Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The goodies of the Hassayampa River

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 opportunity to see it catch it's prey of some sort, which would 
be amazing as well.
Green Kingfisher

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!

Red-shouldered Hawk

Yellow-breasted Chat

Good birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)

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