Payne County rare bird listings for the week were all observed last Sunday and include the American Avocet at Boomer Lake, and Stilt Sandpiper and Yellow-headed Blackbird at Meridian Tech. Rain tends to bring bonanzas, especially during this time of year and during periods of strong, unsettled weather. Since excess heat is upon us, storms that are more violent will rear their heads, especially as time marches on with abnormal weather patterns.
Rain for the past seven-day period in Stillwater was 4.36 inches. Data was collected by Mesonet, bringing the year to date total to 18.09 inches. The high number for the same period was just over 40 inches seen at Cloudy, OK for reference.
Birds of note for Wednesday include Little Blue Herons on Sangre Rd., Neotropic Cormorants at Boomer Lake, a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Little Blue Herons behind Cornerstone Dentistry that is sometimes flooded, and Lake Carl Blackwell counts included Northern Bobwhite, Least Tern, Eastern Wood-Pewee, a few recently fledged Purple Martins, Tree Swallow, several warblers, and good songbirds representatives.
On Tuesday, we discovered Chimney Swifts, a black Tern, Fish Crow, Gray Catbirds, and Prothonotary Warbler at Boomer Lake. Lake Carl Blackwell shared a Black Vulture, several Mississippi Kites, Red-tailed and Cooper’s Hawks, a likely pair of Great Crested Flycatchers hosting young, Yellow-breasted Chat, several Pine and a couple of Black-and-white Warblers, multiple Northern Parulas, over a dozen Dickcissels, a few Painted Buntings, and many more good songbirds. Teal Ridge shared a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Common Yellowthroats, Indigo and Painted Buntings, and a Blue Grosbeak.
This Monday at Boomer Lake we spied a Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, and both kingbirds, while Meridian Tech showed off a likely juvenile Hooded Merganser and an Eastern Mreadowlark. Lake Carl Blackwell observed Red-eyed, White-eyed, and Warbling Vireos, American Crow, Summer Tanagers, and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds.
Over last weekend, there were excellent finds all over Payne County with both year round and breeding summer residents like Barred Owls, Brown Thrashers, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Bell’s Vireo, Barn and Cliff Swallows, clearly resident White-winged Doves this year, nearly four dozen Purple Martins, and Lark Sparrow just to name a few.
During the rest of the year and especially during inclement and unnaturally cold weather keep alert for rare birds. Numbers for unusual finds should increase on a yearly basis from the past few years to many more future finds.
We should be on the uptick for current breeding birds to move north and more southerly birds to move into our area, which will be a little cooler for them as the times change. Every state will be having new additions to their wintering and breeding bird atlases. Migrants on their first journeys south can and will make mistakes by coming into unusual areas and of course, weather events will push them into atypical regions for the species. There will be many chances for us all to find birds that are only nemesis species now.
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.