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Greenleaf Lake State Park

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From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account was partially reviewed and updated in 2007.

Follow US 62 east from Muskogee across the Arkansas River; turn right on SH 10 for 16 miles to reach this park. Immediately after crossing a sizeable expanse of water (the Little Greenleaf Creek arm of Webber's Falls Lake) turn left off the highway at the park sign and proceed up the hill to the headquarters.

Adjacent to the park on the north, the Cherokee Game Management Area consists of about 25 square miles of open grasslands interspersed with wooded creek bottoms. This area, combined with Greenleaf and Webber's Falls lake, provides a variety of habitats which attract an equally varied bird population.

At Park Headquarters the road branches three ways: north to the Youth Camp and Park Lodge and from there on a rough, rocky road along the lake toward the Gruber area; south to the picnic area; and east past the cabins down to the lake. Going straight ahead, east, the road winds down the hill about three-fourths mile to the lake shore. This is the most congested part of the park, with a campground, boat dock, swimming beach, parking area, and a cafe. This is a good place to park and do some birding on foot.

There is a fine trail leading north from the cabin area through good birding territory and overlooking the lake. Another productive walk is south along the shore, through the campground, and up the wooded hillside to the picnic area. Actually, most of the park can be investigated without getting off the blacktop.

During the winter months, Bald Eagles can often be seen cruising back and forth over the lake or perched in trees on the opposite shore. Also at this time ducks are plentiful, dabblers in the shallow grassy edges, the diving species farther out in the deeper water. Other regulars of interest are Ospreys during migration, Fish Crows and Black Vultures throughout the summer. In past years a pair of Roadrunners has nested in the caretaker's yard next to the Youth Camp.

Greenleaf Lake State Park, one of the state's most scenic parks, has often been the location of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society's spring meeting, held annually in late April or early May. Birds listed during the spring meeting totaled about 125 species including some twenty species of warblers.

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