Showing posts from January, 2020

Birding the underbirded: Sherman County edition

On Monday Jacob and I decided at the last minute to take a trip out to Sherman County to continue my project of (e)birding the less birded areas of Oregon this year.

Sherman County location, courtesy of Wikipedia

I planned out a birding route during the drive using my handy print out of birding sites in the area from the ECAS website.  We skipped the top hotspot in the county, Deschutes River State Recreation Area, and headed to Fulton Canyon.

This road did not prove particularly birdy but 5 out of our 8 species were new for the "hotspot."  We turned left on Welk Road which was mentioned in the site guide as having rolling hills and riparian areas.  Indeed.  The weirdest thing here was probably the tree full of Ring-necked Pheasants.

This is not how I typically encounter pheasants.  The site guide mentioned this road as having had Say's Phoebes in the past though I was not expecting one in January.  But there it was.

The phoebe disappeared soon after but reappeared with …

2019 5MR Challenge Wrap-up

Now that it's a couple weeks into 2020 I thought I'd look back at the 5MR birding challenge last year and share some of my favorite things.  Let's start with the birds!  I saw a lot of great birds in my 5MR in 2019 including some I was not expecting.  Time for a top 10 of my personal favorite self-found birds!

10. Sora

Found in September at a small water quality facility tucked into a dense residential area.  One of those places I stop at on the way to or from somewhere with very low expectations.

9. Swamp Sparrow

Found in late October when I was checking out a park I had never visited before.

8. Barn Owl

There are quite a few Barn Owls in my 5MR but this is a list of my favorites and I still love them so much. 

7. Northern and Loggerhead Shrikes

Both found at my "Walmart patch" which was quite productive for me this year.  The Northern was in February and the Loggerhead in March.

6. Western Kingbird

I actually had two WEKI's in my 5MR this spring but this one ab…

Birding the underbirded: Morrow County edition

My birding goals for 2020 are a bit of a shift from 2019's 5MR-focused birding: to bird the less birded areas of Oregon.  Looking at eBird tells me that the counties in Oregon with the fewest checklists are Gilliam, Wheeler, Sherman, and Morrow. 

Check out Morrow there.  It has 4078 checklists TOTAL.  The auto tour at Ridgefield NWR in my current Clark County, WA has 4255 checklists alone (there are 25,541 total in the county). 

Morrow County location, courtesy of Wikipedia

I decided to start my plans with Morrow as it's a fairly accessible county with some of the top birding locations close to I-84.  My county list was at 79 and using eBird I made a list of 30 target species for January.  Years ago I printed off a bunch of the birding locations for various counties on the ECAS website and I combined this with eBird to decide where to go.

My plan was to drive straight to Morrow with no stopping but I could not resist a stop at the Blandford Canyon exit in Gilliam to scan the r…