Feb 2: Bird Census Results
It was a beautiful calm day for the census and we saw a lot of bird activity. Early on we found a 3 year old Bald Eagle with a Ross's Goose it had caught near headquarters. Later in the morning it was accompanied by a mature Bald Eagle so if they hang around we will have two pairs on the refuge. There were still over 2000 white geese present on the refuge. In the last several days there have been at times over 10,000 white geese on the refuge. Some are feeding on the refuge and some are feeding off the refuge and coming in to rest and bath. We saw a Hairy Woodpecker on the road to Goode. Just past the gate to Meadow Pond we found 3 Eastern Towhees, a Spotted Towhee, a Brown Thrasher and a Golden-crowned Kinglet. We saw Yellow-rumped Warblers in many places and wound up with a count of 65 for the day. We found a Brown Creeper on Raasch Trail. Ducks are present in good numbers. There was a lone Canvasback in Mineral Marsh mixed in with the Ruddy Ducks and Lesser Scaups. The shorebirds including 7 Dunlin are still present. We finished the day with 84 Species. Today's photo is Buffleheads, a diving duck that have been present in Steedman Marsh for weeks.
Feb 9: Bird Census Results
The upcoming days are going to be very difficult for our area birds and it seems that they sensed it as a lot of species, especially sparrows and allies were feeding frantically on the ground, many of the places we visited. I don't think I had ever seen as many Dark-eyed Juncos as we saw today. We saw them almost every place we went counting 180 individuals which is probably quite a few less than we saw. A very interesting sighting was a Lark Sparrow which is a very early sighting for that species. At one stop on the road to the Goode area we saw a Juniper covered with birds gorging on the berries including many American Robins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings and a Northern Mockingbird that did not look too pleased seeing its stash disappearing so rapidly. At Deaver Pond we found Lucy the female resident Bald Eagle sitting in a tree and then she flew down to a stump near the water peering into the water. There we also found the site faithful Red-headed Woodpecker and some Neotropic Cormorants. At Meadow Pond there were many American Coots and Gadwalls. There we also saw a lot of Yellow-rumped Warblers along the shore sallying out to hawk some kind of small insects. We found a large flock of Eastern Bluebirds feeding in the borrow ditch on Bennett. There were not many white geese present. Duck numbers were good with more that 300 Gadwall, 190 Green-winged Teal, 122 Northern Pintail, 56 Northern Shovelers, 62 Mallards, 5 American Wigeon, 6 Bufflehead, 21 Ruddy Duck, 12 Ring-necked Duck and 2 Lessser Scaup. There were still a few shorebird species present.We finished the day with 76 species.
February 17: It has been MANY years since this much of Lake Texoma within the refuge boundary has frozen to this extent. There was no bird census due to the severe winter storm.
Feb 23: Bird Census Results
The weather today was fantastic following a week of some of the coldest weather I remember. Last week was one of the few times we have missed doing the census in many years. Last week with the temperature hovering near 0 Degrees and no power or water in my home I decided not to leave the house. The lake at the refuge was completely frozen over and much of it was still frozen over today. It was comical to watch birds alight on the ice and slide around. This was the most ice I had ever seen on Lake Texoma. I expected most of the white geese to be gone today because it is getting late and in past years they would have already migrated. But that was not the case. There were at least 7,000 white geese still here. Duck numbers were still good and we found a Cinnamon Teal in Taylor Marsh. We counted 238 Green-winged Teal, 100 Northern Pintail, 167 Gadwall and 71 Lesser Scaup. Most of the scaup were at Sandy Point along with 16 Red-breasted Merganser. We also saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Herring Gull along with a lot of Ring-billed Gull at Sandy Point. Lucy was at Deaver Pond. We found a Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk at the southeast corner of the refuge. We finished the day with 73 Species. Today's photo, Cinnamon Teal in Taylor Marsh.
Yellow Rumped Warbler in Flight
Frozen Visitor Center
Cinnamon Teal in Taylor Marsh
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Special thanks to Nancy Miller for the amazing photo of the Visitor Center