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Oklahoma Adventure


Cyndie managed to drag herself over to the hotel for breakfast (she says she’s not a morning person), and we had just a delightful time! After breakfast we took off for her favorite spots, beginning with Lake Yahola, a rather large reservoir which you really had to hit first thing in the morning while it was calm.  The Long-tailed Duck was evidently long gone, but we did pick up a Common Loon already in breeding dress, and several Bonaparte's Gulls were new for the trip.  Other than that the waterfowl consisted mainly of cormorants and a single Pied-billed Grebe, but in the parking lot got the first of several Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, which are always neat to see!

I neglected to mention that in order to get to the lake, we had to take the freeway going in to town, and their rush hour was like the proverbial hick town: if you blink when you drive through, you’ll miss it! Cyndie then took me along the road she takes to go to work, which runs along the Arkansas River, and since she wasn't rushing to work this time she wanted to stop and bird from the bridge over the river, only we found we couldn't get on it.  But we still picked up some nice birds for the day: White Pelicans, a Canada Goose, Great Egret, and Field and Chipping Sparrows.  This is also where she educated me regarding the Jacaranda-type trees I was seeing all over: they’re actually called Redbud Trees, which start out with lavender flowers! She also pointed out one with white buds instead of red.


                                        Tulsa in bloom!                                        Cyndie Browning on the bridge we couldn’t

                                                                                                          walk over, with the Arkansas River in the



                                Pathway through the park                    Cyndie points out a Redbud Tree, which in this

                                                                                                                            case is white...

Birds around the park...


     Cardinal (again,       Canada Goose                                        Friendly Mockingbirds

     greatly enhanced)   

Somewhere in here we stopped by her apartment just so she could show me what it was like; before this she had taken me through the "nice" neighborhood where she told me the homes ran around $120K (I blurted, "Is that all??!!"). We never got around to seeing the mansions, but her complex looked to be in a decent area, and after telling me how much she was paying for her apartment, that was almost enough to tempt me to move out there! (I think the winters would discourage me, though...) From there we headed over to the Bixby Sod Farms and checked out a little riparian area where we picked up the regulars like Carolina Wren and Chickadee, Titmouse, and plenty of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (the first one was a year bird for Cyndie, but after awhile they got to be annoying...).  We then cruised the area where another ST Fly was very cooperative for pictures, but shorebird wise the most interesting thing was two Pectoral Sandpipers in with some Killdeer.  Down the road Cyndie spotted a Great Horned Owl and her baby!  We also heard a Warbling Vireo in this general area, and down the road at a bridge added both Cliff and Barn Swallow to the list, as well as Fish Crow--I was surprised they got up this far north, but they do!


Creek near the Bixby Sod Farms        Scissor-tailed Flycatcher            Pectoral Sandpiper        Baby Great Horned

                                                                    (OK’s state bird)                                                            Owl taken through

                                                                                                                                                                Cyndie’s scope

After that we went to a new nature center she wanted to check out called Ray Harral Park; it was behind a school, and was just a delightful little place!  We also had a mystery warbler singing away (that wouldn't come out naturally) that I felt in my gut was a Yellow-throated, so I taped a sample with my little dictaphone (I'm amazed at how well that thing picks up bird calls) and checked it against my Stokes back here at the hotel, and that's indeed what it was!  A Northern Parula was a little more cooperative, following us down the trail after I pished at it...  A familiar trill turned out to be an Orange-crowned Warbler, and at a resting spot Cyndie taught me a new vocalization: the churr of the Red-headed Woodpecker!  (I thought I was hearing frogs at first...)  Finally one came in and showed off; gorgeous birds!  Lots of White-throated Sparrows sang and scuffled around in here as well.


                       Red-headed Woodpecker                                        Self-explanatory...

We had lunch after that at a great soup 'n' sandwich place, after which we headed out to Oxley Nature Center, which was really a delightful place!  A lot of the trails were flooded out, and things were quieting down considerably by then, but we added a few water birds, plus several cooperative Swamp Sparrows (at one point a Song was right below him, making a great comparison)!  I found a perfect souvenir T-shirt for the trip: a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher with "Oklahoma" printed below it!


            Cyndie at the entrance to her favorite hangout!            The various habitats of Oxley Nature Center


                                                                                                                        Frog—look hard for the rest of his

                                                                                                                                body hanging in the water!


                                                                                                                            The marsh


                            Turtles (Red-eared Sliders?)                                                The nature center

I was really shot after that, so we headed back to the hotel, kissed goodbye, and I dunno what Cyndie did, but I wiped out on the bed for awhile!  I was looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend up in Bartlesville (after doing laundry), but it was not to be: got the e-mail from David saying the chase was on for Sunday, so after a couple of phone calls to him and Roger (he didn’t know where he was gonna start from yet), went ahead and did laundry the next morning, packed up, and headed north to Kansas yet again!