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Showing posts from December, 2018

January Bar Chart Challenge!

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Even if you are not an eBird contributer there is a good chance that if you're a birder you use the data that eBird provides.  The bar charts can be particularly interesting to peruse when planning a visit to somewhere new. A Maine birder that joined the 2019 5MR Challenge mentioned that one of his goals for the year is to work on filling in gaps in various hotspot bar charts which is a great idea.

I took a close look at the bar charts for some of my favorite 5MR hotspots to see what was missing.  Here is a sample of the bar chart for Columbia Springs Fish Hatchery (named Vancouver--Biddle Lake in eBird):


Each month is broken up into 4 sections.  The first week is the 1st-7th, second week 8th-14th, third week 15th-21st, and fourth is 22nd through the rest of the month (varying lengths).  The thick green bars represent birds submitted on complete checklists.  The little green dashes (like the Gadwall from the first week of April) are usually birds submitted on incomplete checklists…

Cheers to the 5MR!

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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 po…

Oregon birds.

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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…