Date: 11/13/17 7:03 am
From: John Polo <jpolo...>
Subject: Re: Whooping cranes

I went out there with Scott, Sara, and baby Loss, Cody Barnes, Alin Gonzalez, Sirena Lao, and Dave Londe yesterday. We checked Eagle Roost blind 2x, drove along highway 11, went to the pull-off on highway 38 just before the state park and had no luck at any of those spots.

Before those stops, when we on our way to the refuge in the morning, there were large groups of Sandhill Cranes flying north and northeast from the refuge, probably heading to various ag fields to feed during the day. We stopped along the road to look through those airborne groups for whoopers, but didn't see any.

After striking out at the locations on or near the refuge, we drove the county roads north and northeast of the refuge at midday to try to find the groups we had seen dispersing earlier. Not knowing the area well, we drove a lot. We did find large groups of Sandhill Cranes again, but no whoopers for the day.

At one pond off one of the county roads that we searched for whoopers, we came across what Scott estimated to be 3,000 geese. The group included all five of the species you would expect in Oklahoma. I had barely stepped out of the car to get a better view of the birds and they nearly all spooked. The array of various species of geese in flight around the pond before settling back down was pretty neat.

Since a Snowy Owl had been reported around Stillwater in previous days, I took an exit off of I-35 to go a less direct way into Stillwater. We went through the Marland area, where a snowy had been found a few years back. We did not find a Snowy Owl. We didn't search much of Payne, but other people had tried around Stillwater over the weekend, with no luck. We did see a White-faced Ibis in a rather small pond right off of HWY 177, which seemed out of season to me, but eBird didn't make a fuss, so I guess it wasn't that uncommon.

good birding,
john polo
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