Welcome to MUSKOGEE
Birds, Blooms, and Butterflies
Muskogee has something to offer for everyone interested in wildlife watching. Whether your interest lies in hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, azaleas or eagles, you can find a trail to meet your needs in Muskogee. These activities are fun opportunities for the whole family. Whether you are viewing birds on a field trip or visiting Muskogee Butterfly Garden and Nature Center, real treats are found in Muskogee. So come to Muskogee and enjoy some of the great wildlife diversity our city has to offer!
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 East. 1.5 miles after you cross the Arkansas River, turn right on OK 10 about 11 miles to Braggs. At north end of town, turn right (west) on County Road EW 83 (road is unpaved). Go about 2 miles to parking lot at barrier. Travel to marsh area on foot.
Description: This site is part of the Webbers Falls Wildlife Management area. This is about a 1/2 mile from the sign (Webbers Falls Wildlife Management Area). If the marsh has water, this area is good for waterfowl and wading birds. A walk down the dike can be productive also. (this marsh doesn't always have water) It’s an ephemeral wetland, and although it has been dry in recent years, when wet it can produce unusual sightings. The state’s first Black Phoebe was documented here, and when the marsh is wet it attracts dabbling ducks, Pied-billed Grebe, and a few shorebirds. Bald Eagles can also occasionally be seen here. The marsh is also good for butterflies. Wildlife seen here include the Red-spotted Purple, Red Admiral, Diana, Question Mark, Pearl Crescent, Viceroy, Monarch, Creole Pearly Eye, Gemmed Satyr, Clouded Sulphur, Little Yellow, Dainty Sulphur, and a variety of swallowtails all occur here with some regularity.
Canyon Road to Wildwood via Ranger Creek
Directions: From Fort Gibson, take OK 80/Canyon Road to the dam. Turn right and go up the steep “wall,” which eventually takes you into the town of Hulbert, passing over Ranger Creek and passing by Wildwood Park.
Description: The road itself is narrow and twisting, but there are numerous scenic spots along which to pull over and photograph the wildflowers. Ranger Creek is a good place to pull off and bird along good riparian habitat. The emergent vegetation along the creek edge attracts dragonflies, and the flowering shrubs and bushes in spring and summer attract a variety of butterflies. Wildwood, a Corps of Engineers park, provides views out onto Lake Fort Gibson as well as a good selection of hardwoods and underbrush that are good in spring and fall for migrating warblers. Wildwood is good for winter birding; gulls, pelicans, and grebes on the lake are easily viewed from here. Wildwood Campground and day use area has a short strip of blacktop that parallels the shoreline, with woodland birding on one side and lake viewing on the other. Yellow-throated Warbler nests here.
Butterflies include Buckeye, Question Mark, Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Snout Butterfly, Alfalfa Butterfly, Hackberry Butterfly, Red-spotted Purple, Pearl Crescent, Variegated Fritillary, Monarch Butterfly, Little Yellow, and the Viceroy.
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 East to Tahlequah. Turn right/south on OK 82, go through the town of Keys, and about 2 miles past the light you will see a brown sign for Carter’s Landing. Turn left, and follow to the end of the road (about 2 miles), which is the boat ramp.
Description: This little-used Army Corps of Engineers park is on Lake Tenkiller, and includes boat ramps as well as a very rough trail through the woods down to the lakeshore. Look here for Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Cardinal, Baltimore Oriole, Brown Thrasher along the ground line amongst the trees and campsites, Great Egret, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, woodpeckers, deer, and great wildflower viewing along the road when you leave OK 80 and head down to the landing. The narrow road requires you to be careful if you’re pulling over to bird the edge of the road or photograph flowers/butterflies.
Directions: In Muskogee, at Okmulgee and 32nd Street/US 69, go south on 32nd to Arline Street (first traffic signal after Okmulgee). Turn right/west, go two blocks to the parking lot the left.
Description: Located in Muskogee, this three-mile paved trail meanders through woodland, open fields, and wetland habitat, and is an ideal urban birding spot. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and bluebirds abound here. The trail is often busy with other walkers and runners. Black-crowned Night-Heron and Solitary Sandpiper have occurred here.
Cherokee Landing State Park
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 East to Tahlequah. Turn right/south on OK 82, go through the town of Keys, and about 5 miles past the light you will see the state park sign on your right. The park is on Lake Tenkiller and OK 82 between Tahlequah and Vian.
Description: Late April and May are the best times to bird this park for migrating warblers. Bay-breasted Warbler is occasionally here, and nesting Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler can be found here. Check the big and beautiful pine stands for Pine Warbler. Good numbers of Bonaparte’s Gulls are here in spring.
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Cherokee Wildlife Management Area
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 East. About ten miles past the Arkansas River, watch for the Conoco service station sign on your right. This marks the Zeb exit, and is marked with a brown and yellow sign for the WMA. Turn right to enter the WMA.
Description: The roads are unpaved and can be rough, hence a pickup or SUV is recommended. Butterflies abound along the roadside in spring and summer, as do numerous wildflowers. Look for deer, coyotes, turkeys as you drive through the WMA. Stop at the headquarters to get a free map. The main road is intersected by a beautiful creek crossing, with primitive camp sites nearby, and very few people. Bird the creek in spring for migrating warblers. Butterflies include Little Yellow, Eastern-tailed Blue, Common Blue, Variegated Fritillary, Question Mark, Goatweed Butterfly, Cloudless Sulphur, Little Wood Satyr, Red-banded Hairstreak, Hackberry Butterfly, Dainty Sulphur, Pearl Crescent.
Chouteau Wildlife Management Area
Directions: Located off US 69, between Muskogee and Wagoner. The entrance to the WMA is signed.
Description: The dikes and wooded areas provide habitat for a variety of birds and other wildlife.
American Golden Plover
Butterflies include Goatweed Butterfly, Orange Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Viceroy, Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Alfalfa Butterfly, and Pearly Eye. Dragonflies include Eastern Pondhawk, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, and Slaty Skimmer.
Directions: From Fort Gibson, take OK 80 between Fort Gibson and the dam. About 3 miles out of Fort Gibson there’s a small convenience store on the right. The Flower Creek area is on the left, adjacent to the river.
Description: This small woods that leads down to a riparian area along the river is an excellent wooded area for spring migrants. A trail goes down to the river bank.
Butterflies include Goatweed Butterfly, Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Little Yellow, Common Blue, Gemmed Satyr, Carolina Satyr, Cloudless Sulphur, Viceroy, migrating Monarchs, and Silver-spotted Skipper.
Fort Gibson Waterfowl Refuge
Description: This is one of two area sites for the MAPS banding program, in its 14th year and headed up by Don and Joyce Varner of the Indian Nations Audubon Society. Call 918-456-3894 if you’d like to join them on one of the scheduled banding weekends. There are eight banding days in May-July. This is a great opportunity to participate and see birds up close. It also provides great photo opportunities of birds you’ll have difficulty getting this close to, and your participation is a big help for the folks who work the nets. The refuge is also where the Christmas Bird Count is held; otherwise it’s closed to the public in winter and only open from March-October. About 100 species—including Spotted Sandpiper, Rock Wren, Prairie Falcon, Common Yellowthroat, Sedge Wren, and others, were seen on the 2003 CBC.
Directions: From the town of Okay go north on OK 251, which turns east. After ½ mile you’ll see a convenience store and “Sports Center,” and a sign that says “Okay Schools.” Turn left/north. Go past the schools for about two miles, then go through the four-way stop sign onto the gravel road and into the refuge. After about 50 yards fork to the left. This gate is only open during banding sessions in the summer. To access the refuge during non-banding weekends, from Muskogee take OK 16 through Okay. After about 5 miles there’s a sign that says “Refuge Headquarters.” Turn right/east and go 2 miles to the refuge gate. Cross the railroad tracks and turn left or right to bird the refuge.
Check the dikes for Dickcissel, Bell’s Vireo, Little Blue Heron, and Great Blue Heron in the ponds. Look for large rafts of mergansers and scaup in winter. Shorebirds occur in the ponds during migrations. Gulls, Forster’s Tern, and Least Tern occur in spring. Bring your scope, since the ponds are somewhat distant from the viewing dike. Excellent wildflowers, butterflies are along the roadside as well.
Butterflies include Red Admiral, Spicebush Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Variegated Fritillary, Question Mark, Cloudless Sulphur, Black Swallowtail, Alfalfa Butterfly, Great Spangled Fritillary, Gulf Fritillary, Cloudless Sulphur, Pearl Crescent, Hackberry Butterfly.
Greenleaf State Park
Directions: This beautiful, award-winning state park is located several miles off US 62 between Muskogee and Tahlequah. From Muskogee, take US 62 East, cross the Arkansas River, and take OK 10 South for about ten miles. The park is on the left.
Description: A dragonfly pond and interpretive area are near the entrance to the park. The park is crowded during summer weekends, but quiet for most of the year. Take the main road down to the boat ramp and scan for waterfowl in winter. There is good woodland edge birding here—turkey, quail, and passerines in spring and summer. Yellow-breasted Chat, Eastern Towhee, Kentucky Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Bell’s Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting all occur here. Greenleaf Park has a 15-mile trail that rings the lake and takes one or two days depending on how quickly you hike. The trail is rough in places and hilly. It’s rarely walked, beautiful, and usually offers good woodland birding. Canoe is another excellent way to bird the perimeter of the lake. Wild Turkey, Greater Roadrunner, Osprey, and eagles all occur here. The cabins are good for seasonal warblers.
Honey Springs Battlefield
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 69 South to the Rentiesville exit. Go south on Old US 69 for about 4 miles, then follow the sign east for about 2 miles into Rentiesville. The route to the battle site is signed.
Description: Trails with gravel walkways circle around the historic battlefield. Elk Creek cuts through the site, and the bridge across it was one of the objectives of the battle between black Union troops and Indians fighting for the Confederacy. Historic markers and signs explain the significance of the site. A variety of hardwoods and marsh provide good birding habitat, and numerous snags attract Downy, Hairy, and other woodpeckers that use them for food and shelter. Wood Duck holes are here as well. The battle site also has good native grass prairie and is good for grassland birds in winter.
Honor Heights Park
Directions: From downtown Muskogee, take US 69/62 north to the point where US 69 goes north and US 62 splits off towards Tahlequah. Go west/left at the light, which is Shawnee Street. Follow to the t-intersection, go left, then follow signs to the Five Civilized Tribes museum. Turn right at the VA hospital, pass the museum, and go down the back side of the hill to enter the park.
Description: This is the premier flower venue in the state—more than 250,000 people come here every year to view the azaleas in the park. The north side of the park is also good for migrants during spring and fall. There’s a rough trail that you reach by parking in the lot for the Five Civilized Tribes Museum and then crossing the road. Spring is the best time to bird the park, and butterflies abound from late spring through summer at the hill atop the park. Azaleas can be literally covered in swallowtails when in full bloom.
Butterflies include Black Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Alfalfa Butterfly, Question Mark, Goatweed Butterfly, Red Admiral, Gulf Fritillary, Pipevine Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Cloudless Sulphur, Dainty Sulphur, Sachem, Monarch.
Directions: Take the US 62 bypass through Tahlequah, and before crossing the Illinois River bridge go south/right on the blacktop road for ¼ mile, under the old bridge, and follow the sign to Riverside City Park. You may walk in any time; the park is closed to auto traffic when it rains.
Description: The river is a wonderful experience for viewing all types of wildlife, in addition to being a pleasurable, lazy float down one of Oklahoma’s prettiest waterways. Numerous canoe livery services rent boats that let you put in and take out at various points along the river. A good gravel road on the riverbank provides excellent access to the riparian areas; cut grass abuts a large woods where numerous wood warblers can be seen in spring. Eagles may be perched in trees or seen as flyovers as you float down the river.
Butterflies include Red-spotted Sulphur, Spicebush Swallowtail, Tiger Swallowtail, Clouded Sulphur.
Kerr Lock and Dam
Directions: From Sallisaw, take US 59 South about 8 miles to the Corps of Engineers sign for the lock and dam (about ¼ mile past sign to Applegate Cave Park). Turn west, go about 1 mile to the lock and dam. You can also cross the river on US 59 and take the first right to the south side of the dam.
Description: Like the dam at Lake Fort Gibson, this dam is excellent for gulls and terns. When water is moving through the spillway, there is considerable bird activity, particularly in winter when gulls and terns are here in number. Careful scanning of the large numbers of gulls can turn up unusual occurrences such as Glaucous Gull or Laughing Gull, both of which have been seen here. The road to the lake at Applegate Cave is also worth checking and can be productive.
Lake Fort Gibson
Description: The lake is actually a complex of excellent birding sites, each of which offers different viewing opportunities. Formed by damming the Grand River, there are numerous parks, pull offs, and even a waterfowl refuge. Roads to and from the different sites are usually productive, though the roads are narrow and require care when pulling off to bird or photograph flowers. Butterflies include Checkered White, Pipevine Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Red Admiral.
Directions: From Muskogee, take State Hwy 16 north to Okay. At Okay, continue north on 251A (about 1/4 mile, Hwy will turn east). Continue east 1/2 mile. At the Phillips 66 station on the right, turn left (north) two miles to a 4-way stop. Turn right (east) and go one mile to another 4-way stop. Turn left (north), and follow the road all the way to Jackson Bay.
Description: These three bays offer similar habitat along Lake Fort Gibson, not far from the Fort Gibson Waterfowl Refuge. Wahoo Bay, Jackson Bay, and Sequoyah Bay have differing combinations of woodland and lakeshore habitat. Jackson Bay is good woodland birding by car all the way down to the lakeshore. Wahoo Bay is best for loons due to its view out onto the lake. You can also park and walk down the trails. Early spring and summer are good at all three bays, but during summer weekends they tend to be crowded. Look for Great Egret and other waders along the shoreline, as well as regulars like White-breasted Nuthatch, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Fish Crow. Winter birding at all three bays is good for sparrows.
Of the three bays, Sequoyah is the most crowded, making it suitable for birding in the off-season. The rock beaches attract gulls and terns in winter; Caspian Tern occasionally shows up here. Franklin’s Gull is a spring occurrence as well. Look across the lake to Western Hills at Sequoyah State Park and scan for loons—and try not to get confused by all of the places named “Sequoyah”! Shorebirds at the park can be surprising; a Willet once turned up here. The lower road goes along the lake edge down to the marina; look for Red-breasted Nuthatch in the stands of pine.
The road through Jackson Bay is also productive for spring migrants. There are 2 areas: one goes straight to a wooded area, and the other turns left to a private marina. Go past the marina to the right, and go down by the lake for waterfowl and gulls in the winter. Olive Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, and Willow Flycatcher occur here in spring. Acadian Flycatcher nests in the woods, as does Northern Parula. Drive slowly down the road (window open, of course!) and listen for the drilling of Red-headed Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker, which can sometimes be seen here. Buntings and gnatcatchers occur here as well. Jackson Bay is the least crowded, most rustic of the three bays, and has minimal facilities. In peak summer season it’s the one with the fewest people. Hermit Thrush occurs here in winter, Swainson’s Thrush in migrations. Jackson Bay is perhaps the best of the bays to tour once by car, then get out and bird again on foot. Migrations here can be very productive. Jackson Bay is a good winter stop as well. American White Pelican, gulls, terns, mergansers, rafts of ducks, and loons on the lake are all winter attractions here. Since the Fort Gibson Waterfowl Refuge is closed in winter, this is the only place from which you can scope the thousands of gulls and waterfowl from across the water. The blue floats are covered with birds in winter. Check for the Herring Gull or Glaucous Gull that may be mixed in with the Ring-billed Gulls.
Black-throated Green Warbler
Great Crested Flycatcher
Fort Gibson Dam
Directions: From Fort Gibson, take OK 80 north for about 7 miles to the dam.
Description: Do the west side of the dam in the morning in winter because the sunlight strikes the western side first, attracting birds who warm up in the early rays and keeping the sun out of your binoculars. In spring and summer, bird the east side in the a.m. in order to keep the sun at your back. Then work your way around the lake, reaching Sequoyah State Park and Hulbert in the afternoon. You can also strategize your lakes, doing Tenkiller one day, Lake Fort Gibson a second, and Greenleaf Park the third day. But back to the dam—it’s a phenomenal place for winter gulls and terns. Hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls, the rare Little Gull, a few Glaucous and even Herring Gulls have turned up here. Waders and eagles are common here. The key for birding at the dam is whether or not water is moving through the spillway. When water is released, it attracts birds who are going after the fish. The dam is a good birding site for experts as well as novices: experts because of the occasional rare gull mixed in with the commoner varieties, and novices because there are numerous large, easily identified birds that stay put and let themselves be “watched.” The eagle watches held in winter here are exciting for kids, adults, beginners, and experts alike. Held for two weekends in January, spotting scopes are set up all day for people to come out and watch our national bird.
Rock Wren (occasional)
Great Blue Heron
Butterflies include Black Swallowtail, Goatweed Butterfly, Gemmed Satyr, Common Blue, Orange-tipped Butterfly
Abandoned ACOE camp
Directions: From Fort Gibson, take Canyon Road/OK 80 to the Fort Gibson dam. Just below the dam on Canyon Road/OK 80 are a pair of Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds on the left.
Description: The campgrounds are no longer in use—by people, that is. The birds still show up, and the combined hardwood/brush along the riparian areas makes these areas good birding almost any time of the year—migrations for warblers and other Neotropical migrants, and summer for nesting species, and winter for year-round “everyday” residents. Walk-in is okay, auto traffic prohibited.
Butterflies include Question Mark, Goatweed Butterfly, Alfalfa Butterfly, Pearl Crescent, Silver-spotted Skipper, Zabulon Skipper, Cloudless Sulphur, Eastern Tailed Blue, Common Blue, Tiger Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Giant Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Hackberry Butterfly
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 East to Tahlequah, then go south on OK 82 for about ten miles. The lake sites begin at Carter’s Landing (specific directions below).
Description: This is a complex of sites that can be picked up at any point around the lake. It includes state parks and Army Corps of Engineers parks, numerous boat ramps, facilities, wooded shorelines, and views out onto open lake. You’ll get to see hundreds of loons in winter, with Strayhorn Landing on the west side of the lake, Fisherman’s Point at Lake Tenkiller State Park, and Blackgum Landing being the three best viewing areas for loons and waterfowl. Bird Blackgum in the morning with the sun at your back, and Strayhorn in the evening to keep the sun out of your scope. Red-throated, Pacific, and Common loons, and even Yellow-billed Loon can occur here. There is also good woodland birding at Blackgum Landing, and from Blackgum there is a nature trail just off Cato Creek Road that can be very productive in spring. Buzzard’s Roost Nature Trail, as it’s called, can turn up Louisiana Waterthrush and Wood Thrush. The lake is busiest in summer, with fall, winter, and spring all being ideal times for birding. The roadside of OK 82, which goes around the east side of the lake, is great in late spring and summer for butterflies. Purple coneflower grows in places, and you’re likely to have various skippers and fritillaries amongst the blooms. Butterflies include Variegated Fritillary, Checkered Skipper, Question Mark, Common Sulphur, Dainty Sulphur, Cloudless Sulphur, Buckeye, Orange Sulphur, Little Sulphur, Red Admiral, Pearl Crescent, Goatweed Butterfly, Falcate Orangetip, Monarch, Common Sootywing
Chicken Creek Park and Snake Creek Parks
Good winter viewing for loons.
Tenkiller State Park
Lake viewing good for winter/spring loons.
Cookson Recreation Area
Great Blue Heron
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 69 north to Wagoner. At the junction of State Hwy 51 and US 69, continue north on US 69 for nine miles. Turn left/west on county road EW 64 (right after the large white house on the left). Travel the section lines all through that area. There are about 12 sections of heavily grazed tallgrass prairie with interspersed farmland. Good in winter for hawks and longspurs. Roads could be very muddy right after a rain, so use caution.
Description: This is an excellent site for grassland birds, a variety of sparrows, prairie-chickens, and wintering raptors. In April the Indian Nations Audubon Society sponsors a Greater Prairie-Chicken viewing trip, and visitors to the lek can see displaying males stomping and booming as they vie for the attention of the females. Populations seem to have decreased in recent years, with anywhere from 5-9 males displaying for the females. The prairie-chicken display is one of the great sights in birding, and shouldn’t be missed.
American Golden Plover
Directions: Travel on I-40 east to the Roland exit (after Muldrow). After exiting, go east on US Hwy 64 one mile (second traffic light), and turn right (south) on NS 478. Go one mile to the "T", and turn left (east) on EW 12. The next 3 miles, is the heart of Moffett Bottoms.
Description: Good shorebirding when conditions are wet, on both sides of the road. Hudsonian Godwit sometimes occurs here.
Directions: This Nature Conservancy preserve is located10 miles north of Tahlequah on OK 10, and includes a variety of riparian and woodland habitats. Take the gravel road east from Eagle Bluff Resort. Cross the Illinois River at Comb’s Bridge, turn right at the fork after about ¼ mile. Follow for another ¼ mile, turn left at brick house on the hill. Follow this gravel road through the preserve for about 6 miles until you see the headquarters.
Description: The preserve is the site for the winter bird count, which is distinct from the Christmas Bird Count. Contact: Chris Wilson, 918-456-7601. Bird from the roadside.
Butterflies include Cloudless Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Little Yellow, Eastern Tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Buckey, Variegated Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, Red-banded Hairstreak, Sachem, Wild Indigo Daisywing, Pearl Crescent, Diana, Pipevine Swallowtail, Red Admiral, American Snout Butterfly, Little Wood Satyr, Common Wood Nymph, Fiery Skiper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Question Mark, American Painted Lady, Hackberry Butterfly.
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge
Directions: Pick up the Muskogee Turnpike from US 62, east of Muskogee, and go south towards Fort Smith. At I-40, go east, cross the Arkansas River, and follow the signs for the refuge.
Description: The premier wildlife watching site in the area, this refuge is defined by its location at the confluence of the Canadian and Arkansas rivers. There is ADA trail access on either side of the bridge which goes to an overlook at Sally Jones Lake as you enter the refuge. This is a good place to look for waterfowl and shorebirds. Sally Jones Lake and Tuff Landing have about thirty nest boxes for Tree Swallows. The 6-mile driving tour loop goes by numerous habitats, including grain fields, sloughs, lakes, ponds, river banks, and prairie. The office has a bird checklist and a seasonal bird banding program that you’re welcome to observe or participate in. The sloughs and ponds are productive for dragonflies. Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Eastern Amberwing, Eastern Pondhawk all occur here.
Any time of year a visit here will be rewarding. Bald Eagle nests here in winter. Check Sally Jones Lake for ducks and for shoreline woodland birding. The tens of thousands of geese that feast on the grain fields in winter attract a variety of raptors, including the occasional Peregrine Falcon. Go to Sandtown Bottoms and scope the Arkansas River for eagles and ducks. Rarities such as Long-tailed Duck have occurred here. The grassy and savannah areas are excellent for winter sparrows. Migrating and hard-to-find passerines such as Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Worm-eating Warbler all have occurred here.
Great Horned Owl
Pick up nine sparrows in spring
Tens of thousands of Snow Geese in winter
White Rumped Sandpiper
Butterflies include Red Admiral, Orange Sulphur, Pipevine Swallowtail, Eastern-tailed Blue, Gorgone Crescentspot, Cloudless Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur, Little Yellow, Sleepy Orange, Black Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy, Alfalfa Butterfly, Variegated Fritillary
Sequoyah State Park
Directions: From Fort Gibson, take OK 80/Canyon Road to the dam, and take the road to Wildwood all the way into Hulbert. In Hulbert, go west on OK 51 for about 5 miles to the entrance of the park on the left.
Description: Birding here is good anytime, just about any place in the park. Just past the park entrance there is a stand of pines and a parking area. Look here for Eastern Bluebird, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole. Continue down the main road and you’ll see a gate on the left. This opens onto Eagle’s Roost trail, an oak/pine path that is usually productive. If you continue down the main road you’ll see a second gate that is also a walking trail—it’s the old road to the Cherokee Campground. Woodlands and open fields are good for Purple Finch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, kinglets, and Hermit Thrush in winter. Prairie Warbler can be seen here in summer, and Red-shouldered Hawk nests here. The trail is about ½ mile in length and is an easy walk. Rafts of ducks are on the lake in winter, with good lake scanning available from the marina and boat ramps. Check the treatment pond in the park, as well as Cherokee Campground and Seminole Campground. Come back in by the church for good winter birding. Red-headed Woodpecker can sometimes be seen here. The Creek Campground is good for wading birds, kingbirds, tanagers, ducks, and flocks of waxwings. Chickasaw Campground is a good place to scan for loons and grebes. The shoreline provides great looks at pelicans, egrets, and mergansers.
Butterflies include Buckeye, Eastern Tailed Blue, Tiger Swallowtail
Tall Grass Prairie Reserve
Directions: From Muskogee, take the Muskogee Turnpike to Tulsa. Go through Tulsa on the Broken Arrow Expressway, and exit at the Bartlesville exit to Hwy 75 north. Travel north to Hwy 20. After exiting, turn left (west) to Skiatook. On the east edge of Skiatook, turn right on Hwy 11, and travel north to Pawhuska. In the center of Pawhuska, turn right (north) on Kiheka, which becomes Grandview after a few blocks. Continue north and follow the signs to the Preserve Headquarters.
Description: There is a wonderful gift shop, plus picnic tables, and clean restrooms. The drive around the prairie is good in winter for hawks and eagles, plus Smith's Longspurs and American Tree Sparrows.
Taylor Ferry North
Directions: Taylor Ferry North is on Fort Gibson Lake east of Wagoner on state highway 51. Traveling eastbound from Wagoner, Taylor Ferry North is the last left turn before going on the bridge over the lake. Proceed north just a few hundred feet and you will see an entrance to a swimming area on your right.
Description: On this beach and the island directly in front of you can be seen a variety of gulls, herons, and egrets. The island is a great blue heron rookery and in 2005 little blue herons, great egrets, snowy egrets, and cattle egrets were seen, some nesting there. American white pelicans can be seen on the island in the winter. The beach is noted for many species of gulls, including locally uncommon and rare species. A brown pelican was sighted on the island in late 2004.
Caspian Tern in April
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Three Forks Harbor Nature Trail
Directions: From Muskogee, take US 62 east, cross the Arkansas River, and take the first right after crossing the river. Turn right again on the feeder road along US 62 that heads back west towards the river and follow the signs to Three Forks Harbor. The new River Center, scheduled for completion in 2006, has directional information about the trail.
Description: This amazing 7-mile walk along the Arkansas River goes all the way to the dam. The trail is scheduled for opening in 2006, and is part of a unique development project that includes a river harbor and an interpretive center that focuses on the history and wildlife of the river. The trail itself goes through undisturbed wetlands, incredibly rich riparian areas studded with mature hardwoods, and literally takes you back a hundred years in time. The trail is incredibly productive in spring for migrating Neotropical migrants. Expect a variety of empidonax flycatchers, wood warblers, woodpeckers, wading birds, and eagles as you meander along this beautiful path.
Directions: From Muskogee (intersection of US Hwy 69 and US Hwy 62), go north on Hwy 69 eight miles. Turn right (east) to exit Hwy 69, and then continue north 100 yards to the gate of the Northeast Regional Headquarters of the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation. Park at the gate, and walk the old Hwy 69 road bed to the marsh.
Description: There is a trail all around the marsh, or you could walk up on the old bridge and look down on the marsh. A scope is useful. This is good for waterfowl and wading birds, if the conditions are right. Sometimes the marsh doesn't have much water at all. American Bitterns and King Rails have been seen here in the past----many years ago, when it was full of water.
Forster’s Tern (hundred or more in March)
Pond attracts thousands of Snow Geese
Vian Water Treatment Ponds
Directions: Take the Muskogee Turnpike south to I-40. Go east on I-40 to the Vian exit. After exiting, turn north to the town of Vian. Just north of the school and football field, turn left (west), and go through the school complex, plus 1 block, to a "T". Turn left (south) one block to another "T", and turn right (west) and go through the gate to the water treatment ponds.
Description: This is good in winter for ducks.
Butterflies include Pipevine Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Monarch, Viceroy, Gray Hairstreak, Orange Sulphur, Checkered White, Question Mark, Variegated Fritillary, American Lady, Dainty Sulphur
Throughout the region check roadsides, wetlands, and open areas for a variety of wildflower that include Spiderwort, Shooting Star, May Apple, Larkspur, Buttercup, Blue-eyed Grass, Loco Weed, Indian Paintbrush, Daisy Fleabane, Toad Flax, Vetch, Yarrow, Black-eyed Susan, Horsemint, Yellow Goat’s Beard, Queen Ann’s Lace, Common Plaintain, Prickly Pear Cactus, and numerous others.
Marsh flowers include Trout-Lily, Dutchman’s Breeches, Tooth Wort, May Apple, False Rue-Anemone, Common Blue Violet, Hen’s Bit, Spring Beauty, Johnny Jump-up, Bluet, Bloodroot, Solomon’s Seal, Jacob’s Ladder, Scrambled Eggs, and numerous others.