One of my favorite local spots for birding is Lake Carl Blackwell in Payne County. The land around the lake is typical cross timbers forest dominated by post and blackjack oaks, but there are also intermittent streams lined with elm, hackberry, and cottonwood. The uplands are bluestem prairie – variably infested with encroaching eastern redcedar – and there is a significant amount of loblolly pine planted there.
Lake Carl Blackwell is several miles west of Stillwater, and just a few miles east of that great ecological dividing line in the Southern Plains, Interstate 35. Yet in these patches of oak and riparian woodland, several species of eastern forest warblers have taken up residence, and are relatively common breeding birds. To date, the breeders include Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Parula, and Black-and-White, Kentucky, Prothonotary, and Pine warblers. These birds breed alongside Eastern Wood-Pewees, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Summer Tanagers, Northern Cardinals, and Painted Buntings. Strange bedfellows perhaps, but the more unusual thing is to consider the eastern forest birds that don’t make it this far west in Oklahoma: Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Prairie Warbler, etc.
Enjoy the photos of real Oklahoma warblers, doing their thing out here in what should be the prairie:
Note the vines – grape and greenbrier.
Lousy photo of Northern Parula