November 2015

As the beautiful fall weather turns into the first ice storm of the season, birders may be wondering why they should be concerned about the decline of monarch butterflies.  After all the monarchs eat milkweed and are so nasty tasting that birds won’t eat them.  However, this fall there were lots of sunflowers blooming in patches along the wayside, but who was pollinating them?  Because if no one pollinated the flowers, they will not turn into seed for the birds to eat this winter and thus the decline of monarch butterflies and other pollinators could lead to the starvation of birds. 

Meanwhile, during this month which unusual warbler species was reported in which three counties?  On October 30th Rachel Wrenn noticed a Short-eared Owl at Little River State Park.  On the 1st Todd Alfes discovered Sandhill Crane at Lake Thunderbird’s Alameda Drive Bridges, and Elizabeth Nichols saw an Eastern Screech-Owl in her yard near Oklahoma University.  Deb Hirt found an Eastern Towhee north of Boomer Lake, and Bob Ellis had Wilson’s Snipe at Jim’s Sparrow Rest in Oklahoma County.  On the 4th John Ault spotted a Chipping Sparrow at Lake Louis Burtschi in Grady County, and Cameron Carver reported Black-crowned Night-Heron at Lake Hefner City Docks.  On the 5th Dr. Chris Butler located a Greater Roadrunner and Pileated Woodpecker in Choctaw.

On the 6th Joe Grzybowski  and John Tharp identified a Sedge Wren along South Jenkins.  On the 7th Donald Weidemann birded Wewoka Woods Camp, a restricted area in Seminole County, and located 36 species including Green-winged Teal, Red-headed Woodpecker, American Pipit, White-throated Sparrow and Spotted Towhee.  At Rose Lake James Hubbell spotted a Common Yellowthroat and Swamp Sparrow.  On the 8th in McClain County Joe Grzybowski noticed a Vesper Sparrow along Ladd Road; at the Goldsby Sod Farm a Merlin; and in Norman a Winter Wren while John Bates saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch along Melrose Lane in Oklahoma City. 

On the 10th Steve Davis spotted a Horned Grebe along the west side of Lake Overholser; a Marsh Wren at Rose Lake and an American Pipit at the Mustang Road playas. On the 11th in Payne county Corey Riding identified Greater Scaup at the Meridian Technology Center Pond.  On the 12th Scott Loss located LeConte’s Sparrow and Purple Finches at Whittenberg Park.  Matt Jung visited Lake Overholser and found a Brown Creeper and Sandhill Cranes.  On the 14th Paul Cook reported a Ferruginous Hawk at the Goldsby Sod Farm in McClain County, and Joe Grzybowski discovered Le Conte’s Sparrow at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. 

On the 15th Zach Poland saw Red-breasted Merganser and Common Loon on Liberty Lake in Logan County.  On the 16th CH Hemphill found Brewer’s Blackbird on a ranch in Logan County.  On the 17th T K had a Pine Warbler in Norman, and Joe Grzybowski discovered an American Avocet at Lake Hefner’s Prairie Dog Point.  On the 18th Larry Mays spotted Hermit Thrush at the Cross Timbers Campground and Smith’s Longspur and Eastern Towhee at the Draper Soccer Fields in Cleveland County.

On the 19th Hal Cantwell had a Red-tailed Hawk near Chandler in Lincoln County; Scott Loss saw the Pine Warbler at Lake Carl Blackwell; and Sharon Henthorn spotted a flock of Hooded Mergansers on Lake Hefner’s Parkway Ponds.  On the 20th Roy McGraw counted 15 Wild Turkey in Lincoln County; Jerry Taylor noticed Wood Ducks at Rose Lake, and Chris Williams identified a Prairie Falcon at Lake Carl Blackwell.  On the 21st Dala Grissom discovered a Bald Eagle at the Shawnee Reservoir, while in Oklahoma City Lee Gosset reported a Rufous Hummingbird on his rose bush and feeder which was photographed by Deanne McKinney.

On the 22nd Zach Poland identified Loggerhead Shrike and American Kestrel along SH#33 in Kingfisher County and at Whittenberg Park Scott Loss found Hermit Thrush and Smith’s Longspur. At Taylor Lake in Grady County Linda and Bill Adams recorded American White Pelican and Red-headed Woodpecker while T K had a House Wren at Lake Thunderbird Little River Marina area.  On the 23rd Dave and Sue drove around Lake Hefner and spotted lots of waterfowl including American White Pelicans, Pintail Ducks, and Horned Grebes. 

On the 24th Aaron Reynolds saw a Horned Lark near Mulhall in Logan County and Corey Riding had Brewer’s Blackbirds in Stillwater.  On the 25th Deanne McKinney found White-faced Ibis at Rose Lake.  In Norman Jennifer Kidney saw a pretty little male Pine Warbler flitting around in the tree.  On the 26th Dala Grissom reported Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch in her yard in Pottawatomie County, and Brian Marra discovered Brown Creeper and Pine Warbler at Martin Park Nature Center.

On the 27th Joe Grzybowski saw a Forster’s Tern at Lake Thunderbird Twin Bridges.  On the 29th T K had a Golden-crowned Kinglet at Lake Thunderbird Little River Marina area, while Brian Marra located Canvasback and Red-breasted Merganser at the John Marshall High School Pond. 

On the 30th Noah Strycker, a writer, photographer, and adventurer who has embarked this year on an international Big Year, identified his 5,421 bird species this year.  Will he get to 6,000 by the end of the year?  As Noah says: “I’ll go for it, but whatever the final tally, it has been an incredible adventure.  I’m excited to see what this last month will bring!”  And then on December 1st Noah achieved two milestones: his 6,000th life bird and 5,500th year bird… a Papuan Frogmouth.

And as our birding year ends what exciting sightings will we tally up especially on the Christmas Bird Counts.  In the Central Oklahoma area 138 bird species were reported in November with 1 new species bringing the year’s total to 287. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at

— Esther M. Key, Editor.