mew Gull, and on the 10th John Hurd had an Orange-crowned Warbler.

On the 11th a horde of birders’ descended on Lake Hefner but the Great Black-backed Gull was not seen; however, John Kennington reports his group located two Long-tailed Ducks; Joe found another Kumlien’s Iceland Gull candidate; and Steve Davis and Mary discovered six Great Egrets just south of Stars and Stripes Park. At Dolese Sand Pit in Logan County Mary and Lou Truex found Hooded Merganser and Field Sparrow, and at Lake Carl Blackwell a Spotted Sandpiper. At the OSU Cross Country Course Tim O’Connell spotted a Smith’s Longspur.

By the 13th the ice had melted on Lake Overholser, and on the 14th Ruben Stoll reported a Loggerhead Shrike off of I-40 in Pottawatomie County. On the 16th at Lake Hefner ‘s Prairie Dog Point Joe Grzybowski located 400+ Herring Gulls, 3000+ Ring-billed Gulls, 50 Bonaparte’s Gulls, 1 Franklin’s Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Glaucous Gull, 1 swarm-hybrid Thayer’s/Kumlien’s, 1 probable adult “Nelson’s” Gull – hybrid Herring/Glaucous Gull, 12 Thayer’s Gulls (clearly the most Thayer’s he’s seen in a day in Oklahoma ) and two mystery gulls to ID from photos.

On the 18th Mary and Lou Truex located a Fox Sparrow at the Stroud Sewage Lagoon in Lincoln County. On the 17th Torre Hovick saw a Brown Creeper in Couch Park in Payne County. On the 19th at Lake Hefner Ernie Wilson noted the Long-tailed Duck was still present. Jimmy Woodard and Larry Mays birded Lincoln County mostly at Chandler and Bell Cow Lakes and found Rusty Blackbirds. On the 20th Jim and John Bates saw a Ferruginous Hawk near NW 63rd and Morgan Road. On the 21st John Sterling spotted one Short-eared Owl northeast of Paul’s Valley. On the 22nd Bill Diffin checked Rose Lake and had about 1,000 geese crowded into the west end including 20 Snow Geese and 2 Greater White-fronted Geese.

On the 25th at Taylor Lake Bill Adams confirmed the Lewis’s Woodpecker was still there, and Phillip Leonard noticed a Rough-legged Hawk, and Wilson ’s Snipe. Brian Muzny heard Horned Larks at SW 80thand Western. Nearby Patti has a Brown Thrasher visiting her porch for the crushed pecans she puts out for it, Northern Cardinals and Northern Mockingbird. Talk about spoiling the birds!

In Garvin County Jimmy Woodward birded around Paul’s Valley Lake, met up with David Gainey of Sulphur and birded Lake R. C. Longmire where they saw Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Greater Yellowlegs, and Bewick’s Wren. At his home in Oklahoma City, John Hurd had a Purple Finch. On the 26th Torre Hovick discovered a Pine Warbler at Lake Carl Blackwell; and on the 27th John Sterling in Garvin County reported 73 Northern Cardinals at his feeder. The Year has started with a variety of interesting reports!!

For January 2014, 144 bird species were reported 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.