November 2020

For the first time in recent years the species total for the year for Central Oklahoma counties has reached and surpassed 300 species and the year isn’t over !!!!  A photo was taken, entered into eBird, and a reviewer posted that someone should try to relocate it as a possible very rare visitor to the state.  Birders investigated and a triple surprise resulted. Western Bluebirds were located in four counties, while another species of Scoter, Grebe, Phalarope, and Phoebe showed up.  What an exciting month leading to the Christmas Bird Counts in December. 

On October 30th in Grady County Caleb McKinney added White-throated Sparrow, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Vesper Sparrow and on the 31st LeConte’s Sparrow; while in McClain County Larry Mays saw Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at his home.  On the 1st Branden Farris observed Mountain Bluebirds at Lake Hefner for five minutes before they flew off; John Tharp discovered Eared Grebe and White-winged Scoter at Lake Thunderbird;  Scott Loss had Chestnut-collared Longspur in Stillwater and Mike Yough identified Prairie Falcon in NW Payne County.  On the 2nd Hal Yocum noted the arrival of the awaited Harris Sparrows at Mitch Park in Edmond; Zach DuFran spotted Marsh Wren at Goldsby’s wooded trails in McClain County; in Payne County Scott Loss had Lesser Black-backed Gull at Whittenberg Park; and Landon Neumann detected Red-necked Grebe at Boomer Lake Park.  On the 3rd Nancy Reed found 6 Purple Finches and 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch at her feeder in Norman. 

On the 4th Bill Diffin described Clark’s Grebe swimming near a Western Grebe at Prairie Dog Point. On the 5th Aaron Mechem counted 40-50 Red-Breasted Mergansers at Lake Overholser, and Brian Marra came across Golden-crowned Kinglet at Lake Overholser.  On the 6th Bill Carrell verified Surf Scoters at Lake Hefner; and Scott Loss watched Red-necked Grebe, Western Grebe, Eastern Towhee and a late Grasshopper Sparrow at Lake Carl Blackwell. On the 7th Hal Yocum encountered Red-breasted Nuthatch and Purple Finch at Mitch Park in Edmond; Randolph King got Bonaparte’s Gull, and Forster’s Tern at Purcell Lake in McClain County; in Canadian County Braden Farris had Common Loon, Western Grebe, and Surf Scoter at Lake Overholser Canadian County.  On the 8th Randolph King confirmed Bonaparte’s Gull, Franklin’s Gull, and Fox Sparrow in Pottawatomie County.  On the 10th Neva Damron located Ring-billed Gull at Lake R.C. Longmire in Garvin County. 

On the 10th Larry Mays recognized Blackburnian Warbler at Lake Thunderbird; and in Pottawatomie County Zach DuFran recorded Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, American Pipit at Wes Watkins Lake, and Pied-billed Grebe at Shawnee Reservoir-Upper Section.  Meanwhile at a distance when walking along the dam at Lake Carl Blackwell, Melanie Whitmore photographed a swimming bird.  When Jim Arterburn looked at the eBird photos, he suspected it was an unusual bird and requested local birders check it out.  The next morning in the fog Scott Loss couldn’t find it but instead he reported Western Grebe and Say’s Phoebe.  Later in the day the Red Phalarope first photographed by Melanie was documented by several birders, and Landon Neumann also discovered Pacific Loon.

On the 12th D&D Norris added Golden-crowned Kinglet at Kairworks Garden in Logan County; Rod Lusey spotted Dunlin at Arcadia Lake – Spring Creek Park; Joe Grzybowski documented Pacific Loon, and Black Scoter at Lake Hefner; while at Stinchcomb WR east Brian Marra watched as Blue Jays twice flushed a Long-eared Owl and then America Crows drove it out of the refuge.  On the 13th at Lake Hefner Michael Kane observed Black Scoter mixed in with a raft of Buffleheads, Scaup, and White-winged Scoter; and Bill Diffin detected Surf Scoter. At Lake Thunderbird John Tharp discovered Long-tailed Duck, Blackburnian Warbler and Joe Grzybowski viewed Palm Warbler.  In Payne County Tim O’Connell identified Mountain Bluebird west of Lake McMurtry; and Mike Yough saw Sandhill Crane along Richmond Road.  On the 14th Richard Hasegawa found Merlin along Turner Turnpike at Chandler in Lincoln County; and Brian Marra counted Prairie Falcon at Howard Farms near Deer Creek in Oklahoma County. On the 15th Braden Farris located Lapland Longspur and Sedge Wren at Stinchcomb WR east. On the 16th Mike Yough noticed Surf Scoter at Lake Carl Blackwell – Dam.  On the 18th Allen Codding had Barn Owl in Edmond. 

On the 19th Emily Card came across Bufflehead along the HE Bailey Turnpike near Chickasha in Grady County; and Mark Peterson got Mountain Bluebird, Ruddy Duck, and Greater Scaup near Orlando in Logan County.  On the 20th Joe Grzybowski reported Western Grebe at Lake Thunderbird – South Dam. On the 21st Joe Grzybowski described a California Gull and verified Black Scoter at Lake Thunderbird – Little Axe Area; John Muller and Nu Perera captured an American Tree Sparrow while banding in the fields behind the Museum of Natural History in Norman; and in Pottawatomie County Aaron Milligan viewed Wood Duck and White-crowned Sparrow in Macomb; and Dala Grissom watched Purple Finch in Bethel Acres.  On the 22nd Caleb McKinney encountered Hooded Merganser in Grady County; and at Lake Carl Blackwell Scott Loss photographed a juvenile Magnificent Frigatebird perched at the fish house (near the lake store) taking handouts. 

On the 23rd Wyatt Egelhoff recognized Greater White-fronted Goose along I-40 in Seminole County; and Caleb McKinney spotted Smith’s Longspur, Purple Finch, and Merlin in Grady County.  On the 24th Scott Loss flushed a female Ring-necked Pheasant and Rusty Blackwell at Lake Carl Blackwell; and D&D Norris detected Hermit Thrush at Kairworks Garden in Logan County.  On the 25th Brian Marra photographed a possible Rufous Hummingbird at Arcadia Lake – Spring Creek Park and viewed Chestnut-collared Longspur at Howard Farms.  On the 26th Geoff Butcher encountered Mountain Bluebird along 50th Street in Canadian County.  On the 27th Nick Rosen found Sharp-shinned Hawk along I-35 near Paul’s Valley in Garvin County; and Brian Marra reported Lapland Longspur at NW 50thand Morgan Road in Canadian County.  On the 28th Mike Yough described Rough-legged Hawk along Pleasant Valley Road in Payne County and Hooded Merganser at Mulhall in Logan County.  And now it is time to take part in a Christmas Bird Count.

In the Central Oklahoma area during November, 171 species were reported with 10 new species bringing the total for 2020 to 306. 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: November 29 & 30, 2020). And occasionally from Facebook, and the OKBIRDS List.  I can be contacted by e-mail at  Esther M. Key, Editor.


                                                                Nov        Oct         Sept       Aug        May       April       March   Feb        Jan         31 BBA    8 Counties                             

Kingfisher                            116         116         111         111         087         062         056         021         010         2

                Seminole                             118         116         116         116         099         091         060         008         008         0

Lincoln                                  125         124         123         123         123         117         070         054         047         030         0

Garvin                                   131         129         129         129         128         093         067         053         037         003         5

Pottawatomie                   138         121         121         116         099         078         058         035         027         5             

Grady                                    156         144         143         142         137         111         073         068         048         0

                Logan                                    165         155         154         151         145         118         088         079         059         0

McClain                                167         162         159         159         155         130         094         073         038         0

                Canadian                             237         229         225         223         221         187         133         104         089         5

                Cleveland                            260         252         243         239         235         206         149         114         093         2

                Oklahoma                           265         253         251         247         243         214         154         133         125         8

                Payne                                   267         254         250         248         244         216         154         122         111         4


Number of bird species reported in 2020 according to eBird.