May 2020

May was warbler and flycatcher month.  For birders that got out and about warblers were observed in various locations including a few rare visitors to our area.  The quiet flycatchers were also noted and it appears one species has started nesting in two different counties.  The elusive Bobolinks were reported in six central Oklahoma counties.  Photographs and audio recordings are being used to document these unusual and beautiful sightings.  What an interesting month!

On April 30th Laura Madden photographed a Western Tanager in Blanchard in McClain County; John Tharp had Black Terns at Lake Thunderbird SP – East Sentinel; and Scott Loss counted Ovenbird at Lake Carl Blackwell in Payne County.  On May 1st Brian Marra heard and recorded Ovenbird at Arcadia Lake in OKC.  On the 2nd D&D Norris noticed Yellow Warbler at Kairworks Garden in Logan County; Larry Mays spotted Greater Roadrunner and Chimney Swift in Newcastle; and Landon Neumann identified Acadian Flycatcher at the known breeding spot in Payne County.  On the 3rd John Tharp verified Ruddy Turnstone at Lake Thunderbird – East Sentinel and heard an Ovenbird, Wilson’s Warbler and American Redstart along South Jenkins; Landon Neumann observed Black Tern, Marsh Wren and Orchard Oriole at Cushing Water Treatment Plant in Payne County; Brian Marra encountered Black-throated Green Warbler at Lake Hefner – Hobie Point; Scott Loss saw Bobolink in Stillwater and described Wood Thrush at Lake Carl Blackwell;. 

On the 4th Mike Yough confirmed Olive-sided Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher and Warbling Vireo at Couch Park in Payne County; Corban Hemphill added Gray-cheeked Thrush at Lake Carl Blackwell; Corban Hemphill found Black-headed Grosbeak at Lake Carl Blackwell; and Wilson’s Warbler were seen by Landon Neumann at Couch Park and Brian Marra at Arcadia Lake.  On the 5th Grace Huffman, Elizabeth Hacker and Brian Marra got Black Tern, Peregrine Falcon and Fish Crow at 63rd and Kilpatrick Turnpike; John Hurd documented Alder Flycatcher at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge East; and Landon Neumann reported American Redstart at Couch Park.  On the 8th Brian Marra had Ruddy Turnstone at 63rd and Kilpatrick Turnpike; Bill Diffin tallied American Redstart and Prothonotary Warbler at Stinchcomb WR west in Canadian County; Alex Harman recognized Willow Flycatcher at OSU – Cross Country Course; and Cody Delano located Mourning Warbler along South Jenkins in Norman. 

On the 9th Carlberg had Chuck-will’s-widow near Shawnee in Pottawatomie County; Charlotte Taylor came across Peregrine Falcon in Paul’s Valley in Garvin County; Zachary Hemans counted Black Tern and Chimney Swift at Lake Hefner; John Tharp identified Acadian Flycatcher along Little Jim Road on its usual territory in Canadian County; and John Hurd detected Alder Flycatcher at the Kilpatrick Turnpike.  At Lake Thunderbird – Sentinel area John Tharp detected the first eBird record for Cleveland county of a Golden-winged Warbler and was shortly joined by Joe Grzybowski, Cody Delano and Randy Soto.  A bit later Joe discovered Worm-eating Warbler and great views were observed by the others.  On the 10th Eric Duell reported Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Black Tern, Bobolink, Black-necked Stilt and American Golden-Plover near Hennessey in Kingfisher County; Dala Grissom noticed Summer Tanager and Baltimore Oriole at Bell Cow Lake in Lincoln County; John Hurd detected Willow Flycatcher at Dolese Youth Park in OKC; and Marion Homier photographed Gray-cheeked Thrush in Choctaw. 

On the 11th Joe Grzybowski discovered Western Sandpiper at McClain County Sod Farm and Bobolink at Goldsby Sod Farm in McClain County; and John Tharp located Olive-sided Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher and Least Flycatcher at Lake Thunderbird – West Sentinel.  On the 12th Brian Marra recorded Olive-sided Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler at the Maud Wetland in Seminole County; Rusty Derringer recognized Olive-sided Flycatcher south of Guthrie in Logan County; Grace Huffman and Elizabeth Hacker spotted Blackburnian Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler and Sora Rail at Rose Lake; Landon Neumann observed Mourning Warbler and Magnolia Warbler at Couch Park in Stillwater; and Caspian Tern were seen by Branden Farris at Lake Hefner – Stars and Stripes Park; Scott Loss at Lake Carl Blackwell and John Tharp at Lake Thunderbird – East Sentinel plus John also had Least Tern

On the 13th Jonathan Anderson added Swainson’s Thrush in Tecumseh in Pottawatomie County; William Radke discovered Sanderling, Dunlin, Marbled Godwit, Black-necked Stilt and Sora Rail in Yukon; and Zach DuFran with Larry Mays, Dick Gunn and Jeremy Ross found Black-throated Green Warbler at Lake Thunderbird – South Sentinel.  On the 14th Caleb McKinney encountered Black-chinned Hummingbird in Ninnekah in Grady County; and Chad Ellis tallied Gray-cheeked Thrush at Stinchcomb WR west.  On the 15th Scott Loss described Philadelphia Vireo, Ovenbird, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, and Least Flycatcher at Sanborn Lake; and Braden Farris turned up Mourning Warbler at Lake Hefner – Stars and Stripes Park.  On the 16th Bill and Linda Adams had Bobolink southeast of Ninnekah in Grady County. On the 17th Landon Neumann heard Veery at Couch Park in Payne County; John Hurd confirmed Blackburnian Warbler at home in OKC; and Landon Neumann had Least Bittern at the Cushing Water Treatment Plant.  

On the 18th Braden Farris viewed Olive-sided Flycatcher along south Lake Hefner.  On the 19th Brian Marra had Least Tern at Lake Hefner – Hobie Point.  On the 20th Erik Atwell spotted Common Nighthawk at I-35 North Bound Rest Stop in Garvin County; Rusty Derringer noticed American Redstart and Blackpoll Warbler in southeast Guthrie; and Bill Diffin reported Black-bellied Whistling-Duck flew over Rose Lake.  On the 22nd Scott Loss detected Least Tern and Common Nighthawk at Boomer Lake Park.  On the 23rd Bill Diffin identified Least Bittern, Wood Duck, Alder Flycatcher and Warbling Vireo at Lake Overholser – Coffer Dam.  On the 29th Benjamin Ferraro found Chimney Swift in Shawnee.  On the 30th Jason Shaw counted Red-headed Woodpecker at USAO Habitat Area in Grady County. And now it is time for Breeding Bird Survey and Breeding Bird Atlas projects.  Which one(s) are you involved with?

In the Central Oklahoma area during May 2020, 222 species were reported with 26 new species bringing the total for 2020 to 284. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds. Information is accessed at:  ebird. 2020 eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: (Accessed: May 31, 2020). And occasionally from Facebook and the OKBIRDS List. I can be contacted by e-mail at  Esther M. Key, Editor.


                                                                May       April       March   Feb        Jan                                        

Kingfisher                            087         062         056         021         010

Garvin                                   093         067         053         037         003

Pottawatomie                   099         078         058         035         027        

                Seminole                             099         091         060         008         008

                Lincoln                                  117         070         054         047         030

Grady                                    137         111         073         068         048

                Logan                                    145         118         088         079         059        

McClain                                155         130         094         073         038

                Canadian                             221         187         133         104         089

                Cleveland                            235         206         149         114         093        

                Oklahoma                           243         214         154         133         125

                Payne                                   244         216         154         122         111


Number of bird species reported in 2019 according to eBird. Current year, region.