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Midland Valley Trail & Pedestrian Bridge
Tulsa
County

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From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account has been updated as of 2007.


This path stretches from 21 St. S. between Boston and Cincinnati Avenues west and south to the west end of the pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River. Extensions may be made at each end, northward along the river on the west side and northward from 21 St. to 18 St. along the cleared but unpaved railroad right-of-way.

A parking lot is at Riverside Drive near the eastern end of the pedestrian bridge. Cars may be parked here or on 26 St. where it crosses the pathway. Most people start at the pedestrian bridge. The Arkansas River is over one-quarter mile wide and has been dammed to make a shallow lake which extends several miles upstream. Birding from the bridge varies with the seasons, the level of the lake, and the flow of water. Mallards and Gadwalls may be seen in winter with the aid of a scope. On a blustery November day in 1985 a Red-necked Grebe was observed as it floated down river to the pedestrian bridge, diving or flying upstream repeatedly. Many Ring-billed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls use the sand flats in winter; Franklin's Gulls and Caspian Terns in May and October; and Killdeer throughout the year. In May the Least Terns nest on sand flats a mile or so downstream and with the use of a scope the birder may see them flying to nests with food.

In spring and summer Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons feed below the dam, while Green-backed Herons catch frogs in shaded pools near the banks. Belted Kingfishers are seen all year. Purple Martins, Barn and Rough-winged swallows are common in season. When the water is low during migration shorebirds appear, yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitchers, Spotted and Solitary sandpipers being most common. At the west end of the bridge Red-tailed Hawks perch on the poles in winter and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on the wires in the summer. Watch the trumpet vines in late summer for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

At the east end of the bridge the path goes north and east past a meadow, original bottomland woods, and hedgerows. The path is on an embankment part of the way as one walks almost at tree-top level, a great vantage point for finding warblers, vireos, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in spring. Later the path is in a cut between embankments with underbrush and trees growing up the sides. Bell's Vireos nest regularly in the brush on the north and House Wrens on the south side near the entrance to the path from the parking lot.

The woods to the north have a resident flock of Bobwhites. With luck an Eastern Screech-Owl or a Great Horned Owl may be found. Black-billed Cuckoos have been observed several times and the thrush family is well represented according to season. Other species are Red-eyed, White-eyed and Warbling vireos in summer; American Redstart (possible June nester); Orange-crowned, Nashville, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and Yellow-throated warblers in migration; Indigo and Painted buntings in summer; Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglet, Rufous-sided Towhee, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin in winter, with six or seven species of sparrows in winter.

See also the River Parks account for more details on birding this section of the Arkansas Rive.

 

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Copyright 2009 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: September 21, 2009

 

 

 

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