birderfrommaricopa.com

Tommy J. DeBardeleben

February 2012

 

February 10th, 2012-Birding Sycamore Creek and Mount Ord

Hi everyone,

Yesterday on February 10th, 2012, Dominic Sherony and I visited several
locations located just of Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) northeast of
Phoenix.  It was a good day to be birding and the birds provided several
good highlights.

Our first stop was at a section of Sycamore Creek between mile markers 212
and 213 of Highway 87.  I have been meaning to explore this place for a
long time and I finally had the chance to for the first time.  We covered
the west side of the highway and followed Sycamore Creek.  Mostly mesquite
and sycamores can be seen if driving by this area on the highway.  As you
follow Sycamore Creek, it turns into more of a riparian canyon and it's
very lush.  I enjoyed exploring it, as there ended up being great willow
habitat with some cottonwoods as well.  You have to cross the creek at
many locations, which we stopped when the creek got harder to cross.  It's
a scenic area, and it's nestled down in midst of desert canyons.  I really
look forward to seeing what the birding will be like in the future. We
didn't have anything out of the ordinary, but a GRAY FLYCATCHER in the
good mesquite habitat in the area was a nice bird to see. 

We then continued to Mount Ord for several hours after that.  19 species
were recorded by us at Ord, but some of them were amazing.  At the start
of Road 1688 was where most of the action was.  We got on a mixed flock of
birds which contained many WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, two PYGMY
NUTHATCHES, and 4-5 OLIVE WARBLERS.  The Pygmy Nuthatch is rarely seen in
Maricopa County, which was special for me (only me 3rd sighting in the
county).  The Olive Warblers contained a nice male.  A RED-BREASTED
NUTHATCH was heard in the distance.  A vocal HUTTON'S VIREO was also a
good bird.  We continued to the top, were several WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were
present near a quiet summit.  On the way down through the Gila County side
of Mount Ord we saw a few ACORN WOODPECKERS and deciced to see what was
around.  A STELLER'S JAY and HAIRY WOODPECKER were present also.  I then
heard an OLIVE WARBLER calling and singing.  We tracked it down and found
it was a nice male, who perched and foraged right above us in a bare oak. 
What a great bird that is and it was the perfect way to end a day of
birding.  There are a lot of Olive Warblers up there right now, as there
was last winter.  On another note, the road up to Mount Ord is in great
condition (one of the best I've seen).  Most of the road is rather smooth
compared to the other times I have been up here.  So it would be a good
time to visit!

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

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