Rainfall for Stillwater over the past seven days sits at 0.52”.

Payne County rare birds include Black Scoter at Lake Carl Blackwell, Sora and Eastern Towhee at Cushing Water Treatment Plant, as well as the Red-naped Sapsucker at OSU’s Botanic Garden.

The sapsucker is a summer resident of many of the western states where it is uncommon in mountainous aspen groves and within forests where aspens are intermixed. In the winter, it is found in lowland riparian (willow and cottonwood) and suburban habitats, generally in conifers.

There has been a nice mix of winter birds at Boomer Lake, though few are settling in yet. If writer had to choose one, it might be the Ruddy Duck, however if we stay with cooler days, it is a much better possibility.

On Veterans Day Nov. 11, we observed the Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, male Hooded and female Common Mergansers, three Bald Eagles (two adults and one immature that stayed well away from the adults, a normal practice, though all three were observed in the same loosely general vicinity), Green-winged Teal, and eight Redheads. The Mergansers were drawn to the small group of Redheads.

Friday the 12 was a windier day, and all that came into our binocular sights were waterbirds and Canada Geese. Wind will tend to keep smaller songbirds within the safer confines of sheltered trees, as insects are also within them.

This Tuesday we were greeted by the Harris’s Sparrow, multiple Mourning Doves sharing space on or very near a wooden telephone pole, and the surprising sight of a small flowering Bradford pear tree. This causes writer to wait for another windy day and a good cold snap. Four Killdeer breezed through the center of the lake after having been disturbed by a person and his dog, their wings shining in the early morning sunlight.

There has been a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk sitting near the Boomer Lake Dam on its own telephone pole surveying its kingdom on and off for the past week. This is a popular perch for raptors, often shared by one of the Bald Eagles.

We have also been observing large numbers of southbound migrant blackbird mixes, which can include anything dark as well as sparrows. We will hear the occasional American Robin and catch other interesting characters that we can only assume might be seasonal migrants.

By far, the best representative hot spot of late has been Lake Carl Blackwell with its diverse representatives of waterfowl and both seasonal and migrant songbirds.

If you have not done so already, set up your sparkling clean feeders for the season and join Cornell’s Project Feederwatch, where you can tally your birds for science. The program focuses on sixth-eighth grade teachers with a scholarship opportunity for them to teach their students with virtual workshops. This allows teachers for those grades to introduce the joys of birds to their classrooms where they can bring local birding science to life while exploring diversity, adaptation, and evolution to their students. Join today!

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

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