They opened up a new stretch of the Airline rail trail which runs through Portland. The trail has always been there but by clearing away the path and putting down crushed gravel it makes it more accessible to every one. I had mixed feelings about turning a rustic trail into a public one but decided there were several reasons why I preferred the new version after using it for the first time. It has many advantages for birding. Here are some of the reasons why:
1) The widened trail makes it easier to see birds: It's easier to view birds when you have some space around you.
2) It reduces the bug factor: The gravel-packed trail helped reduce the number of ticks, mosquitoes, and deer flies.It also keeps the poison ivy away from contact distance.
3) The linear nature of the trail help keeps you on track: There is something relaxing about walking along one straight trail while birding. It feels very orderly and relaxing to move along focusing on birds and not having to decided which direction to walk next.
4)The trail brings you past a variety of landscape and habitat: When they built this railroad they blasted right though ledge and whatever else was in their way. This allows for miles of varied scenic viewing.5)There is lots of vegetation, berries, and flowers:This makes for a good place to find butterflies and other insects.
6) There are lots of birds! I saw and heard wall to wall birds along most of the trail. I also found a good variety of species (49).
7) There are remnants of the historic past along the way:
Naturally, rail trail habitat can vary depending on the area but I plan to make several trips to the Airline trail this year.