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Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Fountain Hills Storm Drainage


Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Desert Riparian species, Migrants

Elevation: 1600'

Habitat:  Riparian drainage with extensive cottonwoods, willows, mesquite, paloverde and palm trees, as well as desert scrub in midst of housing developments

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 1-3 (Easy to Moderate)

Birding Type: Easy to Moderate Hiking, Migrant Searching

Facilities:  Parking

Fees/Ownership:  None /Town of Fountain Hills

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Fountain Hills /23.5 miles northeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Reached from residential streets in Fountain Hills


Overview:  Located within the town of Fountain Hills is an amazing storm drainage.  When thinking of a storm drainage, birding might not come first to mind.  By taking a look at this area simply by passing it on the roads will reveal habitat that looks pleasing for birding.  This excellent and easy to walk location is accessible for over two miles.  The drainage's two miles is covered with great cottonwood, willow, mesquite, paloverde, and desert scrub habitat.  Most of the cottonwood habitat here is very good overall, with a few nice stands of large cottonwoods.  At some points, there are a lot of palm trees, which also might add to the birding mix.  Water will run through this area at times, as cattail and reed habitat are present along the drainage in parts.  What's really amazing about this area is that it runs between two sets of different neighborhood streets bordering north and south for nearly the entire length.  Just as some housing developments have lakes that run through the neighborhoods, this one has the storm drainage.  If a Fountain Hills birder lived in the neighborhood, they would have life made.   By visiting the "Fountain Hills Storm Drainage" throughout migration and winter, who knows what might show up as this great habitat will create plenty of good birding opportunities!  So come and explore the drainage!

Birding Tip:  Birding the Fountain Hills Storm Drainage is rather simple walking wise.  Several steep slopes are required to carefully walk down into certain access points.  Other than that, most people should be able to bird this drainage easily.  By covering the two miles, one will have to cross five different streets (only one major street) as the drainage goes on.  There is a lot of habitat here, so cover the area slowly and patiently.  The drainage is rather narrow in parts, and is between housing developments most of the time.  Be sure to respect the Fountain Hills residents when birding in the area by not peering close to the owners homes and yards.  Plan to spend several hours here, as it does run over two miles.

Directions:  The Fountain Hills Storm Drainage is accessed just north of Fountain Hills Lake, so by following a few directions once reaching Fountain Hills Lake, the area may be accessed easily.  By using the intersection of Shea Blvd. and the Beeline Highway, there are two roads one may take that lead to good access points of the drainage.  One is Saguaro Blvd., which is located 0.5 miles west of the Shea Blvd. and Beeline Highway exit.  By taking Saguaro Blvd. north for 3.4 miles, the storm drainage will be reached.  At 2.8 miles is Fountain Hills Lake, and after another 0.5 miles one will come up on E Grande Blvd.  Very shortly after E Grande Blvd, one will cross the storm drainage.  The habitat that lies east of Saguaro Blvd is the best habitat of the drainage overall.  Parking in a nearby neighborhood street close to this spot is the best way to access the drainage.  Another way to access the drainage is by continuing west on Shea Blvd. past Saguaro Blvd. to Fountain Hills Blvd.  By taking Fountain Hills Blvd. north for 2.7 miles, the west end of the drainage may be met.  This is more recommended if one wants to cover the whole area.  By continuing north up Fountain Hills Blvd., the drainage is located just north of E Palisades Blvd.  There is good parking at a plaza just south of Palisades or north of the drainage on Ashbrook Drive.  Basic directions are included here, for a more in depth overview with good visuals, go to the Fountain Hills Storm Drainage Maps under the "Pages" section on this page.

Pages:

Fountain Hills Storm Drainage Maps

 

Scenes and Sights from the Fountain Hills Storm Drainage:

 

Birdlife of Fountain Hills Storm Drainage:

Great Horned Owl

 

Back to Area 13-Fountain Hills

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