Birding Hot Spots


Birding Hot Spots
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Meeker Lake

by Jimmy Woodard

Meeker Lake is about 2-3 miles west of the town of Meeker in Lincoln County. It is approximately 30 miles east of the intersection of I-35 and Hwy 62 in the eastern side of the Oklahoma City metro. Meeker Lake has 5 miles of shoreline and 250 surface acres.

There have been 27 checklists accounting for 134 species. Visits have been made in every month of the year except for June and September. The water level of the lake doesn’t usually fluctuate much; it stays full or close to that all year. It is surrounded by woods on three sides and has a couple of open areas which contain picnic facilities and one boat ramp. The main birding draw would be waterfowl and woodland passerines with an emphasis on winter sparrows and other birds and migrants in spring and fall.

There are equestrian trails on the west side that go to the dam and below it. There is another equestrian trail at the south end of the lake. ***Please note that the trails are unimproved and can be wet and overgrown at times. Be  prepared to get muddy and wet if venturing on them.

To reach the west side of the lake, take Hwy 62 to NS 340 and go south on this gravel road about a mile and park. A trail goes east thru the woods and fields to the dam. Also, you can walk the two track on south for about a mile. This can be a very birdy spot and offers a good view of most of the lake. To reach the east side where the parks and boat ramp are found, then go south on NS 341 a mile to the stop sign. Turn right(west) and proceed into the park. Follow the one paved road to it’s end to access the southern trail which runs for about a mile. The boat ramp and dam are to your right as you enter the park. There is no fee to enter the lake property.

I recently found a couple of trails on the west side that I had not previously known about. Turn south off Hwy 62 just east of the Mammoth Baptist Church. Drive a mile to the end of the dirt road and park near the gate. Walk south on the gravel road for half a mile. Where the two track curves right to a gate, continue straight ahead onto a wide mowed path. The trail is marked with yellow flags and a few signs labeling it as trail “C”. The trail is relatively flat with few rocks. It follows the lake for a while and runs down the west side shore for a bit. It climbs a ridge and then mostly stays in the woods. I hiked for about 1.5 miles but did not come to the end of the trail. I think it may go all the way around the south end of the lake but I haven’t ground-truthed that yet. There is a “Blue” flagged trail which veers east off the Yellow trail but I did not find the end of it either. This west side road and trail is my favorite area of Meeker Lake. This new found trail allows   you to see the large arm at the south end of the lake. That was where most of the waterfowl were hanging out.

 
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
Greater/Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Grebes
Pied-billed Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Cuckoos
Greater Roadrunner
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
American Coot
American Avocet
Killdeer
Whimbrel
Wilson’s Phalarope
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Lesser Yellowlegs
Bonaparte’s Gull
Franklin’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
gull sp.
Black Tern
Forster’s Tern
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelicans
American White Pelican
Herons, Ibis, and Allies
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Mississippi Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Owls
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Kingfishers
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Falcons and Caracaras
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo
Bell’s Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Jays, Magpies, Crows, and Ravens
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Martins and Swallows
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Nuthatches
White-breasted Nuthatch
Wrens
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Gnatcatchers
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Kinglets
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Swainson’s Thrush
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
Starlings and Mynas
European Starling
Waxwings
Cedar Waxwing
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Blackbirds
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Western/Eastern Meadowlark
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Wood-Warblers
Louisiana Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Dickcissel
House Sparrow