Monday, February 22, 2010

Birding the Salt River Along the Bush Highway

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

If you live in the East Valley, head North on Power Road for a great quick escape from town. Power Road becomes Bush Highway and follows the Salt River. There are two riparian areas with wheelchair access - Granite Reef, and Coon Bluff. Both are good areas for seeing warblers, migrating waterfowl, and shore birds. The mesquite bosque is loaded with mistletoe - so its a great spot to see Phainopepla. On my recent visit (Feb. 18, 2010) I saw my first Vermilion Flycatcher! It was great fun watching him repeatedly swoop down to catch a bug, then return to his perch. Other birds seen included Pied-billed Grebes, a Common Moorhen, Verdin, Gila Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinal, and Cormorants (seen flying by. It was mid-day when I was at both sights. I'm sure if I had been there at more optimal birding times - early morning or late afternoon - the list of birds seen would be longer. WARNING - Unless you have completely taken leave of your senses, you do NOT want to bird here during summer months - the area is extremely busy with tons of people tubing the Salt River. Of course, you may see a bird of a completely different sort - the DrunkAndNakedAsAJay Bird (Homo sapiens).

You will need to buy a Tonto Day Pass, check for a vendor here...

Double-Click photo below to see ENLARGED version of slide show.

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