Mary Beth Stowe's Website

All photographs ©2005 by

Oklahoma Adventure

Hackberry Flat WMA



Man, I was beat, but what a day!  Am I glad I decided to go to Hackberry after all: what a place!!  Started the drive-a-mile bit about a mile in from highway 54, and got the usual grassland stuff right away, including both meadowlarks again!  But the real treat was a Dickcissel on the fence, and then several more (as per usual when they start showing up)! 





Once at the wetlands, the next surprise jumped up and flew off: three Black-bellied Whistling Ducks!  Two more (or two of the original three) popped up again down the road and further back, giving great views of those big white wing patches!  There were plenty of other ducks still hanging around that I kinda thought might have left by now: Shovelers, a wigeon, a couple of Green-winged Teal and Pintail, etc.  Tons of Bluewings (I can see where my friend Rob was calling them the least-inspiring duck after awhile...), and then the shorebirds started showing up in earnest: gobs of Long-billed Dowitchers, pretty little Wilson's Phalaropes, Black-necked Stilts and lesser numbers of Avocets, a small flock of Long-billed Curlews, and the occasional yellowlegs (of both sizes).  Had several White-faced Ibis show up as well; I had heard that a Glossy had shown up, so I checked their faces carefully!  But in among the crowd was my first "central" shorebird, an Hudsonian Godwit!  But what shocked me more was a fairly familiar sound off to the left: a Marbled Godwit!  They weren't supposed to be here!!  Another familiar San Diegan was a Willet that was in amongst the yellowlegs!  Thankfully I ran into a ranger shortly thereafter, and not only did he confirm that they have had the Whistling Ducks there before (although rarely), but the Garbled Dimwit shows up somewhat regularly, too, although by no means an expected bird.  But what was scary was that this guy knew who I was!  Then I ran into another birder named Colin who also knew who I was and said Kurt Meisenzahl was looking for me, so I continued on, adding a huge flock of Chipping Sparrows at a grove of trees.



Wetland birds...



              Long-billed Dowitchers (at left with their heads         Hudsonian Godwit            Black-necked Stilts




          Wilson’s Phalaropes: female left, male Right (yes, really)    Greater (left) and Lesser (right)    Willet, a

                                                                                                                                  Yellowlegs                     quasi-

                                                                                                                                                                         vagrant in



                        White-faced Ibis           Fuzzy Red-winged           Brown-headed       Skulky Marsh Wren

                                                                        Blackbird                       Cowbird   


Going around the corner to the next road, the next car I ran into was indeed Kurt's, and he was on the phone telling everyone they didn't have to look for me any more--I felt like a fugitive!  He has his friend Jack with him who was very interested in the whistling ducks (I think he had only had them once before).  He (Kurt) also got me very excited about a Black Rail that had just crossed the road, until later he said he meant King Rail...  But they alerted me to a Whimbrel that was hanging around, as well as both Semipalmated and Snowy Plovers down the road.  I shortly started running into peeps as well: lots of Baird's, and lesser numbers of Leasts and Semipals.


Jack wanted to look for the whistlers, so they took off while I continued on, flushing the Whimbrel in the process.  Found the cute little Snowies and Semipals, and at the observation deck at the dead end had a single Pectoral Sandpiper.  Rounding the corner had another San Diegan gotten lost: a Black-bellied Plover that I pointed out to an elderly fellow who was doing some photography.  Then another birder, Warren Williams, came by, so I pointed out the plover to him as well, and found out he was the one who took that exquisite Scissor-tailed Flycatcher photo of mom and the baby!  Enjoyed watching a pair of stilts court, mate, and cuddle (don't know if they appreciated me shooting the whole thing), and also had a Peregrine Falcon and two Dunlins, and a couple of peeps that looked awfully colorful for Semipals, but they didn't feel right for Westerns to me.  Ran into Kurt shortly after that, and found out the BBPL wasn't as unusual as I may have thought, despite what Sibley's says: the thing about Hackberry is that it's fairly new, so stuff is showing up regularly that never made it into the books!



            Baird's Sandpipers                    Killdeer                    How to have a good marriage (Black-necked Stilt-

                                                                                               style): be sure to bond both before and after mating!   



                               This Avocet pair have already started their family!                         Black-bellied Plover,

                                                                                                                                            another quasi-vagrant