Date: 11/12/20 6:43 am From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: Loon weather (Tenkiller)
Very low wind, sunshine, and moderate temps made for a perfect day to observe loons on Tenkiller Lake in eastern Oklahoma. Left Fayetteville at 0600 and observing first loons at 0730 in the lake’s upper reaches. Best spot was Standing Rock Landing public use area – great views of a big opening and narrower channel. GPS: 35.751435, -94.920215.
Everything a birder could wish: loons (3 species including 46 Common Loons, plus Red-throated Loon and Pacific Loon), American White Pelicans, gulls, numerous duck species, grebes, cormorants, etc. Loons come steaming around this point fairly close – close enough in some cases to observe without a spotting scope (though of course a scope is a great asset in an enterprise like this). By 1 pm, after visiting several additional places down near the dam, we had tallied 172 loons.
I realized yesterday that one of the realities that makes a Tenkiller day so attractive is that the drive itself is pleasant. Once overly-busy Northwest Arkansas City is in the rear view mirror, it’s all old fashion highways through historic village of Cane Hill, forested Ozark hills, farms and fields, then modest Stillwell, OK, with all its Native America-Cherokee influence, then rocky Cookson Hills to Tenkiller. I ate a few ripe persimmons along the way, too.
Lots of loon yodels are great pleasures on such a day. Vivek Govind Kumar submitted this eBird list for Standing Rock: https://ebird.org/checklist/S76151214<https://nam11.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Febird.org%2Fchecklist%2FS76151214&data=04%7C01%7C%7C783e4bbfaad6411b130d08d88719548e%7C79c742c4e61c4fa5be89a3cb566a80d1%7C0%7C0%7C637407890141134996%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=7Lfvy8vEnl2XbnexVi7rKpi4rIVbdxNCoZfoZdOdaUk%3D&reserved=0>.
Final note: Knowledge about big concentrations of wintering loons on Tenkiller apparently dates only to 1989, when late Jeri McMahon and Jimmy Norman counted high numbers during a March visit. Our own Mike Mlodinow joined this group the following year, and years later, Mike showed me around Tenkiller. McMahon published a note about Tenkiller in Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society (March 1991).