Date: 3/9/23 5:10 am
From: John Sterling <000001b97c310015-dmarc-request...>
Subject: Re: OKCAS field trip
Sounds excellent!

Sent from my iPad

> On Mar 8, 2023, at 6:59 PM, Larry Mays <larrymays1949...> wrote:
> On Monday, March 6, I had the honor of escorting 12 intrepid birders; including a couple, Susan and Warden Jernagin, from New Jersey, to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge north of Lawton in Comanche County.
> We rallied the troops at the local (for me) Newcastle WalMart at 7:00, and we began birding at Robison Crossing (Lawtonka Acres) around 8:30 or so. There is a nice little bottomland area near there, and I had hoped to scrounge up some woodpeckers, but they just weren't cooperating. There were plenty Cardinals to go around though. We then proceeded into the little resort village there to check the several feeders. I had hopes for an Inca Dove, as they've been fairly cooperative in recent years. No incas, but we got Mourning Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove and White-winged Dove there as well as a small flock of Cedar Waxwings and a single Red-breasted Nuthatch.
> It was here, alongside the lake that we managed to see a few Harris's Sparrows, towhees , and a possible Audubon's race individual of Yellow-rumped Warbler.
> From there we began to work our way around Lake Lawtonka, and had several nice birds including Horned and Eared Grebes and an early Osprey.
> We stopped briefly at the Lake Elmer Thomas dam hoping for a Rock Wren and getting one, along with a couple of very cooperative Rufous-crowned Sparrows. One other thing of note: today Cindy McIntire, of Lawton, who was with the group, sent me a couple of photos of a very interesting flyover bird which she couldn't quite identify. She took the shot at the dam while the rest of us were looking at the wren and the sparrow. I posted the pics on the "What's This Bird" page on Facebook, because it is obviously a loon, but I can't say for certain which. Maybe some of you could have a look and give it your two cents.
> My plan was to then hit a spot where I'd hoped to maybe get a LeConte's Sparrow, but the damage to that grassland by feral hogs put a stop to that.
> Our next stop was just past the Meer's Turnoff at the little prairie dog town. Everyone got out and we began walking the grass there in hopes of possible longspurs or maybe a ...LeConte's Sparrow. We jumped at least one, and finally managed to surround the same or another bird, and slowly began tightening the circle. We finally got the bird to move up into the branches of some sand plums there and a lot of folks got great looks and photos of this elusive little bird.
> Lunch was at the Holy City where they've installed some nice new, very clean picnic tables. We did a quick check of the dog town, but didn't turn up much, though we now had both species of meadowlark calling.
> I then led everyone to the west side of the refuge where we circled a few gravel roads in hopes of maybe seeing Mountain Bluebirds or Ladderback Woodpeckers, but dipped on both species. We did get a Loggerhead Shrike there, but the birds were scarce.
> From there we went back onto the refuge and made stops at Sunset, the trail to the Narrows and Lost Lake. Passerines everywhere were few and far between. At the Narrows trailhead we managed to get everyone onto a Townsend"s Solitaire.
> At Lost Lake we finally got onto some woodpeckers--three Red-headeds, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Northern Flicker or two. Did we get a downy? Can't recall.
> I think the final tally was 46 species plus the loon.
> ---Larry Mays
> Newcastle
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