Tommy J. DeBardeleben

March 2010


March 3rd, 2010: Hassayampa GREEN KINGFISHER contintues (video included)

Hi everyone,

Today I visited the Hassayampa River Preserve from 8 AM to 1:30 PM and
wow, what an awesome time it was.  The main highlight was the continuing
female GREEN KINGFISHER, which provided me and everyone else there looking
for it at the time with great views.  It took me until 9. 45 AM to locate
the bird (another birder saw it around open time), when I first heard the
bird calling along the river a little downstream west of where it's usual
spot is.  When I went in the direction, she flew across the river and I
got a quick and brief look.  I couldn't find her again until a couple
named Steve and Joan were able to relocate it at about 11.30.  For the
next hour, the bird flew around to many different perches along the river
(mainly in the same general area as previous posts) and was very easy to
photograph and get great views at.  The bird called quite often and
perched at low and medium heigths, and often stayed in good view while
perched.  Truely an incredible bird and I'm grateful I was able to see

I was also able to get some film of the Green Kingfisher.  Some parts are
a little shaky and blurry, I apologize for that! But overall, the video is
good.  The bird is vocalizing on one of the clips, and by listening
closely, it can be heard.


Other than the Kingfisher, there were several other good birds which were
CREEPERS, many AMERICAN ROBINS (I've never seen such a high concentration

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


March 5th, 2010: Granite Reef Recreation Site, Salt River Area

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the late post, but yesterday I visited the Salt River sites.  At Granite Reef Recreation Area, I had a LUCY'S WARBLER as well as the continuing GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, in which I saw one, but I think two of them were present.  These were the main birds of interest from my time spent along the Salt River yesterday, the only grebes at Sahuraro Lake were EARED and WESTERN.  I also saw 4 different BALD EAGLES at 3 different sites, including one perched on the cliffs at the west side of the Coon Bluff Recreation Site, which was quite the sight!

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, AZ)



March 9th, 2010: Glendale Recharge Ponds

Hi everyone,

This morning (9 March), I had a few hours to stop at the Glendale Recharge Ponds.  Ducks are showing signs of decreasing as numbers are noticably dropping here as well, but I still managed 11 different species-GADWALL, MALLARD, CINNAMON TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE and RUDDY DUCK.  I also had good luck with raptors, as 6 different species were present.  The best was my morning highlight MERLIN, which flew over the ponds just minutes after I got out of my truck and started to bird, the first Merlin I've ever seen at this location.  One of the young BALD EAGLES flew overhead, and an OSPREY perched on a sign along one of the ponds.  Other raptors were NORTHERN HARRIER, COOPER'S HAWK and RED-TAILED HAWK.  The Cooper's and Red-tailed Hawks went at it for awhile in flight.  Shorebird wise, I found one DUNLIN and a few AMERICAN AVOCETS have returned.  Many NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS flew over the ponds with a few TREE and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS also mixed in.

42 species for the morning.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



March 10th, 2010: Hassayampa River Preserve: GREEN KINGFISHER, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

Hey everyone,

Today (10 March 2010) I ventured out to the Wickenburg area again to the
Hassayampa River Preserve.  I had fun birding with Jay Miller and Jim
Kopitzke during the morning and early afternoon, and it was also nice to
meet Donna and Carol along the trail. 

The female GREEN KINGFISHER continued.  I saw her at about 9 am towards
the end of the River Ramble trail, over a very small pond, more ideal for
this species than the raging river.  She wasn't along the main river
today, but the opposite side, at a separate part of the river that
branched off and is more narrow, slow flowing, and quiet (the side of the
river which you have to cross by using the small bridge).  At one point,
it formed a nice pond, in which I was very shocked to see the Green
Kingfisher just because she usually isn't over this way.  To reach this
point, it is off to the right after you walk down the steps from the
visitor center area to access the trails.  Cross the small bridge placed
in the narrow part of the river and follow the River Ramble trail until
the end where this pond is and is a much slower, quieter side of the
river.  I believe she hasn't been over this way much at least from what
birders have observed, so when visiting, it's another good place to check
for this bird.  Many birders got great views of it today and I was able to
tell the crowd of people were it was.  It vocalized some, I still haven't
gotten the oppurtunity to see it catch it's prey of some sort, which would
be amazing as well.

Also present today where SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWKS, a female ANNA'S

Towards the end of the day, Jim, Jay and I made an attempt to find the RED-
SHOULDERED HAWK which was reported by Melanie Herring on friday.  We
weren't able to find it at the preserve, but we tried the classic place
behind the car dealership and KFC in Wickenburg (thanks also to the
volunteer for suggesting to us coming here to look) and we were rewarded
with great perched and in flight views of a single Red-shouldered Hawk. 
The bird was also very vocal the entire time we observed it, and at one
time had something in it's talons, in which looked alot likely to be a
snake, but it was hard to tell for sure.  The hawk flew back and fourth
among the many cottonwoods and would perch on dead branches from time to
time.  Towards the end, it soared high and continued soaring until we lost
sight of it.  Truely a beautiful raptor and a great addition to our
Arizona lists, which was a state bird for Jim, Jay and I.  Diagnostic
photos were taken of the hawk.  Thank you to Melanie for reporting the
bird, which was my main target for today!

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



March 14th, 2010: Gilbert area, Salt River Area

Hi everyone,

Today (14 March 2010) I spent the entire day from sun up to sun down
birding the areas of Gilbert and the recreation sites along the Salt
River, which is north of Mesa.  It was an awesome day to be outdoors, and
was my longest and biggest birding outing this year to date by far.

I started out in the Gilbert area first, beginning my day at Gilbert Water
Ranch.  It was very birdy this morning, as I recorded 67 species in a
little over two hours.  My main highlight here was a female COMMON
MERGANSER in pond 3, who swam through the pond rather fast, and I didn't
see her again after the first time I saw her.  The first time I've ever
seen this species here.  With the Merganser included, I saw 14 different
species of ducks, with other notable species including GADWALL, AMERCIAN
SPARROW is still present along the 5/6 path, as it feed among many White-
crowned Sparrows.  I got good views of it feeding for a minute or so. 
Other water ranch highlights from the morning included the resident
PEREGRINE FALCON, a group of 5 WILSON'S SNIPES feeding in pond 7,
SWALLOWS: Tree, Rough-winged and Cliff, and a single AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
along the 3/4 path. 

I then stopped at Veteran's Oasis Park for about 45 minutes and took a
quick walk through the park.  Two BURROWING OWLS where my main highlight
here.  I also enjoyed seeing many HORNED LARKS and a single SAVANNAH

From VOP I went to the ponds along Higley Road, where duck numbers are
still good.  3 female COMMON MERGANSERS stood out among the other species
who usually are here.  A NORTHERN HARRIER flew through a nearby field and
also present was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER.

From the Gilbert locations I spent the rest of my day along the Salt River
recreation sites.  The Butcher Jones Recreation Area/Sahuaro Lake was my
first stop.  A single HORNED GREBE continued and that was the only one I
saw during my time there.  A huge population of distant WESTERN GREBES is
visable by scanning the lake in the distance, there are probably easily
three hundred individuals, I'm sure some Clark's are in there as well.
Also on the lake were was an EARED GREBE and several PIED-BILLED GREBES,
as well as a few RING-BILLED GULLS.  LUCY'S WARBLERS were singing away at
this spot (as well as all the other spots along the Salt River) and I got
many great views of them as well.  Spring is here!

The next stop was the Goldfield Recreation Site, where I had some awesome
sightings.  I saw one BALD EAGLE soaring here, as well as a HARRIS'S HAWK
and an AMERICAN KESTREL.  Many WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS flew overhead, and
present along the river for most of the time.  One HORNED LARK and GREATER
ROADRUNNER were also present.

I then went to Coon Bluff where I had two ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS and a
GRAY FLYCATCHER.  Swallows and Swifts flew overhead here as well in good
numbers.  Several male and female VERMILION FLYCATCHERS were very active
and vocal in the area.

Finally, my last stop was at Granite Reef Recreation Site.  I am almost
positive I saw some sort of loon in the distance near the dam, but when I
was on my way to get a better view, the bird left and never came back
again.  There were many COMMON GOLDENEYES near the dam, as well as
CANVASBACKS.  Not alot of activity here, wheras it's usually very active.

107 species for the day. 

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)



March 19th, 2010: Seven Springs Area-GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW

Hi everyone,

Today I spent an awesome day at the Seven Springs Recreation Area, as well
as Mount Humboldt, Lower Camp Creek, and Rackensack Canyon. 

I got to Seven Springs just before 7 and I went to the trailhead (which is
just north of the campground) that gives an overview of the major trails
in the area.  I went on the Cave Creek Trail # 4 to start my day off.  My
day started good as I was probably a little over 1/4 of a mile on the
trail, I noticed a lone sparrow in the hillside vegetation below me, and
to my surprise, it was an adult GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW!  What a great way
to start my day off.  I watched the sparrow for a minute or so and got
rather poor photos, but my first view of this bird was directly in the
open with perfect lighting, it had it's head turned so I only saw the
black on it's supercillum part of the head at my first glance, and then it
turned my direction and the yellow-crown was brighter than ever.  It
didn't cooperate once I took my camera out, and as quickly as I saw it, it
was gone even faster.  My attempts to relocate it failed, but what a
treat!  I saw a few other birds here, with the second best being a GOLDEN-
CROWNED KINGLET.  Both Golden-crowned named birds certainly weren't
expected in one general location in Maricopa County!  Other notables were

A drive up Mount Humboldt was rather quiet, but it did produce a few
CRISSAL THRASHERS and the views at the top are breath taking.

The next place I went to was Lower Camp Creek, which is a beautiful area,
alot like Sunflower scenery and habitat wise in my opinion.  Many cabins
and houses are along this strech, it's good to remember to respect the
people who live here and to avoid the houses and cabins as much as
possible while walking down the road birding.  Highlights here included a
and SPOTTED TOWHEE.  If I came here early, I'm sure this place would've
been alot more productive and birdy. 

I then hiked down Rackensack Canyon briefly, where I saw my first ZONE-
TAILED HAWK of the year, soaring overhead for a few minutes. 3 MULE DEER
were also cool to see.

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

Birding in Maricopa County

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