Summer 2013

    Recorders Report –  2013 Summer Surprises 


This summer was full of surprises from the weather to visiting bird species.  Cool weather with lots of rain made it a pleasant summer with lively plant growth and insects available to feed the birds.  BBS routes were run and other wanderings revealed a multitude of neotropical and resident nesting birds.  Then an odd bird showed up and a once in a life-time sighting was possible for a multitude of birders.


On the 1st Jim Bates checked the cofferdam at Lake Overholser and among the group of American White Pelicans, a juvenile Brown Pelican flew up. Later he located a Tricolored Heron.  On the 3rd Mary and Lou Trux spotted a Glossy Ibis, Black Terns and Black-necked Stilts east of Morgan Road near 50th Street.

On the 7th Bill Diffin reported a Prothonotary Warbler singing in the woods north of Lake Overholser’s Coffer Dam and at Rose Lake there were White-faced Ibis. On the 8th Sharon Henthorn noticed Pied-billed Grebes in the Rose Lake area. In Grady County at Alex Marsh Joe Grzybowsky discovered a Black Tern and Little Blue Heron.  On the 9th Terri Underhill joined Allen Mueller from Conway, Arkansas and birded all day.  At Lake Hefner they found a lingering Common Loon.   While checking out the rookery on Council and 10th, Allen saw an Anhinga and Terri photographed it. On June 14th east of Dover Esther Key photographed an Upland Sandpiper.

In McClain County on the 13th Jeff Tibbits located a Red-bellied Woodpecker at the Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station; while near his home Larry Mays had a Chuck-will’s Widow; and on the 28th Steven Hernandez heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  On June 15 the Deep Fork Audubon Society did a bird walk at M&M Iris in Seminole County, and saw Green Heron, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Hairy Woodpecker,  Red-eyed Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Summer Tanager and Brown-headed Cowbird.   In Garvin County on the 25th Nina Rubio found a Pileated Woodpecker, Greater Roadrunner, and American Kestrel.  On the 26th west of Rose Lake Larry Mays and Chad Ellis discovered Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.


In Kingfisher County on the 1st Mary and Lou Truex birded west of Dover and located Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Field Sparrows, Lark Sparrow, American Kestrel, and Bell’s Vireo.  On the 2nd, Chad Ellis had American Avocets across the road from the Yukon Water Treatment Plant.  On the 6th Mary and Lou Truex had Black Terns at Wes Watkins Lake Campground.  On the 7th T K spotted a Neotropic Cormorant at Rose Lake. On the 9th Vicki Cortez had a Painted Bunting at her bird feeder near Arcadia, and T K had an Olive-sided Flycatcher along South Jenkins.

In Pottawatomie County along Macomb Road 1 on the 14th Joe Grzybowsky identified a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak.  In Edmond on the 18th five Broad-winged Hawks flew through Bonnie and Dave McNeely’s yard.  On the 19th and 20th Matt Jung explored from Lake Overholser to Rose Lake and located Wood Ducks, Greater Yellowlegs, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpecker, and Least Flycatcher.

On the 28th along South Jenkins Jennifer Kidney, John and Anais Starr-Raeside saw a little family of Yellow-throated Warblers catching and eating bugs, and on the 31st Matt Jung heard a Louisiana Waterthrush, Belted Kingfisher, Blue Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  Juliette Hulen reports the Purple Martin fall roosts are located in several trees next to the Chesapeake Arena – on Robinson between Reno & SW 2nd between 8:10 and 8:35 pm.  It is a dramatic view with the Devon tower behind them.


On the 7th David Arbour advised the Oklahoma Bird List that Tony Solonio and his dad had sent him some pictures of an unusual, large, dark, gull-like bird with distinctive white wing patches found on Lake Overholser.  David forwarded them to John Kennington who posted them. Meanwhile, Jim and John Bates located it, and met Chad Ellis who had seen it, photographed it, and later recorded it on eBird.

SURPRISE !!! Christopher Wood of eBird joined the conversation.  Mikey Lutmerding was the first to write eBird followed by Tim Spahr, and Marshall Lliff and identified it as a South Polar Skua.  Skua’s breed in the Antarctica during our winter and restlessly roam during our summer.  This was only the 5th time the species has been reported in the United States.  Other birders arrived at the lake taking pictures of it attacking Cattle Egrets and a Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  People came to view it from Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, and Missouri.  On the 10th Dwayne Elmore reports around 1130 the Skua lifted up several thousand feet into the thermals on the north end of the lake and disappeared.

Back to normal on the 9th Jimmy Woodard had a Rock Wren briefly land within 15 feet of him on south Council Road.  On the 18th John Hurd observed a Black-belied Whistling Duck at Fort Reno on a pond near the entrance.  Meanwhile, since the OKC lakes are filled to the brim, birders are searching the playa lakes around Rose Lake for shorebirds. Jim Bates observed a single juvenile White Ibis near 50th and Morgan, and Bill Diffin located it the next morning.  On the 20th John Hurd discovered a Least Tern at the OKC Water Treatment Lagoons.  On the 22ndan adult female Rose-breasted Grosbeak visited Evan Tanner’s yard in Stillwater; and on South Jenkins Dick Gunn saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

On the 23rd in Logan County John Hurd located a Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-Pewee and American Goldfinch at the North end of North Pine Street in Guthrie.  On the 24th Jimmy had an Acadian Flycatcher in his backyard in Midwest City.  On the 25th in Lincoln County Jimmy explored Meeker Lake and found Fish Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, White-eyed Vireo and Baltimore Oriole; and at Prague Lake City Park five Forster’s Terns, a Red-shouldered Hawk, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  In Norman Dick Gunn had a Willow Flycatcher along South Jenkins and Emily Hjalmarson discovered a Black-throated Green Warbler at Cherry Creek Park – River Trail.

On the 28th Steve Davis and Mary located Black-necked Stilts at Rose Lake which have been reported various times during the summer and is very, very rare.  On the 29thJohn Hurd spotted an Osprey at Lake Hefner; on the 30th Chad Ellis located Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Yukon’s 11th Street and NW 50th Street; and on the 31st Sharon Henthorn discovered a Sanderling at SW 149th Street and MacArthur.  What a busy and interesting summer !!!

During the summer 152 bird species were reported with 11 new species which brought the 2013 year’s total to 266 species in the Central Oklahoma area.  I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at   Esther M. Key, Editor.