January 2016

A new year, a new beginning; and another adventurer, Arjan Dwarshuis, will attempt to break the world record by observing more than 6,000 bird species in a single year. Follow along at http://.arjandwarshuis.com/

Meanwhile at home, the challenge could be:  how many species will be seen in all counties this year? in 2015 out of 287 species reported, only 65 species were seen in all 12 central Oklahoma counties, Let’s discover more places to bird.

On the 1st, how many counties had New Year reports?  In Cleveland County along South Jenkins Joe Grzybowski discovered Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson’s Snipe, Common Yellowthroat, and Swamp Sparrow.  In Payne County Tim O’Connell spotted a Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, and White-throated Sparrow.   In Logan County Zach Poland identified an American Tree Sparrow.  In Grady County Linda and Bill Adams located Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, and Wild Turkey at Taylor Lake.  In Oklahoma County in Choctaw Dr. Chris Butler saw Brown Thrasher and Field Sparrow.  But, Bob Ellis checked out several locations and found at Bethany Pond a Wood Duck; at Lake Hefner Common Loon, Eared Grebes, Franklin’s Gull; at Martin Park Nature Center a Brown Creeper; near Deer Creek School Northern Bobwhite, Horned Lark, Brewer’s Blackbird; and in Canadian County at Lake Overholser’s Route 66 Park a Virginia Rail.  WOW, what a great start!!

On the 2nd at Lake Thunderbird Little River State Park T K located an Eared Grebe and John Tharp had an Eastern Towhee, Pine Warbler and Purple Finch.  Joe checked out the Norman North Base and identified Smith’s Longspur and Chestnut-collared Longspur and at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Le Conte’s Sparrow.  Jeff Robers also found Smith’s Longspur in the Purina Fields north of the Kilpatrick Turnpike.  At Boomer Lake Park Deb Hirt saw a Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow and Bewick’s Wren.  Steve Davis and Mary Lane were looking for Bald Eagle nests and discovered the Arcadia Conservation Education Area north of Memorial Road on Midwest Boulevard.  In Wellston in Lincoln County Heidi Hellstern spotted a Northern Flicker, on the 3rd a Great Horned Owl and on the 4th a Chipping Sparrow.

On the 3rd in Stillwater Caitlin Laughlin identified Smith’s Longspurs and a Merlin.  At Sanborn Lake, John Polo saw an American Tree sparrow and Hairy Woodpecker.  At the OCK Zoo Lake Park Heather Shaffery located Canvasback Ducks and Black-crowned Night-Heron.  At the same time, Cleveland County had their Christmas Bird Count where Zack Poland discovered a Horned Lark at Norman North Base and in east Norman Joe Grzybowski found a Grasshopper Sparrow.  But six species were reported on the CBC that were not reported in eBird for the month of January in Cleveland County.  How much other important information is missing?

On the 4th in McClain County Larry Mays spotted Rusty Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbirds and a Pine Siskin at his home.   In Grady County Mary and Lou Truex birded Rush Springs Sewage Lagoons and reported Northern Shoveler, while in Chickasha Jason Shaw saw Crackling Goose and White-winged Dove.  On the 6th at the OSU Cross Country Course Corey Riding recognized a Vesper Sparrow; at Lake Hefner Cameron Carver identified a Thayer’s Gull; Joe passed by Lake Hefner and noted 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, almost 100 Horned Grebes and about that many Pied-billed Grebes, and 13 Eared Grebes.  On the 7th in Logan County, Christie Stoops had a Downy Woodpecker and Carolina Wren at Cottonwood Creek.  On the 9th Larry Mays discovered a Glaucous Gull at Lake Overholser in Canadian County.

On the 10th in Kingfisher County Zach Poland documented an Eastern Bluebird.  In Garvin County Esther Key encountered Harris’s Sparrow and Northern Cardinal.  Zach had a Ross’s Goose at Lake Hefner and Cameron Carver saw a Lincoln’s Sparrow at the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.  On the 11th Calvin Rees found a Snow Goose at Rose Lake.  John Tharp came across an Orange-crowned Warbler along South Jenkins.  Jimmy Woodard counted an interesting mix of birds around his yard including a Bald Eagle, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, and White-throated Sparrow.  On the 12th Zach reported an Orange-crowned Warbler at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  On the 16th Bob Ellis discovered a Forster’s Tern at Lake El Reno.  On the 17th John Raeside and Anais Starr-Raeside got really good looks at a Townsend’s Solitaire in Cherry Creek Park in Norman.

On the 18th while Corey Riding was traveling in Pottawatomie County he detected Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel and Loggerhead Shrike; at Meeker Lake in Lincoln County a Tufted Titmouse and Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Megan Haughey identified a Pine Warbler at the OSU Arboretum.  On the 20th Lisa Wiesbauer came across a Black-billed Magpie just east of Lake Thunderbird on SH9. On the 21st in McClain County, Paul Cook had a Merlin and Ferruginous Hawk at the Goldsby Sod Farm.  On the 22nd Aaron Reynold noticed a Red-headed Woodpecker in Kingfisher County.


On the 23rd Deanne McKinney located a Wood Duck and American Wigeon at Rose Lake.  Deb Hirt had Least Sandpiper at Boomer Lake Park.  Zach Poland documented a Townsend’s Solitaire at Martin Park Nature Center.  On the 24th in Logan County on I-35 Machenzie Goldthwait reported a Northern Harrier and at Lake Hefner a Fish Crow.  Scott Loss saw a Northern Bobwhite at Lake Carl Blackwell; a Prairie Falcon along the Paine County Airport Road; a Le Conte’s Sparrow at the OSU Cross Country Course; a Rusty Blackbird at Whittenberg Park and Brewer’s Blackbirds at the OSU Beef Farm.  In McClain County Brian Muzny located four displaying male American Woodcocks along the creek bottom at Byars.

On the 27th Donald Winslow noticed Cedar Waxwings at Catalpa Cottage in Pottawatomie County.  Cameron Carver spotted a Black Vulture and Turkey Vulture along I-35 in McClain County.  On the 28th along Lake Overholser’s west side John Bates identified a Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpecker and American Pipit.   At Lake Thunderbird Little River Marina Area T K verified American Woodcock.  At Martin Park Nature Center Brian Stufflebeam encountered a Red-breasted Nuthatch.  On the 29th at Elmore City Lake in Garvin County Esther Key photographed Canvasback Ducks.  On the 30th Zach Poland detected Gadwall and Western Meadowlark at Lake Elmer in Kingfisher County.  On the 31st Larry Mays discovered a Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson’s Snipe at the intersection of I-35 and SH9.

Next is The Great Backyard Bird Count February 12-15.  Will all counties have reports?  To start the New Year in the Central Oklahoma area 142 bird species were reported in January.  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.