Giving thanks for a little bit of birding

I’ve been trying to head out for a birding jaunt each Thanksgiving morning, and last Thursday dawned bright and crisp.  Perfect!  I walked about three miles through the “North Fields” at OSU in Stillwater, which some folks know as the cross country course and others will remember as the old golf course.  In my family, we just call this area “the prairie” – it’s a mix of mowed lawn, tallgrass prairie hayfields, pasture, cropland, and redcedar scrub, and it occasionally hosts some pretty neat birds.

North Fields

My walk was a mix of formal transect surveys, (there were two I needed to do) and just poking around a bit to see what other birds were around.  Other than a few pipits which are always a good find, the surveys themselves were unremarkable:

NF1-NF2, Payne, US-OK
Nov 24, 2011 9:34 AM – 9:54 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.25 kilometer(s)
Comments:     distance sampling through field of corn and alfalfa
7 species

American Kestrel  1
Blue Jay  1
Eastern Bluebird  2     pair investigating nest box
Savannah Sparrow  7
Eastern Meadowlark  5
Common Grackle  1
American Goldfinch  5     flyovers

NF3-NF4, Payne, US-OK
Nov 24, 2011 9:50 AM – 10:10 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.3 kilometer(s)
Comments:     distance sampling of hayfield
4 species

European Starling  6
American Pipit  3     flyover
Savannah Sparrow  1
Eastern Meadowlark  3

Eastern Meadowlarks turning golden breasts to the morning sun


The complete species list was also modest, but it provided some great looks at some beautiful birds:

Canada Goose
Red-shouldered Hawk

Very cooperative Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Somewhat less cooperative Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestrel
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow

Harris's Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco

I find "wild" juncos more interesting than "feeder" juncos.

Northern Cardinal
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Goldfinches feeding on wild sunflower
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