Sonoran Audubon Society


SAS Field Trip – Tonto Fish Hatchery @ Tonto Fish Hatchery
Jul 23 @ 5:30 am – 5:00 pm

At the Hatchery we should see some of the high country birds, such as the Red-faced Warbler, the Painted Redstart, the Common Blackhawk, the Zone-tailed Hawk, and the Osprey.

The Hatchery has restrooms. Bring a lunch. We will eat at one of the picnic areas near the Hatchery and do some birding there. We will leave for the Valley in the early afternoon.

Meet at Denny’s in Fountain Hills at the intersection of Shea Blvd. and Hwy. 87 (Beeline Hwy) at 5:30 AM.

Directions: Take Hwy 87 to Payson. Turn right at Hwy. 260 (at light). After about 17 miles on Hwy. 260, look for the Tonto Fish Hatchery sign on the left. Turn left and go to the end of the road to the Fish Hatchery parking area. On Hwy 260, if you reach Christopher Creek, you’ve gone too far. Donna and Darnell will meet you at the Hatchery between 7:30 and 8:00 AM.

Sign up with Donna. Phone: 623-556-9535 e-mail:
Darnell Phone: 602-938-6174 e-mail:

SAS Field Trip – Rim Road 300 @ Rim Road 300
Aug 20 @ 5:45 am

It’s time to get out of the heat and head to the high country to see some of the birds there. Forest Rd. 300 is the Rim Rd. and we could see warblers, nuthatches, and other birds of the forest. This is always a great trip north.

We will meet at the McDonalds on Carefree Hwy. and I-17 at 5:45 and leave there at 6am. We will have a rest stop at Camp Verde and head on up to the Rim. There is a restroom at the picnic area where we will eat lunch. Bring water, lunch, bug spray and I would suggest you wear long pants, as we will do some walking in the woods.

RSVP to Donna Smith,, phone 623-556-9535 orvDarnell Kirksey, 602-938-6174

SAS Field Trip – Cave Creek Regional Park & Program @ Cave Creek Regional Park
Sep 7 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 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 visitor 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)

Program to follow (around 9:30 – 10:00) at the Nature Center “Cryptic Birds of the Night”

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 – Lockett Meadow @ Lockett Meadow
Sep 12 @ 6:30 am – 5:30 pm

Lockett Meadow is a high altitude meadow on the east side of the San Francisco Peaks that is surrounded by Spruce, Fir and Aspen. It exists because of the eruption of the original 19,000 foot volcano that blew out to the northeast just like Mt. Saint Helen did leaving the present day five peaks around the edges of the original volcano. The road into the meadow enters through the gap blown out by the eruption. The meadow today is one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona with a campground, pond and trails leading to the Inner Basin(the middle of the old volcano) and along the North and South Pipeline Trails that go around the mountains. The pipeline that gives Flagstaff half its water is actually under the trail.

The elevation of the meadow is around 8500 feet and thus we will be looking for high altitude birds that usually are here during the summer. Over the years I have led hiking and birding trips many times here and I’ve seen all the following birds but not on the same trip. Clark’s Nutcracker, Steller’s, Pinyon and Gray Jay, Northern Pygmy Owl, Mountain Chickadee, Nuthatches(all three), Townsend’s Solitaire, Hermit Thrush, Robin, Cedar Waxwing, Plumbeus Vireo, Graces, Black-throated Gray, Yellow-rumped, Yellow Warbler, Red Crossbill, Red-naped Sapsucker, Hairy and Three-toed Woodpecker. I’m sure there are other more common forest birds that I saw that I haven’t mentioned. There have been some trips where I didn’t see any of the above, like when the wind was blowing 50 to 60 miles per hour. You just never know whether you’re going to get skunked or hit the jackpot!

We will be walking around the meadow for about one mile and then up the Inner Basin Trail for about a half mile. You can always stop and wait ( and bird watch) until the group returns. I would rate this trips difficulty to be a 3 ( on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being most difficult ) because of the 2 mile total distance and the high altitude. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots. This time of year it’s a good idea to have a rain poncho along. Also bring a sweatshirt and a windbreaker just in case a cold wind occurs. Please bring a lunch since we plan on eating lunch there.

The road into Lockett Meadow requires an SUV or high clearance vehicle since it is a gravel/dirt road that changes condition all the time. If you have such a vehicle and can drive please let me know. This trip is limited to 12 people in three cars.

We will plan on leaving Lockett Meadow around 2 to 3pm and arrive back in Phoenix by 5:30pm at the latest.

Meeting place and time: 6:30am at Frys Electronics, 31st Ave and Thunderbird, NE corner of Parking lot near trees. 2nd Spot 7:00am at McDonalds, Carefree Hwy and I17 ( NE corner).
Contact Dan Bohlmann at 602 938-8244 or

SAS Field Trip – Estrella Mountain Park & Program @ Estrella Mountain Park
Sep 14 @ 7:00 am – 9:30 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 Visitor Center at 7:00 am.

Difficulty Level (2) due to its length.

Program to follow at 9:30 or 10:00 “Canaries in the Coal Mine”

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