September through mid-October 2012

Nothing makes this chirping birder much more pleased than to see the brutal Oklahoma summer heat get chased away! Yee-haw!

The Muzny crew beat a hasty retreat to our Byars cabin as soon as we got a little rain and I totally enjoyed delightful birding and hiking and just plain existing so much more. The birds were excited as well. One of the first residents to awaken me at daybreak was the Pileated Woodpecker. Following that serenade was the Red-shouldered Hawk and it made certain it was not overlooked. Soon the Porch Phoebe chimed in and with it a Cardinal or two and the Carolina Wrens. Life is good on the screen porch.

During the evenings the Barred Owls began to chant from along the creek. If they position themselves exactly right, their calls create an echo that amplifies their conversations toward the cabin. After growling all summer about the heat, I must admit to being a little chilly, so I was curled up in my favorite lounge chair with a blanket. Traffic along the highway was very light and even the crickets were quiet. No tractors, chain saws, target practice, or 4-wheelers to intrude upon my peaceful solitude. Life is good with quiet.

Early in the morning the stage was commandeered by the Great Horned Owls who like to call from near our pond. Their conversations lasted for a little over 30 minutes. Their soft hoots to each other waft through the early morning air and settle so gently over our souls. Should I stay wrapped up in the blanket with my tea or grab the hiking boots? The hiking boots won and I grabbed my binoculars. Lifting my face to the light mist, I breathed in the country air and began my journey for the day .Life is good with hiking boots.

That morning I was hiking about three hours all along our property. The grass was wet, although the ground still held enormous cracks and the pond is so low I don’t think our fish have survived. The wildlife still comes to drink because other ponds are either dry or in the same condition. I discovered the “possum grapes” were ripe and ready to be harvested, so I solicited our younger son, Tim, to help me reach up higher than I could reach with the aid of the tractor bucket and later we presented Ms. Vicars with a suitable collection of these tasty morsels. She makes the best jelly ever from these grapes. Life is good in the grape patch.

White-eyed Vireos were still calling along the creek and I heard a Summer Tanager. Brian also found a Catbird and he heard Bobwhite. The Solitary Sandpipers seem to have moved on, but a Great Egret was seen at the pond. Brian also found a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves, which are not spotted often on our property, although they can be found in the town, which is 1.5 miles away. Downy Woodpeckers do not seem to be as common, although I’ve found Hairy Woodpeckers and one Red-headed Woodpecker. The Gnatcatchers were still around and we also located a few Scissortails. We did notice that the Scissortails were gathering on the utility wires and fences along the highway from I-35 east to our property. Life is good when the Scissortails gather.

In early October, I was scurrying into the SE entrance to the Capitol when I was distracted by a major altercation between a Red-tailed Hawk and a Eurasian Collared Dove. The hawk was perched on one of the decorative columns near the top of the building and the dove was dive-bombing it and squawking the entire time. I was a few minutes late getting to my office because that show was totally the best one around at the time. After enduring the assault from the dove for about two minutes, the hawk took off with the dove in hot pursuit. Never have seen doves bugging a hawk, but it was neat! Life was good for me – maybe not for the hawk.

I am already missing the nesting migrants, but am enjoying the resident birds and looking forward to the fall migrants that I know will soon be among us. Life is good during fall migration.