Thursday, September 3, 2015

Greater Than the Flattened Pewee

Hi Everyone,

I explored and enjoyed a good morning of birding at Mount Ord.  All of my birding was done along Forest Road 1688.  I was deciding between Mt. Ord and Slate Creek Divide, and I had the feeling to go to Mt. Ord.  As I got to the 1688 junction, I realized I had a hole in my tire.  I don't know if I got it by hitting something on the way up, but luckily I was on flat ground and it probably would have been a lot worse on the road up to Slate Creek.  It wasn't a good way to start out the morning, but the weather on this pine/oak mountain as well as the birds made up for it.  I changed the tire immediately and found out I had warranty on it for a free replacement later today, so it wasn't so bad after all.

The best bird I had this morning was a singing GREATER PEWEE in a drainage that I accessed near the ending stretch of FR 1688.  I located the bird quickly after hearing it and had decent looks.  This is the first time I have ever detected a Greater Pewee in Maricopa County's higher elevations, and it is seemingly a long overdue bird for me to find in the Mazatzal Mountains (Slate Creek, Mt. Ord, etc.).  I've been looking for a long time!  This bird was most likely a migrant, unless it has been overlooked this year.  It seems to me like Mount Ord and Slate Creek have appropriate habitat to harbor this bird (especially Slate Creek) as a breeder.

Other highlights I had in a 5 hour exploration of 2.5 miles among 37 species included ~25 ACORN WOODPECKERS, 7 HAIRY WOODPECKERS, 7 "WESTERN" FLYCATCHERS that were silent other than their generic calls, a calling PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, 7 PLUMBEOUS, 5 HUTTON'S, and 4 WARBLING VIREOS; abundant groups of BUSHTITS, 8 PYGMY NUTHATCHES scattered throughout the duration, 5 CANYON WRENS (one curiously approached me and hopped around right at my feet in the open as I was standing on a log and listening!), 1 ORANGE-CROWNED, 1 NASHVILLE, 2 MACGILLIVRAY'S, 13 BLACK-THROATED GRAY, 1 HERMIT, and 7 WILSON'S WARBLERS, 8 PAINTED REDSTARTS, 1 GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, 8 HEPATIC TANAGER, 20+ WESTERN TANAGERS, and 6 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS.

Other wildlife included a likely Gray Fox that I briefly saw running away from me, a Coues White-tailed Deer, and a Montezuma Squirrel.  I don't know the squirrel species, but I called it Montezuma a few years ago because it makes a sound that sounds eerily similar to that of a Montezuma Quail.  The pointless squirrel led me to belief that I had a MONQ on Mount Ord several years ago, but now it can't fool me anymore.  I hate the dumb thing.  I did record the squirrel calling along with some of the birds.  I'll include a YouTube video link for this recording.  It helps to have a good sound system or headphones to listen to this video, it's not the best recording.  The squirrel can be made out, and it really does sound like that quail!

YouTube Link:

Full eBird list:

Good Birding,

Tommy DeBardeleben (Glendale, Arizona)


  1. Awesome trip! Few people know that Maricopa has such specialty species. Hope you enjoyed your time with Jose Maria!

  2. Congrats on finding a Jose Maria in the county, Mr. Tommy!!! Just another awesome find by "The King of Maricopa"!!! Sorry about the tire though.