Sonoran Audubon Society


SAS 2019 Picnic at Horseshoe Ranch – RESCHEDULED @ Horseshoe Ranch/Agua Fria National Monument
Apr 27 @ 8:30 am – 2:00 pm

Dear Friends of Sonoran Audubon Society and Invited Friends of Friends: The SAS ANNUAL BIRD WALKS AND PICNIC AT HORSESHOE RANCH is Saturday April 27, 2019 from 8:00 AM to about 1 PM. We’ll be in the shade on the lovely campus of the Horseshoe Ranch complex using one of the full-service houses as our base of operations. HORSESHOE RANCH is a AZ Game & Fish inholding in the Agua Fria National Monument on Bloody Basin Road (Directions below). Come on out-RAIN or SHINE!

The Bird Walks: Start times: 7:30 AM: Depending upon attendance, there will be one or more of these hikes below. Guides may (or may not) be: Jim “Plants for Birds” Consolloy, Tice (“AZ Audubon”) Supplee, Bob “McBob” McCormick, Karen “Still Learning the Birds” LaFrance, Andree’ (“Super Volunteer”) Tarby and others.

Silver Creek Hike—NEW ROUTE: Lower Silver Creek to the confluence with the Upper Agua Fria River and back to cars parked at the restrooms—should be some good sightings and avoids the hot 1/2 mile walk to get to the upper Silver Creek’s “good parts.” Tice Supplee will be your guide.

A Maybe Hike: Indian Creek from the Ranch, possibly with Bob “McBob”. This is truly a hike, so appropriate footwear, hats and water are required.

Around the Ranch Easy Walk OR The Big Sit Not-A-Walk: Yep: around the Ranch—big trees full of birds… A Golden Eagle flew right over a few years ago! And last year we had the curlew in the field next to the picnic area…all day. Bring your lawn chairs & look for birds from your catbird’s seat. Little exertion required.

The Agua Fria Ford Big Sit: The ford at Horseshoe Ranch can be very “birdy” so you can bring your chairs and watch for birds there. We plan to have a “guide” with you to find the right “perch”.

The Picnic: SAS will provide The Main Course—hamburgers, veggie burgers and kielbasa on the grill—plus Soft Drinks and water, condiments and utensils. Please bring a side dish or dessert for pot luck.

Bring your boots, hats, sun screen and binocs!…AND, for hanging out doing the Big Sits and for eating, lawn chairs. There will likely be Plants for Birds raffles courtesy of Jim and Tom.

RSVP BY WED APRIL 24th to Karen at 602-809-3360 or OR to Donna, so SAS has an accurate count of attendees for food planning purposes. Many of you have signed up at the recent SAS meeting or have already replied to the above persons so no need to repeat…. SEE YOU SOON!

Directions: Drive north toward Flagstaff on Route 17 out of Phoenix to the Bloody Ba-sin Road exit #259 about 50-60 miles from Phoenix. Drive EAST on BB Road for six miles. The dirt road is probably OK for regular cars; just go slow in some places as there may be rough spots with all the rain lately. As you come over the rise at about Mile 6 and see the Upper Agua Fria River/big trees below in the valley you will also see the Ranch complex across the river. Turn LEFT into the Ranch Road, drive OVER (through!) the stream (yes, it is the river) and up into the Ranch yard to park.

SAS Field Trip – Mingus Mountain @ Mingus Mountain
May 7 all-day

We will be looking for Spring migrants primarily. It will be somewhat early for nesters. The high on Tuesday is predicted to be in the mid to upper 60’s in Prescott, so expect the temperature to be in the low 50’s up on the mountain. Bring a lunch, water and snacks.

Dan Bohlmann is going to take calls/emails to sign up for the trip and organize car pooling and I will meet the group at the turn off to Mingus Mountain from Hwy 89 at 9:00am.

This trip is limited to 10 people so call early!

Car pooling locations at Fry’s Electronics, N.E. corner of the parking lot at 6:30am and the McDonalds at Carefree HWY and I17, N.E. corner of intersection just beyond the next street light at 7:00am.

Call/email Dan Bohlmann at (602) 938-8244 or

SAS Field Trip – Page Springs & Bubbling Ponds @ Page Springs
May 18 @ 6:30 am

Located among the beautiful scenery of lower Oak Creek, Bubbling Ponds Preserve offers outstanding wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities. The Preserve is part of the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, an Arizona Game & Fish Department facility. Northern Arizona Audubon has partnered with the Arizona Game & Fish Department to provide a wonderful wildlife sanctuary designed for easy public access.

The 1.8-mile Black Hawk nature trail, which has signs describing riparian habitat and wildlife, meanders through the preserve and along Oak Creek. The Preserve which contains a large ramada, two viewing decks, an outdoor educational area and convenient seating areas along the trail, is a great place to see wildlife and is maintained by NAAS volunteers. Visitation to the area is from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

This map shows the parking area labeled IBA entry at the lower left of the map.

Bubbling Ponds Preserve is a wonderful example of a public – private partnership. The Arizona Game & Fish Department provided the land and its very helpful staff who supported the project from its inception. The $45,000 cost of this project was funded entirely by Northern Arizona Audubon thanks to donations from its members. Members of Audubon also handled the design, project management and assisted in constructing many of the improvements.

We will be at Bubbling springs for about three hours and will then move across Oak Creek to Paige Springs for an additional hour or two.

Page Springs Fish Hatchery resides on Commission-owned land and is managed by the Department’s Hatchery Program since 1938. Page Springs Hatchery was named after the Page family, the previous owners of the property who had been raising trout as far back as the early 1930s. The hatchery is comprised of two separate parcels Page Springs Hatchery and Bubbling Ponds Hatchery totaling approximately 190 acres. There are two springs on the hatchery that include the “Cave Spring” (also known as the Page Spring Tunnel) and the “Pond Spring Area.”

Page Springs Hatchery is the largest state run hatchery. It produces on average 216,000 lbs. of trout which equals approximately 57% of the stock trout in Arizona, and makes a $185.3 million positive impact to the overall state economy.

Page Springs is located on beautiful Oak Creek approximately 10 miles south of Sedona and 10 miles north of Cottonwood off Highway 89A on the Page Springs Road. The best access is from Interstate 17. Take the McGuireville exit (exit 293), turn west for approximately 10 miles to Cornville; turn north on Page Springs Road for five miles to hatchery entrance.

Things to Know/Bring:
This trip will go from 8:00am to around noon. The Bubbling Springs parking area only holds about 8 cars. Additional parking is available at the winery closer to the fish hatchery. Bring a lunch if you wish and lots of water. The lunch area will be at the Paige Springs Fish hatchery. Those interested in really good burgers may want to stop at G’s Burgers in Cornville, inexpensive and awesome!
Please bring binoculars and cameras. Bathrooms are available at the fish hatchery. We will be doing moderate hiking, so plan on bringing sturdy hiking boots. A wide-brimmed hat and sun block are also highly recommended.

Carpooling, Meeting Time/Location:
We will leave the Park and Ride Lot, SW corner of I-17 and Bell Rd. at 6:30am

Difficulty: 2 – hiking on trails and we will cover about three miles.

SAS Field Trip – White Tank Mountains Park & Program @ White Tank Mountains Park
May 18 @ 7:30 am – 10:00 am

This habitat is dominated by Upper Sonoran vegetation. Species include Palo Verde, Ironwood, Creosote Bush, Jojoba and numerous cactus species, most notably the Teddy Bear Cholla, barrel cactus species, and the dominate Saguaro. Lack of water sources limit bird species. Woodpecker types dominate. Expect to see 15-25 species. Specialties include Rock Wrens, Cactus Wrens, Phainopepla, and Gila Woodpeckers.

Meet at  Area 9, Ford Canyon Trail

This hike takes an hour to 1.5 to 2 hours and covers  .5 to 1 mile. Some short areas of uphill (less than 35 yards) may be on a trail.

Difficulty Level  (1).

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 – Madera Canyon @ Madera Canyon
Jun 11 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Donna and Darnell are driving to the Best Western Motel, Green Valley, on June 10. We’re going to do a little scouting. If you’d like to join us, the motel’s phone is 520-625-2250. We’ll meet in the lobby at 2:00 PM on the 10th.

On June 11, please meet us at the Proctor Trail parking lot at 9:00 AM. Proctor Trail is the first pay stop as you enter Madera Canyon (on the right).

We should see a variety of humming birds at the Santa Rita Lodge. Also Mexican Jays, Arizona Woodpeckers, and Acorn Woodpeckers among other interesting species. We will visit a couple of other sites in the area.

Bring a lunch, water, and hiking shoes. We plan to leave for Phoenix between 2 and 3 PM.

Contacts: Donna Smith 623-556-9535 or Darnell Kirksey 602-938-6174