I'll start with the best photos of the weekend taken while bird-watching in Oklahoma. The ring-billed gull is my favorite of a bird in flight yet. I'm improving.
The white-breasted nuthatch was spotted near a campground parking lot.
The wood duck was hanging out with mallards and geese in the lake next to the zoo. I've never seen so many different colors on one bird.
One of the outdoor groups I've joined - HATS (Houston Area Trails) - posted a trip to search for snow and bald eagles in Oklahoma. There were a few snow flurries the night I arrived, and some of it stuck to the ground. Check.
We signed up for a tour at Lake Thunderbird State Park to try to find the bald eagles. It was terrible. The woman leading it was an hour late and didn't bother to let us know. Once she did arrive she turned what was supposed to be a 45-minute informational session into an hour and a half, then spent 20 minutes putting on her shoes before we headed out to finally hunt for the birds.
We found one! Mission accomplished! OK, she's redeemed - sort of. She did provide some information that was interesting and useful, but it could have been condensed into a much shorter lecture.
I only got one photo of the eagle before he flew away. Although more than sufficient for identification purposes, it's not sharp enough to publish here. I've been told there are bald eagles at the Baytown Golf Course and also at Hermann Park. I'll get a better photograph one day.
I do get to add him and three others to my lifelist! Hooray! My list is not that long since I'm new to birding, but it's a thrill every time.
It's nice to travel with people who don't think you're nuts for pulling over and parking on the side of the road to photograph birds and to continue to photograph them until they've moved on or you've captured them from every possible angle, whichever comes first. At one point, we parked and left the car to chase photos of a deer herd. We returned to see a police vehicle parked behind us with lights flashing. Uh-oh. Turns out he was just making sure everything was all right. Once we confirmed we were alive, not lost, and not broken down he wished us luck and went on his way. Cops not harassing, but being helpful - that's a welcome change. Another woman in an SUV slowed down to make sure we were not having car problems. She waited until we returned her thumbs up, then accelerated and continued on her way. Norman, OK is apparently a very friendly town.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and much of the next morning looking for more eagles. We didn't find any.
Birds seen this trip: American Crow, Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadee, Wild Turkey, Ring-billed Gull, American Coot, Northern Cardinal, Mallard, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Robin, Eared Grebe, Wood Duck.
I'm posting to this week's Wild Bird Wednesday with 40 minutes to spare...