Sonoran Audubon Society


SAS Field Trip – Wickenburg Area @ Wickenburg
Feb 2 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am

The focus for this trip will be on wintering and resident birds in desert riparian and urban areas. We will check some of the local spots around Wickenburg including Boetto Park, Coffinger Park, along Rincon Rd. near The Meadows, and possibly Secret Ponds depending on road conditions. It will be easy walking at all of the sites and restrooms are available at Boetto Park and Coffinger Park (as well as at nearby gas stations and fast food joints).

Meet at Boetto Park in Wickenburg at 8:00am.

Trip limited to 10.

The field trip will wrap up by 11:00am and there are plenty of restaurants, fast food joints, and gas station food mart options if folks want brunch or lunch before they head back home. Otherwise, participants should bring their own water and snacks.

Dress in layers, as it is often colder first thing in the morning in Wickenburg than it is in the Valley.

SAS Field Trip – Estrella Mountain Park & Program @ Estrella Mountain Park
Feb 8 @ 8:00 am – 11:30 am

Estrella Park is located along the Gila River and adjacent hills. The habitat is diverse, varying from desert scrub flood on the flood plain to riparian vegetation dominated by salt cedar (tamarisk species) and some Gooddings Willow. The park itself has Velvet Mesquite and some large Blue Gum species which support nesting by raptors. Irrigation has increased the number of birds seen. The hills south are made of ancient metamorphic rock, exposed plutons, and produce thermals which are friendly to soaring vultures and other species. Expect a variety of bird species and further diversity during migration. Specialties include Vermilion Flycatcher, Red-tailed Hawks, Osprey, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White Pelicans and shore birds when the river flows. Species numbers can be as high as 65.

The walk is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles in length covering 2.5 hours along level terrain.

Meet at the Nature Center at 8:00 am.

Difficulty Level (2) due to its length.

Program to follow at 10:45 “Ratites”

No registration is required, but be sure to check the park website for times and any last minute changes that might have occurred.

SAS Field Trip – Lake Pleasant & CHS Resort – CANCELLED @ Lake Pleasant & CHS Resort
Feb 10 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Lake Pleasant is the largest in Maricopa County with over 90 miles of shoreline amidst endless mountain scenery. It is a migratory stopover for thousands of waterfowl as well as native species inhabiting the edges and trails. A large feeder to the lake is Castle Creek where the road crosses leading another four miles to the new Castle Hot Springs Resort. We will not have permission to trespass into the resort but will have good views and roadside birding. I have invited guests to join us at the lake at 9 a.m. if interested.

We expect to see a variety of waterfowl from various vantage points at the north end of the park, including Western Grebes, Cormorants, other diving and puddling ducks near the shoreline and will see and hear many desert birds at the Cottonwood Canyon rest area, our first stop inside the park. From the park areas north along Castle Creek Road we will continue to stop for wildlife and birds up to the resort area. This road is considered a primitive road with some obstacles and normally lots of dust. A higher clearance vehicle is recommended.

Meet at the north end of the park at 8:30 a.m., bring water, snacks, sun protection and a scope if you have one. We will return to the park late morning and hike a short stretch of the Pipeline Canyon Trail, starting at the Cottonwood Canyon rest area. Bring a lunch if you want to stay into the afternoon and hike at the south end of the park.

Difficulty: Level 1 if you bird roadside only
Level 2 if you hike the Pipeline Canyon Trail for an hour or so.

Directions: From I-17 take Rt 74 west to Castle Hot Springs Rd. Turn right and follow signs to Lake Pleasant Park. Go past the first entrance to the park (south end) another 3 miles to the north end entrance area. We will gather there and may find some good desert birds while waiting.

Please email Jim Consolloy or call 602-920-7059 and leave a voicemail message. I will return your call.

SAS Chapter Meeting February 2020 @ West Valley Unitarian Universalist Church
Feb 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join us as we welcome back Dominic Sherony who will present on Argentina.

Says Dominic: “In 2014 I birded Argentina on a Field Guides Tour. I was able to visit four regions of the country that had very different habitats. Some parts of Argentina are similar to the Sonoran Desert and, as a result, there are a few species of birds are also similar to their northern counterparts in terms of how they have adapted. I will focus on many of the habitats we visited and the species found in these environments. Of the birds we saw, certain species which are unfamiliar to most of us will be given special attention such as penguins, caracaras, seedsnipe, rheas, and others.”

Unique Birds of Arizona and Where to Look for Them @ White Tank Library
Feb 15 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Presenter: Karen LaFrance, Co-chair, Sonoran Audubon Society