Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Birding Hassayampa, Sun City, and Glendale

Hi everyone,

I explored several areas around the Hassaympa River Preserve today, followed by Lakeside Pavilion in Sun City Grand and the Glendale Recharge Ponds.

My first stop was a location north of Wickenburg along Jack Burden Road that has good mesquite habitat and some nice willow and cottonwood stands.  A GRAY HAWK greeted me as I started birding, and the surrounding mesquite was filled with the songs of returning LUCY'S WARBLERS and BELL'S VIREOS, as well as VERMILION FLYCATCHERS, several ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, and a calling COOPER'S HAWK.

Gray Hawk

Lucy's Warbler

Bell's Vireo

I then spent almost five hours searching for birds at the Hassayampa River Preserve.  The recent Downy Woodpecker was my main target for exploring this area today, but I wasn't able to find the small bird.  Finding this bird is like looking for a needle-in-a-haystack, and I wasn't expecting to find it.  I did follow every LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER I heard however, as they and the Downy Woodpecker sound very similar.  I did have very good highlights though with watching the LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES along the Mesquite Meander Trail.  They have breed in this location before and look to be repeating the process again this year.  I also had a four vireo day here which included good numbers of BELL'S, two PLUMBEOUS, and singles of CASSIN'S and HUTTON'S VIREOS.  An INCA DOVE was somewhat of a surprise here along Palm Lake, which I don't recall ever seeing an Inca Dove within the Preserve.  A single HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER was also present, and HERMIT THRUSHES were numerous near the Picnic Area.  A WILSON'S WARBLER was the warbler highlight.  The GRAY HAWKS could be heard calling from Lyke's Lookout as usual.

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Hermit Thrush

Lesser Goldfinch

From Hassayampa I went to Lakeside Pavilion at Sun City Grand.  I easily found Dominic's continuing GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, who gave me a good show.  A bully MOURNING DOVE pushed the Golden-crowned and a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW away as it obviously would win the size fight in order to claim whatever the three birds were feeding on.  Dominic also recently found a Greater Scaup here, but the bird wasn't here today and he hasn't seen it ever since he first saw it.  This can be a good location to see waterfowl.

Golden-crowned Sparrow

I lastly stopped at Glendale Recharge Ponds to see what was there.  As I was driving up, I saw a WESTERN KINGBIRD perched on a wire.  There are still a lot of ducks here, highlighted by several BUFFLEHEAD.  Shorebirds included AMERICAN AVOCET, BLACK-NECKED STILT, many LEAST SANDPIPERS, and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS.  A PEREGRINE FALCON who flew over the ponds in hot pursuit scared up plenty of birds.  The OSPREY sat on it's usual telephone pole.  Basins 2 and 5 have water in them right now.  Another good day of birding!

American Avocet

1 comment:


    You smoked it with the photos! Seriously, this is packed full of top-drawer stuff. Perched Gray Hawk...and that Lucy's shot is a sharp as any I've seen of that bird, with the rusty cap included too. Sweet stuff.
    Nice work with the Lawrence's too.

    I was just there a few weeks ago but you're making me want to ditch all the other weekend plans and just head back. Awesome.