Tour Information

On the Red Slough tour, you will visit numerous habitats including
emergent wetlands, mudflats, reservoirs, scrub/shrub, and willow
tree rows.  It is not unusual to see over 100 species of birds in a day
during the month of May.  Expected birds of interest include:  Purple
and Common Gallinule, Sora, American and Least Bitterns, Neotropic
Cormorant, Anhinga, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, White Ibis, Least
Tern, Bell's Vireo, Marsh and Sedge Wrens, Prothonotary Warbler,
Painted Bunting and Bobolink.  Other birds of interest that might be
spotted include:  White-faced Ibis, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Hudsonian
Godwit, Black-necked Stilt, Philadelphia Vireo, and Yellow-headed
Blackbird. American Alligators are often seen on this tour as well as
numerous wildflowers such as Alligator Flag, Obedient Plant, Spider
Lily, and Blue Flag Iris.  Bird viewing will be done from levee roads
and observation platforms.

Bring rubber boots as the grass on the levees in the mornings is
usually wet.  Walking approximately one mile around Bittern Lake
normally occurs on this tour.  Spotting scopes may come in handy
but are not necessary as the guides will have them.  Bring your
cameras.
CANCELLED - Tours
Red Slough Birding Tour
Little River National Wildlife Refuge Birding Tour
The star of this birding tour is the Swainson's Warbler. Dr. Mia
Revels has studied this species on the Little River National Wildlife
Refuge for the past 13 years and is a leading expert on their
territory locations, behavior, breeding biology and nesting
behavior.  Most importantly, this trip has never failed to "produce"
a Swainson's Warbler for the viewing pleasure (and listing status)
of the tour groups.  In addition to the Swainson's Warbler, you will
very likely get Hooded Warblers, Kentucky Warblers,
Black-and-white Warblers, Pine Warblers, Prothonotary Warblers,
Yellow-throated Warblers, Prairie Warblers, Common Yellowthroats,
and Yellow-breasted Chats.  These are just the residents, and,
depending on local conditions, there is no telling which migratory
warbler species might be present!  Dr. Revels likes to refer to the
refuge as "Warblerville"!  You are also very likely to encounter
Summer Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, Yellow-throated Vireos,
Red-eyed Vireos, White-eyed Vireos, Wood Thrushes and Blue-gray
Gnatcatchers.  Wading birds of many types are likely including:
Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great
Blue Heron, American Bittern and Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  
You almost always see Anhingas and several duck species.  

The refuge is at its loveliest in early spring, with the Spider Lilies
and Swamp Irises in bloom.  It is still usually relatively cool and
pleasant for an amazing birding event!
The McCurtain County Wilderness Area (MCWA), managed by the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, is the largest block
of virgin shortleaf pine forest in Oklahoma.  It is also the primary
location within the state for the endangered red- cockaded
woodpecker (RCW).  On this tour, you will learn about shortleaf
pine/bluestem restoration projects and RCW management within the
MCWA and adjacent Ouachita National Forest and see a
demonstration of tree climbing for RCW management.  This tour is
geared more towards viewing the habitat and understanding
management principles than walking and looking for birds.  You will
visit an active RCW cluster and the chances of viewing a bird are
good, especially if young are in the nesting cavity and the parents
are in feeding mode.  Other birds you may encounter on this tour
include scarlet tanager, summer tanager, red-headed woodpecker,
pileated woodpecker, pine warbler, kentucky warbler, black-and-
white warbler, yellow-throated warbler, indigo bunting, brown-
headed nuthatch, bachman’s sparrow, yellow-throated vireo, red-
eyed vireo, eastern wood pewee, and great-crested flycatcher
.
McCurtain County Wilderness Area
The wildflower walk is conducted on a prairie near the Idabel
airport.  Access to the prairie is immediately adjacent to a main
highway which makes the walk easy for all physical conditions.  
You may be walking through tall grass, so you may want to wear
boots.  With no shade existing, it can get hot on the open prairie
and a hat and water may be considerations for you.  

Over 50 species of wildflowers have been documented on the
prairie.  Some of the more colorful ones you will see include blue
false indigo, indian paintbrush, larkspur, topeka purple
coneflower, barbara’s buttons, celestial lily, purple beard tongue,
and widow’s cross
.
Prairie Wildflowers
Over 80 species of Odonates (dragonflies & damselflies) have
been documented at Red Slough.  On the Odonate tour, we will
visit a variety of habitats to maximize the number of species
found.  We will look for the secretive spreadwings in their shaded
woodland abodes and for the tiny Southern Sprites around Teal
Lake, one of only two known locations for this species in
Oklahoma.  We will look for the Swamp Darner, Oklahoma’s largest
dragonfly.  There’s also a good chance of seeing the Stillwater
Clubtail and the Ebony Jewelwing.  A good variety of the King
Skimmer species are always present.  A host of other common
species will be encountered as well.  

A good amount of walking is required for this tour as searching for
dragonflies is done on foot rather than by vehicle.
Red Slough Dragonfly Tour
The champion tree tour visits several Oklahoma record trees as
determined by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Forestry
Services.   Idabel has the largest number of record trees in the
state.  Post oak, willow oak, shumard oak, red maple and others will
be seen.  A trip to Little River National Wildlife Refuge will view bald
cypress, sugar maple, cherrybark oak, sugarberry and sweet leaf.  
The opportunity for a faunal experience always exists as we look at
some of the giants and unique areas of the floral world.  We will
walk to the trees where it is possible and access allows.
Champion Tree Tour
Anhinga
Blue Grosbeak
Painted Bunting
Black-and-white Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Swainson's Warbler
Anhinga
Baltimore Oriole
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Habitat
Habitat
Observation Deck
Purple Gallinule
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Checking RCW Nest
RCW
Brown-headed Nuthatch
Scarlet Tanager
Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Wildflower Prairie
Indian Paintbrush
Purple Beardtongue
Purple Paintbrush
Dragonfly Tour
Ebony Jewelwing
Swamp Spreadwing
Spangled Skimmer
Stillwater Clubtail
Variegated Meadowhawk
Eastern Amberwing
Shagbark Hickory
Water Elm
Cherrybark Oak
Bald Cypress
The 12th Annual Red Slough Birding Convention is CANCELLED
due to the Coronavirus.  For the safety of our birders,
we have made the difficult decision to cancel the convention.  
We hope you have a healthy and safe year.  
We look forward to resuming the convention in 2021.

The Idabel Chamber of Commerce is processing refunds for those
participants who have already registered.  If you have any questions
about your refund, please contact Betty Johnson at 580-286-3305 or
idabelchamber@gmail.com.