Oklahoma Mesonet recorded no rain for the week (prior to Wednesday).
Payne County area birds for the past seven days include late Song Sparrows and Common Goldeneye, Neotropic Cormorant, and Painted Bunting.
Explorer software is area tracking Eastern Whip-poor-will, Mallard, Rusty Blackbird, Short-eared Owl, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, Painted Bunting, Greater White-fronted Goose, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Golden Eagle, Whooping Crane, Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks, American Crow, American White Pelican, Great Egret, and Osprey, all on the way to their respective final destinations. These migrants were shared by multiple organizations from eighty studies.
Overnight April 18-19, 2023, 1.7 million birds crossed Payne County between 2010-0650 hours, flying at speeds between 50-65 mph from between 1700 and 2800 feet, which is somewhat below average. Species expected to arrive and depart at this time of year include Spotted Sandpiper, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Eastern Kingbird, Savannah Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, House Wren, and White-throated Sparrow.
Boomer Lake area observations included on April 14 was a migrant Warbling Vireo that just fueled and rested for a portion of the day.
Our winds sweeping down the plain as the song “Oklahoma!” tells us includes the following notable behavior:
Turkey Vultures have been enjoying the lift and ride that they have been receiving from winds between 20-25 mph. They have been sailing by several reporting parties in 21 mph southeast winds. It has been quite a show, reminiscent of Elvira Gulch, played by Margaret Hamilton in the original version of The “Wizard of Oz.”
Several Turkey Vultures have been located on what appears to be a roost/rest tree. Writer has seen many individuals atop that perch when they return from soaring the friendly skies.
Northern Flickers are choosing territory for breeding purposes. One was observed calling for about a full minute without taking a breath. Perhaps it passed out from a lack of air, as that is a lengthy period of time. Eastern Cottontails were also in the general vicinity of that anomaly. They are currently pairing for the same reason.
Wilson’s Phalaropes are giving us their spinning feeding ritual, which is to stir up food from the bottom of their choice of feeding environment. It has been an excellent opportunity to observe how the male and female switch roles, which includes the entire family of phalaropes. The female gets her revenge on the male, because once she lays her eggs, her duty is done and he gets to feed and raise them. Naturally, she is relying on another mate and clutch. Sounds like quite a life, eh, ladies?
Boomer Lake’s Purple Martins are also in business. One can really observe how they use mud from near the houses in creating their nests. Swallows also share the same behavior.
Boomer Creek is hosting the Louisiana Waterthrush if anyone cares to observe its behavior. It has also been at Heron Cove at Boomer Lake, feeding at the perimeter. They are also known to quietly perch in trees that are in the shade.
Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.
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