birderfrommaricopa.com

Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Maricopa County Transition Zone Locations

Transition Zones are the "high country" forested areas of the county and are met when ponderosa pine, oak, and Douglas firs are found.  This habitat is rather scarce on a county level, but good habitat does exist, mainly in the northeastern part of the county in the Mazatzal Mountains.  This habitat in Maricopa County usually can be found at elevations ranging from 6000-7000'.  Several forested drainages in midst of shady canyons in transition zones go well below 6000', but include an amazing combination of ponderosa pine, oak, Douglas fir, and sycamore trees.  This combination is similar to the canyons of southeastern Arizona.  Birdlife to watch for in transition zones during breeding seasons include Golden Eagle, Coopers, Red-tailed, and Zone-tailed Hawks; Northern Pygmy-Owl, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Acorn and Hairy Woodpeckers, Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Scrub and Steller's Jays; Plumbeous and Hutton's Vireos, Violet-green Swallow, Red and White-breasted Nuthatches, Bewick's and House Wrens, Western Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Olive, Black-throated Gray, and Grace's Warblers; Painted Redstart, Chipping Sparrow, Hepatic and Western Tanagers, and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  Red Crossbills breed occasionally during winter months.  Dusky-capped Flycatchers have recently been found breeding in these areas, and Mexican Jays are irregular visitors, often in large flocks.  Other irregular species to watch for include Band-tailed Pigeon, Mountain Chickadee, and Pygmy Nuthatch.  Migrations are interesting in transition zones, where one may get lucky and find a Red-faced Warbler and other mountainous species on the move.  Three forest owls-Spotted, Northern Saw-whet, and Flammulated, are worth checking for.

Locations:

Area 1-Highway 87:

Four Peaks Wilderness

Mazatzal Divide Trail (Forest Road 422)

Mount Ord

Slate Creek Divide Area

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