Barred Owl

Barred Owl.

Payne County rare birds for the week of Feb. 3-9 include Western Grebe, Mountain Bluebird, Say’s Phoebe, Gray Catbird, Black Scoter, Ring-necked Pheasant, Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Oregon Dark-eyed Junco. Those were excellent findings for the period, some of which were multiple birds for one day. However, it only proves that these anomalies are brought to us courtesy of a warming climate. As the years pass, these events will likely increase.

We are now in the midst of a seasonal cold front that has been sticking with us for a number of days now. Not only have we experienced freezing ran on Monday of this week, we are victims of the aftermath of the snowstorms that moved north of us to the east. We will be experiencing warmer temperatures, also this week.

There was a plethora of wonderful birds in the county over this time, not just multiple rarities. 

On Feb. 3, we located Great Horned Owl in the Glenwood area, and Bewick’s Wren, White-crowned Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Cedar Waxwings in the Whittenberg Park area. Boomer Lake Park invited Ruddy Duck and Double-crested Cormorants in breeding plumage, while Lake Carl Blackwell shared Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Horned Lark, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Song Sparrow, and Pine and Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warblers. Karsten Creek hosted a White-breasted Nuthatch, and Lake Carl Blackwell Dam counted Red-shouldered Haewk, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Savannah and Swamp Sparrows.

Thursday the 4, American Woodcock was hosted by the Whittenberg Park area, while Teal Ridge shared Greater Roadrunner, Rock Pigeon, and Eastern Bluebird. ASCO fields counted Smith’s Longspur and LeConte’s Sparrow.

Feb. 5 at Boomer Lake, we discovered Herring Gulls, Cooper’s Hawk, both yellow- and red-shafted Northern Flickers, Pileated Woodpecker, and Orange-crowned Warbler, as the Cimarron Hill area located White-throated Sparrow and American Goldfinch.

Last weekend, we listed Ross’s Goose, Cackling Geese, Gadwall, Greater Scaup, Wood Duck, Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, American Coot, Barred Owl, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Black Vultures, Greater Yellowlegs, Hairy and Red-headed Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Brewer’s Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Brown Creeper, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Harris’s, Red Fox, and Field Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Eastern Meadowlark, Tufted Titmouse, and Eurasian Collared-Dove.

This Monday we spotted a couple of Hooded Mergansers and American Crows at Boomer Lake Park, along with Redheads and Hermit Thrush at Whittenberg Park. 

Wednesday the 10th, Boomer Lake hosted Iceland (Thayer’s) Gulls, along with American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, and Lesser Scaup at Lake Sanborn.

The seasonal cold snap sent ducks our way, some of my favorite birds. Many times, unless we have small spaces with a little water, we tend not to encounter a lot of them. Several years ago, I studied multiple Greater White-fronted Geese not far from Heron Cove, as well as numerous Ruddy Ducks and grebes barely able to move about in just a small amount of water.

Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.

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