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Arnett Area

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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.

From OKBirds

Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005
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.

Virginia Rails 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 6:30 am

Eddie Stegall
Wichita, Kansas

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.




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