Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lake Thunderbird State Park

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...

17 comments:

Stewart M said...

Hi there - nice post. Glad you got to see the Bald Eagle - shame about the build up!

I'm often amazed at how poorly some people can "read a crowd" when they are dealing with the public - sometimes I feel like holding a sign up that says "Shut up and get on with it!" - but I'm far too polite!

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: I think the last minute post is a cunning plan to be the link at the top of the page!!

Brian Miller said...

whew...thank goodness the cop was just checking eh? that could ruin a day...smiles...oy on the long lecture though...

Joanna Jenkins said...

Seeing a bald eagle is a good day in my book. They are gorgeous.

Good to know that Norman, OK is a friendly place. Wish more places were like that.

Happy bird hunting.

Wally Jones said...

Wonderful post about your trip! You got an Eagle! Fantastic! That picture you have of the Nuthatch makes me jealous. I chase them but can't get a photo.

Very nice work!

--Wally

Tempo said...

It's nice to find an enjoyable pastime and even better to find similar minded people. I like your pics, very clear and crisp

Phyllis Oller said...

You have a beautiful blog.Nice pictures of your birds.I especially like the hawks & vultures in the previous posts too,phyllis

beth barton said...

Really enjoy your pics. Thanks!

TexWisGirl said...

congrats on the eagle sighting! i'd be thrilled! i love the nuthatch, too.

Debbie said...

awesome flight shot, they are not easy to get!! i love his little legs tucked tightly against his body.

great shot of the nuthatch, they are so fun to watch!!

Pam ;) said...

Your life list is growing by leaps and bounds Jen! Congrats on the Bald Eagle- I feel your pain for not getting the shot you hoped for.
Awesome shots of the Gull in flight, Nuthatch and colorful Wood duck.

Barb said...

You sound like an enthusiastic birder, Jen! That wood duck is sure colorful.

eileeninmd said...

Congrats on the eagle sighting. And I love your wood duck shot. They are beautiful ducks. Sounds like a great outing! Have a happy weekend!

Esther Joy said...

Hi! I'm returning the visit! Thanks for your comment and info on my "Nesting Eagles" post!

I loved your wood duck shot very much! You are right - not only a great shot, but wonderful colors!

EG CameraGirl said...

Congratulations on your latest additions to your life list. It truly is a thrill each time I add a bird too. I would love to get a good photo of a male wood duck so I'm a tad jealous. :)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love the wood duck pic!!!

David P. King said...

That's amazing! Great aerial shot. :)

Donna Heber said...

Hi Jen,

Your photos are stunning! What fantastic coloring on that wood duck. I can't wait for spring to arrive as I will have much more to photograph.

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