Sunday, January 11, 2009

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

My family returned to the land of my mother and father in the interlude between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Having not been able to accommodate everyone’s schedule this summer, we resolved to take our family vacation this winter. The goal was some peace and quiet in the woods. Lake Broken Bow in Southeast Oklahoma became the destination. We rented a cabin within a couple of miles of Beavers Bend State Park. We walked down to the lake’s edge on the first evening at the cabin. These woods produced a Brown Creeper, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, and, of course, American Crows.

The Talimena National Scenic Byway, north of the cabin, afforded us grand views of the Ozarks and surrounding valleys. At Emerald Vista we learned of, and you can see still the effects of, the old practice of clear cutting an area of timber for the sawmill. Then the company would abandon the area moving the workers, equipment and mill without regard to replanting. Then there is Horsethief Springs where the rustlers would water the stolen horses before moving on. At the western end of the byway, at the Talimena State Park we had a picnic lunch.

We spent part of the last day at the Red Slough Wetlands and Wildlife Management Area where we saw Mallards, American Coots, Red Shouldered Hawk, sandpipers, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe and Meadowlarks. Red Slough is a reclaimed wetland, once having been cleared and converted for the production of rice, soybeans, corn and milo. Since 1966 the property has been managed as a wetland. Wood Storks regularly visit in the summer. Some 290 species of birds have been recorded on these 5814 acres.

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