Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Heather's Corner: Oro Valley Hot Spots for Spring Birding:

We are into the early days of the 2015 Spring migration. This is an exciting time for those who enjoy the opportunity to see non-resident birds on their way further north or the neo-tropical birds that migrate only as far as southeastern Arizona in order to breed. Chances are, whether you consider yourself an experienced birder or not, you probably don't need to look further than your own backyard to view some of the 150+ species of birds we are lucky to house year round, or as a pit stop, in Oro Valley. For those of you that pleasure an actual birding excursion, there are two places you must check out.

Honey Bee Canyon Park offers quiet easy trails for beginners with interesting rock formations and vegetation. A total of three miles of hiking gives plenty of opportunity for viewing.

Fellow blogger, Bob Bowers of birdingthebrooke.com, shares some of the birds he's encountered:
  • "Nesting birds included Common Raven, Bewick’s Wren, Lesser Goldfinch and Great Horned Owl, and notable birds were a pair of Gilded Flickers, Hooded Orioles, Rufous Hummingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Green-tailed Towhee. 
  •  The other birds: Turkey Vulture, Cooper’s Hawk, Cactus and Rock Wren, Brewer’s, White-crowned, Chipping and Black-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Curve-billed Thrasher, Verdin, Northern Mockingbird, Gambel’s Quail, Gila Woodpecker, Anna’s and Costa’s Hummingbird, Canyon and Abert’s Towhee, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Tree Swallow, Mourning Dove and House Finch."
Catalina State Park has 5,000 acres with vast trails for birding but one of the best trails for birding is the Canyon Loop Trail.  The park offers a bird list at the ranger's station with detailed information on the resident and migratory birds found in the park.

An interesting note about Catalina State Park, there are two special birds on their list: the Rufous-winged Sparrow and the Crissal Thrasher. Both of these birds have limited U.S. ranges, and outside of Catalina State Park are not easily found. For unexplained reasons, however, both of these birds are common to the park.

The Tucson Audubon Society is a great source for birding information. Their newly revised guide to birding locations, maps, species, and tips called, "Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona," is considered by many to be the birding bible and is available on their website. As always, we'd love you to share any photos or birding spots you've encountered in Oro Valley!
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley for 6 years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She loves gardening, nature, art, and travel. Currently her two young children fill up most of her days (and nights) with chaotic bliss. Oro Valley favorites: memorial bench at the entrance of Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park, Toscana Studio and Gallery, OV Fall Festival, the gumption and determination of OV residents!

No comments: