birderfrommaricopa.com

Tommy J. DeBardeleben

May 2012

 

May 4th, 2012:  Sycamore Creek and Mount Ord

Hi everyone,

Today on May 4th, 2012, I explored several different areas accessed off of
Highway 87 (Beeline Highway).  A few of these locations were along
Sycamore Creek and the other was Mount Ord.  It was a fun day of birding
in one of my favorite areas.

My first stop was at a section of Sycamore Creek that is between mile
markers 212-213 along Highway 87.  Sycamore Creek is well signed at this
location as the highway crossed the creek.  I birded the creek on the west
side of the 87, which headed in the southwest direction.  This area can be
birded for about a mile or so before the vegetation gets very dense and
hard to navigate around, with many deep water crossings.  A dense mix of
cottonwood, sycamore, willow, and ash can be found by hiking back in the
area.  Migrants were high in numbers here today.  BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS
and WESTERN TANAGERS were everywhere.  LAZULI BUNTINGS were also numerous
and one first year INDIGO BUNTING was a good find for me.  Seven warbler
species were highlighted by singles of NASHVILLE and TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS. 
Some of the other migrants included a HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER and several
WARBLING VIREOS.  My main highlight here was finding my first pair of
COMMON BLACK-HAWKS this year.  I heard the tail-end of one calling and as
I hurried to get closer, I ended up right under the nest of the pair. 
They weren't too happy and I made sure to get away from the nest as soon
as I could.  Because of the area's thick vegetation, I couldn't go much
further beyond the Black-Hawks.  Other breeders were there in good
numbers, included numerous BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, my first two BLUE
GROSBEAKS of the year, and many BULLOCK'S and HOODED ORIOLES.  I also
enjoyed seeing a ZONE-TAILED HAWK and my first few BRONZED COWBIRDS for
the year.  My tally in 2.5 hours here was 51 species.  Despite the thick
habitat I was referring too, most of this area is very easy to bird. 

Following Sycamore Creek, I made my second visit to Mount Ord in less than
a week.  This is one of my favorite places on earth, and I spent almost 5
hours here.  Most of the time I birded today was along Road 1688.  I
didn't get to bird this road last week, so I decided to spend my time on
it this time.  Bird highlights along this stretch of pine, oak, and
chaparral were COOPER'S HAWK, BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, ACORN WOODPECKER,
5-6 HAIRY WOODPECKERS, 4 PLUMBEOUS VIREOS, a STELLER'S JAY calling in a
forest patch below me, 5 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, OLIVE WARBLER, numerous
BLACK-THROATED GRAY, GRACE'S and VIRGINIA'S WARBLERS, 2 TOWNSEND'S
WARBLERS, 5 PAINTED REDSTARTS, several BLACK-CHINNED and RUFOUS-CROWNED
SPARROWS, WESTERN TANAGERS, ~20 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS (I had a clump
where I had at least ten in a small area), and LAZULI BUNTINGS.  As I was
almost done with my hike, I ran into Troy Corman, who was also enjoying
these awesome mountain birds just like I was!  Coming down from Mount Ord
I had my best sighting of the day, which was a male SCOTT'S ORIOLE perched
in the open about 20 feet from my truck, just below eye level.  He stayed
a few good minutes for extended looks and pictures. 37 species in the
Mount Ord area. 

A short stop at Sunflower (Old Beeline Highway) had a lot of active
birdlife with the main highlight being a COMMON BLACK-HAWK.

I checked the Glendale Recharge Ponds tonight, which didn't really have
anything noteworthy other than WILSON'S PHALAROPES.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

May 12th, 2012:  Possible Greater Pewee at Tres Rios Wetlands

Hi everyone,

I had less than 2 hours to bird this morning, so I went to Tres Rios, where it was birdy in the time I spent.  Highlights included my first Maricopa County GREATER PEWEE, a nice male HERMIT WARBLER, 4 WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 5 GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES, and 8 BLACK HEADED GROSBEAKS.

Good birding,

Tommy D..........

I am gonna say a possible Greater Pewee.  The field marks I saw and made out of this bird looked perfect for a Greater Pewee-it had that crested head look, long tail, light throat, lower orange mandible, and was noticeably larger than a Western Wood-Pewee that was nearby. I thought it was a myiarchus for a split second as I looked at it before I realized it was a Pewee.  But the downside: the lighting was bad and I couldn't get off a picture, I didn't get to observe this bird beyond what I noted for extended time, and when I lost it, I attempted playback without getting a response.  After I posted, I saw this would be very rare as I researched some lowland Greater Pewee records and I then had other birders tell me it would be very rare.  So, I'm not going to call that sighting without much better documentation.  Sorry about that, another lesson to learn! 

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

May 13th, 2012:  Hassayampa River-my lifer Rose-breasted Grosbeak and finding the first spring record of Dickcissel in Maricopa County

Hi everyone,

As Tracy posted earlier, we had an exciting morning of birding in the
Hassayampa area this morning at the Roadside Rest and the Hassayampa River
Preserve.  I had a few additional sightings I wanted to include.

In addition to the DICKCISSEL and GRAY HAWK at the Roadside Rest Area, I
also had a singing TROPICAL KINGBIRD.  Like the Gray Hawk, this species is
a local breeder in the area.  I have had the kingbirds at the Hassayampa
River Preserve, but this was the first time I located one at the Roadside
Rest.  The Gray Hawk was quite the sight, and was an adult bird who flew
by me at close range.  I was very shocked when I looked up and saw the
Dickcissel, a bird I thought of as only a fall migrant.  I observed this
bird most of the time I was at this area in nearly two hours.  It was only
the second Dickcissel I've seen in my life, so I enjoyed it.  The bird
gave it's "fart" call a lot also, and mostly stayed in the weeds.  At
times it went up in the willows lining the river.  I was glad with how
cooperative it was, I really wanted Tracy to see it!  Besides the BLUE
GROSBEAK Tracy found, I noted a good number of at least 5 them while I was
birding at this spot, always a good bird to see back in numbers.  Also
present was a lone CEDAR WAXWING (also a few at Hassayampa River
Preserve), and a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER.

Tracy and I checked Janet Witzeman's book, Birds of Phoenix and Maricopa
County, which showed in the bar graphs as this bird never being recorded
in spring at the time the book was published.  I'm unaware if there are
any records since then.  I uploaded photos of the bird to AZFO.  As Tracy
mentioned, Hassayampa was awesome today, and the ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
was a lifer for me (very overdue!).

I put up some pictures of the Dickcissel and Rose-breasted Grosbeak to my
website at this link (scroll down to botton to see these pictures):
http://birderfrommaricopa.com/the-best-of-the-year.htm



Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

May 18th, 2012:  Hassayampa River Preserve

Hi everyone,

Yesterday on May 18th, 2012, I spent the morning birding along the
Hassayampa River.  Birding was awesome with a high variety of species.  I
spent my morning birding at the Roadside Rest and the Hassayampa River
Preserve. 

Raptors during the day were a big highlight.  Although I didn't see much
visually, luckily some of these birds were very vocal.  I heard GRAY HAWKS
at both the Roadside Rest and the Hassayampa River Preserve.  As I started
my morning at the Hassayampa River Preserve shortly after seven, I heard a
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK calling in the area of Palm Lake.  A ZONE-TAILED HAWK
made an appearance by Palm Lake, soaring overhead. 

Most of the excitement came at the Preserve.  A GREEN HERON worked Palm
Lake throughout the morning.  WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES were everywhere, as I
counted about 15 individuals throughout the 5 trails.  Empids were
represented by 4-5 WESTERN-type (likely Pacific Slope), DUSKY, and WILLOW
FLYCATCHER.  Dusky and Willow were year birds for me, and several pairs
of "Southwestern" Willow Flycatchers breed in the limits of the Hassayampa
River Preserve.  VERMILION FLYCATCHERS showed well at both locations, both
sexes and age groups.  As common as this bird may be here, they can never
possibly get boring.  One TROPICAL KINGBIRD sang along the Mesquite
Meander Trail at the Preserve.  A big push of WARBLING VIREOS moved
through both spots, and I heard a SOLITARY VIREO-type vireo singing that I
was never able to get a look at.  One CEDAR WAXWING was at the Preserve,
getting a little late for that.  Warbler highlights throughout the morning
included 2 MACGILLIVRAY'S and 5 TOWNSENDS'S WARBLERS among the common
migrant WILSON'S WARBLERS.  A GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE was along the Palm Lake
Loop.  A big push of WESTERN TANAGERS moved through the Preserve, and
there were still good numbers of BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS.  I'm pretty sure
I heard a Rose-breasted Grosbeak calling, but was never able to get a
visual.  An singing INDIGO BUNTING was nice to hear and briefly see on the
Palm Lake Loop.  BULLOCK'S ORIOLES showed well, and I also had a three
Goldfinch day, with highlights of single AMERICAN and LAWRENCE'S
GOLDFINCHES.  BLUE GROSBEAKS were also in good numbers at the Roadside
Rest, although I didn't see any at the Preserve surprisingly. 

I recorded 60 species for the morning.  As a reminder, the Hassayampa
River Preserve has gone to it's summer hours.  It is open Friday through
Sunday, from 7 to 11 A.M.  Admission is $5. 

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