Date: 5/8/18 7:24 am From: Doug Wood <DWood...> Subject: Oklahoma Big Day Attempt
Hi All. On Saturday, May 5, Jimmy Woodard, Larry Mays, and I took stab at the Oklahoma Big Day Record (182 ABA). We came tantalizingly close to the record (177). We started after midnight with Greater Prairie-Chicken and Henslow's Sparrows near Pawhuska and then some nocturnal birding at marshes/lakes with only moderate results. We hit Nickel Preserve at daybreak and had very nice run of migrants, although fog slowed us down some. We needed more forest migrants at Nickel than we got, but still a productive site. We headed to Tulsa and had moderate success at Oxley and other sites. We hustled to Lawton to pick up some goodies like Inca Dove. The Wichita Mountains NWR was slow, hot, too much traffic/humans and we underperformed there. We got the Black-capped Vireo and Burrowing Owl etc, but had trouble with wrens of all things... We left Wichita Mountains in a pickle with only 139 species. We rallied on the drive to Hackberry Flat with one (1!) Bobolink on a fence post, but we knew it was going to be difficult to get the record. Hackberry received rain a few days prior to our count and this was, ironically, a big problem. Shorebirds were spread out and often in the vegetation, reducing visibility and with only 2 hours left. We only saw 17 shorebird species, which was 5-6 less than expected. That would have put us over the top (or a few more forest migrants in Eastern Oklahoma). We quickly saw quite a few species, but missed some shockers like American Bittern (unbelievable!). Ran out of daylight and the clock reels you in unfortunately. A few unlucky breaks and a couple unproductive stops kept us from making the mark, but was a ton of fun. Forest migrants seemed to be a bit sparse compared to our hopes. That's birding though. We benefited from having Lou Truex as a non-observer driver. Thank you Lou! Maybe give it a go next year...? Local big days are fun too! Best to all, Doug.
Douglas R. Wood, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
425 W. University Blvd.
Durant, OK 74701-3347