Thanks to everyone who participated in our inaugural Birding Blitz. We had an excellent turn-out of 27 skilled and motivated bird counters to survey Polk County. Our teamwork generated 436 checklists, more than doubling the current year’s total Polk checklists from observations away from bird feeders. We moved Polk from having the 15th-most eBird checklists among Oregon counties to 11th place, in one weekend of birding. Finally, we birded in 21 out of the 27 Hotspot Squares (randomly chosen 1-square-mile sections).
The weather was perfect for traveling through the fields and forests of Polk County on the day of the Birding Blitz.
Our collective efforts found 141 bird species, including some pretty exciting finds for Polk County:
Ash-throated Flycatcher and Sandhill Crane at Baskett Slough NWR
Black Swift (2) at Fort Yamhill
Grasshopper Sparrows, a couple locations
Indigo Bunting near Sawtell Road
Along with rarities, birders also encountered species that are sometimes tough to find here in June:
Peregrine Falcon at Baskett Slough and Willamette River
Fox Sparrow (very late or over-summering) at Livermore and Smithfield Road
And, we found 15 species of waterfowl!
We have several Birding Blitz awards for the following teams:
The Maniac Award (for most checklists generated): Marcia Cutler and Pam Oteley (39 in one day!)
The Neat Freak Award (for cleanest and clearest data sheets): Russ Namitz
The Urban Legend Award (for most starlings, house sparrows, and pigeons counted): Dave Irons and Shawneen Finnegan
Longest List (for most species detected): Dave Irons and Shawneen Finnegan
The Big Bird Award (for most Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and pelicans): Sarah Marshall and Nate Richardson
The Raptorial Award (for most raptors): Mark Baldwin and Clay Crofton
The Dead Meat Award (for most vultures): Suzanne Austin-Bythell
The Explorer Award (for venturing into very unexplored country) Jim Fairchild and Bob Archer for searching the remote southwest corner of Polk County
And there were 3 special awards for this Blitz:
The If-Lance-Armu-Were-A-Birder Award: Brandon Wagner, for birding the Coast Range on a mountain bike!
The La Machina Award: Evan Jackson, for birding 12 hours without eating anything.
The Teamwork Award or The Incompetency Award (we’re not sure which) for the most people needed to change a flat tire goes to: Hallman, Curtis, Austin, Mair and Robinson (5 people)
We want to thank everyone who contributed to a great blitz!