May 2011

Wild and Windy

As more migrants arrived in May they were greeted with interesting weather.  On May 3rd a frost warning was issued for central Oklahoma, and during May 17 days were designated as ‘windy’.  The drought was temporarily broken with rain on the 11th, 19thand 24th.  Along with the rain on the 24th tornados ripped through central OK including an EF2 near Stillwater, an EF3 at Canton Lake and two EF4s from Chickasha to Moore and Washington to Goldsby.  The deadliest, an EF5, tracked 75 miles from El Reno to Guthrie destroying buildings and bird nests, killing 8 people and an unknown number of birds.

Dale Kane reported the first Common Nighthawk on April 29th.  On the 1st at Rose Lake Matt Jung saw a Dickcissel, and Bill Diffin found a Black-necked Stilt.  On the 2nd Jennifer Kidney in Norman had a Gray Catbird at her bird bath, and Matt and Jenny Foster in Blanchard had a brief visit by a Lazuli Bunting.  Jimmy Woodard viewed a male American Redstart and a Least Flycatcher at the Yukon City Park but very few shorebirds at Lake Overholser.  Bill found a Bobolink in breeding colors along Wagner Road and a singing Harris’s Sparrow in the Yukon City Park.

On the 4th Pat Garrison, Cecil Johnson and Dick Gunn checked South Jenkins and located a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Wood Ducks, a few Blue-winged Teal, and while they were all loitering and then gallivanting off into the woods, Jennifer Kidney had a Tennessee Warbler.  Meanwhile in Norman Angie Holt came home and found an adult male Black-headed Grosbeak in her mulberry tree.  On the 5th in the OSU Botanical Gardens a member of the PCAS spotted a Great-horned Owl, at the Stinchcomb East WMA Matt Jung discovered an Eastern Wood-Peewee, and on South Jenkins the sharp eyes of the OU ornithology class picked out an Ash-throated Flycatcher.

In the morning of the 6th along South Jenkins Brian Davis, Jennifer, Pat, and Dick confirmed the Yellow-throated Warbler was still singing in the area and had a quick look at a Peregrine Falcon flying overhead.  In Yukon City Park Matt located an Orchard Oriole, while Charles Douglas called in a Common Moorhen on the south side of the Lake Overholser rollover dam.  On the 7th Jennifer saw a perfect Rose-breasted Grosbeak in her yard in Norman.  At Lake Overholser Bill sited a Sora Rail, Lesser Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpipers.  On the 8th Jimmy made a quick run around Lake Hefner discovered a Black-bellied Plover at Prairie Dog Point.

On the 11th Bill went out before the rain arrived and on the end of Prairie Dog Point was a Caspian Tern, Snowy Plover and in the Yukon City Park a male Black-throated Green Warbler.  On the 12th along South Jenkins Bill found a brilliant male White-throated Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, and Doug Eide reported a Whimbrel at Lake Overholser.  On the 13thin Stillwater John Polo heard a Yellow-breasted Chat.  At Lake Hefner Dave Woodson spotted a Black-necked Stilt, American White Pelicans and a pair of Cinnamon Teal.   At Eldon Lyon Park on the 14th Feodora Steward discovered two recently fledged Northern Flickers.  On the 14th Dick, his son and grandson got to see a pair of River Otters along South Jenkins.

On the 16th Bill saw a Black Tern roosting just west of Prairie Dog Point, and at Yukon City Park a Blue-headed Vireo and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  On the 18th while bicycling around northwest of Blanchard just south of Mustang Larry Mays heard Cassin’s Sparrows.  On the 19th 5 ½” of very welcome rain arrived.  On the 20th Matt observed a Tri-colored Heron at the first turn-out after the Coffer Dam, Jim Bates observed an Olive-sided Flycatcher on the west side of Crystal Lake, and Jennifer saw an Eastern Wood Peewee along South Jenkins.  On the 21th Joyce Konigmacher in Stillwater still had a lone White-crowned Sparrow, but it was gone on the 22nd.

On the 22nd Bill hiked the Flat Rock Equestrian Train at Bell Cow Lake near Chandler in Lincoln County and found a field overflown by Tree Swallows.  In northeast Logan county Garey Harritt was surprised when a pair of Osprey landed in the disked field, and along South Jenkins Jennifer, John Raeside and Anais Starr saw a mature Bald Eagle and Least Tern.  On the 23rd Tim O’Connell discovered a window-killed Cassin’s Sparrow in Stillwater.  On the 25th at Lake Overholser Bill located White-rumped Sandpipers.  At Lake Stanley Draper on the 27th Jim Bates heard 2 Kentucky Warblers, Summer Tanager and Broad-winged Hawk. On the 28thnear Chandler on their way to check out the Tree Swallows, Bill, Doug Eide, and Charles Douglas located a White-breasted Nuthatch.

During May a total of 157 bird species were reported including 20 new species which increased the 2011 Central Oklahoma area total to 247 species.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds by turning in reports.  I can be contacted by e-mail at