From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in
Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account has
not been reviewed to ensure accuracy.
Date: Wed, 16
From: Eddie Stegall
Subject: A Memorable Night
Oct. 24-25 We
camped below the dam at Lake Vincent (10 miles sw of Arnett,
Ellis County, Ok.) from 4:30 pm - 8:30 am. This is one of my
favorites places to camp for nature sounds, but this night
was particularly good; despite having to endure a cold night
(22 degrees F.), it was a very enjoyable experience.
started calling about 5:30 pm. No tape was used, but I did
do a few rail imitations by voice. I estimated 5-6 rails
calling. The next morning they started calling at first
light with out any prompting. This is the first time I have
heard rails calling to this extent without using a tape.
This is our most
reliable place to get Virginia rails on the Arnett CBC. I
would be surprised if any county in Ok. has a higher Vir.
rail population then Ellis Co. There are 3 additional
marshes within the count circle were we sometimes get rails.
There is also a large marsh about 2 miles outside of the
count circle where rails are present.
A complete list
of birds and mammals seen or heard is as follows: Vir. Rail
5-6 G.B.H 1 Kingfisher 2 Gadwall 10 PB Grebe 2 (vocalizing)
Marsh Wren 1 N. Harrier 1 Copper's Hawk 1 E. Bluebird 8
(some were singing) Redwing 20 G.H. Owl 1 Barred Owl 1 R.G.
Kinglet 1 Crow 8 Canada Geese 2 (in flight) Orange-crowned
Wabler 1 Beaver- tail slapping Coyote Unknown bird singing
One of the birder's most
sought after species is the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the Arnett area
provides a good location in which to find it. Following is a map showing
the site at which it has been seen with the greatest consistency and one
of easy access to the public. Spring, of course, is the season when it
can most commonly be found. This site has also provided sightings in
winter although in greatly reduced numbers. Habitat destruction, change
in agricultural practices, and the use of insecticides have all had
adverse effects on the species. If the chickens are not found in this
spot, look for fields of milo in the surrounding areas. The chickens
often fly into these fields in mid and late afternoon to feed.
Other specialties of the
area are the Wild Turkey, longspurs, and the Virginia Rail. To find the
turkey, go 7 miles west of Arnett on US 60 to its junction with SH 46.
Turn south to reach Lake Lloyd Vincent. Search the creek bottomlands
east and south of the lake, particularly at sunrise and sunset when the
birds are leaving and entering their nightly roosts. The longspurs can
be found most readily in the more open areas north and also west of
Arnett. The order of frequency of occurrence is Lapland,
Chestnut-collared, and McCown's. Check the cattail marshes at Lake
Vincent where the Virginia Rail is often found in winter.