Stop 17: Foss State Park

Directions: Return to Cheyenne and take US 283 North to OK 33. Go east on 33 for 18.1 miles to its intersection with OK 34 South. Go 6.1 miles south to OK 73, and turn left/east on 73 for 8.9 miles to the park entrance, on the left.

Foss Lake State Park comprises the southern end of the reservoir formed by damming the Washita River. In addition to large numbers of Canada Geese and Snow Geese in winter, the extensive lakeshore provides excellent habitat for a variety of woodland birds as well. The transition zone of little bluestem to willow, cottonwood, hackberry, elm, and locust that line the lakeshore provide excellent habitat for woodland and prairie birding in a relatively small area. Park near the end of the entrance road, and take a moment to walk out into the grassland, arcing back towards the lakeshore and through the willow thickets. Cedar Waxwing, wood-warblers, American, the occasional Hermit Thrush, Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, and Golden-crowned Kinglet should all be looked for here.

Foss State Park sits smack in the middle of the world's largest supply of natural gas, the Andarko Basin. With over sixty miles of shoreline, the lake provides a number of habitats for a variety of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. Beaver, raccoons, and dear all abound at the park. Birders will pick up numerous species on their own, but anyone desiring a guided interpretive tour can arrange one by calling the park ranger in advance at 405-592-4433.

Leaving the park, continue east on OK 73 and follow the signs for Sandy Beach. Another lakeshore access spot, Sandy Beach is a good site to scope for ducks and waterfowl. The small cove provides shelter from strong winds, and can have good numbers of ducks and geese. Check the giant cottonwoods during migrations for wood-warblers, Warbling Vireo, Carolina Chickadee and White-breasted Nuthatch.

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black kettle grassland