Maricopa Audubon Society Birds in Maricopa County
 

Maricopa Audubon Society Field Trips

Useful Field Trip Information

Car Pooling: Please make every effort to organize your own carpool; consolidate vehicles at meeting places and/or contact leaders for car pooling assistance. Be courteous to your driver and help cover their driving expenses. We recommend that passengers reimburse drivers 20 cents per mile.

Limit: Maximum number of participants per field trip. Please call early to make your reservations.

Difficulty Levels 1 through 5: We use a difficulty scale. 1 equals very low level of exertion, short walking distance, considerable birding from vehicle and possible multiple birding stops. 5 equals very high level of difficulty with respect to exertion. Longer hiking distances are expected with possible steep trails. All trips are level 1 unless noted otherwise.

Audubon Society Field Trips

Day Passes Required for National Forests. Many favorite spots in our National Forests now require Day Use Passes. You are responsible to acquire a day pass ($6) in advance of field trips with an asterisk (*). Passes are available by phone or mail, at FS district and ranger offices, Big 5, some Circle K’s, the Shell station at Tom Darlington and Cave Creek Road and elsewhere. Visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/tp/where.shtml for more information.

Facebook Page: MAS member, Michael Plagens, has organized a Facebook page to share information about upcoming field trips and to organize your own trips. Please visit and "like" this page to get announcement sent to your email.

Reminders:

  • Be courteous to the trip leader and help cover their gas costs.
  • Wear neutral colored clothing and sturdy walking shoes.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, head protection and water.
  • Always bring your binoculars. Bring a scope if recommended.
  • Be quiet so others can bird by ear.
  • Unless stated otherwise, reservations are required.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors.

Saturday, January 20
Greater Phoenix Area Waterbird Survey
This census has documented 40,000-65,000 wild waterbirds of 50-60 species wintering in this otherwise desert urban area. The survey area encompasses 26 cities within the metro area and over 50 square miles. In comparable size, there is no other location in Arizona with this high of diversity and density of wintering waterbirds. Individual surveyors or teams are assigned a specific city area which can be successfully surveyed that day (Figure 2).  Within assigned area, surveyors visit all water bodies with safe and reasonable viewing access. Surveyors must annually obtain official permission before entering any signed restricted or closed areas, such as gated communities, resorts and golf courses. Most water bodies are highlighted in blue on maps provided.
For more information, please see this link. To volunteer, contact the survey coordinator, Troy Corman, tcorman@azgfd.gov

Saturday, January 20
Santa Cruz Flats Raptor Survey
Many hawk species winter in southern Arizona, some in relatively large numbers, augmenting resident populations. Santa Cruz Flats in Pinal Countyis particularly noteworthy for drawing these winter visitors. Located along the basin of the Santa Cruz River, which flows northwest across the county towards the Gila River, the area encompasses approximately 350 square miles and has an average elevation of 1,700 feet. It is primarily agricultural. Abundant rodents, thousands of wintering sparrows, and a big population of doves offer a ready food supply for raptors. Palms, cottonwoods, and clumps of tamarisk and Mexican palo verde provide roosting sites for owls. The area covered by the survey is bounded on the south by the Pinal County-Pima County line and on the west by Trekell Road to Battaglia Road and then jogs west to Chuichu Road. The northern boundary runs along Shedd Road from Chuichu Road to Wheeler Road then jogs south to run along Baumgartner Road from Wheeler Road through a line extending from Baumgartner to I-10. The eastern boundary is Wheeler Road from Shedd Roadto Baumgartner and then a diagonal line along I-10 (from where it would intersect with Baumgartner if the latter were extended east) to the PimaCounty line.
For more information, visit this link. To volunteer, please contact the survey coordinator, Doug Jenness, d_jenness@hotmail.com.

Hot Spot Saturdays 
MAS will offer a series of trips in and around Maricopa County to discover our bird diversity and see what birds are where throughout the year. For full details, contact the trip leader. Limit 8.  
January 20: Arlington Valley 
February 24: A West Valley location (for thrashers and sparrows)
March 24: Jewel of the Creek
April 7: West Valley Buckeye area 
May 19:  Papago Park and Zoo Ponds 
Leader: Veronica Heron, v.heron@yahoo.com

Tempe Town Lake Saturdays
Leader: Bobbe Taber taberbobbe@gmail.com 

Saturday, February 10
Tempe Town Lake-East End
Enjoy walking around Tempe Town Lake, yet not sure of what birds you are seeing? Explore the far east side of the lake where a variety of ducks, herons, egrets, cormorants, hawks, and eagles is often seen, including Osprey and Bald Eagle. Plan to walk slowly for two hours mostly along a paved or gravel trail with one possible dirt path down a hill if everyone is up to it. We will adjust the walk to accommodate all members’ mobility needs. Bring water, and if you have them, binoculars and bird book or birding app. Limit 8.  

Saturday, March 10
Tempe Town Lake-West End
Join up for birding and biking on the west side of Tempe Town Lake to see Western, Eared, and Pied-billed Grebe, then bike down toward the east side of the lake for possible pelican, Osprey and an occasional Bald Eagle along with various other waterbirds, shore birds and migrating ducks. Watch for nesting behaviors and see if the Cliff Swallows have returned once more to scoop mud off the banks and, as a community, build their mud nests along the bridges. Bring bike, helmet, water, binoculars, and bird book or birding app. Limit 6.     

January 13 and February 10
Plume Grass Removal Project: Lost Dutchman State Park
To reduce the fire hazard produced by this exotic pest plant, in cordination with Friends of the Tonto, come lend a hand as we dig or pull grass plants out of the washes in this habitat. We will bag the grass and haul it out. Birding for half the field time will likely produce wintering species and desert birds. Future return visits to check our results will be planned. Exact date not yet confirmed.
Register here.

Tuesday, January 9
Fountain Hills Lake and Botanical Garden
Start 7:45 am in Fountain Hills, wander the path around the lake to check water birds, then head to the little-known botanical garden to add desert species. The path around the lake is relatively flat and paved, but the walk in the botanical garden is on trails with a bit of up-and-down. End about 11:00 am in Fountain Hills.
Limit 8. Difficulty 1-2.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net.

Saturday, January 13
Scottsdale Ponds
Evening birdwatching! On bikes! Come to Scottsdale Ponds from 3:00 pm to about 5:30 pm. Find where cormorants roost, view waterfowl (possible Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail) and Black-crowned Night-Heron. Trip suitable for beginners as well as long-time birders. Please be very comfortable with riding your bike, stopping and starting often. Bring bike, helmet, water, binoculars, and bird book or birding app. 
Limit 6.
Leader: Bobbe Taber, mindfulbirding@protonmail.com 
     
Saturday, January 20
Pinal Mountain near Globe
Head to Pinal Mountain for Chihuahuan Raven, Fox Sparrow, and Williamson's Sapsucker.  Diverse habitats can produce up to 85 species of birds! Leave Tempe at 6:15 am to be on the mountain at sunrise (7:30 am). Return around 3:00 pm. Bring water and a bag lunch. Short easy hikes along forest roads, but the majority of birding near the vehicles.
Limit 11 (plus leader) in three vehicles. Difficulty 1.
Leader: Dave Pearson.
Reservations: Larry Langstaff, larrylangstaff1@gmail.com

Saturday, January 27
Wickenburg-Hassayampa River/Secret Ponds
Begin birding along the Wickenburg pedestrian bridge and under-bridge path along the Hassayampa River. Then a short two-mile drive to Wickenburg's Secret Ponds. Expected birds include Red-shouldered Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, sparrows, and waterfowl (depending on pond water levels). Wickenburg is an old western town. After the trip, stay and enjoy lunch at a restaurant, explore the town's history at Desert Caballeros Western Museum, or visit Hassayampa River Preserve. One additional high clearance vehicle needed to access Secret Ponds. Please let leader know if you are willing to carpool some of the participants to this location.
Limit 8. Difficulty 2 (walkway with inclines and stairs at the first stop and dirt trail for the second stop).
Leader: Chrissy Kondrat-Smith, azdesertbird@gmail.com

Saturday, February 3
Santa Cruz Flats
A chance to see wintering raptors perched on roadside poles. Also search agricultural areas south of Casa Grande for location specialties: Crested Caracara, Mountain Plover, and Sprague's Pipit. Leave Tempe at 6:15 am, with sunrise occurring before we arrive on the flats around 7:25 am. Return in early afternoon. Bring binoculars (and a scope if you have one), water and snacks, and wear subdued-colored clothing.
Limit 11 plus leader. Difficulty 1.
Leader: David Pearson
Reservations: Larry Langstaff, larrylangstaff1@gmail.com

Thursday-Friday, February 8-9
Roosevelt Lake/Globe with overnight at Noftsger Hill Inn B&B
Noftsger Hill Inn B&B is one of the top 10 B&Bs in an old schoolhouse in the country. (Rooms $90 and $150 single/double occupancy, plus tax; some rooms easily accommodate additional guests at $20 each). Make reservations as soon as you can and no later than December 31: 928 425-2260 or info@noftsgerhillinn.com. If carpooling, suggested donation to driver: $12-15. Donations in my car go to CEDO, the bi-national conservation organization sponsored by MAS. Itinerary (subject to change depending on the weather and road conditions):
Thursday, February 8
· Bird Apache Trail and Roosevelt Lake.
· Arrive B&B at 4:00 pm, have light Happy Hour, go out to dinner locally ($10-20).
· 7:30 pm, upon request, one-hour birding class on one of a variety of topics decided by participant vote.
Friday, February 9:
· 7:30 am, after light snack, leave to bird lower level of Ice House Canyon, Pinal Mountain.
· 10:00 am, return to B&B for sumptuous breakfast and review the bird list.
· 11:30 am, check out and bird another area of Pinal Mountain.
·  2:00 pm, leave Pinal Mountain and return to Phoenix area.
Expect varied waterfowl at Roosevelt Lake, as well as desert to chaparral birds, including
raptors, wrens, titmice, and sparrows.
Limit 9. Difficulty: 1-2.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net.

Saturday, February 24
Page Springs Fish Hatchery and Sedona Wetlands

We’ll carpool from the Scottsdale area about 6:00 AM.  Page Springs is the first destination and then continuing on to the Sedona Wetlands.  Target birds include Common Black Hawk, thrushes, woodpeckers, and wintering waterfowl.  We’ll finish up with lunch in Cottonwood before heading back to the valley by 3PM.    
Limit 7.  Difficulty 1-2, walking on mainly good, level paths.
Leader: Cindy Marple, Cindy366@cox.net.  


Cicindela pulchra dorothea, ASU Hasbrouck Insect Collection

Wednesday, February 28 
ASU Hasbrouck Insect Collection Discovery
Curator, Nico Franz, leads a discovery tour of Hasbrouck Insect Collection at 3:30 pm. Observe specimens from southwest, including Mexico, mostly collected by past entomology students and ASU professors. Limit 15.
Reservations: Larry Langstaff, larrylangstaff1@gmail.com

Saturday, March 3
Southwest Desert Insects Revealed, Location TBD
Join Nico Franz, Curator of ASU’s Hasbrouck Insect Collection, on a walk to find spring insects. Location: South Mountain Park, or the McDowell Mountains, or the desert above Granite Reef Dam on the Salt River. Start at 8:00 am. Limit 15.
Reservations: Larry Langstaff, larrylangstaff1@gmail.com

Saturday, March 10
Wickenburg-Hassayampa River/Secret Ponds
Begin birding along the Wickenburg pedestrian bridge and under-bridge path along the Hassayampa River. Then a short two-mile drive to Wickenburg's Secret Ponds. Expected birds include Red-shouldered Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, sparrows, and waterfowl (depending on pond water levels). Wickenburg is an old western town. After the trip, stay and enjoy lunch at a restaurant, explore the town's history at Desert Caballeros Western Museum, or visit Hassayampa River Preserve. One additional high clearance vehicle needed to access Secret Ponds. Please let leader know if you are willing to carpool some of the participants to this location.
Limit 8. Difficulty 2 (walkway with inclines and stairs at the first stop and dirt trail for the second stop).
Leader: Chrissy Kondrat-Smith, azdesertbird@gmail.com

Monday, March 26 – Tuesday, March 27
Rio Rico area, including Ruby Road and Peña Blanca Lake
Two days of birding around Rio Rico, with night at standard hotel. Target destinations include the De Anza Trail around Tubac and Peña Blanca Lake in the Atascosa Mountains; likely stops at Sweetwater Wetlands, and along Ruby Road. Expect sparrows, Red-naped Sapsucker, Bushtit, jays and nuthatches, plus early migrants, including warblers, vireos, and tanagers, and possible rare Montezuma Quail. Costs include hotel, two restaurant meals, gas donations to drivers, and small entrance fees.
Limit 8. Difficulty 1-2.  
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net.

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Last Updated: January 7, 2018 10:54 Copyright © 2018 Maricopa Audubon. All Rights Reserved