Wow, I am tired.
I rode my bike 24 miles today. I did a big loop on the northern half of my five mile radius. I saw 56 species of birds! 25 of which were new birds.
This pace of one new bird per mile ridden is unfortunately not sustainable.
Soon, I fear, it will be one bird per 10 or even 20 miles. Hopefully I will be stronger by then.
My first stop of the morning, was the Eastern Bluebirds I have missed before/after work for the last 3 days. They are lazy little dudes. I could have slept in. I arrived at 8:45, and Just as I was about to leave at 10, like a little present from the heavens, they flew almost directly to me. They modeled for me, and I got the best photos of them that I can reasonably expect. I saw them choke down huge berries, and hunt for big wormy insects in the tall grass.
After success with the bluebirds (and Lincoln’s sparrow, and cedar waxwings), I decided I wanted to be the first one this year to see a Black Phoebe in my county. It had been reported last year, so it is not an incredible feat or anything, but I was first to re-find it this year. And it is a good bird, and I am happy to have found it in my 5mr. Yay!
Photos are terrible, but if you wanna look at my ebird checklist… go for it.
I was two for two. Next priority was the recently re-found rarity: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Apparently, it is only the third ever January record of seeing one in the pacific NW.
It took about an hour of searching. I had a fleeting glance, and then nothing for about thirty minutes. rode my bike down and back on this trail, stopped where I saw it the first time… and it graciously popped up and perched for a solid 4 seconds.
I was able to successfully relocate the two best lost birds in the county, and they were just a moderate bike ride away. Wowsers!
Really great news is that this trail was very birdy, easy to get to, and fun to bird by bike. I will definitely be back soon.
The biggest surprise about birding by bike, is that it is fun.
I thought it would just be hard. But, I get to feel fast, stop wherever I want, whenever I want. If I hear something exciting or interesting I can zoom over to it, and I can cover way more ground than just walking, while being able to scan for interesting and exciting birds and animals.
The only bad thing about birding by bike, I have noticed thus far, is that getting a flat tire is a thing. Today I had two. This may be from inexperience, or just bad luck.
Today was incredibly fun. I rode my bike a bunch, I got up to 62 birds for my 5mr, I got more exercise than I have had in 3 months, and I had a delicious beer! I wish I could do this every weekend!
Very nice Eric, and great crushes!
So what sort of 5MR bonuses do you get for state or county records, once-in-5-year finds?
I wish i knew what kind of bonuses there are. As far as I can tell… none. Seems like a bonus point system, like the British patch system, might make sense once the 5mr competition becomes more established. As of right now, county records just fill me with joy.