From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in
Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account was reviewed
in 2007 to ensure accuracy.
The route begins at the
entrance of a ranch with a cattle-guard gate south of the covered picnic
table on SH 34, about 3.5 miles south of the Kansas line. To reach the
Lookout area from Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, travel west to
the intersection with US 64 where SH 11 turns north. Continue west on US
64 through Alva (0.0) to intersect with SH 34 (37.0), and turn north.
The ranch road is about 10 miles north on the left.
This is high country, the
elevation at Buffalo, 18 miles to the west, being 1,791 feet. The sage
on most of the land has been removed and the more level land planted in
wheat. Most of the farm houses have been abandoned. Ranch roads are
maintained with tax funds and are considered public. Cars should have a
full tank of gas before starting on this route.
Enter the gate south of
the picnic table on SH 34. Follow the crooked road past a windmill, a
tiny pond, and feed troughs to a group of large cottonwoods near the
ranch house. Turn around and follow the same road back to the highway.
Horned Larks, Mourning Doves, Lark Sparrows, and Killdeer will be seen
along the road. Over barren or short grass prairies in April and early
May listen for the ethereal flight song of the Cassin's Sparrow: "say
seeeee, so sweeeeet", the last note higher than the preceding as the
bird floats downward. Grasshopper Sparrows sing from tall weeds, and a
Bobwhite may call from a brush pile. Burrowing Owls sometimes hover in
the air or perch on lines in the windmill area. Ring-necked Pheasants
may be encountered in early morning along the road and Western
Meadowlarks sing "John-Greenleaf-Whittier" across the prairie. Other
open country birds are found among and near the cottonwoods.
Back at SH 34, turn right
and drive for 2 miles, then left onto another ranch. A small pond lies
to the left of the highway and another 1 mile farther east. Along this
one-mile stretch are Barn Swallows, many Cliff Swallows, Northern
Orioles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern and Western kingbirds, and
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. About 1.5 miles from the highway watch for
The water level is high
throughout this area, with several small streams bordered with trees.
After passing the Lookout Cemetery watch for House Wrens, Summer
Tanagers, woodpeckers, and orioles. A few Swainson's Hawks and
Mississippi Kites nest here. Some years there are many Dickcissels, but
most years they are absent.
At one point the route
joins US 64 for a mile during which both Moccasin Creeks are crossed.
One-half mile south of US 64 are gray boulders in a pasture.
Rufous-crowned Sparrows have been seen here. For three years they were
heard and not seen. Cassin's Sparrows have been heard at several points
in high, bare areas. The route ends at US 64 where there are a number of
cottonwoods and willows which hold good numbers of birds. The Warbling
Vireo is rare in this section.