January 2015

A New Adventure Plan

A new year and new adventures await and what is your birding goal for the year?  Goals can vary from backyard bird watchers to Noah Strycker who is traveling the world this year to find 5,000 bird species. Then there are the county explorers such as Mary and Lou Truex who have so far birded 60 Oklahoma counties since 2011. Meanwhile, last year Melinda overcame her fear of eBird and used it to work on her goal to see 100 species each month in her selected area.  She didn’t make it every month, but it was fun and educational!!  So what is your goal this year:  to attract more birds in the backyard or to explore far beyond the backyard?

A late report for December 30th from Randy Soto advises of a Lewis’s Woodpecker at the boat docking area on the North side of Bell Cow Lake in Chandler in Lincoln County.  On the 1st Eric Duell birded Kingfisher County and discovered Loggerhead Shrike, Lapland Longspur, American Tree Sparrow, and Brewer’s Blackbird.  Meanwhile in Lincoln County along the Turner Turnpike Chad Ellis saw a Great Blue Heron and Cooper’s Hawk.  In Logan County Zach Poland located Sharp-shinned Hawk, Greater Yellowlegs, Great Horned Owl and Barred Owl. A Great Egret was seen by Joe Grzybowski at Lake Thunderbird and Don Maas at Lake Hefner. 

On the 2nd Bob Ellis reported a Franklin’s Gull at Crystal Lake in Oklahoma County, and Jerry Taylor saw a Forster’s Tern at Lake Hefner.  On the 3rd Zach Poland located the Lewis’s Woodpecker at Lake Carl Blackwell. On the 4th Matt Jung scanned Lake Hefner and found Greater Yellowlegs and Northern Pintail.  He also checked Lake Overholser but it was mostly frozen over and swept clean of birds.  On the 8th Christie Stoops discovered Hairy Woodpecker, Canvasback, and Bald Eagle on Cottonwood Creek in Logan County.  Joe Grzybowski saw a Ferruginous Hawk in Grady County, and Larry Mays spotted a Glaucous Gull at Lake Hefner. On the 9th Hal Yocum saw a Winter Wren at Mitch Park.

On the 10th at Boomer Lake Corey Riding saw a Purple Finch and at Babcock Park a Hermit Thrush.

Jaci Finch forwarded an announcement from Shirley Conaway that Mama Great Horned Owl just laid her first egg of the season.  You can follow the family on Alessondra’s OKC Great Horned Owl-Cam at  http://www.ustream.tv/okcowlcam?utm_source=crowd-live-backend&utm_medium=visit-channel&utm_campaign=notifications  How much more exciting can backyard birdwatching be?

On the 11th Scott Loss located a 1st cycle Thayer’s Gull on the ice in the drizzle and drear.  Bob Ellis discovered a Belted Kingfisher at Lake El Reno, and Larry Mays noted a Hermit Thrush at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.  On the 12th at the Goldsby Sod Farm in McClain County Paul Cook located Horned Lark, Savanna Sparrow, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.  On the 14th Jeff Tibbits located Prairie Falcon, and Rough-legged Hawk in western Canadian County. On the 16th Christine Snitkin saw 40 Snow Geese on Purcell Lake; and Larry Mays found Smith’s Longspur in the Norman Embassy Suites Hotel north field.

On the 17th at Lake Thunderbird Charlotte Wainwright and Kyle Horton reported a Turkey Vulture while T K added a Black Vulture.  Brandon Thurston saw the Lewis’s Woodpecker at Lake Carl Blackwell, and Ethan Maynard had a Greater Roadrunner along I-35 near Guthrie.  On the 19th Kevin Groeneweg  located Lesser Black-backed Gull, Thayer’s Gulls, Greater Scaup, and Common Merganser at Stars and Stripes Park.  On the 20th Sara and Scott Loss took advantage of the beautiful weather to walk the Lake Hefner bike loop and noted that it was eerie how calm the lake was; like glass. They found a Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit and flushed a Short-eared Owl from a clump of grass along the dam sidewalk. 

On the 23rd Donna Mackiewicz located a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at her home in Logan County.  Along the Lake Hefner dam Bill Diffin made a search for Common Loons and found 12 and 14 on the 24th. While Cameron Carver from Lubbock, Caleb Frome and Brandon Thlurston found a light-mantled gull at Lake Hefner.  William Buskirk noticed a flock of Brewer’s Blackbirds and a Rough-legged Hawk along I-44 in Grady County.

In Seminole County Larry Mays and Jimmy Woodward observed Turkey Vulture, Loggerhead Shrike, Swamp Sparrow, Canvasback; and in Pottawatomie County they located an Eastern Towhee, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, and Merlin.  At the Little River State Park John Tharp spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  On the 25th Rocklin D. Lyons found at least 4 Bald Eagles around Lake Guthrie, and at Taylor Lake John Ault had Ring-necked Duck and Harris’s Sparrows. At Lake Hefner Joe Grzyboswki identified a first winter Iceland Gull and an adult Thayer’s Gull along with as many as 1700 mergansers.  While in a subgroup of Common Goldeneye there were two Long-tailed Ducks.

On the 27th at Lake Hefner Cameron Carver found a gull that he strongly suspects was a second-cycle California Gull. On the 31st Tamara Srader photographed several birds in Lincoln County including Loggerhead Shrike and Pine Siskins, and Hollis Price was surprised with an Evening Grosbeak at her feeders northeast of Jones.

Which 3 species were reported in 11 out of 12 counties? Nope, European Starlings and Northern Cardinals were reported in 10 counties and House sparrows and Rock Pigeons were reported in 7 which shows we have lots of missing information.  For a copy of the bird sightings by county send me an email.  Or better yet, go birdwatching, record your sightings in eBird and help fill in the missing gaps !!!  And check http://www.audubon.org/features/birding-without-borders  for the adventure story of the year.  For January 2015, 135 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.