Three interesting bird species whose ID can be confused with nearby species were reported this month. A mystery bird appeared on Lake Hefner and thanks to some close observation of photographs included in eBird lists, it was correctly identified. While sailing on a lake a birder noticing a swimmer with a different bill and added a new species for the fall. And while driving across the bridge, an uncomfortable quick ID caused a birder to turn around and discover an exciting species for the county and our area. Interestingly two out of the three unusual species observations were not made while someone was out birding. So, keep your eyes open for winter often brings interesting birds and unexpected lifers.
On the 1st Joe Grzybowski counted Black Tern at Lake Thunderbird. On the 2nd Deb Hirt identified Wilson’s Warbler and Spotted Sandpiper at Boomer Lake Park in Payne County. On the 3rd Lindell Dillon reported White-eyed Vireo at Lake Thunderbird; Joe Grzybowski observed Pectoral Sandpiper at NW63rd and Kilpatrick Turnpike; and D&D Norris photographed a Nashville Warbler bathing at Kairworks Garden in Logan County. Also, Anna Nesterovich detected Osprey, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, and Yellow Warbler at OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater.
On the 4th Larry Mays found Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Northern Bobwhite near Newcastle in McClain County. On the 5th Deanne McKinney discovered Stilt Sandpiper at NW63rd and Kilpatrick Turnpike and White-faced Ibis at Rose Lake; and Angel Carter spotted Eastern Phoebe in Blanchard in McClain County. On the 6th John Tharp came across Broad-winged Hawk in Norman; and Landon Neumann recorded Northern Parula and Orange-crowned Warbler at Couch Park in Stillwater. On the 7th Linda Farrell tallied Great Egret and Belted Kingfisher at Chandler Lake in Lincoln County.
On the 9th Caleb McKinney saw Black-throated Green Warbler and Summer Tanager at Couch Park in Payne County. On the 12th Landon Neumann had Pine Warbler and American Avocet at Lake Carl Blackwell. On the 13th Sora Rail was reported near William Morgan Park in Norman. On the 16th John Muller verified Black-throated Green Warbler along South Jenkins in Cleveland County; and Mary Anne Fluke noticed Turkey Vulture and Rock Pigeon along I-40 in Seminole County.
In the development of migration changes, on the 16th Steve Davis photographed and correctly identified White-winged Scoter at Lake Hefner. On October 19th and 22nd White-winged Scoter was observed and described in detail by Bill Diffin and on the 27th and 28th birders photographed it. Meanwhile on the 26th Braden Farris photographed a similar looking Surf Scoter. He photographed it again on November 2nd and again along with another birder on November 3rd. At the same time on the 3rd three birders identified White-winged Scoter on the water treatment ponds. Scoters are not usual visitors to Oklahoma County, and both bird species look very much alike. Was there only one of each species or are there more than one? it will be interesting to see how long each species stays in Oklahoma City and returns in subsequent years.
On the 17th Roy McGraw located Carolina Wren and Bald Eagle at Liberty Lake in Logan County. 0n the 18th John Tharp got Broad-winged Hawk in Norman. On the 19th Richard Specht encountered Black-necked Stilt and Yellow-headed Blackbird at NW63rd and Kilpatrick Turnpike; John Williams recognized Great-tailed Grackle at the I-44 Rest Area Lagoons in Grady County and Red-shouldered Hawk at Oak Glen RV Park in Lincoln County, while Brian Marra confirmed House Wren, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat at Lake Elmer in Kingfisher County and Linda Jones added House Wren at Lazy J in Lincoln County.
On the 20th Luis Cueto observed Inca Dove in Norman; and Landon Neumann detected Sora Rail and Wilson’s Snipe at Teal Ridge Wetland. On the 21st Rod Murray had American Avocet at Lake El Reno. On the 22nd Braden Farris counted Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Lark Sparrow in Washington in McClain County. On the 26th Caleb McKinney reported Spotted Towhee, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow and Field Sparrow on a Hunting Lease in Grady County; and Scott Loss documented California Gull and Common Loon at Lake Carl Blackwell.
On the 27th Nathan Kuhnert led 17 participants on the OOS Fall Meeting Field Trip to a wet grassland near the Max Westheimer Airport where they came across Horned Lark, American Pipit, Sprague’s Pipit, Sedge Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. At Lake Carl Blackwell Landon Neumann found Horned Grebe and Eared Grebe; and while sailing on Lake Hefner, Russell Goodin noticed a different swimmer and photographed Yellow-billed Loon.
On the 28th Graden Farris reported Sandhill Crane at the Tinker Walking Trail; Danny Tipton had Ring-billed Gull on I-35 near Wynnewood in Garvin County; Jason Shaw spotted Pied-billed Grebe at the USAO Habitat Area in Grady County; and Dustin Lynch had Northern Flicker, White-throated Sparrow and American Goldfinch at Meeker Lake in Lincoln County. On the 29th Bill Diffin documented Greater Scaup at Lake Hefner: and Jeff Mills tallied Yellow-rumped Warbler and Northern Harrier at Shawnee Regional Airport in Pottawatomie County. On the 30th Jeff Mills discovered Pied-billed Grebe, Pine Siskin, Lincoln’s Sparrow and Harris’s Sparrow in Shawnee.
On November 1st Deena Parsons was driving over the Alameda Twin Bridges and on an island in the river she spotted large white birds with black wing tips like American White Pelicans. She turned around and photographed 10 Whooping Cranes at Lake Thunderbird. Nancy Reed went out before sunrise on the 2nd and saw 3 of them but they were gone by about 0715. A full report has been turned in to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. November is starting out with interesting birds. What will be seen during the rest of the month?
In the Central Oklahoma area during October 2019, 185 species were reported with 2 new species bringing the total for the year to 277. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds. Information is accessed at: ebird. 2019 eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org/subnational1/US-OK/region. (Accessed: October 31, 2019). And occasionally from Facebook, the OKBIRDS List, and personal correspondence. I can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com. Esther M. Key, Editor.
Oct Sept Aug May April Mar Feb Jan
Seminole 082 081 081 074 059 047 036 000
Garvin 094 093 092 079 063 060 020 019
Pottawatomie 117 116 116 104 100 076 071 054
Grady 117 117 116 116 098 074 058 046
McClain 138 137 135 130 109 075 064 051
Lincoln 142 140 135 131 113 089 068 057
Kingfisher 145 144 142 139 116 095 079 073
Logan 162 161 159 156 140 110 089 078
Canadian 203 202 202 199 183 126 110 089
Cleveland 222 219 209 205 186 131 115 111
Oklahoma 242 236 233 228 205 147 137 125
Payne 247 247 243 239 206 142 119 103
Number of bird species reported in 2019 according to eBird. Current year, region. www.ebird.org