The end of a 5-Mile Radius

Let's wrap up this whole 5MR thing.  Last year I decided to keep track of the birds seen within a 5 mile radius of my home in Portland.  You know this.  You probably also know that at the end of the year I moved out of that radius to Vancouver.  By November I had mostly lost interest in trying for new 5MR birds so this was not exactly my best effort. 

I ended the year at 155 species 156 species (American Dipper!).  Here are the highlight:

Burrowing Owl

January 1st.  This was far from a bird I had expected to be in my 5MR, but this one showed up at Broughton Beach in December of 2016 and kindly stuck around into the new year.  This was not the only fantastic bird Broughton Beach produced either.

Sabine's Gull/Parasitic Jaeger

September 20th.  County bird combo!  This was a dream come true, and two birds I had been ITCHING for in Multnomah.  Thanks, Broughton Beach.

Bohemian Waxwing

January 13th.  A few days after it snowed a foot I made the sketchy drive to Mount Tabor to search a massive flock of active Cedar Waxwings for this bird.  I found it twice, the first time I had dismissed it as a Cedar because my brain was frozen.  So good.

Rock Wren

April 29th.  This Rock Wren showed up on Mount Tabor, as has happened in the past, but this one kindly stuck around for a few days (maybe longer?).  An overdue county bird that was conveniently in my 5MR. 

Brewer's Sparrow

April 20th and 28th.  Quiz:  which of these two Brewer's Sparrows is better?  Answer:  the one that was in my freakin yard.  The first was at Salish Ponds in my 5MR, a great find on its own.  But then 8 days later one appeared in my yard to really blow my mind.  Best yard bird in Gale Ranch history. 

Barn Owl

September 6th.  When I picked Blue Lake Park to be my patch for a year I hoped for good migrants, a variety of ducks, maybe a Great Horned Owl.  I had not anticipated spending most the year checking on a semi-reliable Barn Owl.  She disappeared soon after a Barred Owl showed up in the park. 

Red-eyed Vireo

June 9th.  Blue Lake Park did give me good migrants including this surprise Red-eyed Vireo.  This species tends to show up in a couple of known spots in the county, but this was not one of those spots.  A 5MR bird I had definitely not expected. 

Common Tern

September 21st.  Common Tern is one of those birds that shows up every year, usually at Broughton, but is far from reliable.  I was happy to snag this distant bird in both Multnomah and Clark County as it flew back and forth across the river. 

Some of the other quality birds I managed to look at in my 5MR included Say's Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Dusky Flycatcher, Baird's Sandpiper, Snow Goose, Barrow's Goldeneye, Eurasian Wigeon, Red-throated Loon, Merlin, Red-shouldered Hawk, and five species of owls (Burrowing, Barn, Barred, Short-eared, Great Horned).  

 Short-eared Owl in a battle with a Peregrine in the snow, Broughton Beach 1.12.17
Even though I kinda gave up in November, I still did alright!  I brought my 5MR life list up to 193 which is respectable.  This year I won't be focusing on my new 5MR but maybe in 2019 I will get back to it.  I hear 5MRs are big in SoCal right now, so it's only a matter of time before they take over the whole country.

Good times and happy new year!!!


  1. I can't imagine what you are going through right now. You must be very emotional, saying goodbye to such a good 5MR. Please don't hesitate to call me if you need to talk.

  2. Damn...a barn owl right there within 5 miles and a burrowing owl to boot! I've never seen either....An amazing patch and a great finish with 193! I know you will continue to dazzle us with excellent birds near and far!

  3. That is a pretty impressive list of greatest hits! I hope your new one shapes up to be just as good.

    1. Thanks! The new 5MR is underbirded with great potential.

  4. It was probably the best possible 5MR and you crushed it. Well done. RIP 5MR.

    1. I've been trying to think of where in Multnomah it would have been any better and all I can think of is Sauvie Island.

  5. Wow 5 species of owls is pretty amazing! You're so lucky to have had so many cool birds so close to home. Happy new year and happy new 5MR!

    1. Thanks! I definitely lucked out with a lot of fun birds. Happy new year!


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