birderfrommaricopa.com

Tommy J. DeBardeleben

April 2011

April 2-3rd: Northwest and Southwest Maricopa County Birding:  Broad-winged Hawk

Hi everyone,

This weekend I primarly birded in the areas of the northwest part of
Maricopa County, visiting the Hassayampa Roadside Rest, the Hassayampa
River Preserve, and Morgan City Wash.  I also went southwest of Phoenix to
enjoy the Swainson's Hawk migration show. 

On Saturday, April 2nd, 2011, I stuck in the general Hassayampa River area
for the day.  Before visiting the preserve itself, I made a nice stop at
the US 60 Roadside Rest area for an hours worth of time.  This reststop
can have amazing birding, and the place proved itself productive during
the stop.  I had several good highlights here, with the best being two
GRAY HAWKS, which one was seen from the parking lot at one time.  When I
first caught sight of one, I was standing by the river, when one swooped
in and landed on a dead tree.  I was given amazing looks before it flew
into the very south end of the Hassayampa River Preserve property, which
borders the roadside rest to the north.  I then heard another Gray Hawk
calling from across the river just minutes after the other one flew away
from me.  Two BULLOCK'S ORIOLES were present, I saw one of them, which was
a nice male singing at the treetop.  Also present was my first BLACK-
THROATED GRAY WARBLER of the year, who was feeding in a willow.  Other
highlights at the Roadside Rest Area included a BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD,
VERMILION FLYCATCHER, a singing WARBLING VIREO, many LUCY'S WARBLERS,
several YELLOW WARBLERS and one WILSON'S WARBLER.

I then birded at the Hassayampa River Preserve starting at 8 A.M., for
around six hours.  Here I had another GRAY HAWK flying over the Lion
Trail, which was my third Gray Hawk for the day.  Near the entrance of the
Lion Trail, the WINTER WREN continued.  I actually saw the bird before I
heard it, as it was hopping around on a log pile.  After I watched it for
a few seconds, it called rather softly a few times, single notes only. 
Also very interestingly are the continuing LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES at the
south side of the Mesquite Meander Trail, which seem to be breeding in
this area again.  Other highlights included three BLACK-CHINNED
HUMMINGBIRDS, a HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER, a singing PLUMBEOUS VIREO, many
YELLOW WARBLERS, and two BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS.

Then this morning, April 3rd, 2011, I decided to go to Morgan City Wash
after originally planning to go to the Salt River.  I didn't feel like
driving the distance this time to the Salt River, and I made a good
choice.  Morgan City Wash was rather birdy this morning, as I tallied 49
species in about six hours spent there.  I got lucky and came across an
adult BROAD-WINGED HAWK, who was perched in a very big willow.  I heard a
COOPER'S HAWK calling as I approached the spot, and I thought the Broad-
winged was a Cooper's at first, and I was very shocked as I took a look. 
The hawk was in rather bad lighting for my camera, and I failed to get off
a picture before the bird took flight.  The calling Cooper's was in
another nearby willow.  However, I did manage to relocate the Broad-winged
Hawk further down the trail, but still without a picture.  I did see it's
tail however as I had a look of the bird's upperside as it took flight to
see a black tail with one noticable white band across it.  As I continued
to search for the hawk without success, I ran into Troy Corman, who had
sightings of BROWN THRASHER and WINTER WREN during his route.  We kept our
eye out for the Broad-winged without further success.  Other highlights I
had throughout the morning included a singing WHITE-WINGED DOVE, BLACK-
CHINNED and COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRDS, GRAY (with Troy), DUSKY, and two PACIFIC-
SLOPE FLYCATCHERS; BELL'S and WARBLING VIREOS, CANYON, BEWICK'S and HOUSE
WRENS; seven Warblers including a few YELLOW, one BLACK-THROATED GRAY,
many LUCY'S, and one WILSON'S WARBLER, and a GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE. 

I then headed out southwest of Phoenix to enjoy the SWAINSON'S HAWKS,
where I spent two hours observing amazing amounts of these hawks.  Most of
the excitement was at the northwest corner of Perryville and Lower
Buckeye, where I ran into Melanie Herring, and we enjoyed watching
Swainson's Hawks of all morphs.  They provided great up close views for us
at all times, there must have been between 50 and 60 birds sitting out in
the field when I first drove up.  I had at least one hundred Swainson's
Hawks in the area total throughout the drive.  Melanie also told me about
a spot that along M-C 85 between Jackrabbit and Perryville Roads that had
a nice amount of LONG-BILLED CURLEWS, WHITE-FACED IBIS, and CATTLE
EGRETS.  I checked that spot on the way out and had great views of all
three of them.  Other highlights in the area included a BURROWING OWL and
two WESTERN KINGBIRDS.

Another great weekend of to be out exploring.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

April 8th, 2011:  Glendale Recharge Ponds

Hi everyone,

I made a two hour stop at the Glendale Recharge Ponds today, which the
ponds and the immediate area were very birdy as I recorded 58 different
species, with several good highlights.

Five species of Swallows were present over the south middle basin,
including single BARN, TREE, and BANK SWALLOWS (my first of the year), as
well as many NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and CLIFF SWALLOWS. 

Shorebird highlights included my first LESSER YELLOWLEGS of the year who
was accompanied by four GREATER YELLOWLEGS.  One WESTERN SANDPIPER was
among many LEAST SANDPIPERS, as well as one LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER.  I also
heard LONG-BILLED CURLEWS calling when I was walking above the riparian
area northwest of the ponds, I never saw them, but it sounded as if they
were flying over.

Duckwise, there are still some around.  I had four BUFFLEHEADS this
morning, who were joined by around forty RING-NECKED DUCKS, three LESSER
SCAUP, two AMERICAN WIGEON, twenty CINNAMON TEAL, and two NORTHERN
SHOVELERS.  A flock of five CANADA GEESE alswo flew by. 

I also saw six raptor species during my time here.  The best was an adult
GREAT HORNED OWL sitting just west of the southwest basin, right out in
the open.  A PEREGRINE FALCON was present at the ponds and preying on
stilts, didn't seem to like the owl's presence.  There was also a single
NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-TAILED and SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, and two OSPREYS
present. 

Passerine highlights included my year's first LAZULI BUNTING who I heard
singing but never got a look (hate that!), and a WESTERN KINGBIRD. 

Full list from this morning:

Location:     Glendale Recharge Ponds
Observation date:     4/8/11
Number of species:     58

Canada Goose (moffitti/maxima)     5
American Wigeon     2
Mallard     30
Cinnamon Teal     20
Northern Shoveler     2
Ring-necked Duck     40
Lesser Scaup     3
Bufflehead     4
Gambel's Quail     X
Neotropic Cormorant     1
Great Blue Heron     3
Great Egret     1
Snowy Egret     1
Osprey     2
Northern Harrier     1
Sharp-shinned Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Peregrine Falcon     1
American Coot     30
Killdeer     X
Black-necked Stilt     30
Greater Yellowlegs     4
Lesser Yellowlegs     1
Long-billed Curlew     X
Western Sandpiper     1
Least Sandpiper     200
Long-billed Dowitcher     1
Mourning Dove     20
Great Horned Owl     1
Anna's Hummingbird     2
Gila Woodpecker     1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Black Phoebe     2
Say's Phoebe     2
Western Kingbird     1
Horned Lark     5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow     50
Tree Swallow     1
Bank Swallow     1
Barn Swallow     1
Cliff Swallow     100
Verdin     1
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)     1
European Starling     X
American Pipit     10
Orange-crowned Warbler     5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)     10
Common Yellowthroat     2
Abert's Towhee     10
Song Sparrow     2
Lincoln's Sparrow     2
White-crowned Sparrow     10
Lazuli Bunting     1
Red-winged Blackbird     100
Great-tailed Grackle     X
Brown-headed Cowbird     2
House Finch     X
House Sparrow     X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

April 11th, 2011: Morgan City Wash, Glendale Recharge Ponds

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, April 11th, 2011, I visited Morgan City Wash and the Glendale
Recharge Ponds.  Sorry for the late post. 

At Morgan City Wash, I was hoping to relocate the Broad-winged Hawk.  With
Brian's report on Sunday, I figured that was likely a good chance it was
the same hawk I had, and it was lingering around for awhile.  All I came
up with was a possible bird flying away from me.  I had a impression of a
small buteo, but needed way better looks.  Several good highlights were
still bound to happen here, which this spot always has at least something
good.  I heard my first WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS of the year, as I two
individuals calling back and fourth as I arrived.  My Morgan City first
WINTER WREN called a lot and made a brief appearance.  It was in a
different area than Troy has had two locations of Winter Wren this winter,
so perhaps it's a third bird at this spot, which has excellent habitat
throughout the site for this species.  I located it by it's similiar
sounding call notes to a Song Sparrow, and I also think it's call notes
sound very similar, and in my opinion, more similiar to a Western
Kingbird's call notes.  Other highlights from Morgan City Wash during the
outing were ZONE-TAILED HAWK, a BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD, several COSTA'S
HUMMINGBIRDS, DUSKY and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, a singing HERMIT
THRUSH, and a handful of GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES. 

At the Glendale Recharge Ponds, I missed a lot of the goodies that have
been reported in the last few days by Melanie and Kurt.  I wanted to see
the Franklin's Gull flock especially, but they didn't wait around for me. 
I did however get to see the SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, my first of the year. 
Other highlight's of the outing at the ponds were GADWALL, one drake
AMERICAN WIGEON, two NORTHERN SHOVELER, RING-NECKED DUCKS, several LESSER
SCAUPS, six BUFFLEHEAD, a WESTERN GREBE, and an adult BALD EAGLE sitting
on one of the banks. 

I also stopped at the Agua Fria Riverbed without any special highlights. 

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

April 16th, 2011: Mount Ord and Sunflower

Hi everyone,

Yesterday on April 16th, 2011, I went to the northeast parts of Maricopa
County to explore Mount Ord and Sunflower. 

Mount Ord was rather birdy during the day.  I spent nearly nine hours
exploring Mount Ord starting at 6:30 A.M., including areas on the mountain
I have never explored before.  On Road 1688, which is my favorite area on
the mountain to explore, there are several drainages along the way.  Some
are very steep and harder to access, but towards the end of the road, I
was pleasantly surprised to find a very nice drainage that was easy to
hike once I explored it.  I accessed the drainage at the southwest part of
Road 1688, which ran in the northwest direction, and headed below the
level of Road 1688.  Walking down the drainage I had the feel of walking
through more of the middle of a dense pine forest rather than the slopes
that have a mix of pine and the shrubby habitat on Road 1688.  There was a
spring eventually in the drainage that ran down into what formed into a
very nice flowing creek, and looked pretty promising.  Oaks and a few
sycamores started to fill the drainage as well as I got further down.  I
look forward to exploring this drainage more in the future.  There was
also another drainage that went above the level of Road 1688 towards the
upper slopes of Mount Ord that I hope to explore next time as well. 
Birdwise, many of Mount Ord's residents are arriving and migrants are in
starting to arrive in numbers.  BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS and PAINTED
REDSTARTS were everywhere throughout the day, both singing away.  GRACE'S
and VIRGINIA'S WARBLERS have also arrived, in smaller numbers than the
previous two warblers, but they were both active and singing as well. 
Three to four female/young male OLIVE WARBLERS were near the top of Mount
Ord.  BLACK-CHINNED SPARROWS have increased very much as well since the
last time I was up here a few weeks ago.  RED CROSSBILLS are still here in
very high numbers, and I also managed to find a few CASSIN'S FINCHES,
included a singing male.  I located three female CASSIN'S FINCHES at the
top, one on the Gila County side.  Other highlights throughout the Mount
Ord exploration were a calling ACORN WOODPECKER, two DUSKY FLYCATCHERS, my
first two GRAY VIREOS of the year, a few JUNIPER TITMICE, four WESTERN
BLUEBIRDS, a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, and singing HERMIT THRUSHES. 
Interestingly, I birding Mount Ord last year April 13th-14th of 2010 and
some of birds in last year's time from compared to now that I expected to
be here by now still haven't showed up.  Those included Broad-tailed
Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers (had one, but last year I had many more),
and I also had Hepatic Tanager, Hermit Warbler, and a few Lewis's
Woodpeckers.  Year to year comparisons are certainly very intersting. 

After Ord, I spent the rest of my day at Sunflower, where I started at
four and stayed after dark until 8:30 P.M. to attempt owling.  Ironically,
I got two year birds here that I expected to get at Mount Ord first, which
was a single BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD and a few PINE SISKINS.  HOODED
ORIOLES have arrived here in big numbers and seemed to be everywhere, as I
had around 15 male birds.  A SCOTT'S ORIOLE perched and sang up on one of
the surrouding hillsides.  My year's first SUMMER TANGAGER made an
apperance, which was a beautiful adult male.  CASSIN'S KINGBIRDS are now
back in good numbers, as I believe I had three different pairs, two for
sure.  Before night birding, other highlights I had among 54 species were
COMMON BLACK and ZONE-TAILED HAWKS, BLACK-CHINNED and COSTA'S
HUMMINGBIRDS, HAMMOND'S and DUSKY FLYCATCHERS, a singing GRAY VIREO, two
HERMIT THRUSHES, single BLACK-THROATED GRAY and WILSON'S WARBLERS, and
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE.  Once I started my night birding after dark, I had no
trouble in locating at least three of my year's first COMMON POORWILL.  I
wanted Elf Owl the most, which I picked up here last year, but I struck
out.  I wanted to try longer for owls, but to be honest, Sycamore Creek is
a creepy place to be birding by yourself at night and I chickened out and
I'm a wuss.  I was positively sure there was a Mountain Lion lurking above
me somewhere in the canyon thinking, "One less birder would be nice".  A
great birding day however with 73 species total. 

Complete Lists:

MOUNT ORD-
Location:     Mt. Ord (Maricopa Co.)
Observation date:     4/16/11
Number of species:     41

Turkey Vulture     1
Cooper's Hawk     1
Zone-tailed Hawk     1
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Mourning Dove     4
Anna's Hummingbird     2
Acorn Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     5
Dusky Flycatcher     2
Ash-throated Flycatcher     2
Gray Vireo     2
Western Scrub-Jay (Woodhouse's)     4
Common Raven     2
Violet-green Swallow     10
Bridled Titmouse     10
Juniper Titmouse     2
Bushtit     10
Red-breasted Nuthatch     5
White-breasted Nuthatch (Interior West)     10
Bewick's Wren     40
House Wren (Northern)     1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     20
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     4
Western Bluebird     4
Townsend's Solitaire     1
Hermit Thrush     5
Olive Warbler     4
Virginia's Warbler     5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)     20
Black-throated Gray Warbler     30
Grace's Warbler     4
Painted Redstart     20
Spotted Towhee     30
Rufous-crowned Sparrow     5
Chipping Sparrow     3
Black-chinned Sparrow     10
White-crowned Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Cassin's Finch     3
Red Crossbill     60
Lesser Goldfinch     10

SUNFLOWER-
Location:     Sunflower
Observation date:     4/16/11
Number of species:     54

Turkey Vulture     10
Cooper's Hawk     1
Common Black-Hawk (Common)     1
Zone-tailed Hawk     2
Red-tailed Hawk     2
American Kestrel     1
Eurasian Collared-Dove     X
Mourning Dove     X
Common Poorwill     3
Black-chinned Hummingbird     1
Anna's Hummingbird     2
Costa's Hummingbird     1
Broad-tailed Hummingbird     1
Gila Woodpecker     1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Hammond's Flycatcher     1
Dusky Flycatcher     2
Black Phoebe     1
Say's Phoebe     2
Ash-throated Flycatcher     2
Cassin's Kingbird     4
Western Kingbird     2
Bell's Vireo     3
Gray Vireo     1
Western Scrub-Jay (Woodhouse's)     1
Common Raven     2
Violet-green Swallow     4
Bridled Titmouse     2
Bushtit     5
Rock Wren     1
Canyon Wren     1
Bewick's Wren     4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     2
Hermit Thrush     2
Phainopepla     2
Orange-crowned Warbler     2
Lucy's Warbler     20
Yellow Warbler (Northern)     10
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)     1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)     20
Black-throated Gray Warbler     1
Wilson's Warbler     1
Green-tailed Towhee     1
Rufous-crowned Sparrow     4
Canyon Towhee     1
Abert's Towhee     2
Lincoln's Sparrow     4
Summer Tanager     1
Northern Cardinal     2
Hooded Oriole (Western)     10
Scott's Oriole     1
House Finch     X
Pine Siskin     2
Lesser Goldfinch     20


Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

April 22nd, 2011:  Southwest Maricopa County-A successful Glossy Ibis chase

Hi everyone,

Today I decided to bird in the southwest part of Maricopa County.

I decided to focus my main effort on playing the game, finding a Glossy
Ibis needle in a White-faced Ibis haystack.  That's what it seemed to be
at first, but after three hours worth of searching and scanning just west
of Paloma Ranch, the GLOSSY IBIS ended up right in front of me.  I was in
and out of my truck throughout the search, and the time he ended up in
front of me, my numbskull nobrain bonehead forgot the camera.  A few
minutes later when the flock flew to a different part of the field, I was
able to locate it again.  The flock seemed to be less numerous today by
the time I left, and the fields are being irrigated.  As long as they are
being irrigated, I think this flock will stick around for awhile. 
Patience and careful scanning and searching is key when looking for this
bird.  I often parked my vehicle and walked up on the flock to get closer,
they were often very spooked of vehicles.  The flock often splits up and
is scattered, so I was checking every group of ibis until I found "The
Great One!".  For direction's, see Gary's post from yesterday.  Thank you
to Gary, Paul, and Barbara for this great find!  In addition to Gary's
post, there are actually two ponds when heading west past Paloma Ranch, so
perhaps the birds moved around a little west since Wednesday.  Today, the
flock was directly south as you come upon a bigger and second pond to your
left.  Other than the many Ibis, I also enjoyed LONG-BILLED CURLEWS and a
few BURROWING OWLS. 

I stopped at other places on the way home, with a few highlights.  My
first FORSTER'S TERN of the year was at the Gila Bend Wastewater Plant,
where a LESSER YELLOWLEGS was also.  Ten or so EARED GREBES were also
present. 

At a pond right off the Old US 80, a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was present. 

At the Arlington Wildlife Area, a noisy and vocal CLAPPER RAIL give me
amazing views.  It was the first bird I heard as I got out of my truck and
as I came up on the scene, he was sitting out in the open!

Also throughout the day, I enjoyed numerous WESTERN KINGBIRDS on wires as
well as many recently hatched KILLDEER. 

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona) 

 

 

April 30th, 2011: Slate Creek Divide Area

Hi everyone,

Well over a month ago, Jim Kopitzke and I planned a three day, two night
camping trip to explore the northern and forested mountain ranges of
Maricopa County to take place on April 30th through May 2nd.  Our original
intentions were the Slate Creek Divide area and the Four Peaks area during
the three day outing.  We managed to explore Slate Creek well, but due to
uncertainty of the road to Four Peaks which is roughly twenty miles and
very rough, we decided to explore the famous Pinal Mountains in Gila
County. (I will write a separate report later for this location).  We also
didn't want to explore the areas alone, as we were joined by Jay Miller
for the first day and night and part of Sunday morning (May 1st), and also
by Troy Corman and Tom Lewis for most of Saturday (April 30th) for the
Slate Creek area. 


Once the five of us had arrived, we began to explore the Slate Creek area,
primarly the drainage right by the Peeley Trailhead at the very west end
of FR 201, which runs south into Maricopa County.  Habitat is excellent
here, and is similar to our southeastern Arizona canyons, which has a mix
of pine, Douglas fir, oak, and sycamores.  Last year, Jim and I had Dusky-
capped Flycatchers in the drainage, which has great sycamore habitat in
sections near the bottom.  They haven't arrived back yet (the sycamores
haven't leafed out yet here), although Troy spied a seemingly small
Myiarchus flycatcher that appeared to be a Dusky-capped, but we weren't
able to tell for sure.  Otherwise, the bird abundance was scattered
throughout the drainage, sometimes very active, sometimes quiet.  At
times, we stopped and Troy would whistle to call birds in.  We hoped for
Red-faced and Hermit Warblers, but we missed those, but did get good looks
at ORANGE-CROWNED, VIRGINIA'S, AUDUBON'S, BLACK-THROATED GRAY, TOWNSENDS,
GRACE'S WARBLERS, as well as PAINTED REDSTARTS.  A NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL also
responded to the whistling, which is always a neat bird to hear.  The
drainage also held ANNA'S and BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRDS, ACORN and HAIRY
WOODPECKERS, PLUMBEOUS and HUTTON'S VIREOS, MEXICAN JAYS, RED and WHITE-
BREASTED NUTHATCHES, BROWN CREEPERS, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS, and a calling
PINE SISKIN.  In other places throughout the area, bird highlights
included ZONE-TAILED HAWK, GREAT HORNED OWL, HAMMOND'S and GRAY
FLYCATCHERS, GRAY VIREO, BLACK-CHINNED SPARROWS, HEPATIC TANAGER (heard
only), LAZULI BUNTINGS, and a singing SCOTT'S ORIOLE.  Another great
highlight was a beautiful male INDIGO BUNTING, which flew from Gila County
into Maricopa County.  The night was miserable at Slate Creek, where Jim,
Jay, and I spent the night.  It was in the 30's and was extremely windy,
making it even worse.  Jay slept outside in a sleeping bag, which my hat
goes off to Jay for pulling that off and making it look easy.  The winds
continued through the morning before dying of around ten on Sunday. I woke
up to my year's first STELLER'S JAY calling in the woods.  Jay soon left
as the winds seemed to get worse, and Jim and I made the decision to head
to the amazing Pinal Mountains around noon. 

I will write a summary for the Pinals later on.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

Birding in Maricopa County

My online guide to the birds and birding locations of Maricopa County

 

The Maricopa County Big Year

Two Big Years I did in Maricopa County

 

Birding in Arizona's White Mountains

My online guide to Birding in Arizona's White Mountains