Posts tagged ‘Osage Hills State Park’

January 12, 2014

Five Trumpeter Swans on Lookout Lake Today

20140112 Trumpeter Swan Line

 Five trumpeter swans — two adults and three juveniles — found their way to Lookout Lake in Osage Hills State Park this morning.  The swans have used the lake off and on this winter, with a maximum of seven swans observed on the lake at one time.

The trails around the lake are still open. However, I ask that you stay on the trail any time the swans are present.

May 28, 2013

This Legless Lizard Is No Amputee

Western Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)

Recently, a park visitor ran over what they probably thought was a ferocious viper.  Unfortunately, what they smooshed was a unique — and harmless — legless lizard called a Western Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus).

Glass lizards don’t have legs, so they move like a snake…  But if you look closer, you’ll see small ear openings and eyelids.  Snakes lack both of these features.  Glass lizards also have a groove running along both sides of their body that expands and contracts as they breathe.

If you are aggressive in capturing a glass lizard, it will ‘lose,’ or autotomize, it’s tail like a skink.  (Glass lizards look like skinks, but they’re in a different family.)  Most of a glass lizard’s total length is tail, and it can autotomize anywhere along that length. After the tail section falls off, it continues to wiggle and break, hopefully attracting a predator’s attention long enough for the lizard to escape.  Glass lizard tails often break into several pieces, like glass, hence their name.  A new tail will grow back over time, but it doesn’t look much like the original.  (There is a short section of new tail on the lizard in the photo above.  The original tail would have been striped all the way to a long-tapered end.)

Glass lizards are common throughout most of Oklahoma, but they rarely leave their burrows and are therefore seldom seen.  The best time to find them above ground is after a rainy period.  Roadways have proven the most common place for me to find glass lizards.  Of the three I have seen in the park this Spring, two have been found dead on the road.

As you drive around the park, take a peek at snake-like roadkill and see if you can find Oklahoma’s legless lizard.

Western Slender Glass Lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus)

Osage Hills State Park is a wildlife refuge.  All wildlife, including snakes

and lizards, are protected here. Please don’t run them over!

February 21, 2013

Falling Ice Begets Falling Trees

Looking Out Over Bobcat Hollow

Yesterday’s sporadic  snowfall turned to falling ice last night.  The accumulation caused many branches around the park to calve from their parent trees.  In some cases, entire trees came down.

Ice storms are a primary way our trees get their character:  Our ancient oaks rarely have an original top, and always sport a confusion of stumpy and disfigured limbs.  As painful as it is to watch sometimes, it is nice to know it has been this way for centuries.

Icy Branches

January 14, 2013

Fish Attractor Site Coordinates

Oklahoma Wildlife Department Technicians Near A Marking Buoy

The table below has more information about the fish attractors placed on Lookout Lake.  Note that one of the sites listed below indicates that it is “marked.”  However, we removed the buoy that belongs at that location for the filming of a scene in the August: Osage County movie. We hope to have it re-installed by early spring.  In the meantime, please ask at the office or use the GPS coordinates.

1 Main Point Y N 8-12′ N36.74893 W96.18252
2 Ramp Area N Y 8′ N36.74797 W96.18206
3 Tower N N 15′ N36.74793 W96.18151
January 14, 2013

Lookout Lake Receives Mention In Recent Wildlife Department Press Release

ODWC Technicians prepare to make fish habitat

Last August, the Wildlife Department tied masses of Eastern redcedar to cinder blocks and sunk them at several points in Lookout Lake to create new fish habitat.  The cinder blocks anchor the redcedars until they become waterlogged.  As the trees settle into place, fish begin using them as protective cover.  Lookout Lake has always been a favorite destination for local crappie fishermen, so these new shelters are sure to make for even happier anglers.

Wildlife Department personnel improve fish habitat in state lakes (January 3, 2013)

The cold days of winter may lead to some hot fishing for crappie at many Oklahoma lakes this year, thanks to habitat improvement efforts by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fisheries Division.

Cliff Sager, chairman of the Department’s Fish Habitat Committee and south central region fisheries biologist, said the Department manages fish attractor sites in more than 100 lakes throughout Oklahoma.

“The goal of this program is to improve angling success by creating man-made fish shelters for anglers to use,” Sager said. “When water temperatures drop, crappie tend to be less active and hold tight to the brush. Wintertime crappie fishing can be hot around standing timber and sunken brush piles.”

Fish tend to gather around the attractors during colder weather, and by fishing near these attractors, anglers are likely to improve their odds of success.

Sager said the Department constructs and refurbishes underwater fish attractors using various materials including trees, rocks, pallets, plastics or a combination of items. The Eastern red cedar tree, an invasive species in Oklahoma, is generally unwanted by landowners and is readily available. It is common for Department personnel to cut down these trees and use them at fish attractor sites.

The Department also uses artificial bush-like structures called spider blocks as fish attractors. Spider blocks are concrete blocks with eight to 10 black polyethylene pipes arrayed upward from the top, which makes them resemble a spider.

“These structures hold fish, don’t break down over time, and are virtually impossible to get a lure stuck on,” Sager said. For those reasons, spider blocks generally hold favor with fishermen and biologists alike.

During 2012, personnel with the Department’s Fisheries Division rebuilt or added underwater fish attractors in several state lakes:


Lookout Lake (North Central Region): Cedar tree brush piles were placed in three locations in this 20-acre lake in Osage Hills State Park.

You can read the full list of other new fish attractant locations on the original press release.

ODWC Technicians prepare to make fish habitat