Date: 12/29/20 2:26 pm
From: Brent Barnes <00000113f4c02191-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Tall Grass Prairie
First time post on this list, though I have followed the list for over a year. 
Birded the Tall Grass Prairie at Pawhuska on Sunday afternoon (the 27th). Saw a total of 8 Tundra Swan on the large pond just to the west of the intersection of the road where you turn right to go to the  Visitor Center and Nature Trail and turn  left to go  to Foraker. The pond is about a quarter of a mile west on the way to Foraker. There were clearly eight swan on the pond, I got out to photograph them and they flew south west though I suspect they will circle back to the pond as I saw four Tundra Swan at the same pond last year. This is the most I have ever seen at once. I posted photographs on my submission to Ebird. 
I also saw an adult bald eagle circling over the prairie and moving southwest along with many Red-Tailed Hawks, a Red-Shouldered Hawk and more Northern Harriers than I could ever consider counting. 
But the highlight occurred just after 5 PM, about 20 minutes before sunset. The Northern Harriers were suddenly replaced by a group of 14 Short-Eared Owls who hunt in a similar fashion to the Harriers. I stopped my car and watched them hunt the tall grass for over 40 minutes until it was completely dark. Got several photos and they are attached to my Ebird submission. 
For those who have not seen a group of Short Eared Owls hunting an area, it is a sight. They have a very eerie call that sounds like a screeching cat. They are prolific hunters, as I noted that most of the time when they would dip into the tall grass they would come up with rodent prey in their grasp. I sat in my car watching them until long after dark and could still hear their cat - like shrieks as they hunted around my parked car even when it was so dark I could not see anything. I concluded that dusk must be a time of terror for the rodents scurrying around in the grass - it must be terrifying to have a dozen or so of those formidable predators flying above you and shrieking constantly as they hunt!
By the way, on a separate note, I am trying to photograph all four longspur species this winter. I got the Chestnut Collared Longspur easily last week at the Wichita Mountains near Lawton. Surprisingly, I could not find any Smiths Longspur walking the fields near Boomer Lake north of Stillwater or walking the fields in the Tall Grass Prairie on Sunday. Anybody having luck with the Smith's Longspur near the Embassy Suites field in Norman or elsewhere? Any good sightings of McCown's or Laplands? I have read the extensive blog on finding Longspurs in Oklahoma based from the Tulsa Audobon Society that ran from about 2000 - 2010 or so. It appears the Kitzer feeders west of Altus are no more. Any other reliable places to see the McCown's in southwestern Oklahoma?
Brent BarnesEdmond, OK


-----Original Message-----
From: Jimmy Woodard <j.woodard...>
To: <OKBIRDS...>
Sent: Tue, Dec 29, 2020 9:00 am
Subject: [OKBIRDS] Black Vultures/Midwest City

<!--#yiv4428386508 _filtered {} _filtered {} _filtered {}#yiv4428386508 #yiv4428386508 p.yiv4428386508MsoNormal, #yiv4428386508 li.yiv4428386508MsoNormal, #yiv4428386508 div.yiv4428386508MsoNormal {margin:0in;font-size:11.0pt;font-family:"Calibri", sans-serif;}#yiv4428386508 span.yiv4428386508EmailStyle17 {font-family:"Calibri", sans-serif;color:windowtext;}#yiv4428386508 .yiv4428386508MsoChpDefault {font-family:"Calibri", sans-serif;} _filtered {}#yiv4428386508 div.yiv4428386508WordSection1 {}-->                                At about 8:10AM this morning, I saw eight Black Vultures fly over our yard in Midwest City. The birds were very low and were using a flap/            glide flight style to evidently migrate from north to south. Most years, there is a big vulture roost in the trees along Crutcho Creek near the             large dumps between NE 23rd and NE 36th between Sooner Road and Midwest Boulevard.                          Jimmy Woodard            Midwest City
 
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