I decided to take the advice of eBird yesterday afternoon, and bird the road less traveled. I used the map on eBird to see what counties near me have had the fewest checklists submitted this month. For example in my county there have been 823 checklists submitted, yet one county to the northwest only had 25 submitted. So off to Columbia County I went...
My first stop was the Columbia Botanical Gardens in St. Helens, Oregon. It sounds nice, right? Well... The gardens were in fact some dirt trails through some woods between houses. The sign at the entrance was more realistic:
The trails were somewhat maintained but blackberries in the summer are not exactly tame-able. There was a definite jungle feel to the area. The highlight had to be the frogs- they were everywhere! And as long as they stayed still the dogs were completely oblivious to them.
There weren't too many flowers in these "botanical gardens" but a few were blooming...
After this weird walk I headed over to the Columbia County Animal Shelter where there was supposed to be a trail leading to Dalton Lake. I could not find this trail for the life of me, but finally saw a girl walking on the road and asked her. She pointed across the street. Ah! This is a paved bike trail with dirt trail turn-offs that lead to both the lake and the Columbia River.
It was way birdier than the gardens.
The area was really pretty too...
Natural/unnatural barbed wire:
Part of the path went along the backyards of homes and this was the busiest area. I saw Eurasian Collared-Doves, scrub-jays, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Song Sparrows, robins, swallows, and a Lesser Goldfinch:
All in all it was fun to explore new places, so I appreciate eBird for that inspiration. Good times!!