My 5MR status

November was the first month of 2019 that I did not add any new 5MR year birds to my list.  In fact, I started the month with a quick birding outing to Vancouver Lake, four or five miles outside my radius. 



I've missed this lake and its surrounding fields full of birds, so when the message came through that a confiding Eared Grebe was hanging out I decided to make the drive. 


County bird!  And it had a buddy.


The fishing was great that day with over a hundred each of cormorants and pelicans. 


One pelican flew in that had a lot of white feathers that are normally black.


It was a pleasant little excursion outside my 5MR.

The November challenge for the greater 2019 5MR Challenge was to complete the most stationary counts at unique locations for ten minutes.  My first time out went well, with birds seen at every stop.  The best bird that morning was a Rough-legged Hawk flying with two ravens.


Good bird for this area!


The rest of my counts were less exciting but I did find a new large water quality pond thing and some interesting habitat with potential.

I've visited Douglas Carter Fisher Park a few times, where I had the Swamp Sparrow in October.  Still hoping for a bittern or Canvasback or something there. One foggy morning I watched a heron devour a bullfrog which was just as cool.


The frog was stabbed repeatedly before being thrown in the water for general rinsing/pummeling/squishing.

 Mmm blood splatter


Success. 

I've only visited my patch, Meadowbrook Marsh, a couple times this fall because it didn't have many bar chart gaps.  After November it has none!  Check it out:


Prior to 2019 this section looked like this:


I feel a lot of satisfaction from this.  There is one thing bugging me though, that crow and Steller's Jay were not eBirded the last week of December (and last week of July) so my work is not finished yet.

Spooky Steller's

Random MODO tree

When I visited yesterday I had another jay in the opposite lighting:

Frosty foggy jay

 At the pond closer to NE Andresen was a surprising variety of ducks including Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Gadwalls, American Wigeons, Wood Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers.

 
But the best thing there was a river otter actively fishing. 


At one point it snagged a good fish and a Belted Kingfisher swooped down at it as if it might try to steal it.


Never seen that move before. 

I've hit up my Walmart patch, Burnt Bridge Creek at NE 147th Ave (aka the Green-tailed Towhee spot) a few times with nothing rare to report.  The usual birds are good there though.

Peregrine staredown

 White-breasted Nuthatch

 PEFA flying away

I have finally explored an eBird hotspot that's very close to home but always seemed a little sketchy.  

It's a small section of trail along Burnt Bridge Creek that starts behind 7-Eleven and leads to the back of some apartment buildings.  I assumed it was filled with camps and sketchiness. 


I also assumed that no normal human would venture beyond this concrete barrier.  As I got started on the trail two girls, maybe 13 or 14 caught up to me drinking 7-Eleven Slurpees looking totally normal.  They said hi and kept walking.  I felt incredibly dumb for being scared to walk back there.

It's not sketchy at all and there are a few little water quality ponds.  On Thanksgiving morning Jacob and I returned to see what we could find. 


We started off with a nice mixed flock of Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, creepers, White-breasted Nuthatches, kinglets, Downys, jays, etc.  A Cooper's Hawk flew through and we moved on.  We followed the trail all along the back of the apartments where the raccoons below snoozed, then out onto NE 121st.


Across that road is a grassy gated path that lacked any kind of "no trespassing" signs so we continued. 

This leads to the backside of the NE 129th Ave Water Quality Facility where a Red-shouldered Hawk continues. I didn't get many photos on our walk but it was birdy.  When we returned to the car we drove over to 129th Ave to see if we could get a better view of the hawk.  Indeed it was just sitting there in the sun!


The last interesting thing to share from the 5MR: a Cooper's Hawk visiting our yard regularly.  A few days ago it caught a towhee and plucked it on the ground before taking off with the good stuff. 


Yesterday it was back but with less luck.  A couple of squirrels seemed mildly nervous around it but one crept up to within six feet of the bird standing on the ground.  At the exact same time the squirrel ran off to the right and the bird flew off to the left as if they were both freaked out.  Made me laugh.


Now the December challenge is to beat the total species you had in January in your 5MR and/or to complete a 5MR big day.  I had 89 species in January which will be tough to beat, but I'll try! 

Good times!!

Comments

  1. I am too lazy to match January - would involve a lot of chasing/target birding, which is not my jam. Different story if we are talking about Yankee Bravos though.

    I'm looking forward to the big day though! Much more appealing now than in May, when most of my best areas are actually not good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I figured I could get 80 species on a big day, and I only need 90 to beat my January total. So I might be able to do it without too much chasing.

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  2. Hi Jen, I got Zip in Nov, and don't expect much from Dec...It has been fun to get up close and personal with my radius. Awesome Great Blue Swallow shots.

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