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Birds of the Wichita Mountains

Eastern Kingbird--these were hard to find. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Mourning Dove, May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Great Crested Flycatcher (they were all over, but this was the best picture I got all week!) May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Eastern Meadowlark from two different spots on May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Two different Lark Sparrows on May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Mississippi Kites were everywhere. Notice below the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher attacking one--it actually appeared to hit it a couple of times. Most of these photos were taken right in the Doris Campground, including the ones with the feisty little gnatcatcher. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Most any time I looked up in the sky I could see kites somewhere above. They're tricky to photograph with a point-and-shoot, but ever so graceful and beautiful. I also watched a pair copulating in the Doris Campground, right by my campsite! May 8, Sony DSC-H5
This Mississippi Kite in the campground was being divebombed by a plucky little Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, which actually appeared to score a direct hit on the kite's head at least twice. I took these photos in the Doris Campground on May 8 with my Sony DSC-H5. Again, action shots like these are virtually always better with an SLR.
White-breasted Nuthatch. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. For as abundant as they are, they were very hard to photograph. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Carolina Chickadee in my campground. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Red-bellied Woodpecker--another common species that I didn't get good photos of, May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Brown-headed Cowbirds aren't supposed to be around, but a few get past the trapping program. This one was at the prairie dog town on the main highway.
The above Tufted Titmouse (in the first 5 photos) is sunning--it was really cool to watch! May 8, Sony DSC-H5
My first day I didn't get very close to these guys. May 8, Sony DSC-H5
Eastern Meadowlarks are everywhere, their lovely music and bright plumage making the day sunny despite overcast skies. May 9, Sony DSC-H5
Red-headed Woodpecker in the campground, May 9, Sony DSC-H5.
Eastern Phoebe from the campground on May 9, Sony DSC-H5
Mississippi Kite in the campground. I wish my camera let in a bit more light so you could see how gorgeous they are! May 9, Sony DSC-H5
Insects consider Blue-gray Gnatcatchers to be vicious serial killers. I took this in the campground on May 9, Sony DSC-H5
Tufted TItmouse in the campground May 9, Sony DSC-H5
On May 9, I went with Vic Fazio over to Fort Sill so he could do some Black-capped Vireo work, but the heavy rains and flooding had forced the closing of most of the roads and areas. I took this photo of Canada Geese from the administration office area before we left.
Since Vic and I couldn't do anything productive at Fort Sill, we headed on over to Hackberry Flats. What a splendid birding spot! I couldn't get a good angle on the Dickcissels without bad back-lighting, but they were all over the place.
Someone should tell this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that they can't be shot ANYWHERE--not just in "safety zones."
White-faced Ibis at Hackberry Flats. We may have also seen a separate flock of the Glossy Ibises that had been reported, but they flushed before we could get a good look.
I was thrilled with how many shorebirds there were, but Vic Fazio was disappointed with how many had left since the last time he'd been here! What could be more beautiful than avocets, stilts, and phalaropes? Well, other than seeing all three? We ended the day with a pretty good list.
I'm not used to seeing nighthawks sitting on wires--up here they seem to prefer more substantial footing. These five photos are of two different individuals.
Turkey Vultures are everywhere, but usually in places where I'm stuck with back-lighting. May 9, Sony DSC-H5
After I got back to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Photon and I went searching for a cooperative Scissor-tailed Flycatcher for some digiscoped photos. I took these May 9, and all but the last one were taken with my Zeiss 85 mm Diascope with the 30x eyepiece, and my Sony DSC-W100. The last was taken with the Sony DSC-H5. They were all taken on May 9.
On May 10 I went birding a bit with Joe Grzybowski in the morning--we came upon this shockingly cooperative Green Heron.
This was one of the more cooperative kites I saw all week, but it was backlit.
Wild Turkeys were all over the place, but I had trouble taking photos. May 10, Sony DSC-H5
For some unfathomable reason, this Canada Goose was hanging around the prairie dog town on the main road through the refuge. You can see the serrated edges of the bill, and the feathered lower eyelid.
This Northern Mockingbird has to be the best singer I've ever heard. I'll post video and sound recordings as soon as I can.
Here's an Eastern Meadowlark on a natural perch. They can be hard to pick out when they don't sit on fences.
Cowbirds are mostly gone from the Wichitas because protection of the Black-capped Vireo requires heavy cowbird trapping. But this guy apparently eluded the traps--it was hanging around at the prairie dog town.
I think this is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nest--the pair was hanging around here not far from the prairie dog town. I didn't stick around to verify because I didn't want to disturb the birds.
I took these Painted Bunting photos at the Refuge on May 10, 2007, near the campground, with the Sony DSC-H5.
I took this Turkey Vulture shot in Blaine County on May 11, Sony DSC-H5
Blaine County May 12 by my motel.
This cooperative little Black-capped Vireo was singing away right near a public parking lot until the Painted Bunting in the last photo chased him off.
Horribly back-lit shot of a Red-bellied Woodpecker, May 12, Sony DSC-H5
Painted Bunting at Quannah Parker Lake and Dam
Oklahoma has THE best state bird!
I spent quite a bit of time at my campsite trying to take good photos of Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The birds were everywhere, but so active that it was tricky to get their pictures. May 12, Sony DSC-H5
This was the best I could do with the gnatcatchers.
A pair of Summer Tanagers was nesting right near my campsite, but I had a hard time photographing them. These were taken with the Sony DSC-H5.
Here are more Doris Campground Painted Bunting shots.
Late in the day, Photon and I went over to a lovely prairie field along the entrance road to Quannah Parker Lake and Dam where I watched nighthawks calling and booming. It made for some splendid memories but just this one crappy photo.
Sunday, May 13, I moseyed here and there in the Refuge with Photon. We started out with these Turkey Vultures.
The place I spent the most time was at Quannah Parker Lake and Dam. These two geese were always about.
Rufous-crowned Sparrow--they were easily heard, and once you found a singing bird not too terribly hard to photograph at a distance.
The common hummingbird is the Black-chinned Hummingbird. This little guy kept returning to the same perch right by the parking lot.
I had so much fun watching this one tree!
The Rufous-crowned Sparrow was in a different, nearby tree.
Still there.
Still waiting.
I wish my camera was a little better with action shots!
This Great Blue Heron was at a marshy spot on the road in to Quannah Parker Lake
Lark Sparrows were everywhere.
This Eastern Phoebe was right by the dam.
Canyon Wrens are far more easily heard than seen. They have a beautiful song! This one finally came out for a quick photo op.
You have to look at this photo just right to see the Black-chinned Hummingbird facing right and hovering.
He'd return to this spot over and over.
Gnatcatchers just don't like to pose.
Titmice are so adorable--I wish my photos could capture this!
This is probably my best gnatcatcher photo.
Chipping Sparrow
On May 14, Joe Grzybowski let me tag along when he went to Fort Sill to check some Black-capped Vireo territories.
Summer Tanager nest!
Black-capped Vireo from behind.
Poor dead Painted Bunting--couldn't see what had killed it.
Turkey Vultures just dancing above the mountains.
Black-capped Vireo nest. It took Joe a couple of minutes to get me to actually see it. This may have been an old nest.
A closer view.
We flushed an incubating Common Poorwill before we noticed her. I snapped these shots as we walked past but hurried away so she could return.
After I got back to the refuge, I took this photo by Quannah Parker Lake.
It was hard saying goodbye to the Mississippi Kites.
This poor Lark Bunting got trapped in the women's bathroom the last morning. It was very distressed, and kept hitting the ceiling windows. One eye looks swollen. I finally chased it out, but don't know if it had a hematoma or something.




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