Six intrepid birders met Jo Loyd at the Lake Yahola monument this morning for today's planned Tulsa Audubon Society field trip:  "a Walk in the North Woods" at Mohawk Park in Tulsa.  First bird of the day? about 8-10 Purple Martins perched on the powerline above the parking lot.  (Yearbird for me, too.)  There was a Common Loon on the lake with most of his breeding plumage already showing, a Pied-billed Grebe (YB), and a few Ring-billed Gulls passing overhead (apparently heading toward the dump).  Without much else to inspire us, Jo led us around to the east side of the lake and into Mohawk Park, where we parked at the circular parking lot between the golf course and the dikes that hold back Yahola.  We got out and began hiking easily around the ponds between the parking lot and the North Woods, lookin' for whatever we could find.  Coot Pond yielded a bunch of its namesake (the always lovely and enchanting Ivory-billed Rails), as well as Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallard, bunches of Blue-winged Teal (YB), a few Green-wings, a female Ring-necked Duck, and a male Bufflehead and his harem of 2-3 females.  Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds abounded on land, along with Carolina Wrens and at least 1 Marsh Wren (YB), White-throated and Lincoln's Sparrows (YB), a couple of Juncos, and a ton of Butterbutts (properly known as Yellow-rumped Warblers; they were EVERYWHERE!!).
Bushwack Birdin',
Tulsa Audubon style!!
March 14, 2009
Map of the North Woods Loop at Mohawk Park,
with arrows showing a rough outline of our hike.
Of course, OUR path was waaayyy more zigzag-gy than the old (pre-ice storm) path of the trail
(marked in red).
(c) copyright by Cyndie Browning 2009
    Once around the corner of Coot Pond, we turned east and walked along the dike a short ways and then down the steps and across the bridge, following the Sierra Club Trail to the flowline clearing.  At Nelson's Oxbow, we added Wood Duck, Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers, Eastern Phoebes, Tufted Titmice, and several Eastern Towhees to our triplist.  We especially enjoyed watching a pair of Eastern Towhees chase each other across the water and then up and around various perches beside the water.  (I counted 5-6 Towhees among the ones we saw and heard today, but Jo kept the official list so we'll see what she says.)

     And then we continued along what we thought would be the "path" along the North Woods Loop, but we didn't take into account the
terrible damage from last year's ice storm, nor that most of those downed trees and branches haven't yet been cleared from the path.  So for the next _2_ HOURS (at least!), we bushwacked our way---without machetes, mind you!!---through thorny vines, small spindly trees, broken and sawed off tree branches, downed logs too tall to climb over, and some of the worst deadfall I've ever seen in the woods.... ANY woods!!!  (I encouraged the troops to keep moving ahead with "if we pass a sign that says 'welcome to Arkansas,' we've gone too far!" and "we're lost, but we're making good time.")  Without any drinking water or any real idea which direction we were headed, what saved us from finally falling down and dying where we lay was (1) Gene's kind offer that _Dan_ would be "happy" to carry me out if I ever got to the point where I couldn't go any further, AND (2) a trail of bright orange flags like the ones the power company plants in your yard when you're plannin' to dig in the dirt, and bright pink strands of surveyor's tape tied to trees and twigs that usually (but not always) followed the little orange flags.  There were times when we could only see one flag or ribbon maybe 6-10 feet ahead of where we stood, but we duck-walked or crawled or slid or staggered from where we were, through the mess, over to where that one flag was, and then looked around for the next flag, and the next one, and the next one, keeping Bird Creek on our right sides (because we didn't have any choice, unless we wanted to swim for it) until some time after noon when we finally crawled out onto a broad path leading back to the flowline.  The field trip began at 8:00 AM.  At 1:00 PM, we staggered to our cars and I drove myself home.  I doubt I'll be able to walk normally before Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, but at least I lived to tell about it and picked up 10 yearbirds to boot.

     Thanks, guys, I had a good time.... _really_ I did, but I don't
EVER want to do that again!!!! ~:-)
P.S.: In thinking about the trip the next day, I remembered the time I got lost at the Atlanta State Park in the Piney Woods of northeastern Texas.  You can download and play the story I wrote about it by clicking the link to "The Bird Lady of Atlanta" above.  I have to say, tho', that the hike through the North Woods described above was even scarier and much more exhausting than that day in the Atlanta State Park.  Give me safe and comfy car-birding anytime!!
1. Common Loon
2. Pied-billed Grebe (Yearbird)
3. Great Blue Heron
4. Canada Goose
5. Wood Duck
6. Gadwall
7. Mallard
Blue-winged Teal (YB)
9. Green-winged Teal
10. Ring-necked Duck
12. Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
14. Killdeer
15. Bonaparte's Gull
16. Ring-billed Gull
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
20. Pileated Woodpecker (YB)
21. Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
23. American Crow
24. Purple Martin (YB)
25. Carolina Chickadee
26. Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (YB)
29. Carolina Wren
30. Marsh Wren (YB)
31. American Robin
32. Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher (YB)
34. European Starling
35. Yellow-rumped Warbler
36. Eastern Towhee (YB)
Fox Sparrow (YB)
38. Lincoln's Sparrow (YB)
39. White-throated Sparrow
40. Dark-eyed Junco
41. Northern Cardinal
42. Red-winged Blackbird