Date: 7/5/18 11:54 am From: <adamus7...> Subject: [obol] eastern Clackamas & Marion Counties trip
On Tuesday and yesterday I birded my way south along route 46 (FR-46) from Estacada to Detroit Lake, then east to west on the North Fork (Santiam River) Road through the Elkhorn Valley. From 5 a.m. to early afternoon each day, I did five-minute point counts in widely-dispersed Oregon 2020 Project squares along this route. The Project 2020 page (http://oregonexplorer.info/content/oregon-2020 ) showed that birds had not been surveyed during the summer months in 14 of these squares, so my aim was to accomplish that. Unlike the national BBS (Breeding Bird Survey Project) where stops are evenly spaced a half mile apart, Project 2020 allows volunteers to count birds wherever they want within a square. That compromises the statistical validity of the data for some purposes, so I tried to mitigate the bias somewhat by Not choosing my stops within each square based on where the habitat "looked good" but rather wherever I could find a safe place to pull over, which was not difficult considering the low traffic volume on this paved road, especially on Tuesday. I did not expect to find any unusual species because I was not stopping at the specialized habitats where they often occur. At the most bird-rich stops during the earliest morning hour, I detected - almost entirely by song -- about 8 species per 5 minutes (as Lars notes, many more were probably lurking out there but silent due to lateness of the breeding season). But yesterday, the Fourth of July, early afternoon traffic was heavy and the wind picked up, resulting in only 0-2 species per 5 minute stop. River "noise" along most of my route also cut down the number of species I could detect.
Some of the minor highlights were Dusky Flycatcher at the Kingfisher Campground where I stayed Tuesday night, Common Nighthawk and Nashville Warbler at a couple of places where roads crossed clearcuts or powerline corridors, a family of Ruffed Grouse, Pileated Woodpecker and American Dipper at two stops, and Gray Jay and Varied Thrush in both Clackamas and Marion Counties. A large high-soaring accipiter in poor light suggested a Northern Goshawk but I finally decided it was more likely a Cooper's. Swainson's Thrush and Pacific Wren were undoubtedly the most frequently detected species.
All in all, a very enjoyable solo time along a scenic route that apparently has seldom been birded, at least according to eBird and Oregon 2020.