Date: 2/4/18 4:21 am
From: Larry Mays <larrymays1949...>
Subject: Canton Lake
Twelve of us suffered chilly morning temps and a bitter, biting south wind
to bird around Roman Nose State Park, Canton lake, and, later in the day,
Red Rock Canyon State Park.
For the most part, the birding was unexceptional (normal? I'm spoiled by
a winter of rarities) but we slowly tallied a respectable list.
At Roman Nose we got delightful looks at Fox Sparrows along with robins
and waxwings coming in to drink. Picked out Common Yellowthroat and Swamp
Sparrow from their snug concealment in the cattails.
Canton Lake started with a small disappointment as the dam, where I had
hoped to both freeze and check out the waterfowl, was closed to through
traffic, but we consoled ourselves by dropping down to the first campground
and getting nice looks at a reasonably cooperative sapsucker. Twitched up
a couple Chipping Sparrows, and an expected run of juncos, cardinals and
such.
Worked along the east side of the lake a bit and discovered the most
abundant species along the shore seemed to be Ring-necked Duck (almost
exclusively males, for whatever reason). One lone Lake Guy (or Lonely Lake
Guy) from whom I seemed unable to escape, devoured my attention while
everyone else got to bird a bit and pick up several more species. Was
saved by Steve who called me away, briefly, then finally we just had to
disentangle from Lonely Lake Guy's embrace and beat a hasty retreat.
I now know that there are dangerous hogs, a black panther or two, and
seedy politicians prowling the area. Good stuff to know, eh?
Back through Canton and over to the west side where, by noon, mercifully,
the wind had died down, the sun burst out, and lunch was taken. One
cooperative roadrunner later, we stopped for prairie dogs, and a look or
two at the lake. Not a lot of birds, but we scraped, scooped, or scoped up
some Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes and a cormorant or two.
On over to Big Bend Campground and the boat ramp where Hal found us our
first of two Bald Eagles at such a distance only an eagle-eyed guy like Hal
Yokum could locate them. It was Jennie Brooks's first look at an Okie Bald
Eagle, and I apologized for the fact that it looked like a tiny black dot
topped with a tinier white dot.
We drove a bit west from there hoping for Sandhill Cranes, but dipped on
them.
Back through Canton for yet another pit stop and south to...
Red Rock Canyon State Park, where we hoped to possibly relocate a bird
that wasn't even there to begin with (someday I will 'splain that--probably
make a good Christmas OKCAS story). Red Rock Canyon is really a nice
scenic little spot and well deserving of a visit just to hike around some
which for a birder would approach blasphemy.
We began here to disband our little caravan with some folks heading off
to bars and other important appointments. Those of us remaining were
entertained by a very cooperative Barred Owl which allowed us a few decent
photos.
I have no idea as to what our final trip count was--around 55 species,
more or less, I think, though that's likely open to debate.
Oh, and thanks Hal and Brian for the "thanks".
You're welcome.
Finished up our day at Hideaway Pizza. Food, as everyone knows is a
birder's second passion.
Thanks, everyone for following me around all day with such heartwarming
obedience. You all rock--truly! We may have to do that again some time,
after sufficient rest.
--Larry

 
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