February 4th, 2010-Tres Rios Wetlands, Glendale Recharge Ponds
This afternoon after work I made a short afternoon birding trip to Tres
Rios Wetlands followed by the Glendale Recharge Ponds.
My visit to Tres Rios was a thrilling disapointment. I am almost positive
I saw the Broad-winged Hawk that Jeff found a few weeks ago here, but I
saw the bird only when it was flying and it happened too fast. The hawk
flew close to the ground right past me, but everything happened so fast
and I saw it for a split second. From what I saw, the hawk was an adult
with reddish-brown barring on the chest, and was brownish above, and I
didn't get a good look at the tail. I never got another look, so I'll
leave this as uncertain, but a bird to still possibly keep an eye out for
for those of you who plan on visiting this area soon. I was looking at a
stupid turtle as I was walking along the path rather than the cottonwood
trees above me where the hawk was, bad choice! Highlights today included
GADWALL, CINNAMON TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, LEAST BITTERN, BALD EAGLE, SORA,
BELTED KINGFISHER, AMERICAN ROBIN, and CRISSAL THRASHER in two hours of
When I left Tres Rios and started to go north on 91st Avenue, I saw the
FERRUGINOUS HAWK up on it's usual pole, which is between Tres Rios and
Broadway Rd. A WESTERN MEADOWLARK perched roadside on a fence right below
the hawk's location as well.
I then went to the Glendale Recharge Ponds where there was a good variety
of birds. 14 different species of geese and ducks were present here, with
highlights being 2 CANADA GEESE, REDHEADS(they haven't been here in
awhile), COMMON GOLDENEYES, and several COMMON MERGANSERS. Raptor wise
held OSPREY, COOPER'S HAWK, and a NORTHERN HARRIER feeding on a duck it
killed. Shorebird wise I enjoyed seeing one WESTERN SANDPIPER as well as
a single DUNLIN.
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)
February 5th, 2010-Salt River, Scottsdale, Gilbert: 4 HORNED GREBES, EURASIAN WIGEON, others
Today on 5 February 2010, I explored the recreation areas along the Salt
River sites, followed by the ponds in the Scottsdale area, and then
finishing my day off at Gilbert Water Ranch.
I visited the Butcher Jones and Granite Reef Recreation Sites along the
Salt River, where birding was fantastic. The first stop was at Butcher
Jones, where Saguaro Lake provided the main highlight of today. I started
to look over the lake's waterbirds right as it was getting light out and I
spotted a HORNED GREBE, a species I was excited to get and I shot a few
pictures. Eventually, I kept seeing a Horned Grebe in different areas
when I got the feeling there was more than one. There turned out to be
four of them! They all ended up next to each other, and I had them in
scoped view. I ran into Grant Loomis and his friends Iva and Louise, and
they all got to see the grebes as well. This group was well in the
distance and not in good camera range. Minutes later, one of the Horned
Grebes (or possibly a fifth) came very close to the shore, giving me a
much better photo oppurtunity. I think this was probably a fifth unless
one of the four covered a lot of underwater in a few minutes. Other than
the Horned Grebes, other species of interest were present as well. The
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET continued, and this little guy covered a lot
of ground while I was there. I saw him on both sides of the beach, as
well as the picnic area. It's best to locate this bird by listening for
it's call. Other grebes were abundant too, with WESTERN, EARED and PIED-
BILLED all present and in very close range to the shore. Other highlights
included REDHEAD, COMMON MERGANSERS, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, and RING-BILLED
After visiting the marina of the lake and Coon Bluff briefly, I then went
to Granite Reef where I ran into Marcus Watson, James Kopitzke, and Jay
Miller. Marcus got to Butcher Jones right after I left and saw the Horned
Grebes as well. At Granite Reef, highlights included CANVASBACK,
BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, OSPREY, SORA, LEAST SANDPIPER, HUTTON'S
VIREO, and AMERICAN ROBIN. Jay and James went to the Butcher Jones sight
to look for the grebes, so hopefully they were successful!
I then went to the Scottdale area to search for geese and ducks. The
EURASIAN WIGEON I saw about a month ago is still present, and I enjoyed
watching him among all the American Wigeons. His location is at the
southwest corner of Hayden and Jackrabbit Roads, across the street from
Chapparal Park in some small ponds. After that I visited the ponds along
the golf course of McCormick Ranch along Indian Bend Road, where 4 ROSS'S
GEESE were present along with 7 SNOW GEESE. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER stood
along one of the ponds.
Finally, I closed the day out at Gilbert Water Ranch. I went hoping to
find a recently seen RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW along the 5/6 path. I ran
into Brendon and thanks to his help, I was able to locate the bird, who
fed out in the open for a few minutes. I also found a YELLOW WARBLER at
the south end of Pond 4 while walking on the concrete path just outside
the regular water ranch paths.
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, AZ)
February 11th, 2010: Gilbert, Rio Salado, Tres Rios, Glendale-another HORNED GREBE
Today (February 11) I went on a birding trip around the valley to Gilbert
Water Ranch, Rio Salado, Tres Rios Wetlands, and the Glendale Recharge
I got to Gilbert Water Ranch just after nine, where I recorded 56 species
in two hours. Best highlight for me were several AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES
along the 3/4 path, more at the south end of the preserve. Also present
were 4 SNOW GEESE, a female BLUE-WINGED TEAL, COMMON MOORHEN, 5 or so
WILSON'S SNIPES and a calling AMERICAN ROBIN.
After the Water Ranch, while I was driving down Guadalupe Road, I passed
by the El Dorado Golf Club which has a lake. I saw many ducks on the west
side of the lake while I was driving by, so I decided to scan the pond
from the sidewalk, and I got a HORNED GREBE out of it! I didn't get the
best pics due to the distance away, but I believe they are diagnostic.
This lake is on Guadalupe Road, being in-between McQueen and Country Club
roads as the cross streets.
Then, at Rio Salado, I was disapointed at all the habitat that has been
destroyed due to the storm and flood. I didn't bird here long, but on the
waterfall trail where the bench is, I had a nice male WILSON'S WARBLER.
Tres Rios was quiet, everything usual.
Glendale Recharge Ponds had it's usual variety of good ducks, including
CANVASBACK, REDHEADS, and BUFFLEHEADS. 2 OSPREYS were also present.
Shorebirds included 4 WESTERN SANDPIPERS and 2 DUNLINS. Another fun day!
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona
February 16th, 2010: Tucson Birding
Well today I finally stepped foot out of Maricopa County for a half day
trip to Tucson areas. I chased several of the local rarities and then
went to Sweetwater Wetlands and stopped by Santa Cruz Flats on my way back.
My first stop was at Ridgeway and Seneca St. to look for the SHORT-TAILED
HAWK, and right when I got there, the bird landed in the pine tree around
7.40. He didn't stay long at all this time, and he faced a direction to
the side where his breast didn't show well, in which I couldn't get the
pictures I wanted of the bird. But at least I got to see it! I tried to
go to a different angle while he was perched there to get a better view,
and during that amount of time, he flew away and I missed that too!
My second stop was at McCormick Park, to look for the RED-BREASTED
SAPSUCKER, and I got extremely lucky and found this bird in more of the
northwest corner of the park, in a medium-sized pine tree. I heard it
pecking lightly on the wood and I'm lucky I even heard it. The bird then
reveiled itself and I got amazing close up looks. It flew around to
several trees at near this pine tree before I lost it, and chased away
several Gila Woodpeckers it didn't like having around. A very vocal male
VERMILION FLYCATCHER was also a nice treat here.
Sweetwater Wetlands was next, which was more quiet. I recorded 47 species
in about 2 hours, but that is probably due to the fact it was later in the
morning. Highlights included a pair of COMMON GOLDENEYE flying overhead,
BUFFLEHEADS, SORA, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS, and most interestingly to me,
3 LEAST SANDPIPERS in the small pond (bath) at the entrance gate. Has
anyone else ever seen them at this spot? I found it unusual.
My stop at the Santa Cruz Flats was pointless on my way home. I missed
all my targets, and I was confused with the area because this was my first
visit to the location, it was way more extensive than I thought. I know
where the Caracaras are seen most of the time, I made it there, and I
couldn't even pull up one bird. Maybe next time!
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)
February 25th, 2010: Seven Springs Area, Needle Rock Recreation Site
Today I birded at the Seven Springs Recreation Area and on my way home I
stopped at the Needle Rock Recreation Site by Rio Verde.
It was a beautiful morning at Seven Springs where I enjoyed many of the
more high elevation species. My trip there started good as a BOBCAT
crossed the road. At Seven Springs I recorded 38 different species, with
the most unusual sighting being a young COMMON GOLDENEYE in Seven Springs
Wash who was swimming in the creek! I was shocked at this, I didn't
expect it at all. The Goldeneye dove in the deeper pools that were formed
in the creek. When I first saw it, it flew away from me and I didn't get
the best look at it, so I walked slowly down the wash and was able to
relocate it. This bird let me get extremely close to itself, and almost
seemed curious of me. Walking along the main road through the recreation
site produced many AMERICAN ROBINS and CEDAR WAXWINGS. A SAGE THRASHER,
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, SPOTTED TOWHEE, and a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE where also a
great sight. BUSHTITS, BRIDLED TITMOUSE, and JUNIPER TITMOUSE where all
present as well, at one time in a mixed flock. Other notables included
RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS (2), WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (my
first of the year), WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, and HOUSE WREN.
I then stopped at Needle Rock Recreation Site on the way back. Much of
this area is closed off due to sensitive wildlife area at this time of
year, including the nearby Box Bar Recreation Site, which I wanted to see
the most. I didn't see much at Needle Rock in a couple hours, but I
really enjoyed exploring the area. A COOPER'S HAWK and HARRIS'S HAWK sat
on the same tree, which was my highlight here. A COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD was
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)
February 26th, 2010-Rio Salado: BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER continues.
This afternoon after work I birded Rio Salado for three and a half hours
where I had a very fun birdwatch. My main highlight was the continuing
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER. The warbler wasn't at the waterfall site or on
the waterfall trail, but was on the trail closer on the other end of the
waterfall trail that goes to the demonstration wetland (I forgot the name
of the trail). It was about head height when I first saw it and behaved in
it's usual nuthatch behavior. Then it actually perched on thin twigs of
the tree like a regular warbler for a few of the views I had of it. It
was joined also by the male WILSON'S WARBLER who is still present also.
At the waterfall, the BROWN CREEPER was still present as well. A GREATER
ROADRUNNER ran down the path as I was standing near the waterfall,
literally almost next to me. He stopped for some time about 15 feet away
from me. COOPER'S and SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS were both present, and a
PEREGRINE FALCON flew overhead. The Peregrine later sat on top of a big
pole and was eating something it captured.
I then moved across the street to where the Audubon center is to explore
that side some. In the demonstration wetlands on that side, where several
REDHEADS with many RING-NECKED DUCKS. I also scared up a WILSON'S SNIPE.
On the way back, I was happy to see an adult BALD EAGLE flying west over
the river. I had beautiful views of the eagle, and it's head and body
contrasted perfectly with the sky color behind it, I've never had a view
of an eagle flying better than the one tonight. I won't forget that
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)