Cheers to the 5MR!

The last few months I have really been obsessing over my 5-mile radius, trying to figure out ways to convince more folks to give it a shot.  I created an Instagram account to give people a daily dose of what's possible close to home which has only reinforced my obsession because clearly, I need a lot of material for it.  My next step might even be suggesting a 2019 challenge.  Eh? 

On that note, let me offer some tips for success in growing your 5-mile radius list.

1. Find a tried and true birding patch.

This means finding a location with a decent mixture of habitats that you will enjoy birding regularly in every season.  Meadowbrook Marsh has filled that niche perfectly for me and I try to bird it 3-4 times a month.

Bonus points for reliable Fox Sparrows

Bonus points for two duck ponds that often contain Hooded Mergansers

Points subtracted for messes left by campers (but bonus points for the campers being booted)

Bonus points for consistently solid birding (Bewick's Wren)

Bonus …

Oregon birds.

Oregon has been turning up some great birds recently and I've actually gone to look at a few of them.  The most famous one right now is actually two:  a pair of male Eastern Bluebirds.  These birds were found by my friend Eric while birding his little patch on the west side of Rocky Butte in NE Portland (in my former 5MR!).  He had assumed they were Westerns but after putting photos on iNaturalist he learned he had found something far rarer, a west coast first!

The day after the birds were identified I arrived at first light along with a ton of other local birders.  It was about 30 minutes or so before the birds appeared but they eventually perched in one tree in the middle of the field for a long time.

Everyone got great looks through various scopes and terrible photos to go home with.

The birds are still hanging out in this spot though it sounds like they have a large territory.

This week I ran my first North Portland raptor survey of the season for East Cascades Audubon Society…