September 2011

Shorebirds, Warblers and Monarch Butterflies

A brief group of showers perked up plants and started a round of brilliant sunflower blooms along the roadsides, but the drought continues creating a super excellent habitat for shorebird migration while warblers are being seen in the wooded areas.  Even with the brief moisture the drought continues and this September is the driest since 1994.  Two unconfirmed rare bird sightings were reported and the photograph and documentation is being studied by the OOS Rare Bird Committee.

On the 3rd at Meridian Lake on Hwy 51 Dwayne Elmore had a large number of shorebirds including Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a Black Tern and White-faced Ibis.  On the 4th Timothy O’Connell, Jason Heinen and Kent Andersson checked the Meridian Tech Center Pond and located Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, American Golden Plover, and at the OSU Botanical Garden Least Flycatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Northern Parula and Yellow Warbler.  In Norman Joe Grzybowski had to use binoculars to spot Chimney Swifts at speck-like altitudes and noted Mississippi Kites catching dragonflies high above.  On the 5th he passed by Lake Overholser and had 14 species of shorebirds including a Red-necked Phalarope and over 100 Stilt Sandpipers, while on the 9th he located 4 Neotropic Cormorants.

On the 11th Dick Gunn saw a mature Bald Eagle patrolling just off South Jenkins in Norman.  Patti and Brian Muzny spotted a Swainson’s Hawk east of Byars while last week she watched a Prairie Falcon hunting over their recently burned pasture.  On the 12th Jim Bates reports during the past week he has seen Black-and-white Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler but best of all as he was getting into his car to leave for work, he noticed some movement at the base of a holly bush which turned out to be a nice male Mourning Warbler in all his grand black, green and yellow regalia.  Jim has also noted seeing dragonflies and Monarch butterflies.

On the 15th Sue Lutze in Tuttle noticed a female and later a male Yellow Warbler.  On the 16th in Norman Brian Davis found a male Black-chinned Hummingbird at his feeder.  On the 17th Nadine and Jimmy Woodard spotted a Roseate Spoonbill paralleling I-40 just east of exit 217 where Highway 48 crosses it in Okfuskee County.  Garey Harritt reports at least 100 Great Egrets at the sand plant in Guthrie (north of Hwy 33 on Pine) and Common Nighthawks circling a tree before quickly moving off.  Dave and Sue Woodson sighted a Belted Kingfisher catching a fish at Arcadia Lake.

On the 18th Jimmy birded around Lake Overholser and found American White Pelicans, Wilson ’s Phalarope, American Avocets, and a Bald Eagle being harassed by American Crows.  In his central Oklahoma City yard Jim Bates had an American Redstart, Swainson’s Thrush, and in Yukon Park a Blue-headed Vireo.  On the 19th Feodora Steward saw an early Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Eldon Lyon Park.  On the 21st Nancy Reed had a female or immature Lark Bunting arrive in her yard.  As the Monarch butterflies start their annual migration through Oklahoma Linda Schemmer of Kingfisher request assistance in reporting sighting of large roosts, nectaring or dedicated S-SW flights.  Reports can be made at .

On the 22nd Dick Gunn reports for the seventh straight year, Norma, the resident white Red-tailed Hawk has returned.  Also, Blossom, his youngest Springer, tends to collect things on their walk, and this morning’s collection included a dead Sora Rail.  Meanwhile, Jim Bates’ son, John, saw a Sora Rail being attacked by their two cats.  He rescued the bird and took it to Wildcare.  On the 26th west of Central Oklahoma at the turnoff to the Roman Nose State Park Mark Cromwell found about 50 hawks sitting in short cattle pasture field.  Then he noticed another group of large birds rising out of a field behind a farm house which were mainly Swainson’s Hawk with a few Broad-winged Hawks.

On the 24th a US Fish and Wildlife Biologist from Houston, Texas, Kelsey Gocke, was visiting Martin Park Nature Center and sighted a male Golden-winged Warbler.  On the 27th at the Central State Park in Edmond Dave Woodson had a Hairy Woodpecker, Swainson’s Hawk and Northern Flicker.  On the 30th Bill Diffin walked out on the dry, sandy, lake bed on the east side of Lake Overholser and discovered Ruddy Duck, Prairie Falcon, 150 American Avocet, 75 American Golden Plover, a Black-bellied Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, and a big group of Double-crested Cormorants on an island in the middle of the former lake.

During September a total of 107 bird species were reported including 5 new species which increased the 2011 Central Oklahoma area total to 258 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.