Tommy J. DeBardeleben

January 2011

January 2nd, 2011-Rio Salado: CS WA

Hi everyone,

I went to work this morning taking my birding equipment thinking of
trying for the CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER to start my year on a good very
note.  When I saw Kurt's post that it was present as I was leaving
work, I went straight down to Rio Salado.

I walked around the general area this warbler has been seen since I
found it, and I didn't find it for awhile until I checked the
cottonwoods directly south of the restrooms.  I heard the warbler and
there it was.  It was in these cottonwoods most of the hour's worth
that I watched it, and it went briefly to the trees for several minutes
where Kurt saw it this morning.  In the area it hung out the most when
I watched it, there are six cottonwoods together that are just south of
the restrooms by the parking lot off of Central, you can't miss it. 
The warbler was very active the entire time and I had fantastic views,
it even came down on the ground several times.  It then flew to the
pond close to where Kurt saw it and it hopped around on the cement
surface lining the pond and it drank the water.  It was on the ground
hopping around after it drank for over a minute, less than 10 feet away
from me!  I certainly have never been able to enjoy an eastern warbler
like this yet in my life, what a treat!


I also went to Glendale Recharge Ponds yesterday after work to get some
birding in to start the new year.  Highlights there included 2 COMMON

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


January 3rd, 2011-Az: Winter Wren still at Granite Reef, Salt River

Hi everyone,

In a search for yesterday's Swan, I was unsuccessful but did however hear the WINTER WREN again both times I visited during the day, once in the morning and once in the early afternoon.  This bird is hanging around in the dense habitat at the very northwest boundary of the area.  I was along the shore scanning waters west up to the dam both times I heard the bird.  Getting a view is obviously another story. 

At Gilbert Water Ranch, the BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER and 2 RUDDY GROUND-DOVES continued.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


January 8-9th, 2011-AZ: Maricopa County Weekend Birding

Hi everyone,

This weekend I birded both days, all day on Saturday and partially today
(9 January).  On Saturday I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens, Tempe
Town Lake, Scottsdale, Granite Reef Recreation Area, and Gilbert Water
Ranch.  This morning I had a productive hour and a half at Tres Rios
Wetlands and the immediate surrounding area.

My first stop yesterday (8 January) was at the Desert Botanical Gardens,
to try and see the BROWN THRASHER.  As I approached the Steele Herb
Garden, the thrasher was the very first bird I saw.  Thirty minutes later,
I was still watching it, as it gave me killer looks and sat right above
me.  When it doesn't perch in the trees, it is usually very elusive.  It
spent alot of the time "thrashing" in the bushes where it was difficult to
get a clear view.  I was tempted to head over to the Arlington area after
that to try for a six Thrasher day.

I then went over to Tempe Town Lake to look for Pelicans and any other
possible goodies, unaware of the EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL that was
there.  I left before the emails came through in the morning to the
listserv regarding the teal.  Right when I started birding, the flock was
in front of me that had the teal in it, when Jim Kopitzke called me
telling me about the bird.  I scanned the flock and there it was,
certainly a strange way to see such a rarity, and the teal gave me
excellent views!  A BROWN PELICAN did end up being at the lake west of the
McClintock bridge. 

I then drove around to ponds in Scottsdale to look for Eurasian Wigeons
were I saw them last year, as well as geese flocks.  No Eurasian Wigeons,
and the Canada Goose numbers are very down from last winter.  Last year it
seemed as if the geese covered these lakes and ponds. 

Granite Reef Recreation Area was next, which I spent a good two hours here
from noon to two, and I recorded 44 species.  My main highlight here was a
nice amount of COMMON GOLDENEYES, in which I counted a minimum of 25 birds
at the west end of the recreation area, by the dam.  There is a good
possibility that there were even more, as I saw 11 of them flying west
when I arrived.  I think they kept going west of the dam, but I don't know
if they flew back in when I was looking at something else.  Other
didn't hear or see the Winter Wren, hopefully it's still around.  In the
dense area where the wren has been, I did get lucky to spot a lurking
BOBCAT, who sat down after I spotted it, and I got awesome views. 

My last stop of the day was at Gilbert Water Ranch where I had hopes of
locating the Eastern Phoebe.  I ran into Tom Lewis, and we both searched
for the bird without success in the area it has been frequenting.  The
main highlight here among 56 species included a nice male YELLOW WARBLER
along the 3/4 path, as well as OSRPEY, PEREGRINE FALCON, DUNLIN, SPOTTED

I had very limited time this morning, so I went to the closeby Tres Rios
Wetlands from 7:30 to 9.  As I arrived at Tres Rios, I was surprised to
see a very large flock of around forty BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCKS
flying east.  I ran into Jeff Ritz, and he told me they utilize the ponds
in the treatment plant that aren't public accessable.  They seemed to be
going in exactly that direction, I would've loved to see them with good
views on the water.  I was also able to refind the drake and hen WOOD
DUCKS that Jeff found earlier this week, they sure are wary and quickly
took off as I took a few steps forward to get a clear view.  Tres Rios is
also a cormorant flyway, as both NEOTROPIC and DOUBLE-CRESTED constantly
fly over the area from the east to west, and vice-versa.  As I was looking
at the ducks, I heard a bird swoop in to where a large blackbird flock
was, and I looked up to see that a PEREGRINE FALCON swooped down and took
one of the blackbirds, too bad I missed the kill!  Tres Rios never fails
to produce raptor sighings, as I also saw an OSPREY, BALD EAGLE, and SHARP-
SHINNED, COOPER'S and RED-TAILED HAWKS.  Other highlights included BELTED

At the new Tres Rios Project across the street, I saw singles of OSPREY,
NORTHERN HARRIER, and PEREGRINE FALCON.  No notable waterfowl or

Looking in the nearby fields and area, I saw a FERRUGINOUS HAWK, two
had ten raptor species in the hour and a half.

100 species for the weekend.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



Hi everyone,

Today I headed out to the Salt River Area stopping along several sites
along the Bush Highway starting at Saguaro Lake/Butcher Jones Recreation
Area, and then I continued at the Goldfield and Granite Reef Recreation

After reading Troy's report yesterday of the Kittiwake, I decided to start
my day off at the lake.  At Butcher Jones beach, I found a female GREATER
SCAUP in the mix of a Lesser Scaup flock to start the day.  I then hiked
on the trail that goes east of the Butcher Jones area along the east side
of Saguaro Lake, which can be reached from Butcher Jones right by the
southeast part of the parking lot.  This trail is amazing, and I enjoyed
the hike as much as the birds.  After two miles or so of hiking on this
trail, I reached Burro Cove, where the BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE continued,
and was viewable from this lookout.  I had rather distant but really good
views where I could clearly see the field marks of the young Kittiwake. 
It flew around often, but most of the time, it sat on the water.  Once you
reach the sign that points in two directions, saying, "Burro Cove-1/4th of
a mile, and Shoreline Access-1/4 of a mile", go to any of these spots and
scan. The Kittiwake was viewable from both of these lookouts.  Before you
reach this sign, there is one other sign that points to Burro Cove
probably 1/2 mile before this sign.  Follow any signs that point to Burro
Cove.  I would highly recommend a scope on this hike to view the waters. 
It took me 40 minutes to an hour to reach this location, and the hike is
moderate.  As I was watching the Kittiwake, I noticed a HORNED GREBE
swimming and diving below the lookout.  A CLARK'S GREBE was in the mix of
WESTERN GREBES from this viewpoint, and there were plenty of EARED and
PIED-BILLED GREBES to give me a five Grebe day.  Other notables on the
hike included an adult BALD EAGLE perched on a cliff, a SORA, and a TREE
SWALLOW.  I ran into Grant and Tyler Loomis and a couple (I wasn't able to
get their names) on my way down the trail, hopefully they had success! 
Thanks to Troy for the awesome find!

I then went to the Goldfield Site next, where I really enjoyed seeing my
first two HARRIS'S HAWKS of the year.  

My stop at Granite Reef gave me great looks at the SWAN that had been
present.  There has been some confusion about what Swan species this
really is.  There are confusing things about it.  Luckily tonight, I got
good video of this bird, which I will post shortly for opinion.  The Swan
also vocalized some, which I got on tape, maybe that'll be useful.  The
voice was more of a honking gooselike sound, which would probably support
Tundra more.  It was present for about an hour before it flew off to the
northeast up the river, probably to the general area Jay first saw it
between Granite Reef and Phon D. Sutton Recreation Sites. 

It was a great day today, 73 species total for the three areas. 

Good Birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


January 22nd, 2011-Video of Granite Reef Swan

Hi everyone,

Here is the video for the swan.  The bird calls about 5 times in the
video, but I don't know if voice can tell the species apart. This bird
also shows the v-shape on it's forehead that would be diagnostic for an
adult Trumpeter Swan, but that's not what is a clincher for young birds. 
Other than the v-shaped forehead, it seems as if everything else matches a
young Tundra.  Any suggestions publicly on the list would be appeciated,
because several birders have seen the swan and have wondered what species
it is.  Hopefully this video can help out some. 

Video link-

Thanks and Good Birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



Hello everyone,

Today on January 26th, 2011, Jim Kopitzke and I spent the day birding in
Maricopa County, where we started the morning at Sunflower and then
continued on to the high country of Mount Ord and finished up in the Lower
Salt River Area where we birded at the Granite Reef Recreation Site.  It
was an excellent day of birding as we found some really awesome birds we
certainly did not expect.

We arrived at Sunflower at 8:15 A.M., where we birded for a good three
hours.  Numbers of AMERICAN ROBINS were incredible here this morning. 
They were everywhere we looked, and we agreed that there must have been at
least 4-5 hundred of them.  Numbers of CEDAR WAXWINGS were very high as
well, there were probably about a hundred of them.  We also had good looks
at a good number of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS, which we estimated 30-40 of them. 
Walking down the Old Beeline Highway we birded in the area of the
Sunflower Workstation, where there was great bird activity.  Here we got
lucky and found a juvenille YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, who came and got a
berry off one of the trees in front of us.  The Sapsucker gave us good
looks for twenty seconds or so.  It was light and pale overall, had a
light nape, a slight showing of red was coming onto it's head, and it's
back showed the wide and extensive barring.  Before I could get a picture,
the bird flew back into dense trees in the area.  Dispite our searches, we
weren't able relocate the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  However, in that
search we came across an adult RED-NAPED X RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER HYBRID. 
I managed to photograph that one.  This bird showed a lot more red on it's
throat without any black borders.  The red on it's face was extensive and
almost gave this bird a "messy" look.  At Sunflower we recorded 41
species, which I didn't think we'd do that good on a January morning. 
Other highlights at Sunflower included WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS, BRIDLED and

We then headed to Mount Ord where we reached Road 1688 at 11:45, where we
spent a good three hours at as well.  This is the road that turns right as
you are heading up the main Mount Ord road, and it is located when one
first hits the pines.  We managed only 14 species of birds on Mount Ord,
but some of the birds we observed were fantastic.  As we started birding,
we noticed running water at a water tank to create somewhat of a spring. 
There seemed to be a lot of bird activity, and we started to watch for
birds that would possibly visit the tank in pursuit of water.  We were
soon completly shocked as a bright and beautiful male OLIVE WARBLER came
down and perched directly in front of us in an oak tree that was above the
tank.  The Olive Warbler was so close to us with eye level looks that we
didn't need binoculars.  It foraged for awhile in front of us before going
up higher in a pine.  We were amazed to find this species here in January,
it really made the trip!  In Janet Witzeman's Maricopa County book, it
does note the Olive Warbler as a rare winter resident.  Next, another
great highlight here was a large population of RED CROSSBILLS.  We heard
and observed them from the start, as they were very vocal.  Right when we
started hiking, we observed a male Crossbill singing away and giving a
variety of song and call notes.  As we continued down Road 1688, it seemed
as if the Crossbills were everywhere.  We even observed a male feeding a
female or a first year type bird.  We figured there to be a minumum of 40
birds, but there are probably a lot more than that.  It also says in the
Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas that Red Crossbill's will nest in winter and
early spring, so there's a good chance these Crossbills on Ord are
breeding right now.  It was an amazing thing to see, I never had super-
great looks at a Red Crossbill before today.  On the road, WHITE-BREATED
and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were also abundant and very numerous.  Several
HAIRY WOODPECKERS were around.  An adult SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was soaring
over the area, and we heard a calling TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE near the end of
road 1688. 

After we finished up at Mount Ord, we headed down to the Lower Salt River
Recreation Area to bird at the Granite Reef Recreation Site from 4 to 5:20
P.M.  Before that, a drive down the road to the Goldfield Site gave us a
look at a HARRIS'S HAWK perched on a pole.  Once at Granite Reef, we saw
the continuing TUNDRA SWAN at the west end of the recreation site close to
the dam.  This bird gave us great looks and was once again very neat to
see.  I talked with several experts about the identification of this bird
and they all believe it is a Tundra, which is what this bird completly
supports.  Jim and I watched it for a good thirty minutes before it took
of up the river to the northeast, which seems to be it's alternate area
when it's not at Granite Reef.  Other highlights at Granite Reef among 44

We had 74 species total for the day.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



January 30th, 2011-CACKLING GOOSE in West Phoenix continues at Crystal Gardens

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the late post, but I wanted to post that one of the Cackling Goose that was found by Stig Tjotta early in December is still present at the lakes/ponds along Crystal Garden Parkway as of Thursday afternoon (28 January) when I checked on it.   The Crystal Garden Parkway which is accessed by reaching 107th and McDowell and continuing along Crystal Garden Parkway.  This area had alot of small narrow lakes and ponds in a housing community. The goose was mixed in with many Canada's at the second pond/lake west along the Parkway and was just south of Palm Lane (where I parked).  There is a trail/path that goes around the lake in a loop, and the geese are usually visable at close range at all times.   There may be two of them still, but at times they had their heads down to make things a little challenging.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


January 31st, 2011-AZ: Southwest Maricopa County Birding

Hi everyone,

Today on January 31st, 2011, I headed out to the areas in the southwest
part of Maricopa County where I birded along the Old Highway 80, the
Arlington Area, Thrasher Spot, and Gillespie Dam.  Despite forgetting the
scope at home and missing the Roseate Spoonbill, this day was perfect.  I
got to see some of the goodies Dave reported on Saturday.

A good amount of my birding time was spent along or just off the Old U.S.
Highway 80.  A lot of the roads that offer good birding in this area are
in very close range of this highway.  Raptors were plentiful today along
this stretch I covered of about 20 miles, as I watched two WHITE-TAILED
KITES hovering over a field between the Old 80 and Narramore Road, with
Bruner and Palo Verde Roads bordering the area to the east and west. 
These Kites were amazing to watch and never seemed to stop hovering over
the fields.  A FERRUGINOUS HAWK was also present in the early morning.  I
counted twenty each of both RED-TAILED HAWKS (including a rufous morph)
and AMERICAN KESTRELS. At least 12 NORTHERN HARRIERS were present also. 
The fields that are in the area of Arlington School Road, Cactus and
Desert Rose Roads are always good and just off the 80 as well.  An amazing
highlight I had was a nice flock of 121 SANDHILL CRANES while I was on
Arlintion School Road.  Fields were being flooded some in this area and I
got a decent view of the fields while on Cactus Rose Road.  I thought I'd
maybe have a chance at the Spoonbill when I noticed a mixed flock of GREAT
and SNOWY EGRETS, and around 200 WHITE-FACED IBIS in the wet fields.  No
Spoonbill, but I noticed two LONG-BILLED CURLEWS with the Ibis, which I've
had so much trouble finding these birds for an odd reason, and finally
seeing them in Arizona since October of 2009 was a great pleasure!  Three
FLYCATCHER were other nice highlights. 

A twenty minute stop in the morning at the Lower River Road Ponds starting
at 8:10 gave me seven CANVASBACKS, an EARED GREBE, an OSPREY, and both

I then had a wonderful stop at the Thrasher Spot for just over two hours. 
CRISSAL THRASHERS were up and singing, as I counted at least four diffent
Crissals.  I also had my best ever looks at 4 LE CONTE'S THRASHERS, two on
one side of the road, and three on the other (one was a heard only).  A
group of 10 birders pointed me out a Le Conte's that turned out to be a
pair that I was able to watch for over an hour with incredible close
perched up views.  That group also was watching a BENDIRE'S THRASHER as I
came up.  SAGE SPARROWS were also very numerous and I also saw an ASH-

I then went to the Arlington Wildlife Area at 12:30 and stayed there for
over an hour.  I was able to find the SWAMP SPARROW Dave had on Saturday
very easily.  Several VIRGINIA RAILS were also present, and I might've
heard a Clapper Rail, but I'm not certain.

A stop at Gillespie Dam later on gave me hopes again at the Spoonbill with
a large number of SNOWY and GREAT EGRETS as well as WHITE-FACED IBIS, but
careful scanning couldn't come up with it here either.  A BELTED
KINGFISHER was present as well as two OSPREYS.

In all of my birding today, I also kept a number of every raptor I
observed.  I only observed six diffent species, but I had a pretty good
number of 65 birds.  24 Red-tailed Hawks, 15 Northern Harriers, 20
American Kestrels, 3 Ospreys, 2 White-tailed Kites, and 1 Ferruginous Hawk.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)




Birding in Maricopa County

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