This is a driving or
car-birding route located in the southern, part of the western extension
of Tulsa County. The approximate length of the trip is twenty miles and
one should allow three hours to complete it with stops at some of the
important birding spots. Habitat is varied, ranging from open fields to
wooded oak hillsides, good fence rows, streams and a few ponds. It is a
good route at any time of the year.
Begin the route at the
51 St. exit on I 44, 2 miles west of the 51 St. bridge across the
Arkansas River. Traffic is sometimes heavy on 51 for the next five miles
and the shoulder is not wide, making stopping difficult. The open fields
and houses along here yield good sparrows, hawks, kingbirds, and
blackbirds. Immediately after crossing SH 97 (5.0), a major highway,
turn right on a paved road with a sign to the Carmel Free Will Baptist
Church. Drive past the church to a lane on the left and park at the
entrance to sewage ponds. If time permits, spend an hour here walking
around the ponds.
PRATTVILLE SEWAGE PONDS
provide excellent habitat for many kinds of birds. Three large ponds
are located just west of SH 97 and north of 51 St. S. The easiest
way to find them is to drive west on 51 St. from SH 97 for 0.1 mile
to the first road that turns to the right, following a sign to the
Carmel Free Will Baptist Church. It is less than 0.5 mile to the
church. Immediately past the church is a small lane on the left.
Turn in and park. There is a wire gate into the area. Please be sure
to close it behind you.
Walk quietly and
slowly up the rise for a view of the first pond. Ducks, shorebirds,
herons, and grebes are found here. The other two ponds lie directly
behind and the birds fly back and forth. In early winter the dikes
around the ponds furnish food and cover for many species of sparrows
- Vesper, White-throated, Field, Tree, Savannah, Lincoln's, and
perhaps White-crowned and Harris's.
Circle the ponds
to find small birds in the trees along the fence. Wooded streams run
on both the north and south sides of the ponds and here may be found
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in spring as well as many warblers. To the
west of the ponds is an area which has been open fields but is now
covered with small trees and shrubs. This is a good area for
buntings, flycatchers, and Field Sparrows in summer. There are
swarms of Purple Martins and swallows over the water from April to
September. A walk around this complex is an easy one. It can take an
hour or more and should yield over twenty species of birds.
Return to 51 St. and
continue west (right). Just past the housing development on the right
the road forks. Take the left road south on 129 W. Ave. After the turn
note the wooded area on the right with brush piles and young trees. This
is full of sparrows in winter and spring. At the first road on the right
(56 St. South) turn right and park.
There is a pond south
of the road where Great Blue and Little Blue herons are found in summer
and ducks in winter. Hawks are common in the big trees south of the pond
where Red-tailed, Rough-legged, and Harrier hunt the open fields. Walk
back to 129 W. Ave. and look for small woodland birds in the grove of
trees. Kinglets, Brown Creepers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Carolina
Chickadees, and Tufted Titmice are found here and in spring, warblers.
The open field west of the pond and north of the road is often full of
Killdeer, Horned Larks and meadowlarks in early spring and late fall.
Drive past the trailer
park on the north to where the road curves south and a small graveled
road goes straight up the hill on the right. Park and walk up the hill
to see Eastern Bluebirds, Dark-eyed Juncos, woodpeckers, sparrows, and
American Kestrels. The top of the hill is a good spot to sit during
migration as the birds come past on the east and are easy to see.
Continue the drive
south to the next road on the right which is 71 St. S. Turn west, noting
the fields on the north for Horned Larks and sparrows in fall and
winter. At the intersection with 161 W. Ave, turn north to search the
shrubby growth on the left for Eastern Bluebirds and sparrows as the
scrub-oak habitat returns on both sides of the road. (As of 2007, this
area has been developed for homes.) At the water tower at the top of the
hill stop to look in the pond on the left for shorebirds or ducks.
Proceed left (west) at the next intersection which is Coyote Trail.
Bluebirds, Purple Martins, and swallows are common in this area in
summer. Notice the dense thicket of persimmon, sumac, rough leaf
dogwood, and other shrubs on the right. Many birds visit these in fall
and early winter.
Coyote Trail continues
west to merge with 41 St. S, mile 14 on this route. Watch power lines
for hawks. At Broomville, with its scattering of small homes, Coyote
Trail now becomes Campbell Creek Road and runs northerly toward SH 51.
This is primarily oak woods with oil pumps and tanks. Wrens,
Rufous-sided Towhees, thrushes, and the usual woodland birds are found
After crossing the
one-lane bridge, pull off and park. Warblers are excellent here in the
spring. In winter Carolina Wrens and Eastern ScreechOwls are often
found. The route ends at SH 51. To return to Tulsa turn right and follow
SH 51 signs. An alternate route east of the intersection with SH 97 is
via Avery Drive.