Saturday, May 1, 2010

Texas County Highlights

Back in the field and will be for the next three months. Currently I'm in Texas County, I've spent the last few days participating in prairie chicken surveys in the morning and then poking about taking a look at different sites and soaking up the western species and the lone migrant here and there. The high-plains provide a nice place to gather ones energy, rejuvenate and heal; so, I've been taking some time for that as well.

Maybe there should be a black and white theme to this post. Between the Black-billed Magpie (above) and the Lark Buntings(below left) flitting about it, it would seem appropriate. The Magpie would be my first in Oklahoma, and the nest (right) it was using would also be a first. I climbed well into the tree, but couldn't find footing to get close enough to tell whether or not there were any young or eggs.
When things with birds are slow I tend to turn towards smaller objects of fascination. It is still a little cool so the pickings are slim, but I did find a few little beauties here and there. There were two species of dragonfly about, Variegated Meadowhawks (below and to the right of the breeding plumage Bonaparte's Gull) and Common Green Darners. Damselflies were also slim pickings but I did manage to find three species, after much digging about. Below are two examples of the first Texas County record of Eastern Forktail, adult male (below) and an immature female (below the adult male).

The multiple Eastern Forktails were located at the spillway of Optima "lake". The second Texas county record would come from Schultz Wildlife Management Area. There were plenty of Familiar Bluets and Eastern Forktails around, but the Fragile Forktail (adult male below) was by far my favorite catch (bugs that is) for the past few days. My first visit to the Schultz WMA was a lot of fun. There is a spring fed stream which provides plenty of cover for dragon/damsel flies, the passerines liked it too.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were out in full force with the Audubon's race outnumbering the Myrtle's and intergrades by about 2:1. Ladder-backed Woodpeckers were pretty numerous, as well as Ash-throated Flycatchers, Wilson's Warblers and Lincoln's Sparrow. The best bird of the trip, well they are all good if you ask me, would definitely be an Olive-sided Flycatcher (last three photos).

Have a look at the photos and feel free to leave a comment...don't forget you can click on them to enlarge the view.

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