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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/276205

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33 March 2014 | Birder's Guide to Travel In the fall and winter, look for Town- send's Solitaire, Lawrence's Goldfnch (un- common), Western Bluebird, Green-tailed Towhee, and Red-naped Sapsucker. Care- ful checking of wintering White-crowned Sparrow focks may turn up a stray White- throated or Harris's sparrow. From Phoenix, take AZ-202 east to Country Club Drive (Exit 13) and follow signs north to AZ-87 (Beeline Highway). Go 41.0 miles north on AZ-87 to mile marker 218. Get into the left lane and take a left across oncoming lanes of highway traffc to enter Sunfower. #4 • Glendale Recharge Ponds The Glendale Recharge Ponds have been open to birders only for the past few years, but the site has grown quickly in popular- ity with local birders, who have discovered a rapid succession of rarities. The site now has a list of more than 215 species, includ- ing 15 species of gulls and terns and 28 species of shorebirds—impressive for the middle of the desert. Rarities have includ- ed Ruff, Red Knot, Roseate Spoonbill, El- egant Tern, and Eurasian Wigeon. The frst nesting record for Arizona of Least Tern came from here recently (one of the adults was a California-banded bird). Located about 12 miles west of cen- tral Phoenix in subur- ban Glendale along the mostly dry Agua Fria River, this is a working recharge facility owned by the local water util- ity. The ponds are sur- rounded by a private airport, a Dodgers/White Sox baseball complex, and the Arizona Cardi- nals football stadium. Access is by foot only. The site has been com- pletely stripped of all vegetation, and birding it means hiking across dusty berms along open canals and recharge con- trol structures. Summer is brutally hot, with zero shade, and visits should be attempted only in the early morning hours. The riparian area along the Agua Fria River harbors resident desert species, in- cluding Curve-billed Thrasher, Verdin, and Abert's Towhee, and, during migra- tion, Blue and Black-headed grosbeaks, Western Tanager, and Bullock's Oriole. Water levels in the recharge basins fuc- Green-winged Teal at Gilbert Water Ranch. Photo © Ryan Askren Map © Cindy Lippincott 6-Arizona2.indd 33 3/4/14 1:07 PM

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