Date: 1/2/19 10:58 pm From: David Irons <llsdirons...> Subject: [obol] Re: January 1st 5-MR patch birds including 5 species of Heron at Koll
No one is necessarily trying to create a balanced or fair playing field here. The point of this challenge is to generate more interest in birding close to home more regularly and to get the checklists from these activities entered into eBird. There is the obvious benefit of lowering our collective carbon footprint and more importantly creating a better understanding of how birds use landscapes close to where we live.
One of the ways that the playing field is sort of balanced is through comparing the number of species found within each 5MR circle to the year end list of all species eBirded in the county where the circle is centered. For instance, in most years somewhere about 220 species are found and reported to eBird in Washington Co. (where I live). The fact that Steve Nord now lives in Arizona will surely take that down a bit. If Shawneen and I can tally say 160 species in our circle–should be doable given that our life list for the patch is in the low 160's without any concerted effort to bird it regularly–we would in effect see about 73% of all the species seen in the county during a year. Let's say Phil Pickering chooses to play within his exceptionally juicy slice of the Lincoln County Coast. He is going up against up against a base of about 265 species (on average) reported in Lincoln County each year. To match our percentage he would have to see 193 species in his patch alone, a tally that would land in the top 5-8 county year lists (for the entire county) in all of the last half dozen years or so.
Lane County patch birders are at a decided disadvantage on multiple fronts. One you have a huge county with diverse habitats extending from the outer coast to the crest of the Cascades. Secondly, in recent years slightly over 300 species per year have been reported to eBird in the county. I can't imagine where one might center a patch where one might even see two-thirds of that total. Given that most of the county's birders live in and around Eugene, your patchers will not take in either the high mountains or the coast. The best bet would be to live somewhere close enough to Fern Ridge where both the dam and the end of Royal Ave. are inside your patch (along with all the open country and woodlands in between), but I don't know of any birder whose home is so situated. Mark Nikas' maybe?
I think the mostly lowland counties along the western edge of the Willamette Valley and butting up against the foothills of the Coast Range (Washington, Yamhill, Polk, and Benton) offer the best chances to rack up a patch total that is 75+% of the county total for the year. Of the coast counties, Lincoln is probably the best, because there are lots of good seawtaching vantage points, a narrow outer coastal plain (open country birds that are easy in other coastal counties are tough there), and comparatively low section of the Coast Range, so there aren't a suite of inland higher elevation birds that are easy to get. Obviously there are a bunch of counties east of Cascades where birding a patch could yield a high percentage of the total for the county, especially those counties where few venture to go birding.
It's mostly a fun game just to see what we can dig up on our local turf. On day one Shawneen and I saw an American Bittern and two Canvasbacks on the lake at Koll Center Wetlands. This site is less than a mile from our house and we bird it all the time and yet both of these species were lifers for the site for us. We also found at least two Swamp Sparrows in Greenway Park just south of the main lake. I have only seen Swamp Sparrow there one other time. There is obviously a direct correlation between effort and the total number of species one might detect over time in a specific area. That combined with the fact that several other really talented birders (like Craig Tumer, Jay Withgott, and Dwight Porter to name a few) have patch circles that overlap ours. We will benefit from their efforts and they will surely get some species that we find inside their 5-mile radius patches. I fully expect that we will team up to find some really interesting birds over the next 12 months and learn more about the common birds that live in our midst.
From: <obol-bounce...> <obol-bounce...> on behalf of Alan Contreras <acontrer56...>
Sent: Wednesday, January 2, 2019 6:52 PM
Subject: [obol] Re: January 1st 5-MR patch birds including 5 species of Heron at Koll
The outer coast is a special case, though Vjera would have most of Fern Ridge Reservoir, not a bad chunk of water.
Among we mere mortals, I have Spencer Butte, Skinner Butte, Meadowlark Prairie, Delta Ponds, Willow Creek wetlands and, just barely, the Cantrell Slime. Being at Malheur as HQ docent for seven weeks this spring might cramp my Lane list a little, but it will have compensations. :-)
My radius would pretty much be a truncated version
of the Lincoln City CBC circle. It would include
not only the ocean and all of Lincoln City south of
Roads End, but also all of Devil's Lake, all of Siletz
Bay including the Salishan nature trail, as well as
numerous accessible clear cuts in the lower coast
range. Sort of a stacked deck.
> An interesting idea. Living in southwest
> Eugene my radius might be pretty good.