Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Teal and Tioga Riparian Drainage

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Desert Riparian species, Migrants

Elevation: 1550'

Habitat:  Mesquite, tamarisk, paloverde, several cottonwoods, desert scrub in drainage between housing developments

Overall Birding Rating: 2

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:  The town of Fountain Hills surprisingly has some great riparian habitat in midst of their housing developments.  This consists of several storm drainages which creates these riparian habitats.  Access is rather easy, and it gives Fountain Hills a better overall birding variety other than just the well known Fountain Hills Lake.  In Fountain Hills, this drainage is bordered by two roads, Teal and Tioga Drives.  This riparian drainage lies south of Fountain Hills Lake, and is full of mesquite, paloverde, and tamarisk trees, as well as a few cottonwoods.  Desert scrub makes up a lot of the drainage also.  This is a good location to view desert species like Anna's Hummingbird, Gambel's Quail, Verdin, Abert's Towhee, Cactus Wren, and Curve-billed Thrashers to name a few.  A visit to the drainage in the spring and fall migrations is when this habitat will be the most productive and inviting to a variety of migrants who are on the move.  The Teal and Tioga Riparian Drainage also has water flowing through at times during the year, which would attract a variety of birds.  If wanting to make Fountain Hills Lake one of your destinations for a birding outing, stop at some of the riparian drainages as well to round out your trip!

Birding Tip:  This drainage is very dense and rocky in some parts and is a little difficult to navigate through.  Other than that, the birding is easy.  Visit during the migration periods for the best results, but anything interesting may show up here throughout the year.  As mentioned above, this drainage is bordered by neighborhoods.  Be sure to respect the residents of Fountain Hills by not causing disturbance and displaying good behavior. 

Directions:  From the east side of Shea Boulevard (just west of Highway 87), take Saguaro Boulevard north for 1.5 miles in the direction of Fountain Hills Lake.  There are several side roads, so keep a close eye out.  This drainage can most easily be reached from Desert Vista Drive.  At 1.5 miles, Desert Vista Drive will be a right turn (in the northeast direction).  Head a short distance up Desert Vista Drive, where the Desert Vista Dog Park is located.  Continue to the north most section of the dog park and park.  This is barely south of Tioga Drive.  The riparian drainage is bordered by Tioga Drive on the south.  Just north of the drainage are the line of houses represented by Teal Drive.  By walking west down the drainage, it goes for about 0.8 miles through good habitat.  Just east of the parking area and drainage access point is a fence which is the Indian Reservation line, be sure not to trespass beyond that fence.


Teal and Tioga Riparian Drainage Maps


Scenes and Sights from the Teal and Tioga Riparian Drainage:


Back to Area 13-Fountain Hills

Birding in Maricopa County

An online guide to the birds and birding locations of Maricopa County


Birding in Greenlee County

An online guide to Greenlee County Birding


Birding in Arizona's White Mountains

An online guide to Birding in Arizona's White Mountains