November 2010

Greetings in gold

Even though only two new species were added to the 2010 list this month, it was great to greet the returning winter birds while the golden leaves of fall waved farewell to the last of the summer birds.  Finally a killing frost arrived to turn the summer plants into mulch while the cool season plants began sprouting for next year’s growth and seed production.  However, lack of rain is creating a drought and with the high winds, by the end of the month fire danger is growing.

On the 2nd Jimmy Woodward saw a flock of Lapland Longspurs near SW 29th and Council.  On the 3rd Matt Jung checked the NE mud flats of Lake Overholser and located Bonaparte’s Gulls, Forester’s Terns, American Avocets, Greater Yellowlegs, and Wilson ’s Snipe.  Around Lake Hefner Mary Lane and Steve Davis located Belted Kingfisher, Herring Gulls, a Common Loon and Hooded Mergansers.  On the 4th flying over Norman Brian Davis saw a flock of about 20 Greater White-fronted and one Snow Goose.  Near Guthrie Gary Harritt had a Greater Roadrunner go through his yard, and on the 6th he observed a Bald Eagle in Kingfisher County.  On the 5th at Lake Hefner’s Prairie Dog Point Matt found Horned Grebe and 4 Dunlin.

In Norman on the 10th Brian had a Red-breasted Nuthatch in one of his backyard scraggly pine trees.  On the 13th Jim Bates birded north of the Coffer Dam at Lake Overholser and found a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Swamp Sparrow and at the north end of Morgan Road a Vesper Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow and Eastern Bluebird.  Bill Diffin led the OKC field trip to Lake Arcadia  where they located Pine Warbler, American Pipits, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-breasted Mergansers, Barred Owl, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Fox Sparrow and Harris‘s Sparrows.  While at the Purina Field they saw LeConte’s and Grasshopper Sparrows and east of Santa Fe a Barn Owl emerged from a cedar tree and flapped to settle on a tree branch.  On the 14th at Couch Park in Stillwater John Polo saw a Brown Creeper and lots of Red-breasted Nuthatches, and on Lake Arcadia Eivind Vamraak reported the Brown Pelican.  On the 17th at the Lake Overholser’s Coffer Dam Matt found a Marsh Wren.

On the 18th Dave and Martha Evans were visiting Oklahoma City and reported the last Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on a power line at Bryant just south of NE 63rd Street.  On Lake Thunderbird Carolyn and Lindell Dillon located a Western Grebe and a dark Snow Goose.    On the 19th at Lake Hefner Matt found a female Greater Scaup in the north pond.  On the 21st Ben Holt reported a Ross’s Goose tucked into a group of gulls at Prairie Dog Point and a second darker bird overall and slightly larger with a small grin patch which could be either a Ross’s X Lesser hybrid or a Lesser Snow Goose.  On the 21st at Lake Arcadia Valerie Bradshaw and Jimmy observed a Common Goldeneye and at Lake Hefner a Pacific Loon.

On the 22nd Bill Diffin and Eivind Vamraak met at Prairie Dog Point and located an unusual gull.  It was smaller than a Herring Gull but a little larger than a Ring-billed Gull, all brown and white with nearly white legs, double dark bar on the upper wing, but the most easily noticed mark was the dark tip on the pink bill because the black area on the lower mandible was obviously larger than the matching spot on the upper. The identification was later confirmed as a California Gull.

During November a total of 105 bird species were reported with 2 new additions making the Central Oklahoma area to date total at 261 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
Esther M. Key, Editor. 2010