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click here for an enlargment;copyright 2006 Victor W. Fazio III

A Hermit Thrush near Lake Vesuvius, Lawrence County, OH 30 Jan. Among the 75 species encountered during my Winter Atlassing of some 40 quadrangles in late January. More notes to follow ...

Birds & Birding

A personal electronic journal
by Victor W. Fazio III
since November 1996



Ohio Ornithological Society
Cincinnati Region
NW OH - John Yochum
NW OH - Toledo RBA
NE OH - Hoffman's

23 Jan
Ohio Brush Creek, Adams & Highland Cos. OH 20 Jan 06
17 January 2006:
FIELD NOTES: Adams & Scioto County, OH 16-17 Jan 06
11 Jan 2006
FIELD NOTES: Wellington Reservoir, Lorain Cos. OH 11 Jan 06
9 Jan 2006
FIELD NOTES: Sandusky Basin, OH 9 Jan 2006

Notes from my December expedition to southwest OK

A Grasshopper Sparrow in the Wichita Mts, OK 3 Dec 05; copyright 2005, 2006 Victor W. Fazio III A Prairie Merlin near Snyder, Kiowa Co., OK 16 Dec 2005; copyright 2005, 2006 Vcitor W. FAzio III An immature White-crowned Sparrow near Davidson, Tillman Co., OK; copyright 2005, 2006
The Grasshopper Sparrow is generally not recorded in Oklahoma after 2 Nov. In sw. Oklahoma there are but 3 CBC sight reports involving 5 birds representing the sum of winter records. This bird was photographed 3 Dec 2005 on the south shore of Quanah-Parker Lake within the Wichita Mtns Wildlife Refuge. Curiously, it was perched on the same bush where I found a Grasshopper Sparrow 3 November 2005. During my 3 week sparrow hunt of sw. Ok this past December, I found 4 additional Grasshopper Sparrows. Subsequently, several more have been turned up by other observers in sw. and se. Oklahoma
click here for a closeup of the horizon; copyright Victor W. Fazio III

The view from Mt. Scott, Wichita Mtns Wildlf. Ref., looking WNW; the pink granite ridge in the foreground is Wall Mt., while the sharp precipice beyond that greets visitors from the north is Mt. Sheridan. The pinnacle off to the right some 18 miles away is Saddle Mt.

I had several objectives for this expedition stemming from a thorough reading of the 2005 publication "Birds of Southwestern Oklahoma & North-Central Texas" by Dr. J. Tyler. In addition to an effort to examine the frequency and distribution of the sparrows, and a general assessment of the major water bodies for migrant waterfowl, I planned a specific search of the Eldorado border country for the Pyrrhuloxia. Although an "accidental" species in Oklahoma, further review of the 2004 Texas Ornithological Society "Handbook of Texas Birds" by Lockwood & Freeman, an investigation of National Audubon Christmas Bird Count records, coupled with a few additional winter sightings, a pattern of cyclical dispersal, of far greater magnitude generally appreciated in the literature, emerged. In making but 8 stops of a BBS style transect 12 Dec, I located two male Pyrrhuloxia. Shown above is the first of those two. One or two were subsequently reported throughout the season in the vicinity of this initial sighting by several members of the Oklahoma birding community. Furthermore, 3 birds were present within a few miles of this site on the Texas side of the Red River. As to the frequency, and extent, and therefore the basis for this dispersal, these questions remain to be answered. Future investigations are encouraged, although the species may not prove to be annual in sufficient numbers to be so readily detected. The last sw. Ok record came in 2001 from the Wichita Mtns in Comanche Co., a year of a strong La Nina event, as is the case in the winter 05-06. The exceedingly dry conditions of the region may further induce greater numbers to disperse farther than usual. - V.W.F. III
20 Dec 2005
Wichita Mtns Wildlife Refuge CBC: Fort Sill segment; Oklahoma - 20 Dec 05
19 Dec 2005
Fort Sill Christmas Bird Count 19 Dec 05 (Fort Sill Military Reservation, Comanche Co., Oklahoma).
17 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Hackberry Flat & Davidson, Tillman Co. OK 17 Dec 05
12 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Hackberry Flat, Tillman Co. OK 12 Dec 05
10 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Lake Ellsworth, Comanche Co. OK 10 Dec 05
10 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Wichita Mtns Lake, Comanche Co. OK 10 Dec 05
9 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Altus-Lugert Reservoir, Kiowa-Greer Cos. OK 9 Dec 05
6 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Tom Sneed Reservoir, Kiowa Co. OK 6 Dec 05
1 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Lawton Lakes, Comanche Co. OK 1 Dec 05
1 Dec 2005
FIELD NOTES: Cache Sewage Ponds, Comanche Co. OK 1 Dec 05

Much to catch up on ...

Since Nov my ornithological activity has involved the following:

  • November: completion of an introduction to Ohio CBC data ... linked 21 Nov.
  • November: completely engrossed in project eBird; agree to create 18 unique checklists filters matching discrete physiographic regions of Ohio. Start my eBird with 150 checklists from a variety of past notebooks.
  • December: 3 weeks of intensive exploration of the SW Oklahoma highlighted by protracted studies of 3 longspur species (especially as regards digital images in flight), listening to the vocalizations of 100,000 geese (Snow, Ross's, Greater White-fronted, Cackling, and Lesser Canada), successfully searching for Pyrrhuloxia near the Texas border, and taking part in two CBCs on Fort Sill Military Reservation. I enter my data as 120 checklists within eBird.
  • December: Gypsum CBC completed 26 Dec with 5 observers in 4 parties resulting in 77 species.
  • 10 January: A half-dozen eBird checklistfilters have been delivered. The Winter Atlas beckons and tons of data to process, not to mention the Fall NAB report.
  • FEB: completion of Fall NAB report ... longest yet at 4750 words; birding limited to Kelleys I. census
  • MAR: A week's birding in the Corpus Christi area of the TX coast based out of Packery Channel
  • MAR: followed by a week in Lawton, OK
  • APR: Winter North American Birds report due.
  • May-July: New Black-capped Vireo season (my 10th since 1988).