Birder's Guide

MAR 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 33 of 91

32 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2014 long-closed highway known as "Old Bee- line Highway". The best strategy for bird- ing Sunfower is to bird along the road in the neighborhood, moving your vehicle as you go. Local residents are accustomed to birders and may point out hawk nest sites in the neighborhood. Watch for hawks soaring overhead within Turkey Vulture kettles, as well. After about 1.5 miles, the road ends at a roadblock and cul-de-sac. Park here and walk around the roadblock to the old highway, crossing onto public land (Tonto National Forest). At this point you can bird along the old highway, which is a fat, easy walk, although you will have to walk around some earthen road barriers. The old highway goes for miles, but most birders concentrate on the frst mile or so between the roadblock and a U.S. Forest Service workstation. In summer, the sycamore-dominated riparian forests along the creek are alive with the sounds of breeders, including abundant Bell's Vireo, Cassin's Kingbird, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Hooded and Bullock's orioles, Blue Grosbeak, Yel- low-breasted Chat, and Summer Tanager. Walking along the old highway on summer nights, you can kick up Common Poorwill and hear Elf Owl and Western Screech- Owl. The chaparral- and juniper-covered slopes near the roadblock and upslope from the old highway are good for Gray Vireo (in summer), Juniper Titmouse, and the occasional Black-chinned Sparrow. Gila Woodpecker. Photo © Brendon Grice Verdin. Photo © Bob Gress 6-Arizona2.indd 32 3/4/14 1:07 PM

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