What a great idea the 5-mile radius is.
It makes common birds feel special
And uncommon birds feel like an incredible gift.
Maybe its because I have to work so hard to see each one,
Each new bird feels like a true accomplishment.
In the month of January, I saw 88 species of birds.
I got a flawless, 31/31 days with eBird checklists
A streak I hope to continue!
And I rode my bike approximately 255 miles.
I have stuck to my goal, and have only counted motorless 5mr birds.
My co-workers always ask me what I am doing after work,
As I strap on my helmet, and carry my bag full of optics out to my bike.
Same thing I do every day.
I have had more fun this January birdwatching than I have had since I started.
Every day I have been able to eek in a bit of time, with weekends giving me time to make leaps and bounds on my list.
In the first half of January I found 81 species.
The last half I found 7 more.
But each one gets more exciting than the last
This short-eared owl, for example
I had tried for it 4 times before I found it.
But when I did, it really put on a show
And made my dark windy ride home feel like a victory lap.
I saw 3 different owl species in 3 days!
I have also been able to get incredible looks at some of the most common birds we have.
And visit them in all sorts of habitats.
Many new places, and places that feel like new
Thanks to my newfound human powered wheels.
I have probably seen more sunrises and sunsets this January than any other January.
I have a whole collection of overly-zoomed in Mount Hood views
And ducks swimming off into the sunset
Lighting has been incredible on so many occasions
We have had a very mild winter
And I have greedily snatched as many breaks in the weather as possible
Another benefit of seeing the same birds every day:
I am getting better at birding by ear
I am getting better at picking out high pitch squeeeks of kinglets
And their angry chatter
I am excited to see what I can do in February
We are having a photography competition
And I broke my camera lens (maybe reparable?)
I am sure I will think of something
I look forward to keeping my eBird checklist streak alive
I will also try to see 100 species in one month again
(come on swallows, help me get over 90 this month)
And keep riding my bike as we have one legitimate month of winter.
Good luck to us all.