Tommy J. DeBardeleben

July 2010

July 2nd, 2010-Hassayampa River Preserve

Hi everyone,

Jim Kopitzke and I explored the Hassayampa River Preserve today from 7 to
10 A.M., which the heat was horrible by the time we left.  That's AZ
summer for you! 

There were a few notable highlights among the 38 species we recorded.  The
best highlights were the flycatchers today.  The best was a vocal pair of
TROPICAL KINGBIRDS, which are present along the Mesquite Meander trail. 
They came very close to the trail and gave us perfect views.  Western
Kingbirds were also closeby at the time, and provided a good comparison. 
Also present was our years first WILLOW FLYCATCHER around the back (north)
end of Palm Lake, along Willow Walkway.  This bird we never did get to see
visually, but it was vocal the entire time we were trying to catch a
glimpse of it.  I heard one YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO briefly when we were
barely starting off the morning along the River Ramble trail.  There is
also a very aggresive COOPER'S HAWK in the area by Palm Lake who dove at
volunteer Melissa several times and hit her on the head.  Luckily, it
didn't strike her with it's talons or anybody else.  Raptor wise, we
didn't have much at all unfortunetely. 

We also made a stop at a birdless Lake Pleasant on the way back.  The Lake
has good potential and is always worth a stop, but not today.  The only
waterbird we found was a Double-crested Cormorant.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



July 26-27th-Apache County Birding

Hello everyone,

I am currently on a 11 day vacation in the White Mountains of Northeastern
Arizona, located in Apache County.  My family and I are staying in Greer. 
We arrived on Sunday night, July 25th.

The first day, July 26th, I explored the area of Sunrise, Green's Peak,
and Greer.  A lot of road construction is going on throughout the White
Mountains, and it slowed down some of the birding in the Sunrise area. 
Most of the excitement was in the Green's Peak area.  Dusky Grouse was my
primary target here.  Once we got to the top of Green's Peak (amazing
views!), I walked with my brother Tyler down the steep mountainside where
the powerlines go down, where Stuart Healy has had great luck with the
birds.  We went up and down the steep mountain without any luck, it was
exhausting.  But as strange things certainly do happen, as we started
driving down the mountain, two DUSKY GROUSE were walking in the road!  I
felt more than lucky how this sighting happened, which was about 50 yards
below the top.  Other birds in the area included OSPREY, BAND-TAILED
TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, and RED CROSSBILL.  I birded around Greer briefly
the rest of the day with not much of note, as it rained alot.

I then went to Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area this morning from 5:30 to
9, where I recored 52 different species.  My favorite bird was a male
CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD, who visited the feeders at the porch in front of the
visitors center.  As I was walking the trails, I was in the middle of a
PINYON JAY flock of a least 100, it's incredible how many of them there
can end up being once the whole flock starts to move!  Another good
highlight for me was a GRAY CATBIRD in the orchard area by the parking
lot, making this my third location I have recorded a Catbird in the White
Mountains.  Other highlights included GRAY FLYCATCHER, BULLOCK'S ORIOLES,

After Sipe, I visited the Springerville Area at Becker Lake.  At the lake
I found a GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE, something I don't think I've ever seen in
the White Mountains.  LAZULI BUNTINGS and BLUE GROSBEAKS sang around the
lake, no water birds were of note. 

Becker Lake Wildlife Area, which is just south of the Lake, had singing
minute stop.

My final birding of the day was in Greer at the East Fork of the Little
Colorado River.  My main highlight was a SWAINSON'S THRUSH and I also
really enjoyed hearing and seeing CLARK'S NUTCRACKERS.  A LONG-TAILED
WEASEL was also a nice suprise.  More good things to come hopefully during
this trip.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben


July 28-30th, 2010-Apache County Birding

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the late posts for the first two days of this report.  I don’t
have internet at the cabin and have to go elsewhere in order to get it. 
This report will cover July 28th through today, July 30th.

On Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, I spent the majority of the day hiking up
Mt. Baldy with my Dad Tom and brother Tyler, on the West Baldy Trail # 94.  We
hiked 8 miles one way to the top from 7:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., a seven hour
hike, sixteen miles altogether.  Despite the far distance hiked, I only
recorded 28 species of birds.  There were more people on the trail than
bird species, mostly loud girl scout troops.  The hike to the top was
beautiful and exhausting, and the birds I was able to see and hear added a
lot to the hike.  My most interesting sighting was a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK
calling probably about five miles into the wilderness as we started to
climb.  I don’t encounter very many sharpies at the White Mountains at
all, so this was more unexpected for me although very possible.  Both
GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS sang on several locations.  About
six miles back in the trail is a large amount of burned trees with some
live trees in the midst as well.  This seemed to have a good amount of
birds, as I saw a few TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRES and many HOUSE WRENS.  Other
NUTHATCH (plus plenty of the other two nuthatches), BROWN CREEPER, WESTERN
out on some of the more uncommon to rare hopefuls who favor the high
conifer/spruce forests.  I also have a spot I visit that I see American
Dippers commonly, but I struck out on them as well.

Once back at the cabin in Greer, I decided to go for a shorter walk for
fifty minutes to one of my favorite places in Greer, East Fork Road
(County Road 1121).  I started at 4:40 P.M. and hiked until the rain
eventually poured down.  My favorite highlight here was a juvenile male
WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKER, my first of the year.  I also saw a juvenile RED-
NAPED SAPSUCKER minutes before.  Woodpeckers have seemed scarce so far on
this trip, and it was good to finally add a few to the trip list.  Also
present on the trail and providing excellent views were RED-FACED,
VIRGINIA’S, and MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLERS.  The other cool sighting I had on
this short walk was a nice adult GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE walking and hopping
around in the middle of the road.  This short walk was a good way to close
out the day.

I then decided for Thursday, July 29, 2010, to spend the morning birding
the Greer area.  I started at 5 A.M. and ended at 11:00 A.M., covering the
Butler Canyon Nature Trail, East Fork Road, the East Fork of the Little
Colorado River, a part of the Little Colorado River just south of River
Reservoir that creates a marshy habitat, and Benny Creek.
I visited Butler Canyon in hopes of finding a variety of woodpeckers,
which I have had great success with in the past.  Today, the woodpeckers
still eluded me.  NORTHERN FLICKERS and a heard only HAIRY WOODPECKER were
present along the trail where a small stream passes through.  I also heard
BAND-TAILED PIGEONS calling during the loop, which is a one mile loop
trail and a very easy hike.

A forty-five minute walk down East Fork Road was my next stop, and it was
fairly productive.  Perhaps the best sighting on this road was a male
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, who sang extensively.  He sang a variety of notes
that I have never heard this species sing before.  Five species of
warblers were present which were YELLOW-RUMPED “AUDUBON’S”,
YELLOWTHROAT (heard from the river below the road).  Red-faced were the
most numerous of the five, as there are a lot of them along this stretch,
I’ve had my best success in the White Mountains along this road for this
bird.  Other birds present included RUFOUS and BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRDS

I then drove down to the end of the road where Montlure Bible Camp is
located.  I parked at a noticeable parking area just before the entrance
to the Bible camp.  I walked down to the East Fork of the Little Colorado
River, crossing the river, were there are noticeable trails in both
directions.  I walked several miles down the eastern part of the trail,
which seemed to keep going for a very long time once I stopped.  This is a
beautiful area, and I recommend anyone to check it out.  I didn’t have a
lot of birds here either, but a GRAY CATBIRD calling in the dense brush
was the best bird along this trail.  I also got my second SHARP-SHINNED
HAWK of the trip, which was calling just like the one at Mount Baldy. 
Some other birds of note on this trail were OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER,

Next after the East Fork area I went north a road to County Road 1126, and
when a short distance to the south end of River Reservoir.  Birding in
this area is great, I recommend this spot as well.  At the very south end
is a gate, which beyond the gate has a trail that runs along the Little
Colorado River, which flows into the reservoir.  However, this area is
much more of a large marsh habitat than anything, and I call it my own
name, “South Marsh”, for almost all of the years I have birded here.  I
had a Swainson’s Thrush singing in here last year, and an early morning
visit can often produce forty species or more.  This trail eventually
crosses the Highway 373 and continues across the street, where birding is
good the entire way.  This time I had three spots along the trail where I
saw DUSKY FLYCATCHERS, six individuals altogether.  A calling SORA was
also a nice addition to the bird search.  CLIFF, BARN, and VIOLET-GREEN
SWALLOWS all flew overhead.  I’ve also had Tree and Northern rough-winged
Swallows, as well as Purple Martin on different occasions here as well. 
All the WARBLERS I found and heard on East Fork Road, minus Red-faced,
were all present as well.  Other birds here on my list included RED-NAPED
and SPOTTED SANDPIPER.  I also scanned some of the lake from this point. 
An active OPSREY nest towards the south end of River Reservoir
interestingly had nesting DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS right under it, about
10 feet below, both in the same tree, something I found interesting.

My final stop in Greer was at Benny Creek, which is north of the other
stops I made earlier.  Birding was slow here today, as the later morning
hours set in.  Birding is great here with a nice earlier morning visit
here.  I’ve had a Northern Pygmy-Owl family here before, and there are
often Virginia Rail and Soras here as well.  I recorded sixteen species in

After lunch and a rest at the cabin, I decided to go over to Sunrise
Campground in the late afternoon for a shot at the Gray Jays.  The permit
cost me eight dollars at the Sunrise Lodge, which used to be six dollars. 
The gas station seems to be shut down.    Just minutes after I started
birding as I entered the campground, I was happy to find two GRAY JAYS
hopping around in the trees.  They didn’t mind my presence, and one even
landed about ten feet in front of me.  Certainly an enjoyable bird to see,
only the second sighting of Gray Jay in all my birding, my first since
2001.  The other main highlight I had here at the campground was an adult
GREAT HORNED OWL, who was very scared of me.  A worried AMERICAN ROBIN
scolded the owl and followed it wherever it went, helping me locate it
more and give me better looks.  The campground and surrounding area is
very beautiful and I hope to go back and bird it more sometime in the next
few days.

Then today, Friday, July 30, 2010, I went with my brother Tyler to the
Alpine area, starting at Escudilla Mountain, which is one of the most
breathtaking and beautiful areas in the White Mountains.  The hike on the
Escudilla Trail to the summit is well worth the while.  Birdwise, my best
sighting was a family of four DUSKY GROUSE, a mother and three juveniles. 
There is a large amount of aspen that you hike through to start the trail,
and the grouse were in these aspens, probably about a mile in.  We stopped
to take a break during the climb to the top, and I looked over on a log to
see the grouse about ten feet away from me.  She took flight to a higher
tree, and as I thought she was alone, I walked over a few feet to get a
better look at her, and I scared up the youngsters.  Other birds of note

We then went to Luna Lake after the Escudilla trip for an hour.  Most of
the bird activity was on the lake or right around it. Two adult BALD
EAGLES perched in a pine tree across the lake from us, which was quite the
sight.  An OPSREY also flew overhead.  Waterbirds were present in high
numbers but small diversity, with the best being ten or so EARED GREBES. 
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS were along the reeds of the lake, and a NORTHERN
MOCKINGBIRD along the parking lot was an unexpected sighting.

After the Lake, we drove east for a few miles into New Mexico, just for
to officially start my New Mexico state list.

So far in 4 and a half days, I have 99 species recorded in the White
Mountains, with hopefully a lot more to come.

Good birding,
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



July 31st, 2010-Apache County: South Fork, Grasslands Wildlife Area

Hi everyone,

Today I visited the South Fork of the Little Colorado River, followed by a
visit to the Grasslands Wildlife Area, which can both be reached along
Highway 260 west of Springerville or east of Greer (highway 373).  I don't
have alot of time to write a report so I'm including the full ebird lists:


Location:     Little Colorado River--South Fork
Observation date:     7/31/10
Number of species:     42

Turkey Vulture     X
Sharp-shinned Hawk     X
American Kestrel     X
Spotted Sandpiper     X
Mourning Dove     X
Broad-tailed Hummingbird     X
Rufous Hummingbird     X
Belted Kingfisher     X
Hairy Woodpecker     X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     X
Cordilleran Flycatcher     X
Black Phoebe     X
Plumbeous Vireo     X
Warbling Vireo (Western)     X
Steller's Jay     X
Western Scrub-Jay (Woodhouse's)     X
Clark's Nutcracker     X
Violet-green Swallow     X
Cliff Swallow     X
Mountain Chickadee     X
Bushtit     X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Interior West)     X
Pygmy Nuthatch     X
Rock Wren     X
House Wren (Northern)     X
Western Bluebird     X
Townsend's Solitaire     X
Hermit Thrush     X
American Robin     X
Gray Catbird     X
Virginia's Warbler     X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)     X
Red-faced Warbler     X
Spotted Towhee     X
Canyon Towhee     X
Chipping Sparrow     X
Dark-eyed Junco (Red-backed)     X
Western Tanager     X
Black-headed Grosbeak     X
Eastern Meadowlark (Lilian's)     X
Pine Siskin     X
Lesser Goldfinch     X


Location:     Grasslands Wildlife Area
Observation date:     7/31/10
Number of species:     31

Great Blue Heron     X
Turkey Vulture     X
American Kestrel     X
Killdeer     X
Mourning Dove     X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     X
Say's Phoebe     X
Western Kingbird     X
Loggerhead Shrike     X
Warbling Vireo (Western)     X
Western Scrub-Jay (Woodhouse's)     X
Pinyon Jay     X
Common Raven     X
Horned Lark     X
Violet-green Swallow     X
Bushtit     X
White-breasted Nuthatch (Interior West)     X
Rock Wren     X
Townsend's Solitaire     X
Northern Mockingbird     X
Virginia's Warbler     X
Canyon Towhee     X
Chipping Sparrow     X
Vesper Sparrow     X
Western Tanager     X
Black-headed Grosbeak     X
Blue Grosbeak     X
Eastern Meadowlark (Lilian's)     X
Western Meadowlark     X
Bullock's Oriole     X
Lesser Goldfinch     X

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


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