Field Trips

The Payne County Audubon Society sponsors free, guided field trips to local birding spots approximately monthly. All field trips are open to the public, non-members and members alike, and are beginner-friendly. Wanna learn your birds with some fun folks (and see plenty of other cool stuff, too)? This is a great way to do that. Scroll down for more info below.

Our NEXT FIELD TRIP(s) will be . . .

  1. Sunday, May 26 beginning at Nature’s Vein Wildlife Rescue and Education in Perkins OK. 

  2. Saturday, June 1 beginning at the OSU Range Research Station headquarters on Coyle Rd.

Field Trips, Jan–May 2019

During winter and spring 2019, there will be multiple opportunities to join Tim O’Connell in the field as he leads trips for his Ornithology class at OSU. All are free and open to the public. The trip to Lake Carl Blackwell on Saturday, March 9 will be an official PCAS Field Trip, whatever that means!

  1. Sunday, 20 Jan., 3:00 pm: Boomer Lake, Stillwater, OK
  2. Saturday, 2 Feb., 9:00 am: Sanborn Lake, Stillwater, OK
  3. Tuesday, 5 Feb., 4:00 pm: OSU North Fields, Stillwater, OK
  4. Saturday, 16 Feb., 2:00 pm: Botanic Garden at OSU, Stillwater, OK
  5. Sunday, 17 Feb: 1:00 pm, Couch Park. Jim Cowley will lead this field demonstration on Basic Bird Photography.
  6. Sunday, 24 Feb., 4:00 pm: Babcock Park, Stillwater, OK
  7. Saturday, 9 Mar., 8:00 am: Lake Carl Blackwell, Payne County, OK
  8. Tuesday, 12 Mar., 3:00 pm: Botanic Garden at OSU, Stillwater, OK
  9. Saturday, 30 Mar., 8:00 am: Couch Park, Stillwater, OK
  10. Tuesday, 16 Apr., 3:00 pm: Babcock Park, Stillwater, OK
  11. Saturday, 27 Apr., 12:01 am–6:00 pm: BIRDATHON, Payne County, OK

We have two more scheduled field trips this spring:

  1. Sunday, 26 May, 2:00 pmJessica Torres will show us around her facilities at Nature’s Vein Wildlife Rescue and Education.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to both learn more about wildlife rehabilitation and see firsthand how a large bird flight cage would aid this important conservation work in our community. Following the tour, we will bird some local hotspots around Perkins. Meeting location: 416 W French St., Perkins, OK. Directions: Heading south on Rt. 177 from Rt. 33 in Perkins, French Street is 2 blocks south of the traffic light at W Freeman/E Kirk. Take a right on French St. and travel 3 blocks west of Rt. 177 to get to Nature’s Vein at 416 W French St.  If you lose your way, telephone 405-665-0091.
  2. Saturday, 1 June, 7:30 am: Dwayne Elmore will lead us on a field trip to the OSU Cross-Timbers Experimental Range on Coyle Rd., west of Stillwater.  Meeting location: We will meet at the OSU Range Research Station headquarters.  Directions: To get there proceed west from Stillwater on OK 51.  Turn left/south on Coyle Rd, which is 1.5 miles west of the entrance to Lake Carl Blackwell. Travel south on Coyle Rd. 2.5 miles; the headquarters will be on the west side of Coyle Rd. This is 1/2 mile south of 44th street.


Field Trips – General Information

You do not need to be an expert birder to join us for a field trip – the whole point is to have some fun seeing some neat birds and to learn from the other birders on the trip. Although babies and toddlers might not get much from our field trips, we are keenly interested in encouraging young birders which is a point of outreach emphasis for the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab or Ornithology, and the American Birding Association.

  • Most of our field trips are to local parks with easy walking on groomed trails. Participants should be prepared for more rugged conditions, however, by wearing sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots.
  • The birds are outside in all weather conditions; we will be too. Unless the forecast calls for icy roads, thunderstorms, or lousy viewing conditions (e.g., fog and rain), we will proceed with the field trip. Although our trips seldom extend beyond 2 hours, participants should have everything they need for 4–5 hours in the field, e.g., sunscreen, layered clothing, water, snacks, insect/tick repellent, and any medications you might need.
  • If you have binoculars bring them with you, but don’t let a lack of optics keep you from joining one of our trips! We have plenty to share, and field trip is great opportunity to try some different binocs to help decide what works best for you.
  • Above all, have fun! Whether you’re a hard core professional or someone just starting out, we’re all in this for the same reasons: birds are beautiful and exciting and they enrich our lives.



Trip Reports – 2019

Lake Carl Blackwell, Payne County, Oklahoma – 9 March 2019

Twenty-two OSU students and guests braved gale-force winds on an otherwise lovely day at Lake Carl Blackwell on Saturday, March 9. We started at the dam but didn’t find much there exposed to the wind as we were. The whitecaps never subsided on the lake!

Ring-billed Gull 100
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1

On the way to the dam, Corey Riding reported the following along Redlands Rd. – pretty impressive given that he had all four kids with him!

Mallard 10
Ring-billed Gull 15
Northern Harrier 1
European Starling 2

At the park itself, we were able to find some shelter from the wind and that’s, of course, where a lot more birds were hanging out. Everyone got to see the immature Bald Eagle, at least one of the Red-headed Woodpeckers, and at least one of the LeConte’s Sparrows we flushed from the native grass field on the far shore of the Trout Pond. Including Corey’s Northern Harrier, we ended up with 47 species from 8:00–11:30 am!

  1. Canada Goose 123
  2. Wood Duck  1
  3. Northern Shoveler  4
  4. Mallard  112
  5. Northern Pintail  100
  6. Green-winged Teal  9
  7. Pied-billed Grebe  2
  8. American Coot  55
  9. Killdeer  6
  10. Ring-billed Gull  80
  11. Double-crested Cormorant  25
  12. American White Pelican  8
  13. Great Blue Heron  2
  14. Bald Eagle  1
  15. Red-shouldered Hawk  1
  16. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
  17. Red-headed Woodpecker  2
  18. Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
  19. Downy Woodpecker  2
  20. Northern Flicker  1
  21. American Kestrel  1
  22. Mourning Dove  1
  23. Blue Jay  2
  24. American Crow  4
  25. Carolina Chickadee  4
  26. Tufted Titmouse  2
  27. Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
  28. White-breasted Nuthatch  1
  29. Brown Creeper  1
  30. Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
  31. Eastern Bluebird  9
  32. American Robin  56
  33. Northern Mockingbird  1
  34. European Starling  2
  35. Cedar Waxwing  10
  36. Dark-eyed Junco  8
  37. LeConte’s Sparrow  4
  38. Song Sparrow  4
  39. Dark-eyed Junco  2
  40. LeConte’s Sparrow  1
  41. Song Sparrow  1
  42. Eastern Meadowlark  3
  43. Pine Warbler  1
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler  6
  45. Northern Cardinal  3
  46. House Finch 2

Many thanks to Corey Riding and Sirena Lao for keeping the official trip lists!





Sanborn Lake, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Feb 2, 2019 9:00 AM – 10:54 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments: 28 folks on this field trip!
41 species

Canada Goose 24
Ruddy Shelduck 1 Same individual that’s been around town for a while.
Gadwall 10
Mallard 13
Canvasback 3
Ring-necked Duck 9
Bufflehead 1
Mourning Dove 4
Killdeer 1
Ring-billed Gull 90
Herring Gull 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 2
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 3
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 3
Carolina Wren 9
Bewick’s Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
American Robin 6
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 11
Cedar Waxwing 8
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 1
Dark-eyed Junco 11
Harris’s Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
Spotted Towhee 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Northern Cardinal 15
House Sparrow 3

Boomer Lake Park, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Jan 20, 2019 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments: Ornithology Field Trip #1: 17 students and guests plus myself
24 species (+1 other taxa)

Cackling Goose 40
Canada Goose 227
Mallard 27
Mallard (Domestic type) 1
Ring-necked Duck 10
Bufflehead 1
Pied-billed Grebe 2
Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
Mourning Dove 2
American Coot 5
Ring-billed Gull 230
Herring Gull 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Blue Heron 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Northern Flicker 4
Eastern Bluebird 1
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 39
House Finch 1
Dark-eyed Junco 9
Northern Cardinal 4
House Sparrow 1

Pawnee Lake, Pawnee, Oklahoma, US
Jan 6, 2019 1:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Comments: Payne County Audubon Society January field trip, led by Les Imboden
31 species

Mallard 1
Bufflehead 1
Common Goldeneye 22
Hooded Merganser 7
Common Merganser 2
Pied-billed Grebe 5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 1
Mourning Dove 1
Greater Roadrunner 1
American Coot 20
Killdeer 1
Ring-billed Gull 22
Double-crested Cormorant 16
Great Blue Heron 4
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
American Kestrel 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 4
Carolina Chickadee 1
Eastern Bluebird 3
American Robin 2
European Starling 1
Dark-eyed Junco 4
Song Sparrow 5
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Trip Reports – 2018

Sooner Lake And Surrounding Area, Rural Payne County, OK, USA

December 1, 2018

Protocol: Driving

Comments: Moderately windy day kept sparrows at bay, but hawks, eagles and ducks made up for absence of the smaller birds. The birding was good enough to keep the group out a bit longer than expected. Thanks to Jim Cowley for pitching in to lead the group on short notice.

31 Species:

Bald Eagle – 4
Northern Flicker – 5
Mourning Dove – 2
European Starling – 25
Eastern Bluebird – 6
American Crow – 10
Dark-eyed Junco – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 15
Mallard – 112
Canvasback – 2
Hooded Merganser – 37
Ring-necked Duck – 18
Great Blue Heron – 2
Scaup – 5
American Kestrel – 3
Harrier – 8
Green-winged Teal – 2
Northern Cardinal – 1
Common Goldeneye – 40
Harris’ Sparrow – 8
Song Sparrow – 1
Osprey – 1
Common Loon – 4
Bufflehead – 27
American Widgeon – 20
Double-crested Cormorant – 9
American Coot – 152
Pied-billed Grebe – 3
Gadwall – 29
House Sparrow – 6
Shoveler – 26

Ghost Hollow And Environs, Perkins & Ripley, OK, US

November 10, 2018

Protocol: Driving and walking

Comments:  Very good size group, almost more than there were birds.  The species list is fair for the time spent, but the total number of each species was generally thin.  Hallelujah bird was a leucistic Red-tail that could be mistaken for a Snowy Owl at a glance.

18 Species
































Great Salt Plains Lake, Oklahoma, US
October 27 & 28, 2018
Protocol: Driving and walking
Comments:  Best possible fall weather for a combined camp-out and some of the best birding in Oklahoma.  Weather, birding and Saturday cook-out enjoyed by Leader John Couch, Kevin Wilson, Jim and Suzanne Cowley, Les Imboden and Susie Taylor.                    39 Species

Whooping Crane

Sandhill Crane

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

White Pelican

White-faced Ibis

Belted Kingfisher

Double-crested Cormorant

Northern Flicker (red and yellow-shafted)

Red-tailed Hawk

Mourning Dove

White-breasted Nuthatch

American Coot

Forster’s Tern

Pied-billed Grebe


American Robin

Red-bellied Woodpecker

American Widgeon

Carolina Wren

Northern Harrier

Western Meadowlark

Brewer’s Blackbird

European Starling

American Crow

Red-winged Blackbird

Pileated Woodpecker

Canada Goose

Northern Cardinal

Barred Owl

American Kestrel

House Sparrow

Common Grackle

Ring-billed Gull

Franklin’s Gull

Great Blue Heron



Green-winged Teal

Song Sparrow

Couch Park, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Sep 23, 2018 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling 0.5 mile(s)
Comments: Nice little bird walk for the Payne County Audubon Society, mostly on the Hoyt Grove side north of 12th St.
28 species

Mourning Dove 5
Chimney Swift 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Barred Owl 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 11
American Crow 5
Carolina Chickadee 8
Tufted Titmouse 4
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Carolina Wren 4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 3
American Robin 17
European Starling 42
House Finch 3
American Goldfinch 8
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Summer Tanager 2
Northern Cardinal 6
House Sparrow 6

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Lake Carl Blackwell – Trout Pond, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Mar 24, 2018 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments: w/ Les Imboden, Chris Brown, Kevin Wilson, and Katie Broyles
40 species

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 9.46.15 AM.pngView this checklist online at

Lake Carl Blackwell – pine plantation, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Mar 24, 2018 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments: with Les Imboden, Kevin Wilson, Katie Broyles, and Chris Brown
30 species

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 9.43.32 AM.png

View this checklist online at

Sanborn Lake, Payne, Oklahoma, US
Feb 3, 2018 12:10 PM – 1:40 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments: A bit windy, but 11 folks came out for a lunchtime ramble around Sanborn Lake, and now they all know what a Yellow-rumped Warbler sounds like.
33 species

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 9.39.57 AM.png

View this checklist online at







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