September 2014

Migration fallouts

As September began a northern cold front pushed its way into central Oklahoma causing a migrant fallout, and reports for one day cover three paragraphs. Then Rose Lake became a birding hot spot for the month. Later a mystery gull appeared which was identified with the assistance of gull experts.

On the 1st Hal Yocum discovered 2 Neotropic Cormorant at Lake Hefner. On the 4th when the rain started in Stillwater, Tim O’Connell stepped outside and heard an Upland Sandpiper and flock of Dickcissels.  Along Cottonwood Creek in Logan County Christie Stoops noted an American Woodcock.  On the 5th it was still raining and Tim saw Common Nighthawks zipping around his neighborhood and more Dickcissels. Later on campus he found a road-kill Sora Rail, Chimney Swifts, and at least twoMourning Warblers.  Along South Jenkins Jennifer Kidney saw two American Minks scuttling along the dry creek bed plus a Green Heron and Olive-sided Flycatcher.

On the 6th Joe Grzybowski suspected the first real north wind in a while might bring in birds and went up to the Oklahoma City lakes to bird in the rain for 2.5 hours.  Rose Lake had the most shorebirds with 10 different species including a Marbled Godwit, two adult Bald Eagles and 17 White-faced Ibises; at Lake Hefner there was a group of gulls and terns with one adult California Gull; and at Lake Overholser Pied-billed Grebes and Eared Grebes.  Grace Huffman saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird at Lake Hefner.

When Scott Loss heard about the migrant fall outs, he went to the Kameoka Trail in Stillwater north of Boomer Lake to confirm a major fallout with dozens of warblers and other neotropical migrants.  Identified species included Traill’s Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush, Mourning Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Painted Bunting and Orchard Oriole.  Jonah Padberg verified the fallout was also occurring near Crescent where he had a lot of unidentified warblers, Great-crested Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Eastern Kingbird.

Meanwhile, Bill Adams and his Mom saw 2 dozen Swainson’s Hawks in a field south of Ringling.  Later they went to Taylor Lake in McClain County and saw Osprey and Black Terns.  Along South Jenkins the group started off with Dick Gunn, John Tharp and Rachel Wrenn then they ran into Joe Grzybowski and later John Raeside, Anais Starr and Jennifer.  While it wasn’t exactly a fall out they did see a goodly number of birds including 6 species of warblers, (Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary, Yellow-throated, and Parula), Least Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Red-headed and Hairy Woodpecker and Least and Bairds Sandpiper.

On the 7th at the east end of the Lake Hefner Dam a Ruddy Turnstone was spotted by Bill Diffin and Zack Poland. On the 8th James Hubbell had a Grasshopper Sparrow at Rose Lake, and Larry Mays had a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Lake Hefner.  On the 9th at Rose Lake Bill Diffin and Sharon Henthorn reported Wilson’s Phalarope; at Lake Thunderbird Peter Keyel saw an Eastern Screech Owl and David Dowell identified a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. On the 10th at Lake Hefner John Hurd and Hal Yocum saw a Laughing Gull, and Larry Mays and Chad Ellis reported a Common Tern.

On the 11th John Tharp noted a Northern Harrier at Rose Lake, and Joe Grzybowski identified a Redhead Duck at Lake Hefner.  On the 13th Bill Diffin checked Lake Overholser and noted two Black-bellied Plovers.  At Taylor Lake Bill Adams located a Black Vulture, Prothonotary Warbler, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  On the 14th Nancy Reed found her first Pine Siskin at her Norman backyard feeder.  For the fourth day Matt Jung went to Rose Lake to find the Marbled Godwit and finally succeeded and also saw a few Northern Shovelers and a Cooper’s Hawk.

On the 16th Brandon Thurston spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch in Stillwater.  On the 17th along South Jenkins Dick Gunn, John Tharp and Rachel Wrenn found a bunch of interesting stuff including a Warbling, Red-eyed, White-eyed and Bell’s Vireo and an American Redstart.  Jennifer added a Tennessee Warbler and Least Flycatcher.  At Lake Hefner Bill Diffin observed a large mystery Larus Gull.   Caleb Frome had an Inca Dove on the OU campus, and John Hurd had a Brewer’s Blackbird at Rose Lake.

On the 18th John Tharp noted a Peregrine Falcon at Rose Lake.  On the 19th in Grady County Robert B Green located a Sanderling at “Mansion” Lake or “Four-Mile” Lake.

On the 20th at Lake Arcadia Jimmy Woodard found a Chimney Swift, American Kestrel, Bewick’s Wren, and Field Sparrow.  Rachel Wrenn spotted a Great Crested Flycatcher at Little River State Park.   In Edmond Terri Underhill has at least four White-breasted Nuthatches coming to her feeder, and she saw about 40 Common Nighthawks circling near Covell and Coltrane.  In Logan County Corban Hemphill identified a Northern Bobwhite, Green Heron and Loggerhead Shrike on a Ranch.

On the 21st Scott Loss had a really good migration going over his yard in Stillwater as a cold front approached and passed.  A couple of hours of sky-watching resulted in 49 species of birds, countless butterflies and dragonflies with bird highlights including Summer Tanager and Broad-winged Hawk.  On the 23rd a Black Vulture was spotted at Lake Carl Blackwell by Scott Loss, and John Tharp discovered a Merlin and Peregrine Falcon at the Little River State Park.  On the 25th Dick had a House Wren on South Jenkins.  On the 27that Lake Hefner Larry Mays noticed a Sora Rail; in Pottawatomie County Dala Grissom discovered a Belted Kingfisher at Shawnee City Lake; John Tharp had a Blue-headed Vireo at Little River State Park; and at the Lazy E Arena Jeff Tibbits spotted a Red-shouldered Hawk, and Yellow Warbler.

On the 28th T K spotted an Eastern Wood-Pewee at Lake Thunderbird.  Terri Underhill and Pat Velte found an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with a mystery gull along the shoreline of Lake Overholser.  Joe Grzybowski photographed the dark gull noted at Lake Overholser that has been called a first-winter Herring Gull and checked with some gull guru experts to confirm it is a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.  He also noted some Herring Gulls at Lake Hefner.  Jennifer Kidney had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet hovering around in her big hackberry tree in Norman and in the evening there were dozens of Common Nighthawks and Chimney Swifts swooping and chittering in the sky above her yard, but best of all the Monarch butterfly migration has began in earnest.

On the 29th John Tharp had a Sedge Wren and American Pipit along South Jenkins, John Hurd had a Bobolink at Rose Lake, and James Hubbell had an American Golden-Plover at Lake Overholser.  On the 30th Jason Shaw has a Wild Turkey at the USAO Habitat Area near Chickasha. As cooler weather arrives, when and where will the winter resident arrive?

In the Central Oklahoma area 180 bird species were reported in September with 1 new species which brings the total for the year to 283.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at   Esther M. Key, Editor.