June 2008

June, July, August 2008
While most of the birds reported in Central Oklahoma during the summer of 2008 are not new to the 2008 list, some of them are not normally found in our area during nesting season. Of the 118 species reported, most were nesting, and many people enjoyed watching the juvenals as they started life on their own.
JUNE 2008
On June 6th Joe Grzybowski passed through Kingfisher County and checked some flooded fields near the intersection of highway 51 and 132 west of Hennessey. Some of the species he found included 3 Eared Grebes, about 25 White-faced Ibises, 2 Gadwalls, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Coots, a female Ring-necked Duck with a scoter-like patch on the side of its face, and a male Orchard Oriole.
During the early part of June David and Bonnie McNeely had an Ash-throated Flycatcher hanging around their Edmond neighborhood. On June 5th Paul van Els had a singing White-winged Dove in Stillwater, and on the 7th Joyce Konigmacher had one at her feeder.
On the 18th Donald Winslow found two singing Cassin’s Sparrows at the west edge of Fort Reno in Canadian County. On the 29th John Raeside spotted a pair of Caspian Terns flying up and down the Canadian River in Norman. They landed on a sand bar, and were last seen headed towards Noble.
JULY 2008
On July 8th Matt Jung visited Rose Lake, Eldon Lyon Park and some of the interesting species included Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Carolina Wren, Greater Yellowlegs, Bell’s Vireo, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Dickcissel, Mississippi Kite, Turkey Vulture, Lark Sparrow, Gray Catbird, and Brown Thrasher. On the 11th he found a Mute Swan at Lake Hefner. On the 12th at the Coffer Dam he had 2 Wood Ducks, 1 Pied-billed Grebe, 1 Prothonotary Warbler singing near the east nest box. On the 16th he found an American White Pelican, an American Kestrel, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Belted Kingfisher, Common Yellowthroat, Indigo and Painted Buntings. On the 19th he had a flock of Wild Turkeys along the right-of-way on NW 39th Expressway just east of the River Bridge. On the 27th he found Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Double-crested Cormorant, and 2 Prothonotary Warblers at the Coffer Dam. On August 6th he had an Orchard Oriole.
On the 15th in Stillwater Joyce Konigmacher had a Black-chinned Hummingbird visit one of her feeders. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds would chase it away every chance they got, but he still managed to land on the feeder and ‘tank-up’ for the evening.
On the 22nd Jim Arterburn Vic Fazio and Joe Grzybowski went out to northwest Kingfisher and southeast Major counties. There were lots of locations with water, some overgrown with algae and plants. The weather stayed under 100*F for at least 3 hours. Some of their more interesting finds included: Pied-billed Grebes with young, a Neotropic Cormorant, lots of Cattle Egrets and a big group of Snowy Egrets, over 130 White-faced Ibis, 3 Glossy Ibis, 2 Glossy/White-faced Ibis hybrids, 14 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks including 1 female with 7 small chicks, a female Wood Duck with 11 small chicks, 1 Northern Pintail, a Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Redhead, a female Greater Scaup, 1 juvenile Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Ducks, 1 Virginia Rail, 1 Sora Rail at two locations, 1 Common Moorhen, Black-necked Stilts, an American Avocet, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpipers, a juvenile Wilson’s Phalarope, Prothonotary Warblers, and a juvenile Grasshopper Sparrows.
Priscilla Crawford has been monitoring two “large” Least Tern colonies with 13 pairs along the Canadian River near Norman this summer, which at this time have produced 5 new birds! Three are flying and learning to fish while the other two are still in the “fluffy chick” stage. They have been successful in spite of the late spring flood event and near constant ATV traffic at one site.
Every year downtown Tulsa hosts between 100,000 and 200,000 Purple Martins, and this year they had their first Purple Martin Roost Watch on July 30. Around August 9th Cynthia Van Den Broeke found a big blob on the radar somewhere near downtown Oklahoma City just before 0630, which slowly disperses. Jimmy Woodard left Route 66 Park at Lake Overholser around 0630 and rode through a cloud of hundreds of Purple Martins. Ron Johnson’s friend saw hundreds (thousands?) of Purple Martins staging in the evening at the south end of Lake Hefner.
Jimmy also found some Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, a few Green Herons, a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons, and heard several Northern Orioles. Some species seen by Matt Jung included Spotted Sandpiper, Northern Bobwhite, Yellow Warbler, American Goldfinch, Horned Lark, and Chipping Sparrow. Paul van Els saw two Cedar Waxwings in a waterside willow near Boomer Lake in Stillwater.
Phil Floyd of Lexington reports there was a definitely lull in activity at his Hummingbird feeders. Where he was filling three feeders everyday, he had to pour out most of it every other day. Then two weeks ago it changed. By the 15th activity at the hummingbird feeders is at the highest level, and the daily filling of the feeders is a task he embraces with joy. Lynn Harris in southeast Lincoln County reports somewhere between 40 and 60 hummingbirds visits their 15 feeders, which need to be filled almost daily. In Edmond, Terri Savage also attracts hummingbirds with her Rose of Sharon, salvia, garden phlox, trumpet vine and cross vine which is an evergreen vine that blooms earlier and isn’t invasive like the trumpet vine. She has a small mister.
On the 26th Jimmy rode the bike trails along the Oklahoma River and found 4 Belted Kingfishers, an American Kestrel and Loggerhead Shrike. On the 28th Jimmy found some eclipse plumage ducks in the playas west of Route 66 park, which included Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Mallard, American Wigeon and Northern Pintail. The Yukon playas had a couple of Solitary Sandpipers, several Pectoral Sandpipers, Yellowlegs and lots of peeps. The large playa at the corner of Garth Brooks and Wagner Roads had lots of birds including non-breeding plumage American Avocet, several Cliff and Barn Swallows and maybe a Bank Swallow.
Only five new species were added to the 2008 Central Oklahoma list for a total of 244. But there are several common birds that haven’t been reported. So enjoy birding in the fall weather and report your observations. That common bird you see everyday may be one of the unreported species. I can be contacted by email at emkok@earthlink.net, leave a message at 405-381-9170 or mail to 4603 Pikey’s Trail, Tuttle, OK 73089. Esther M. Key, Editor.