Mary Beth Stowe's Website

All photographs ©2005

Oklahoma Adventure

Washita NWR

I had originally planned to spend the entire day exploring the roads around the grasslands, but since the wind was so bad and things generally start quieting down around noon anyway, I stopped at Skipout Lake long enough to add a few water-related birds and use the potty, and then headed over to Washita NWR to check it out.  The first place I stumbled upon was a wonderful paved trail out to a very dry wetland, that nevertheless had three Little Blue Herons in it.  Off to the side was a blind, and when I opened it up I surprised two little field mice!  Talk about cute!  I’m hoping there’s a mammal expert out there that might be able to ID them for me!

      

                   Riverside Trail (paved and flat—my kind                          Boardwalk to the overlook

                                                of trail!)   

    

Deer (?) Mice hiding in the blind!

Found the sign to the headquarters and wheeled in, getting a map and checklist, and found out (as I kinda suspected) that I'm kind of in the seasonal "no man's land" right now: most of the wintering stuff has left, and most of the primary breeders (including Mississippi Kite) haven't arrived yet and probably won't till May!  Bummer!  But they had a cute little Prairie Dog to cheer me up...  About the only other access points they have are places you can park and walk in (mostly for hunting) or put in a boat, so I checked out all those places, zigzagging down to Foss Lake State Park and doing the same.  But it was at one of these stops that I felt like I was feeling a breeze, and noticed to my chagrin that somehow I had put a gigantic hole in the seat of my jeans!!  (Wonder how many people got their jollies before I noticed that?!)  And unfortunately my bags were back at the motel so I couldn't even discreetly change!  So I stayed in the car for the most part unless I knew no one was around...

     

Prairie Dog at headquarters

        

                                 Washita River                                                                            Owl Cove

    

Pitts Creek

Maybe it was just the time of day, but the areas around Foss Lake seemed kinda sterile; the most interesting bird was a Common Loon out in the middle of the lake.  One thing they did have was bluebird boxes all over; it's no wonder I've seen more bluebirds here than anywhere else!  When it was time to head back to Elk City, I got on the interstate, and hadn't gone far before I heard something clickety-clacking from under the car, so I got off and found I had a flat tire!  (And just that morning I was thinking about what a miracle it's been that I've never had a flat tire with all the dirt roads I go on in San Diego and elsewhere!)  So there I was with a gaping hole in my pants waiting for the AAA tow truck (thank the Lord for that!), but thankfully I could wrap my jacket around my waist and (hopefully) cover it up, and the guy who showed up was wonderful: he towed me in to the Goodyear place where they stayed open just for me (had to replace the whole tire, though: somewhere we had picked up a three-inch-long spike that really tore the cords up), and he even recommended a great Chinese place in town that had the best lo mein I think I've ever had!  So everything ended well, despite the trials! 

         

                                                                        Foss Lake                                                            Scissor-tailed Flycatcher