5MR Snow Daze
It snowed in Portland! It wasn’t much. And it was gone in about 24-hours, but it was a fun time. Because the roads were slick, I didn’t go far. Perfect for 5-mile radius birding. I started at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park where I found a Great Egret nicely camouflaged against the snow.
I went along the loop trail passing Hooded Mergansers in the slough.
Then I heard a Black Phoebe calling so I ran over to check it out.
Nearby was a Yellow-rumped Warbler at the water’s edge.
I checked for Great Horned Owls and finally after going in circles around the cedars I found an angry face that made me back off pretty quickly.
In the back ponds I snuck up on an egret and inadvertently flushed three Wilson’s Snipe! I returned later to the spot to find a couple of them “hiding” behind snow.
It was so nice finally seeing them without flushing them, they’re such interesting birds!
Back on the trail I noticed a handful of Dark-eyed Juncos feeding on grass seeds in the snow, so I sat down to watch for a while.
Minutes later a nicely streaky sparrow hopped right out.
Lincoln’s Sparrow! 5MR #101! An unexpected sparrow for this park, and a great surprise for me.
I went to Mt Tabor Park next that was surprisingly less snowy.
What it lacked in snow it made up for in American Robins.
There were hundreds feeding on the berries from the Hawthorn trees.
After Tabor I made it to Broughton Beach before sunset because I want to see all my 5MR hotspots in the snow.
It was late in the day, freezing and windy but I couldn’t leave because there were at least a hundred gulls standing out at the sand spit. Many of them identifiable!
And it took me a while, but I finally identified one Mew Gull in the mix! 5MR #103!
The next day I wanted a new park. Something different, but still within 5 miles. I picked Kelly Butte Natural Area just on the SE edge of my radius. I’ve never gone mostly because I have to go past Mt Tabor to get there and it has a bad reputation. And a crazy history, it was once a prison, military bunker, and underground homeless camp.
But I picked the best day to go. The gate was closed, and the park was empty.
I didn’t see one other person while up there. It was lovely.
And I saw loads of birds. Mostly Steller’s Jays, Varied Thrush, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, and a Hairy Woodpecker. But I heard the best bird before I saw it. Behind the noisy jays and hawks, in the distance I heard a “zuee-zuee-zuee” so I ran up the trail after the song until I eventually saw it.
Hutton’s Vireo! 5MR #104! Going to the scary park was worth it. As is exploring new places close to home. Since then the snow has turned into rain, rain, and more rain. Winter is over and has just begun again.
And the 5MR continues!
Tweets and chirps,