Sonoran Audubon Society


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 Field Trip – Hassayampa Preserve @ Hassayampa Preserve
Feb 23 @ 8:00 am

Join us for a walk in this sanctuary near Wickenburg, jointly operated by The Nature Conservancy and Maricopa County Parks. Besides circling the well-known Palm Lake, we will explore a couple of other trails, including the River Ramble, and hopefully up to Lyke’s Lookout. A view of the running Hassayampa River is a welcome sight. A variety of trees, including cottonwoods, willows and mesquite are easily observed, which will enable us to see some wintering and resident desert birds, including Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Abert’s Towhee, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. There is a $5.00 entrance fee, plus a $7.00 Maricopa County outreach fee.

Difficulty: 2. Limit: 10.
Bring a lunch.

Meet at the visitor center shortly after 8:00 A.M.

Leader: Richard Kaiser, .

SAS Field Trip – Cave Creek Regional Park & Program @ Cave Creek Regional Park
Mar 7 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am

This habitat is dominated by Upper Sonoran vegetation. Species include Palo Verde, Velvet Mesquite, Creosote Bush and numerous cactus species, especially the Saguaro. Lack of water sources limit bird species. Expect to see 15-25 species. Specialties include Phainopepla, numerous woodpecker species, gnatcatchers, Curve-billed Thrashers, Black-throated Sparrows and Cactus Wrens.

The hike begins at the Nature center (unless noted otherwise) and takes approximately 1 hour. The trail does go through some washes, thus some uphill sections are involved, but they are short.

Difficulty Level   (1)

Meet at the Nature Center.

Program to follow at 10:30 am at the Nature Center “Raptors”

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 – East Verde River Adventure @ East Verde River
Mar 10 @ 7:00 am

It’s been quite a few years since I led this trip. We start out just north of Payson on route 87 and just barely out of town we turn east on Houston Mesa road. We pass some homes which are in a high grassland area with a few trees and as we go further north we encounter more Ponderosa pines. Around 15 years ago the road use to cross the East Verde in the water on cement or asphalt crossings. Now they all have large bridges which makes it more difficult to find places to park and get down to the river. We will try to stop at some of these spot to see a mixture of grassland and forest birds. At the river crossings there are lots of cottonwoods and sycamore trees that are usually filled with birds taking advantage of the water and the shade.

We eventually come to the fire control road that runs under the rim from the town of Pine all the way east to Christopher Creek. We will cross the control road and go further north thru several cabin communities to Washington Camp. There are a number of trails that start there and go up to the top of the rim and another that follows a creek. We will elect to follow the creek and avoid killing any birders trying to climb up 2000ft to the top of the Mogollon Rim. This is a very lush and beautiful area that attracts a lot of birds. I hope that some of the migrants have already shown up this early in Spring.

We will also visit another area where highway 87 crosses the East Verde on the way to Pine and Strawberry. This has been a great place to bird everytime we have been there.

Meeting Places: Frys Electronics, 31st Ave and T-bird, NE corner of parking lot.

Time: 7:00am 2nd Spot: McDonalds, I17 and Carefree Hwy, NE corner at 7:30am.

Bring a Lunch; Difficulty 2, Leave Payson at 2:00pm

Contact: Dan Bohlmann at (602) 938-8244 or Email

SAS Field Trip – Estrella Mountain Park & Program @ Estrella Mountain Park
Mar 14 @ 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 “The Wonder of Warblers”

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