birderfrommaricopa.com

Tommy J. DeBardeleben

October 2011

 

October 1st-2nd:  Birding throughout Maricopa County-Two lifer eastern Warblers in one day!

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late report, I haven't had time to really do much on the
computer, yet alone report.  This weekend was a great one for me, two
lifers (both eastern warblers), as I explored Morgan City Wash,
Scottsdale, and the Hassayampa River Preserve on the first two days of
October 2011.

Morgan City Wash was my destination on Saturday, where I was choosing
between Morgan City and Hassayampa.  I chose Morgan City for the morning,
due to the fact I felt I'd have a better chance at more migrants and
something rare.  I spent over five hours covering the area, and it
shockingly turned out that it was rather quiet and migrants were rather
low in number.  This is a dense area to cover, but for the first time I
covered everything in a nice timely manner and found my way around
perfectly, on both the Agua Fria River and Morgan City Wash sections. 
That was my main highlight, navigating the area without getting turned
around once.  Troy knows what I'm talking about!  I recorded 50 different
species with highlights being: 1 SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, 2 GREAT HORNED OWLS,
1 SORA, my FOS HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER, 1 GRAY FLYCATCHER, 1 WHITE-BREASTED
NUTHATCH, a CRISSAL THRASHER, 1 NASHVILLE WARBLER, 5 MACGILLIVRAY'S
WARBLERS, a nice male BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, 3 GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES,
my FOS lowland SPOTTED TOWHEE, one LINCOLN'S SPARROW, 3 WESTERN TANAGERS,
and 4 LAZULI BUNTINGS.  I then went home and found out John Arnett found
two Magnolia Warblers at Hassayampa, where I almost chose to go. 
Sometimes that's how it goes. 

On October 2nd, I made plans to hopefully relocate at least one of John's
Magnolias.  I woke up and read the listserve, seeing that Brian Ison
discovered an Ovenbird the day before in the evening at Scottsdale's
Northsight Park.  I did some thinking and decided to go for the Ovenbird
first, due to the fact I honestly thought I'd have a better chance at that
bird than I thought I would relocating the Magnolias. 

I arrived at Northsight at 6:30, and almost immediately, I heard the
OVENBIRD chipping loudly when I made my way over to the spot Brian had
described.  It was up high in a mesquite as it started chipping, and
gradually worked it's way down to the ground.  I watched it on and off for
thirty minutes, where it was very cooperative for me and provided good
looks.  It was also a lifer for me, which made it extra special.  Thank
you Brian.  I was also impressed with Northsight Park's habitat, which has
great migration potential.  Several WILSON'S and MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS
were also present, as were large flocks of CHIPPING and BREWER'S
SPARROWS.  Besides the Ovenbird, Brian also found an American Redstart
several weeks ago also as a reminder.  So this park should be on the radar!

I then made the trek from Scottsdale to Hassayampa River Preserve to try
for the Magnolia.  Arriving just after nine, I started to work the Palm
Lake Loop.  Halfway down the south end of the loop, I spotted a movement
and it turned out to be none other than..........the MAGNOLIA WARBLER!  I
was exciting and shocked I already had a second rare lifer of the day.  I
did feel sorry for a couple behind me who saw me celebrating like a little
kid who got his first one dollar Hotwheels car.  The Magnolia was obliging
throughout the entire visit as I checked on it throughout the day.  I
watched it around 2 in the afternoon for over thirty minutes, foraging in
front of me as if I wasn't even there.  This all took place close to the
sign that reads "Whats in the lake?".  The bird foraged on both sides of
the path.  For any birders wanting to chase this bird, the Preserve opens
back up again and is open from 8 to 5.  It might still be there,
hopefully.  Thank you John!

Besides the Magnolia Warbler, Hassayampa was extremely birdy with other
amazing highlights among the 60 species I recorded.  The Magnolia was one
of 11 different WARBLER species I found, which also included: ~15 ORANGE
CROWNED, 2 NASHVILLE, 5 MACGILLIVRAY'S, ~10 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 1 YELLOW,
1 YELLOW-RUMPED "AUDUBON'S", 3 BLACK-THROATED GRAY, 4 TOWNSEND'S, 1
HERMIT, and 6 WILSON'S.  A raptor highlight included a calling RED-
SHOULDERED HAWK along the River Ramble trail on and off for about 30
minutes.  A calling COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD was a Hassayampa first for me. 
Flycatcher highlights included 2 WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES, 3 GRAY FLYCATCHER,
and two PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS.  Vireos included an impressive 5
CASSIN'S VIREOS and a singing HUTTON'S VIREO.  A WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH
foraged throughout the day near the Magnolia Warbler.  My first of fall
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were present, 3 in all.  Also present was my first
of fall HERMIT THRUSH, and also a nice surprise in a SWAINSON'S THRUSH.  3
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES were scattered throughout the preserve, and other
highlights included 3 female WESTERN TANAGERS, 4 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS,
and 2 LAZULI BUNTINGS. 

It was another great weekend of birding!  Thanks again to Brian and John
for the awesome lifers.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 3rd, 2011: Glendale Recharge Ponds

Hi everyone,

I also visited the Glendale Recharge Ponds yesterday afternoon for a few
hours after work.  There was nothing rare, but water is now in 3 of the 6
basins, and is has great shorebird habitat in all three of them.  It is
certainly worth checking again on a regular basis. 

I recorded 56 species here, not bad for an afternoon visit.  My main
highlight was a LARK BUNTING just north of the ponds by the cornfields. 
Ducks are starting to come in good numbers, which did include GADWALL,
NORTHERN PINTAIL, and AMERICAN WIGEON.  Raptors included 2 OSPREY, a
PEREGRINE FALCON, and a male NORTHERN HARRIER.  Shorebird highlights were
several LESSER YELLOWLEGS and a few nice LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER flocks, as
well as a few WILSON'S PHALAROPES. 

Besides the immediate ponds, the surrounding riparian area had some good
birds. 


FULL LIST:

Glendale Recharge Ponds, Maricopa, US-AZ
Oct 3, 2011 4:00 PM - 6:10 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
56 species

Gadwall  X
American Wigeon  X
Mallard  X
Cinnamon Teal  X
Northern Shoveler  X
Northern Pintail  X
Green-winged Teal (American)  X
Gambel's Quail  X
Neotropic Cormorant  X
Great Blue Heron  X
Great Egret  X
Snowy Egret  X
Green Heron  X
White-faced Ibis  X
Turkey Vulture  X
Osprey  2
Northern Harrier  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Kestrel  2
Peregrine Falcon  1
American Coot  200
Killdeer  X
Black-necked Stilt  X
American Avocet  X
Spotted Sandpiper  X
Greater Yellowlegs  X
Lesser Yellowlegs  X
Least Sandpiper  X
Long-billed Dowitcher  60
Wilson's Phalarope  5
Mourning Dove  X
Greater Roadrunner  1
Gila Woodpecker  X
Black Phoebe  X
Say's Phoebe  X
Loggerhead Shrike  1
Horned Lark  X
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  1
Verdin  X
Bewick's Wren  X
House Wren (Northern)  X
Northern Mockingbird  1
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)  X
American Pipit  X
Orange-crowned Warbler  5
Common Yellowthroat  X
Green-tailed Towhee  1
Abert's Towhee  X
Vesper Sparrow  1
Lark Bunting  1
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Great-tailed Grackle  X
House Finch  X



Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 7th, 2011: Salt River Birding

Hello everyone,

I spent a nice six hours today covering the Salt River area.  It is still
birdy in this wonderful area, as I recorded 90 different species as I
stopped at four different sites.  The weather was great and was percect
until it got very windy around noon time.

I started my day at Granite Reef Recreation Site.  69 different species
were present today at Granite Reef, which is one of the best places in
Maricopa County to see a high variety of species in a short area. 
Highlights included 2 AMERICAN WIGEON, CINNAMON TEAL, 2 RING-NECKED and
RUDDY DUCKS, a flyover BALD EAGLE, a calling VIRGINIA RAIL, 3 SORAS, ~10
COMMON GALLINULES, 1 BELTED KINGFISHER, 3 WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES, a calling
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, PLUMBEOUS and WARBLING VIREOS, tons of VIOLET-GREEN
SWALLOWS also with good numbers of BARN and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED
SWALLOWS, 2 CRISSAL THRASHERS, 9 WARBLER SPECIES (including
MacGillivray's, Nashville, Black-throated Gray, Yellow-rumped, and
Townsend's), 2 GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES, and 2 VESPER SPARROWS (my Salt River
first). 

Next I went to the area I've been calling Foxtail.  I perhaps have called
this area the wrong name.  The place where I access this "area" is closer
to the Sheeps Crossing Recreation Site (which is also closed).  So now
I'll call this place the "Foxtail/Sheeps Crossing Stretch".  I've
rewritten the information on my website with an updated overview map.  It
was birdy here as well, as I encountered 48 species here in 1.5 hours. 
Highlights included flocks of CINNAMON TEAL and NORTHERN SHOVELERS.  Two
BALD EAGLES flew over the river on and off, and an OSPREY was also
overhead.  Two SPOTTED SANDPIPERS waded in the Salt, and a GREEN HERON was
lurking in Willow Wash.  A BELTED KINGFISHER present is always great to
see along the Salt River.  One RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER was also present.  Also
around were 2 Crissal Thrashers and 2 female WESTERN TANAGER.  It was also
nice to run into Babs, the first birder I've seen during my visits to this
awesome spot!  To view the information on this spot on my website, click
on the link below.

FOXTAIL/SHEEPS CROSSING STRETCH LINK:
http://birderfrommaricopa.com/foxtail-recreation-site.htm


I then visited the Butcher Jones Recreation Site.  Highlights among 30
species included a GRAY FLYCATCHER, the always amazing VERMILION
FLYCATCHER, NASHVILLE WARBLER, and good looks at a WESTERN MEADOWLARK in
the picnic area. 



TODAY'S BIRD LISTS:


1. Granite Reef Recreation Area, Maricopa, US-AZ
Oct 7, 2011 6:50 AM - 9:00 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
69 species

American Wigeon  2
Mallard  30
Cinnamon Teal  20
Ring-necked Duck  2
Ruddy Duck  2
Gambel's Quail  30
Pied-billed Grebe  5
Double-crested Cormorant  10
Great Blue Heron  3
Turkey Vulture  1
Bald Eagle  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  1
Sora  3
Common Gallinule  10
American Coot  60
Killdeer  3
Mourning Dove  X
Anna's Hummingbird  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Gila Woodpecker  5
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  1
Gilded Flicker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  3
Black Phoebe  3
Say's Phoebe  2
Cassin's Kingbird  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
Plumbeous Vireo  1
Warbling Vireo (Western)  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  5
Violet-green Swallow  50
Barn Swallow  10
Verdin  10
Rock Wren  2
House Wren (Northern)  3
Marsh Wren (Interior West)  3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher  1
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)  3
Crissal Thrasher  2
European Starling  X
Phainopepla  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  7
Nashville Warbler  1
MacGillivray's Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  5
Yellow Warbler (Northern)  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  5
Black-throated Gray Warbler  1
Townsend's Warbler  1
Wilson's Warbler  1
Green-tailed Towhee  2
Abert's Towhee  X
Chipping Sparrow  4
Brewer's Sparrow (breweri)  10
Vesper Sparrow  2
Black-throated Sparrow  5
Song Sparrow  5
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow  10
Northern Cardinal  2
Lazuli Bunting  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Great-tailed Grackle  X
House Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X
House Sparrow  X




2. Foxtail Recreation Site, Maricopa, US-AZ
Oct 7, 2011 9:15 AM - 10:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
48 species

Cinnamon Teal  20
Northern Shoveler  20
Gambel's Quail  X
Double-crested Cormorant  10
Great Blue Heron  4
Green Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  10
Osprey  1
Bald Eagle  2
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Kestrel  1
Killdeer  10
Spotted Sandpiper  2
Greater Roadrunner  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Gila Woodpecker  5
Red-naped Sapsucker  1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  3
Gilded Flicker  1
Western Wood-Pewee  2
Black Phoebe  2
Warbling Vireo (Western)  1
Common Raven  1
Violet-green Swallow  20
Barn Swallow  4
Verdin  5
Rock Wren  2
Bewick's Wren  2
House Wren (Northern)  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)  2
Crissal Thrasher  2
Orange-crowned Warbler  5
MacGillivray's Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  2
Green-tailed Towhee  2
Abert's Towhee  X
Lark Sparrow  1
Black-throated Sparrow  10
Song Sparrow  5
White-crowned Sparrow  5
Summer Tanager  1
Western Tanager  2
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Great-tailed Grackle  5
House Finch  X




3. Saguaro Lake--Butcher Jones Beach, Maricopa, US-AZ
Oct 7, 2011 11:10 AM - 11:50 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
30 species

Turkey Vulture  X
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  X
Mourning Dove  X
Gila Woodpecker  5
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  2
Gray Flycatcher  1
Black Phoebe  2
Vermilion Flycatcher  1
Bell's Vireo  1
Common Raven  X
Violet-green Swallow  15
Verdin  X
Cactus Wren  2
Rock Wren  2
Bewick's Wren  2
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)  2
Nashville Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  X
Green-tailed Towhee  2
Abert's Towhee  X
Brewer's Sparrow (breweri)  5
Black-throated Sparrow  X
Lincoln's Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow  5
Northern Cardinal  1
Western Meadowlark  1
Great-tailed Grackle  X
House Finch  X
House Sparrow  X



Good Birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 17th, 2011:  Morgan City Wash and Rousseau Sod Farms

Hi everyone,

Today on October 17th, 2011, good birding was bound to come my way after
two quiet weeks.  I started my day off at Morgan City Wash and then went
over to the Rousseau Sod Farms in east Scottsdale.

As Chris McCreedy posted earlier, I ran into him at the entrance to Morgan
City Wash and we had some very awesome birds while exploring the area.  Of
course the best bird was the male NORTHERN PARULA that Troy Corman found
on October 8th.  The Parula was foraging high in willows right at the
exact spot Troy told me he had it on Saturday.  What a treat it was to see
this bird, a year bird for both Chris and me.  The Parula was also one of
ten warblers we encountered during the expedition, which also included a
small group that contained two BLACK-THROATED GRAY, one TOWNSENDS, and a
HERMIT WARBLER.  Two YELLOW WARBLERS were throughout the area, as well as
a dull looking NASHVILLE WARBLER, two MACGILLIVRAY'S, five WILSON'S, and
YELLOW-RUMPED "AUDUBON'S" and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS being the most
numerous.  I also saw an interesting warbler with wing bars that gave me
the impression of a Blackpoll Warbler close to where the Parula was
observed.  That's only the split impression I got of this bird, as it
never gave a second look.  Sucks.  Other than warblers, there were other
good highlights.  This included a heard-only BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD
(rare in Maricopa Co.), HAMMOND'S and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, flyover
HORNED LARK, 3 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, 5 WREN SPECIES, a CRISSAL
THRASHER, flyover AMERICAN PIPIT, 4 CEDAR WAXWINGS, a 2 LAWRENCE'S
GOLDFINCHES.  Between the both of us, we talled 61 species during the
birdy morning at Morgan City Wash.  As Chris mentioned earlier, it does
feel like anything can possibly jump out at you while exploring this
awesome area!

After Morgan City Wash and taking a lunch break at home, I headed over to
Scottsdale to attempt finding some grassland birdlife at the Rousseau Sod
Farms.  I had good luck, as I refound one of James McKay's McCOWN'S
LONGSPURS.  I had a terrible look, but the paleness of the bird and big
pink bill can stick out well even at a distance.  The outing also included
my first three CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPURS of the year.  AMERICAN PIPITS
and HORNED LARKS were everywhere, which the LONGSPURS were in midst of the
pipit flocks.  I also had a good raptor show here, with four falcons. 
This included my first and long awaited PRAIRIE FALCONS (2) of the year! 
It felt good to see this species after going nearly an entire year of not
seeing this bird.  Prairie Falcons are certainly scarse, as this was only
the 9th sighting I've ever had in my life, 4 of them coming from the sod
farms.  A PEREGRINE FALCON perched on the sod.  Of course a few AMERICAN
KESTRELS were around, and my FOF MERLIN was also a good sight.  An OSPREY
was in the area, as well as a few NORTHERN HARRIERS.  


I also highly recommend as well to see the movie-THE BIG YEAR.  It's well
worth the time, I found it hilarious with great birding humor, overall, it
was a great movie. 


Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 24th, 2011:  Finding the Fountains Hills Storm Drainage

Hi everyone,

Today on October 24th, while on my way back from the Verde River after
visiting the Box Bar and Needle Rock Recreation Sites, I came across what
I think will be an outstanding birding spot in the future, right in the
middle of the town of Fountain Hills.  I've never heard of anyone
mentioning the site I found, but with the great amount of habitat this
place has to offer, I'd be completely shocked if it hasn't been birded
before.

What this place is is a storm drainage, at least that was what some of the
labels indicated.  As I was coming south down Fountain Hills Blvd., I
noticed this drainage had a good amount of cottonwoods, so I parked and
checked the area out.  What I thought was to be a quick check turned into
a four hour birding expedition, close to the amount of time I spent at the
Verde River.  As there are housing communities with lakes going through
the neighborhoods, well this place was the same, only with outstanding
riparian habitat in between the neighborhoods, running for over two
miles.  Great cottonwood habitat was all along the two miles, with many
nice stands.  Also in the midst were great willow, mesquite, and paloverde
habitat, and also a good amount of palm trees in some of the cottonwood
stands.  Water runs in this place at times, even though it is dry right
now.  There are reeds and cattails in places.  I'll admit, I'm in love
with this spot.  I wish I would've found it before September.  We've had
such a strong fall migration this year, and I'm sure this place would've
been a promising adventure any day during migration stages. 

Before I give directions, I'll get to the birds I found today.  Despite
the fact it was later in the day and the activity had definetely dwindled
down, I was still impressed with the birds I saw.  One of the reasons the
overall activity was down was definetely because of a nice amount of
raptors flying around.  I noted 3 COOPER'S HAWKS, 2 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS, 2
RED-TAILED HAWKS, 2-3 AMERICAN KESTRELS, as well as 2 GREAT HORNED OWLS. 
One of the Owls was very tame and relaxed in the shade under one of the
very nice cottonwood stands.  I also found a dead Great Horned Owl.  With
those accipiters flying around, the birds will defintetly stay well
hidden.  There were high numbers of YELLOW-RUMPED "AUDUBON'S" and ORANGE-
CROWNED WARBLERS, as well as singles of both MACGILLIVRAY'S and BLACK-
THROATED GRAY WARBLERS.  The warbler diversity would've been much higher
I'm sure had I been here a month ago!  A CRISSAL THRASHER was a nice
surprise.  Other highlights included 2 RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS, an ASH-
THROATED FLYCATCHER, CASSIN'S VIREO, with the main highlight being the
fact I was fortunate enough to notice this place.  38 species recorded in
all.

This place is actually located a little north of Fountain Hills Lake.  I'm
going to add this location soon to my website, with pictures, map
directions, and better overviews.  For now, I'll try my best to describe
the best directions I can think of.

As I mentioned earlier, this wonderful habitat runs for over two miles,
where I had to cross five different streets to complete the route. I would
say the best ways to access this spot are the two streets, Fountain Hills
Blvd and Saguaro Blvd.  I parked in the nearby neighborhood streets.  I
first accessed the spot as I was coming south down Fountain Hills Blvd. 
The drainage was just north of E. Palisades Blvd (a bigger and more
noticable street), and was just south of where I parked at Ashbrook Dr. 
From here I worked my way west and east of Fountain Hills Blvd.  Heading
west of Fountain Hills Blvd has very limited habitat that ends much
quicker than the two miles of good habitat that lies east of Fountain
Hills Blvd.  I covered the drainage from Fountain Hills to Saguaro Blvd
before I took a lunch break.  After that, I explored the other half of the
area, which had the best habitat overall.  This time I took Saguaro Blvd
north past the turnoff to the lake.  The drainage was just north of E
Grande Blvd this time when coming up Saguaro.  I once again parked in a
nearby neighborhood street.  On the east side of Saguaro Blvd., just south
of the drainage, was a housing development named after the cottonwoods.  I
followed the habitat east to complete the route.  The best cottonwood and
willow stands were just east of Saguaro Blvd, amazing habitat.  Once I
followed the riparian east, the last road I crossed was N El Pueblo Blvd. 
I took the drainage east a short distance once I came to El Pueblo, until
I came up on a fence.  I stopped at that fence, and Jim Kopitzke later
told me it's the boundary to the Indian Reservation, which ends up being
close by to the area.  So if anybody comes out here, don't go east of the
fence.  There are also two forks going north from the main drainage, which
one has the good habitat for a decent distance.  Although the best habitat
lies just east of Saguaro Blvd., the entire two miles had great habitat
well worth the exploring.

As a last note, this area does pass through residences, so please respect
the homes and people in the area.  I hope some will take interest in
exploring this spot!  I'm sure it's going to get some very nice birds in
the future!  I'd also be interested in knowing if anyone else had birded
this spot, because I have a hard time believing I'm the first to ever bird
this place.

I don't know what to call this spot, for now I'll call it Fountain Hills
Storm Drainage.



BIRD LIST:

Fountain Hills Storm Drainage, Maricopa, US-AZ
Oct 24, 2011 12:30 PM - 4:40 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
38 species

Gambel's Quail  100
Sharp-shinned Hawk  2
Cooper's Hawk  3
Red-tailed Hawk  2
American Kestrel  2
Rock Pigeon  5
Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Mourning Dove  X
Greater Roadrunner  1
Great Horned Owl  2
Anna's Hummingbird  10
Gila Woodpecker  10
Red-naped Sapsucker  2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)  2
Gilded Flicker  1
Ash-throated Flycatcher  1
Cassin's Vireo  1
Common Raven  5
Verdin  X
Cactus Wren  3
Bewick's Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  25
Northern Mockingbird  2
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western)  4
Crissal Thrasher  1
European Starling  X
Orange-crowned Warbler  15
MacGillivray's Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  40
Black-throated Gray Warbler  1
Abert's Towhee  X
Northern Cardinal  2
Great-tailed Grackle  X
House Finch  X
Lesser Goldfinch  X




Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 27th, 2011:  An Eastern Phoebe chase..

Hi everyone,

Barb Meding and I successfully tried this afternoon (27 October 2011) for
the EASTERN PHOEBE near the Tolleson Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Bill
Grossi provided for us what he mentioned in his post.  Barb needed a state
bird, and I really needed a year bird!  However, it did take us over an
hour to relocate the Eastern Phoebe, who popped out for us north of where
Bill reported it from.  The road north were we refound it is more
immediately west of the fenced in area of the WWTP, and is also lined with
pecans.  It's still very close to the immediate area where Bill saw it. 
Plenty of SAY'S PHOEBES were around and one BLACK PHOEBE was in the fenced
in area of the WWTP.  So, I pulled in my first Phoebe hat trick for
Maricopa County and it was Barb's first Phoebe hat trick ever.  If anyone
tries for this bird, keep an eye out also for two hats......

Also of note was what I'm 98% sure of was a 1st year Black-throated Blue
Warbler, which was along the line of Pecans where Bill originally observed
the Phoebe.  I heard a wierd chip that sounded similiar to that of a
Lincoln's Sparrow, only it was coming from the top of one of the pecans. 
I had trouble getting on the bird who stayed concealed for most of the
time it was calling, but once I saw it, I did see a very drab bird that
appeared somewhat yellow underneath, and I could clearly make out a small
white patch on the primaries, which is good for Black-throated Blue
Warbler.  However, the look was brief and didn't satisfy me at all to make
the final call.  The bird may still be in the area, so hopefully someone
else can track it down. 

The area impressed me and I could really see other great stuff showing up
here as well.  Raptors were in abundance as Bill also reported earlier
with our main raptor highlight being excellent looks at an obliging MERLIN
and multiple AMERICAN KESTRELS and RED-TAILED HAWKS. 

Here are Bill's original directions (Remember the Phoebe was last seen
north, and the warbler was at this exact spot):  "The best way to view the
bird would be to exit Interstate 10 in the west valley at 91st Avenue. 
Drive south about 3 miles to Lower Buckeye Road, and turn right (west). 
Drive about .75 miles to where the cotton field on your right ends,
just before a mini shopping mall begins.  Turn right (north) on the dirt
road bordering the field and irrigation canal, and proceed north to where
the field ends at a "T" intersection (about 300 yards).  The dirt road
here goes east/west, and is lined with pecan trees to the right.  Turn
right (east) and look for the bird in the trees or on the berm along the
south edge of the alfalfa field on the north side of the road.  I last saw
it about 200 yards east of the last intersection".

A good evening of birding, fun birding with you Barb!  Thanks to Bill for
the awesome find!  And I was joking about the hats.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 29th, 2011:  Herring Gull in Palo Verde and Yellow-shafted Flicker in Tolleson.

Hi everyone,

Today on October 28th, 2011, I birded after work and it was great.

Melanie texted me about finding the HERRING GULL she reported earlier, and
I made over an hour's worth drive to the ponds along Lower River Road in
Paloverde, where Melanie and I enjoyed great looks at the Herring Gull for
about an hour.  It was a nice year bird for me and certainly one I haven't
seen much of at all in my life.  Thanks to Melanie!  I also thought it was
very cool, Melanie Herring finding a Herring Gull....what an awesome
coincidence!

On my way home I decided to stop at the surrounding area of the Tolleson
Wastewater Treatment Plant, where the Eastern Phoebe was yesterday.  I
didn't relocate the Phoebe or the possible Black-throated Blue Warbler,
but a "YELLOW-SHAFTED" NORTHERN FLICKER was a nice surprise, which was
near the same spot that Bill Grossi gave directions to yesterday.  It was
the first time I have ever seen this subspecies, so it felt great to get
my eyes on one. 

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

October 30th, 2011:  An awesome find at Fountain Hills Lake!

Hi everyone,

I started birding in Fountain Hills this morning to get more of the storm drainage experience.  Melanie texted me about a Surf Scoter being seen by Kurt and Cindy at Glendale.  That's a life bird for me, so I hurried out of the drainage and planned to head straight for Glendale.  I did however decide to scan Fountain Hills Lake on my way out.

Ironically, I saw a duck way out on the west side of the lake that looked good for a Scoter.  As I set my scope up, the resting duck lifted up it's head and it was very shockingly a SURF SCOTER!  It was very close to the shore and  Brendon soon joined me.  Soon after, I spied another SURF SCOTER, where the two birds joined each other for the rest of the hour we observed. 

They fed along the shore often with their heads down in the water, often 10 feet or less away.  These birds seemed hungry and exhausted, and didn't care we were just feet away.  It truly was spectacular!  The Coots were scared of us while our lifer Surf Scoters weren't!  They were at the south side of the lake when we left, but they did cover a good distance.  What an ironic occurrence for me.  I'm still in Fountain Hills and never had to leave!  Good luck if anyone tries for them!

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