January 2013

A new year and new birds

Starting the New Year off right with the nice weather, birders were providing reports from all the central Oklahoma counties including several rare species. But the nice weather has a drawback with again only 2 days of rain during the month and the drought is projected to continue for another year or even three more years, water for human use is dwindling rapidly. Oklahoma City, Norman and surrounding cities are now on unheard of winter water rationing with further restriction being discussed. Meanwhile…

On the 1st Jason Shaw saw 24 Wild Turkeys, and a Northern Harrier at the USAO Habitat Area in Grady County; Joe Grzybowski noticed a Black Vulture over Lake Thunderbird; T K observed a Hermit Thrush at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and James Hubbell identified 4 Rusty Blackbirds at Lake Hefner’s Lakeshore Park. On the 2nd Mary and Lou Truex birded Purcell Lake in McClain county and located Greater Scaup, Hermit Thrush, an at a Reservoir near E1490 and I-35 a group of Brewer’s Blackbird. On the 2nd near Cottonwood Creek in Logan County, Christie Stoops had an Eastern Phoebe. At Waco and Stevens Road in Pottawatomie County Dala Grissom sited a Field Sparrow and on the 3rd a Pine Siskin. Pam Clower of Stillwater spotted an American White Pelican and mature Bald Eagle near Boomer Lake in Stillwater. Jim Arterburn and Ken Williams found two Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Lake Overholser, and at Lake Hefner Least Sandpipers and 2 Baird’s Sandpipers.

On the 4th Victoria Kennedy saw a Pileated Woodpecker in her back yard near Choctaw. At Lake Hefner Joe Grzybowski walked out over the former lake bed at Prairie Dog Point to identify six gull species including Thayer’s Gull, California Gulls, plus Forster’s Terns, Wilson’s Snipe, Common Mergansers, and two Dunlin. T K found both Winter and Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroat and Swamp Sparrow along South Jenkins, and Janet Landry had a Greater Roadrunner near downtown Oklahoma City.

Meanwhile, on the 4th Matt Jung reported a list of over 50 birds he had observed since the New Year began. On the 1st on the east side of Lake Overholser on a cold and windy day he located Snow Geese, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Carolina Wrens. On the 2nd along South Jenkins he found Jennifer Kidney birding ahead of him and to his surprise his first bird was a Barred Owl. He also discovered a Belted Kingfisher, Greater Yellowlegs and photographed in pristine plumage a puffed-up American Kestrel and a Red-shouldered Hawk. On the way home he stopped at the ‘Longspur Field’ and spotted Smith’s Longspurs, Savannah Sparrows, and Lincoln Sparrows. On the 4th at Lake Hefner he viewed Northern Shovelers, Canvasbacks, and Bonaparte Gulls.

On the 5th Christ Clay discovered a Golden-crown Kinglet in Shawnee, and Valerie Bradshaw had a Brown Creeper, Bewick’s Wren and American Tree Sparrow at west Stinchcomb WMA. On the 6th Jimmy Woodard found a Greater White-fronted Goose at Lake Overholser. John and Brandy Polo went to Lake Carl Blackwell and noticed a different shorebird, a Purple Sandpiper. This is only the second time this bird has been discovered in Oklahoma when John Shackford found one December 9-12, 1977 at Lake Overholser. It left during the afternoon of the 8th. Meanwhile, as a group was waiting to see it, per Jo Lloyd a Rock Wren popped up. On the 10th Bob and Donna Germany also spotted the Rock Wren and a Prairie Falcon. Christie Stoops located Wild Turkey and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Cottonwood Creek in Logan County, while James Hubbell had a Merlin south of Surry Hills and Lapland Longspur and American Pipit south of Piedmont.

On the 11th Zoe Cooper located a Brown Thrasher at Boomer Lake. On the 12th Hubert Hervey found Green-wing Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Killdeer, and Eastern Bluebird in Seminole County. Ben Barkley saw a Vesper Sparrow and Western Meadowlark at the University of OK Max Westheimer Airport. On the 13th Dala Grissom reported American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants at the Shawnee Twin Lakes. On the 14th Hollis Price NE of Jones had a lot of activity including a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and White-breasted Nuthatch. Kent Andersson flushed Northern Bobwhite near the Canadian River in Kingfisher County. On the 15th Sharon Henthorn spotted maybe a hundred Pintail Ducks at Lake Hefner. Kinsey Winters discovered a flock of Brewer’s Blackbirds at Grey Snow Eagle House in Lincoln County. On the 16th Christopher Rustay located a Northern Harrier west of Hennessey; Lindell Dillon had a Redhead Duck and Greater Scaup at the Hallbrooke Addition in Norman; and Bill Diffin saw Pied-billed Grebe and Common Goldeneye along the dam at Lake Hefner.

On the 17th Alex James found a Pine Warbler and Chipping Sparrows at Lake Carl Blackwell. On the 18th Mary and Lou Truex saw a Ruddy Duck at Lake Overholser, and Joe had a Sharp-shinned Hawk at the Norman OU campus. On the 19th Matt Jung flushed about 15 Northern Bobwhites on the west Stitchcomb WMA trail, and Susan Thompson discovered a Greater Roadrunner near Lake Thunderbird. On the 20th Joe spotted a Loggerhead Shrike at the Norman Ten Mile Flats. On the 21st in Pottawatomie County Susan Thompson located a Red-breasted Nuthatch and Purple Finch; in Norman Joe noticed an Orange-crowned Warbler.

On the 31st Kristi Hendricks dropped by the OKC Zoo and at the lake she viewed Ring-necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and Buffleheads. Sharon Henthorn also went to the zoo and just as darkness fell, 6 Great Egrets flew into the trees to roost. In Stillwater John Polo left the house extra early to go owling and scored 2 Great Horned Owls and an Eastern Screech-Owl. A fantastic start for the year!! And so how many counties can you bird in during February especially during the Great Backyard Bird Count and beyond?

During January 133 bird species were reported making the 2013 year’s total 133 species 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.