November 2013

A new birder

As the weather changed from mild to freezing rain, the winter birds arrived looking for shelter and food.

The first central Oklahoma hard freeze was on the 13th. Then two storms hit on the 22nd and 24th with arctic temperatures, rain, sleet, and snow. Along with the colder weather swimmers, birds of prey and sparrows are arriving. The only new bird for the year list was found in an urban area instead of its usual prairie habitat, and a four legged birder found another interesting bird hiding in the undergrowth.

On the 1st Deanne McKinney checked out Taylor Lake and located the Lewis’s Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Harriers, and at the Rush Springs Sewage Lagoons Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, and Pied-billed Grebe. On the 3rd Sharon Henthorn visited Rose Lake and noticed Northern Shovelers and Great Egret while at Lake Overholser Deanne saw a Bald Eagle fly over.

On the 7th Lindell Dillon reported that WildCare had received a second Golden Eagle which was found in the Newcastle Area with a broken wing. Robert Green discovered Greater White-fronted Goose, and American White Pelicans at Mansion Lake in Grady County. On the 8th John Hurd checked the Dolese Sand Pit and located Snow Goose, Bonaparte’s Gull, Greater Yellowlegs, and Horned Grebe. On the 9th Joe Grzybowski located American Pipits at Norman North Base.

On the 10th In Stillwater at Sanborn Lake a large bird erupted about 5 feet in front of Alex James. He was surprised to identify it as a Greater Prairie Chicken so close to the city. At Lake Hefner Bill Diffin saw Western Grebe, Common Loon and, amidst a flock of blackbirds, a single Rusty Blackbird. Along South Jenkins in Norman Joe Grzybowski saw a Merlin; at the Taylor Lake area Bill Adams found American Pelicans, Eastern Phoebe, and Cackling Goose. Bob Ellis checked Wildhorse Creek Site 107 Reservoir in Elmore City and located Savannah Sparrow, Black Vulture, and Carolina Wren.

On the 11th John Hurd saw a Sedge Wren along the west side of Lake Hefner; on the 12th Jim Bates enticed an Eastern Screech Owl to visit his backyard; and on the 13th Torre Hovick had a Western Grebe and Dunlin at Lake Carl Blackwell. On the 16th Bill Diffin ran into Torre, two of his friends and Jack Hurd at Lake Hefner where they spotted a Dunlin, Lesser Black-backed Gull; and Joe Grzybowski saw Greater Scaup and California Gull. Meanwhile, at Lake Thunderbird’s Little River Marina, T K discovered a Pine Warbler, and in Stillwater Tim O’Connell had a Rough-legged Hawk at Birding and Burgers. On the 17th Bill located a Brewer’s Blackbird at Lake Hefner, while Jeff Tibbits noticed American Pipits.

On the 22nd Steve Davis and Mary report the cold weather brought in some new seasonal birds at their feeders which included Harris’s Sparrow, Song Sparrows more White-crowned Sparrows, White-winged Doves and American Goldfinches. They all left quickly when a Red-tailed Hawk flew into a bare treetop above them. On the 23rd in Norman at Ten Mile Flats Joe Grzybowski saw a Prairie Falcon; John Shackford had a Carolina Wren at his home in Edmond; and Chad Ellis had a single Brewer’s Blackbird under his feeders in Oklahoma City. On the 24th Nancy Reed had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker working the holes in her apple tree and Fox Sparrow in her yard.

On the 27th along South Jenkins in Norman, Blossom flushed a bird which was identified as an American Woodcock by Dick Gunn. And now it is the final month of the year with Christmas Bird Counts all over the state. What new species will be added to the list? How can you help?

For November as of the 25th 133 bird species were reported with one new species which brought the 2013 year’s total to 278 species in the Central Oklahoma area. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at

Esther M. Key, Editor.