Tommy J. DeBardeleben

June 2010

June 5-6th, 2010-S E Arizona (Cochise County): Miller and Ash Canyons, St. David

Hi everyone,

This weekend of June 5-6, 2010, Justin Jones and I took an awesome birding
trip to Southeastern Arizona and birded Miller, Ash, and a little of
Ramsey Canyon on Saturday.  Today we hit Miller for an hour in the early
am before stopping at the St. David Monastery on our way back to

We left Glendale around 3:30 A.M. to arrive at Miller Canyon and Beatty's
Guest Ranch at 7 A.M.  Birding was great here and the people were as
well.  Thanks to the Beatty's for their generousity to birders, our
experience here was well appreciated.  It was nice to meet Steve
Richardson from Ohio on the trail and to run into fellow local Phoenix
birders Melanie Herring and Barb Meding at the hummingbird feeders,
birding conversation was awesome!  Birdwise, Justin and my best highlight
here and probably the entire trip was both of our first lifer(s) BERYLLINE
HUMMINGBIRD, which by what we observed visited the feeders every twenty to
TAILED, and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS were also present, no White-eared
unfortunetely during our stops at the feeders during the day.  Walking up
the trail to the canyon, highlights were a calling ELEGANT TROGON, OLIVE-
and RED-FACED WARBLERS, and also an INDIGO BUNTING near the pond by the
hummingbird feeders.  Sadly, no SPOTTED OWLS.  Other than birds, Justin
and I encountered a BLACK-TAILED RATTLESNAKE up the canyon trail as well,
which easily could've bitten Justin.  It got in striking postion as he
nearly stepped on it, they sure do blend in.  I never think about rattlers
when I'm in the forest, and it was a good reminder to keep a strongs heads
up that they can be anywhere.  We mangaged to get it off the trail without
being harmed or harming it.  At night, we saw a COMMON POORWILL fly by the
truck, and WHISKERED SCREECH-OWLS called alot. 

We then made a few stops at Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast as well as a
short stop to Ramsey Canyon.  After several hours waiting at the Ash
Canyon B&B, the female LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD finally made an appearance, we
never did see the male.  Other interesting birds here included a calling
GRAY HAWK nearby, as well as a female ARIZONA WOODPECKER who came down to
one of the feeders.  Thanks to Mary Jo for opening up her place to
birders.  Ramsey Canyon was rather dead during our visit. 

Today, June 6th, we made another run up Miller Canyon for another
unsuccessful attempt at Spotted Owl.  However, we did hear a GRAY HAWK
calling in the lower part of the canyon close to the hummingbird feeders. 
The male INDIGO BUNTING was still present by the pond. 

We then made our last stop at the St. David Monastery, where birding was
fantastic and I would love to visit this place more.  It was a pleasure to
meet local birders Ann and Alan Miller on the trail!  The best bird here
was by far where the two MISSISSIPPI KITES, another lifer for both of us. 
I enjoyed getting extensive and clear perched and in flight views of the
Kites, which are gourgeous birds!  We looked for and couldn't refind the
Thick-billed Kingbird which was seen yesterday.  Other hightlights here

Then driving back towards Benson, we saw another MISSISSIPPI KITE flying
over the highway just as we were hitting the Benson city limits.

Another great weekend of birding in which I got seven lifebirds, which
means I need to visit Southeast Arizona alot more often!

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


June 15th, 2010-Baseline and Meridian Wildlife Area: CAVE SWALLOW

Hi everyone,

This morning on June 15th, 2010 at the Baseline and Meridian Wildlife
Area, I observed among many Cliff Swallows what I think was an adult CAVE
SWALLOW.  I saw the bird well as far as rump, head, and throat went.  It
had a very tawny pale orange throat with no hint of any dark color on the
throat, and the rump was the exact same color as the throat, which I was
able to see these features very well several times.  It had dark lores
with also stuck out to me.  It seemed alot lighter underneath than Cliff
Swallows do and it had a squared off tail, but what I was really trying to
see were what John Yerger described in his earlier sighting this week with
the gray spots in the bird's undertail.  The swallow moved fast while I
was looking at it and I wasn't ever able to get a clear view unfortunetely
of it's undertail coverts.  I think however this bird was a Cave Swallow,
I just wish I had a picture to submit.  I don't have previous experience
with this species.  On another note, this bird seemed to stick out among
the Cliff Swallows when it flew, do Cave Swallows have a different flight
pattern?  I hope to try again for this bird tomorrow morning.

Location wise, I saw it under the big 115th Avenue bridge that goes over
the wildlife area, where many Cliff Swallows nest.  I usually park at the
south end of the wildlife area, which is right by the entrance to P.I.R.
racetrack.  There is an old paved road that runs through the wildlife area
to the end of the location where I saw the swallow at.  By walking north
on this old paved road, there is a trailhead that says "Welcome to B & M
Wildlife Area" with a trail map.  By walking on this trail it leads to the
underside of the bridge, where swallow numbers are always heavy at the
right time of year.  This is where I observed this bird, which is very
close to the north end of the long bridge.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


June 21st, 2010-Mesquite Wash, Sunflower, Mount Ord

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, June 21st, 2010, I made a trip out to the northeast part of
Maricopa County in search of Yellow-billed Cuckoos and some higer
elevation species.  I visited Mesquite Wash first thing followed by a one
hour visit to Sunflower and then a trip up to Mount Ord. 

Once at Mesquite Wash, my YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO search was rewarded almost
immediately.  About twenty minutes into birding, I heard the distinctive
call and saw the bird fly to a perch, where I got great views of the bird
who perched out in the open.  What a treat!  It was actually my first seen
cuckoo, where there were many times last year when I birded that they were
very vocal, but I was never able to have sight of them due to their
wonderful hiding skills that drive birders like me insane!  The challenge
is awesome though.  Other highlights here were good as well, including
several BARN OWLS and a hybrid LAZULI X INDIGO BUNTING.  The bunting
looked much more in the Indigo favor and had alot of white on it's belly,
and somewhat lighter colored wing bars and wings than usual.  A perched
ZONE-TAILED HAWK was also present. 

Sunflower was nice as usual.  My favorite highlight was a vocal ZONE-
TAILED HAWK who sat above me in a tree directly above the road, this was
by far the best views I have ever gotten of a Zonie.  My second YELLOW-
BILLED CUCKOO of the day was here as well, but this one was like my
historic cuckoos, a heard only.  An adult COMMON BLACK-HAWK was visable by
it's nest in the usual spot, and a RED-TAILED HAWK nest was also along the
Old 87, with an adult and juvenille in the nest.  Other highlights
SWALLOW, JUNIPER TITMOUSE, and a male and female BLUE GROSBEAK feeding in
Sycamore Creek.

My last stop of the day came at Mount Ord where I birded the top of the
mountain as well as road 1688 (by the Cattle Chute).  My best bird here
was seeing a singing CHIPPING SPARROW, something I did not expect.  Other
than the Chipping Sparrow, I saw the usual birds in previous visits to Ord
this year.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo gave me 255 species this year for Maricopa
County, which was what I had in all of my birding last year in the
county.  This year continues to have great birding thoughout the county, I
certainly love birding here!

71 species for the day.

Good birding,
Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona



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