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Miss the fun of a Field Trip or Monthly Program? 

Read a sampling of our Leaders' trip reports here and see photos from a few of our past Monthly Program events at the bottom of the page

Bubbling Ponds - May 30 2024

I was joined by 12 folks for Butterflying at the Bubbling Ponds on May 30th. Butterflies were flying, birds were soaring and bees were buzzing on a beautiful, sunny day. There were folks from the valley down below us, as well as one from Munds Park and another from Flagstaff. While the main purpose of the walk was to search for butterflies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the 35 bird species we saw during our walk. Our bird sightings were raptor-heavy, with spectacular views of the following species: two Common Black Hawks, a juvenile Zone-tailed Hawk soaring with two Turkey Vultures, two Ospreys carrying nesting material to rebuild their nest, an American Kestrel, a female Great Horned Owl and a Bald Eagle. On the butterfly front, we observed 11 species. Participants had great views, with the opportunity to compare the differences of our two common White species; Cabbage and Checkered Whites. Sulphurs didn’t disappoint, giving us opportunities to distinguish between Orange Sulphurs and Sleepy Oranges. In the brush-foot family, observations of male and female Queens, Common Buckeyes and American Snouts flitting about, nectaring, laying eggs and doing the “butterfly dance” were a joy to watch. For the most part, Blue species were mysteriously missing as I had scouted the area two days before the walk, but we did see a few Marine Blues and one, very worn Lupine Blue near the end of our walk. Also surprising, we only saw two Skipper species: the Northern White Skipper and many got their eyes on an Arizona Powdered Skipper. From the participants' parting comments, everyone enjoyed the morning and learned a lot about butterflies and birds! By Becky Hardy. Arizona Powdered Skipper photo by Tonie Hansen, Common Black Hawk photo by Polly Cullen.

Page Springs - May 24 2024

I was joined by 11 folks on a sunny, beautiful May 24th to hear about butterfly host and nectar plants and to see butterflies at the Monarch Waystation Garden at Page Springs Fish Hatchery. For the first half hour, I shared information about the different types of plants and how to attract butterflies to their gardens. While speaking, birds and butterflies flew around the garden. The highlight was two Common Black Hawks soaring above us. After the talk, we walked the South Wildlife Viewing trail, while I pointed out other butterfly host plants that aren’t in the garden, such as trees and shrubs, as well as butterflies. Along the way, we saw the following butterfly species: Reakirt’s Blue, Queen, Cabbage White, Checkered White, Common Checkered-Skipper, Sleepy Orange, Two-tailed Swallowtail, American Snout and Marine Blue.  Everyone enjoyed learning about butterflies and being out in nature! Written and photo by Polly Cullen

Indian Gardens and beyond - May 22 2024

Nine birders enjoyed a cool, beautiful morning full of birds as we hiked into a secluded neighborhood nestled in Oak Creek Canyon. Eye-level Common Black Hawk was the highlight. Birds were courting at every turn. We observed many female orioles and tanagers and worked on learning the difference. By Kay Hawklee.

Mingus Mountain - May 16 2024 

Two birders joined me for a fun, relaxed trip up Mingus Mountain. We had never seen so many birds throughout the entire hike up Butterfly Springs Trail!  The ponds are full which is wonderful for birds going into the warm weather. We continued on to Mingus Lake where we caught brief glimpses of a courting pair of Olive Warblers. The male and female were singing. It was a real treat! By Kay Hawklee

Hart Prairie - May 19, 2024

After the Nature Conservancy was so kind as to grant us access to their Hart Prairie Preserve, fifteen birders from all across Arizona showed up to enjoy the early summer weather and the stunning scenery. The early arrivals were treated to a herd of forty or so elk meandering across the prairie, but bands of mule deer popped up throughout our trip for everyone to see. Bird highlights begin with a great horned owl we accidentally sprung from its roost, but the many nesting violet-green swallows were an equal delight, and the flycatchers and broad-tailed hummingbirds were everywhere. Thank you to everyone who came out, and to the Nature Conservancy for hosting us! By James Rounds

Mingus Mountain - May 8 2024

I was joined by 7 participants on May 8th walking the Mingus Mountain Butterfly Springs trail. We spent four hours and walked less than a mile on the trail and had 30 species. Highlights included Red-faced Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, and a close encounter with a singing Virginia’s Warbler. We were delighted to watch a pair of Plumbeous Vireos building their nest. Life birds were seen by a few. Only a few patches of snow remained. There were signs of Spring all around! By Heather Hofling.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park - May 2 2024

I was joined by 8 participants including a visitor from Payson on May 2nd at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. We started out with an early sighting of Common Black Hawk perched over the river at the kayak launch. The great look was amplified with views through Tom’s scope. A few other highlights included 20 Lark Sparrows filling up on seeds at Armchair feeders, a paired up Summer Tanager couple, mating American Kestrels, Black-headed Grosbeak females, a trio of Brown-crested Flycatchers, a Western Wood-Pewee, Vermilion Flycatcher, and one lone Pine Siskin. By Heather Hofling (photo also by Heather). 

Sedona Wetlands - May 4 2024

I was joined by 8 folks including 2 each from New York, Connecticut, and South Carolina on May 4th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of 2 Bonaparte's Gulls, Least & Spotted Sandpipers, a Neotropic Cormorant on a pole, close breeding plumage Eared Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, Say's Phoebe, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Phainopepla, Lark Sparrow, Western Kingbird, and Bullock's Oriole. But the top highlight was 2 very close baby American Coots that looked only a day or 2 old. By Rich Armstrong. Photo by Polly Cullen. 

Monarch Waystation Pollinator Garden Tour - May 4, 2024

On Saturday, May 4th, 8 people from Cornville, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and Flagstaff joined me for a tour of the Monarch Waystation Pollinator Garden at Page Springs Fish Hatchery Visitor Center.  While it was still too cool in the shade for butterflies to be active, participants were able to see several native milkweed species as hosts for Monarch caterpillars, and many native wildflower species as nectar for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. All were invited to return on a sunny afternoon to observe pollinators visiting the garden.

Sedona Wetlands - April 30 2024

I was joined by 7 folks including 2 from Ohio on April 30th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of about 12 Black-necked Stilts, Least & Spotted Sandpipers, a Great Blue Heron balancing on a pole, close breeding plumage Eared Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, Say's Phoebe, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Phainopepla, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak. We even got a glimpse of a Common Yellowthroat. By Rich Armstrong. Pictures by Polly Cullen.

Sedona Wetlands "Big Sit" - April 24 2024

I was joined by 11 folks including a couple from New York on April 24th for a 1 hour "big sit" at the Sedona Wetlands. It was a beautiful morning, but we only got to 28 species. Highlights were scope views of Spotted Sandpipers, male Cinnamon Teal, Ruddy Duck in full blue bill plumage, Eared Grebe, American Wigeon, baby Mallards, 2 Ring-billed Gulls, Phainopepla, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Black & Say's Phoebes, and a cooperative Chipping Sparrow. By Rich Armstrong. Pictures by Polly Cullen.

Sedona Wetlands - April 21 2024

I was joined by 6 folks including a couple from Colorado on April 21st for a 1 hour walk at the Sedona Wetlands. There were almost no highlights. A Long-billed Dowitcher, a Spotted Sandpiper, a few Least Sandpipers, and a male Blue-winged Teal were scoped but very far away. A Neotropic Cormorant flew before I scoped it. A Yellow Warbler was seen briefly, and as usual many singing Common Yellowthroats were not cooperative. The Colorado birders requested Phainopepla and we saw both male & female. By Rich Armstrong.

Page Springs Bubbling Ponds - April 17 2024

On April 17th by special request from the Maricopa Audubon Society I led a field trip to Page Springs Bubbling Ponds. We had 11 birders drive from the Phoenix area to arrive for the 7:30 AM birding field trip. This was a first time for many, or they haven't been here in years. What a great morning it was. Highlights included FOS Summer Tanagers, Osprey flying and on the nest, Bridled Titmouse, a calling Sora, a posing Wood Duck, a Ladderback Woodpecker in a nesting hole, and our Mascot Bird of the Verde Valley the Common Black Hawk. The main attraction was the Great Horned Owl nest with 2 owlets on the nest looking at all of us. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I'm sure some great memories on a happy drive back to Phoenix. By Janie Ward-Langley. Photo by Jeff Goulding.

Jail Trail, Cottonwood - April 19 2024

I was joined by12 birders for a field trip on the Jail Trail in Cottonwood on April 19th. It was beautiful with perfect spring weather of sunshine and blue skies. People from as far as South Carolina joined us and many of the birds were lifers for them. We were greeted first by a pair of Northern Cardinals. We saw migration arrivals of both the Western and Summer Tanagers. A Ladderback Woodpecker visited a possible nesting cavity. Two Lark Sparrows perched for everyone to see through a scope. Lucy's, Orange-crowned,Yellow-rumped Audubon's and Myrtle Warblers were all singing. We watched an Anna's Hummingbird gathering nesting material, then observed the bird building the nest, and it was an extraordinary sight and a first for many. The highlight of the trip was an adult Great Horned Owl with one owlet in the nest that was seen through a scope by everyone.  By Janie Ward-Langley. Photo by Tonie Hansen.

Woods Canyon Trail - April 18 2024

I was joined by 8 people for the Woods Canyon Trail birding walk on April 18th. The group included birders from the VOC, Sedona, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, and Santa Rosa (California). We observed several very accommodating Black-throated Sparrows, a pair of fairly accommodating Canyon Towhees, and a not so accommodating Rufous-crowned Sparrow. We observed five species of Warbler: Lucy's, Virginia's, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, and Black-throated Gray. The best highlight was adult male Hooded, Bullock's & Scott's Orioles. We ended up with 38 species in all.  By Mark Philippart.

Sedona Wetlands - April 15 2024

I was joined by 8 folks including a couple from California on April 15th for a 1 hour walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views a pair of  Pied-billed Grebes maybe doing a mating display, male Cinnamon Teal, some distant Least Sandpipers, a Neotropic Cormorant, normal ducks, and hundreds of Violet-green Swallows with a few Cliff Swallows. All also had great view of a singing Yellow Warbler, but singing Common Yellowthroats were not cooperative. By Rich Armstrong. Photo by Tonie Hanson. 

Page Springs Fish Hatchery’s Monarch Waystation Garden - April 12 2024

I was joined by 17 lovers of “everything that flies” at the Page Springs Fish Hatchery’s Monarch Waystation Garden on Friday, April 12th. All were enthusiastic to learn about these winged wonders and how to attract them to their gardens. I tried to stay focused, while presenting for a half-hour about native plants for birds and butterflies. Two-tailed Swallowtails made it very difficult and seemed to want to join in on the conversation. Afterwards, we ventured on the South Wildlife Viewing trail to see what we could find and talk about some more of the Verde Valley’s native plants. We, of course, had the usual suspects, such as Black Phoebe, Abert’s Towhees and Great Blue Heron. Our highlights were: a Common Black Hawk on nest, a male Vermillion Flycatcher, several Two-tailed Swallowtails, Cabbage Whites and a flyby from a Sara Orangetip. By Becky Hardy. Picture by Polly Cullen.

Sedona Wetlands - April 12 2024

Nanette & I were joined on April 12th by 21 folks from the Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition for a walk around the Sedona Wetlands as well as playing the migration game. Highlights were scope views of White-faced Ibis, baby Killdeer, a Great Blue Heron catching & eating a fish, male Cinnamon Teal, Common Mergansers, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Gadwall, lesser Scaup, a Ruddy Duck with blue bill, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. There were also close flybys of White-throated Swifts. Photos and write up by Rich Armstrong.

Sedona Wetlands - April 9 2024

I was joined by 9 folks including people from New Jersey, Canada, St. Louis, and Oregon on a beautiful April 9th for a 75 min walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of baby Pied-billed Grebes, Barn & Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Neotropic Cormorants, male Redheads, male Green-winged & Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, and Eared Grebe. All also had nice views of Yellow Warbler. By Rich Armstrong. Photos by Polly Cullen

Sedona Wetlands - April 7 2024

I was joined by 8 folks on April 7th for a 1 hour walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were a Pied-billed Grebe feeding a fish to a baby, 3 baby Killdeer, very close male & female Cinnamon Teal, a Long-billed Dowitcher, 2 Least Sandpipers, 2 Neotropic Cormorants, a 1st of season Cassin's Kingbird, and still a good number of ducks. A male Yellow-headed Blackbird was uncooperative. By Rich Armstrong. Photos by Kelly Isley.

Birding 101 Class - April 5 2024

I had 14 people for a Birding 101 class on April 5th. We thank Liz Gooslin and the Cottonwood Library for hosting. On the April 6th field trip portion we went to both the Sedona Wetlands and our house with most of us wearing our greater coats. Highlights were scope views of male & female Red-breasted Mergansers, breeding plumage Franklin's Gulls, Yellow Warblers, baby Killdeer, super close Long-billed Dowitcher, a Sora, Least Sandpipers, a singing Rock Wren, Ruddy Duck with full blue bill, 2 Neotropic Cormorants, a standing Black-crowned Night Heron, a breeding plumage Eared Grebe, close Cinnamon Teal, a perched Red-tailed Hawk, both perched & soaring Common Black Hawk, a perched American Kestrel, male Hooded Oriole, and a breeding plumage Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler. 5 swallow species were not easy to see and singing Common Yellowthroats & Song Sparrows stayed hidden. The 57 species included most of the normal ducks. By Rich Armstrong.

Windmill Park- April 1 2024

On a gloomy April 1st morning, nine ready participants joined me at Windmill Park to see 30 species, 11 of which ranged from gray to black; it was a study of silhouettes. These birds could have fooled us being April Fool's Day, however, we kept our eyes focused to note subtle differences in behavior and body structure. This allowed us to gather enough information to determine who each was. A pair of Vermilion Flycatchers brightened the morning. Praise goes out to the hearty bird enthusiasts who attended. By Kristen Rothrock Picture by Polly Cullen.

Sedona Wetlands - March 1 2024

I was joined by 7 people on March 30th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of 26 American Avocets most in breeding plumage, a perched Neotropic Cormorant, 3 Ring-billed Gulls, a male Northern Cardinal, a close male Lesser Scaup, a singing Song Sparrow, and still most of the wintering duck species. At the end a Red-tailed Hawk soared right over us with something in it's talons - maybe a ground squirrel or chipmunk. By Rich Armstrong. Picture by John Mitchell.

Bubbling Ponds Preserve - March 28 2024

I was joined by 16 folks on a clear, sunny March 28th morning at Bubbling Ponds Preserve after a couple days of cold and rain for butterflying. It was a beautiful day to be out in nature to observe butterflies and learn about their host plants. The butterflies agreed! We observed 8 confirmed species of butterflies: Two-tailed Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, a very worn Sleepy Orange with wing damage, Zela Metalmark and Juniper Hairstreak. Also seen were a couple of Red Admirals. While this species can be widespread some years, it is not others. Everyone was fascinated with its beautiful color and markings. Last but not least, we were graced with the presence of a couple Sara Orangetips. This species has a very short flight period, which makes the observation that much more exciting! By Becky Hardy. Photo by Grant Pegram. 

Sedona Wetlands - March 24 2024

I was joined by 3 brave ladies on a cold, dark, wind in your face March 24th for a very quick walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of about 15 American Avocets, 2 Long-billed Dowitchers, about 17 California Gulls, 4 Northern Pintails, and a record at least 75 Lesser Scaup. All land birds were hunkered down like we wished we were, but all 3 said the highlights were worth it. By Rich Armstrong Pictures by Polly Cullen.

Bubbling Ponds - March 21 2024

I was joined by 7 folks, several from around the country, on a beautiful spring March 21st afternoon at Bubbling Ponds. There was lots of singing and chatting amongst the avians. Exciting news this year was the Osprey pair having a new nest in full view. The excitement of spring migration and breeding season was palatable with birds filling the skies - chasing, chatting and frolicking. Large flocks of swallows passed overhead, and several kettles of Turkey Vultures as well. We were surrounded by Red-winged Blackbirds in such a flurry that a large flock almost ran into us. There were still some winter waterfowl in glorious plumage as well as our summer breeding Cinnamon Teal. Lisa Grubbs.

Oak Creek Valley - March 18th 2024

I was joined by 16 attendees on March 18th at Oak Creek Valley. We met at the picnic area where donations to Audubon allowed several participants to borrow binoculars. All attendees introduced themselves, shared favorite bird encounters, and looked at shape and size of silhouetted birds due to the darkened skies. Participants felt pride in the community’s effort to preserve habitat, housing, and wildlife interface respectfully. Of the 21 birds we saw or heard, there were two highlights. Wood Ducks looked for good nesting cavities in nearby cottonwoods, and a pair of Common Mergansers cruised up and down Oak Creek allowing for excellent viewing.  By Kristen Rothrock.

Sedona Wetlands - March 12 2024

I was joined by 9 folks on March 12th for a 1 hour walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of an Eared Grebe in almost breeding plumage, a male Common Goldeneye, 2 close male Redheads, 9 Ring-billed Gulls, 1 lone perched Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and both male & female Common Mergansers. We also got close looks at Verdin, fleeting looks at American Pipit, Lincoln's Sparrow & Marsh Wren, and as usual hearing and not seeing Virginia Rail. By Rich Armstrong. Picture by Kelly Isley

Rockin River Ranch State Park - March 9th 2024

On March 9th, a very lucky 13 bird watchers got two new opportunities:  

  1. Birding Arizona's newest State Park, Rockin River Ranch in Camp Verde; 
  1. Experiencing a new method of bird watching taught to NAAS Field Trip Guides by renowned, professional bird guide Alex Harper - who leads birding trips from Central America to Saint Paul Island in Alaska.

NAAS is continually investing in our leaders' knowledge and techniques!  On the previous weekend of  March 2nd & 3rd, 15 NAAS Field Trip Guides were taught a new way to approach bird walks focused on Conservation, Mindful birding, and drawing out participants' own observations; instead of just providing the answers. We all learned a lot, while getting to experience the fabulous habitat of Rancho Tres Brisas (host of one of NAAS's sites for our impending Motus Stations).

We began by focusing for five minutes on the cadence of bird songs and calls - identifying the Verdin's "You know me" song and exploring other bird sounds that we were not familiar with. We continued to study the difference in structure, shape and plumage between a very cooperative Say's Phoebe and two female Vermilion Flycatchers - drawing distinctions between the two species that were directly across from each other for over 10 minutes. Participants were encouraged to identify the birds themselves with the help of the National Geographic field guide book. Then we paid special attention to the amount of white in the tail feathers of a large flock of Meadowlarks, who were also cooperative in flying back and forth in the field in front of us. We identified the differences in Chihuahua and Western Meadowlarks - finding two different species within the one flock. 

And a serendipitous Conservation message dropped into our laps as we observed Great Blue Herons building their nests in two different large Arizona Sycamores. Conservationist, Julie Wills actually conducted the survey season's first Colonial Waterbird Survey on the spot while explaining the scientific protocol.

All of the participants stated that they loved this new, meaningful way of birding and that they learned a lot! By Kay Hawklee

Red Rock Ranger Station - March 4th 2024

I was joined by 4 people at the Red Rock Ranger Station on March 4th. The weather was comfortably cool for the walk along Woods Canyon Trail. Western Bluebirds were the most numerous at around 30 individuals. We also observed Abert's, Canyon & Spotted Towhees, Lincoln's & Song Sparrows, a Crissal Thrasher and a Red-tailed Hawk. However, the bird of the trip was a very cooperative Sage Thrasher - a lifer for at least two birders in our group. We ended up with 29 species total. By Mark Philippart.

Riverfront Park - March 2nd 2024

I was joined by 11 folks for a 1 hour Big Sit at Riverfront Park on March 2nd. Highlights were a high flying Great Blue Heron, a perched Red-tailed Hawk, a cute calling Bridled Titmouse, and at least 3 Pine Siskin high in a tree. It was more of a social gathering as we tallied only 12 species. By Rich Armstrong

Bubbling Ponds - February 29th 2024

I was joined by 12 folks on February 29th for a leisurely stroll around the Bubbing Ponds and a short hop down to Oak Creek. The excitement felt with winter migrants, residents and arriving summer birds in anticipation of breeding season was palatable. A chunk of winter waterfowl have left the area but a grand showing of at least 14 Lesser Scaup was a treat.  Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon and Canvasback were still here along with beautiful Cinnamon Teal. Yellow-rumped Warblers, Lincoln’s Sparrows, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and one White-crowned Sparrow were still lingering. A couple of Neotropic Cormorants flew over. There were increased numbers of Northern Rough-winged and Violet-green Swallows. Resident birds were singing and chasing one another. By Lisa Grubbs.

Bell Trail - February 27th 2024

I was joined by 5 people and excellent weather on February 27th for our walk on the Bell Trail above Wet Beaver Creek and a brief walk in the grassland near Sacred Mountain. Unfortunately, it was not very birdy in those grasslands. However, we had several excellent looks at Black-throated and Rufous-crowned Sparrows which were singing vociferously just off the Bell Trail and often posed just beyond the fence line. Good looks at common species like Western Bluebird and Common Raven. Also of interest were several Cactus Wrens which nest in the large patches of prickly pear cactus on the hillside not far from the Mogollon Rim. By Tim Weber

Sedona Wetlands - February 25th 2024

I was joined by 6 folks for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands on February 25th. Highlights were scope views of Northern Harrier, Common Merganser, male Common Goldeneye, Eared Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, both phoebes, and all the usual ducks. By Rich Armstrong.

Bubbling Ponds - February 19th 2024

I was joined by 15 folks on February 19th for a very exciting stroll around the Bubbling Ponds. We had birders traveling around the country, excellent spotters, and great photographers, which proves that a good bird walk is just as much the people as it is the birds. Much of our waterfowl have left. We had a nice continuing show of Lesser Scaup. We had exciting arrivals of Violet-green and Northern Rough-winged Swallows as well as Cinnamon Teal. There were still some Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Western Bluebirds and White-crowned Sparrows. A highlight was a lengthy show from an immature Bald Eagle hunting directly above the Scaup, coming within a couple of feet of them while the Scaup didn't seem concerned at all. After several attempts at getting a fish, the eagle snatched a tiny minnow and took the prize to a perch to eat. The evening was capped off with a low, loud hoot of a Great-horned Owl and the hunt for the bird, which we found sitting in a nice raptor nest. By Lisa Grubbs.

Sedona Wetlands - February 17th 2024

I was joined by 16 folks including a couple from North Carolina for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands on February 17th. Highlights were scope views of Western Meadowlarks, Western Bluebirds, Common Mergansers, Northern Pintails, Eared Grebe, a perched Red-tail Hawk, and all the usual ducks. By Rich Armstrong

Clarkedale Wastewater Treatment Plant - February 15th 2024

I was joined by 15 people at the Clarkdale STP area on February 15th. While introducing everyone we met potential birding pals who lived nearby our own communities. Though our species numbers were just 20, the photographers among us could concentrate on Northern Flickers and Gila Woodpeckers perched near each other as well as various dabblers and divers in the treatment pond. Participants noted where each foraged for food. Time allowed us to share mining and Native American tales. We even got to see and appreciate the contrast of wild species to a goodly number of domestic swans, geese, and ducks on the other side of Deception Gulch. Our group was a strongly participatory one! By Kristen Rothrock. Photo by Kelly Isley. 

Gilbert Riparian Preserve - February 2nd 2024

There were 11 of us who met at Gilbert Riparian Preserve on Friday, February 2nd . We saw an incredible 60 species. Highlights were a very cooperative Merlin of the Prairie race as the final species just before the end of the walk. We had good looks at Costa’s Hummingbird as we entered the trail system. We saw three Green Herons (it’s a treat when you see one) hunting. We watched as they stood stock still,
which is their way of hunting. We all heard the rare Streaked-back Orioles. Some of us went back to the spot where we’d left David’s (he and his wife Kristin joined us from Minnesota) oranges and were treated to great views and photography opportunities of the pair. A lone birder from Pennsylvania joined us as we walked and birded. By Kay Hawklee. 

Big Sit - Rezzonico Park - January 27, 2024

I was joined by 19 folks on January 27th for a 1 hour big sit at Rezzonico Park next to the Camp Verde Library. Since this was early afternoon we only had 15 species, but highlights were scope views of an adult Bald Eagle & male American Kestrel, and a light morph Ferruginous Hawk flying low enough for all to see well. By Rich Armstrong

Camp Verde Library - January 27, 2024

I was joined by 19 folks on January 27th for a 1 hour big sit at Rezzonico Park next to the Camp Verde Library. Since this was early afternoon we only had 15 species, but highlights were scope views of an adult Bald Eagle & male American Kestrel, and a light morph Ferruginous Hawk flying low enough for all to see well. By Rich Armstrong

Sedona Wetlands - January 26th, 2024

I was joined by 8 people on January 26th for a 70 minute walk at the Sedona Wetlands. A couple from California got Northern Cardinal & Verdin as life birds. A Flagstaff person was very excited to see Northern Pintail. All had scope views of Northern Flicker, Black & Say's Phoebes, Eared & Pied-billed Grebes, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, and other ducks. A Northern Harrier & a Sora were not cooperative giving only quick flyby views. By Rich Armstrong.

Montezuma Well - January 24th, 2024

I was joined by 8 folks on January 24th at Montezuma Well where we had the whole place to ourselves! It had just finished raining on this cool overcast morning, the air scented with chaparral. Fog was lifting over the warm water as we approached the mysterious sinkhole overlook. A few American Wigeons and American Coots gently stirred at our arrival. Western Bluebirds perched oddly still, like sentries, at the top of junipers.

Sora first, followed by Virginia Rail, then Canyon Wren calls broke the eerie silence. The field trip was quiet overall. I’d say the highlights were sharing first time sightings of Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers with our young visitor from Michigan. We saw 29 bird species today. By Heather Hofling.

V Bar V Heritage Area - January 20th, 2024

I was joined by 20 folks on a somewhat warmer January 20th at the V Bar V. After leaving the parking lot, we loitered near several large Pyracantha shrubs which hosted large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Hermit Thrushes gorging themselves on the ripe berries. Surprises in this area included a Northern Mockingbird, Green-tailed Towhee, and a large flock of Pine Siskins sunning themselves at the top of a sycamore. A stunning male Anna's hummingbird was also defending a hummingbird feeder and singing from the tops of several nearby trees, yielding good views. Walking the trail along the riparian, it was an overcast and rather quiet morning, though a Red-naped Sapsucker drilling wells, and a flock of Bridled Titmice provided some much needed activity. After viewing the spectacular petroglyphs, the clouds cleared for the return trip, which yielded a Vesper Sparrow, some skulky White-throated Sparrows, and both Black and Say's Phoebe calling near the visitor center. We saw 24 species on the trip, with particularly great views of many species at the shrubs and feeders near the visitor center. By Harry Jones. 

Tuzigoot River Access Cottonwood - January 18, 2024

 Fourteen of us met to explore the area between the two diversion dams for the Hickey and Cottonwood Ditches. Many expressed appreciation for a later start time.

Overhead we were first greeted by the Bald Eagle. The riverside delivered a Song Sparrow, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Hutton’s Vireo, some mallards including a Mexican duck. The flood ravaged area provided Lincoln’s Sparrows, Abert’s Towhees, Western Bluebirds, Bridled Titmice, Gila and Ladder-backed woodpeckers. We then climbed up to desert/grass habitat where an Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-throated and Brewer’s Sparrows awaited us. A Cooper’s Hawk flew by low for a good look. We saw twenty-three species.

The Mexican duck, Cooper’s Hawk  and Hutton’s Vireo allowed for a lively discussion in identifying them!  There was good teamwork helping each other see the birds. By Kristen Rothrock

Verde Village Nature Preserve and Del Rio Pond - January 16th 2024

I was  joined by 5 chilly birders on January 16th at Del Rio Pond in Cottonwood for a morning scan of ducks. We enjoyed magnified views through the spotting scope and utilized the covered picnic table for guide books. The Crossley ID Guide of Waterfowl was especially useful in discerning differences in female Common Mergansers vs Red-breasted. Good numbers of gorgeous Wood Ducks were here along with Hooded Mergansers. Next we walked the riparian trail along the Verde River and spotted many sparrows; including one White-throated, several woodpeckers, Belted Kingfishers, American Pipits, towhees and more ducks. We checked the spot where a Winter Wren was seen recently and discussed its habitat, vocalizations and behavior. One of our participants (Rebecca) discovered an elusive Wilson’s Snipe. Ended with 44 species. Not bad for a winter day in a residential area! By Heather Hofling.

Wood's Canyon Trail - January 13, 2024

I was joined by 13 folks on January 13th at the Wood's Canyon trail. We started our bird walk just as the sun was rising above the hills on a cold morning. We made our way out of the parking lot and along the watercourse, overserving large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Western Bluebirds coming in to drink. Making our way into the pinyon-juniper, we saw Bewick's Wren and Juniper Titmouse, as well as a flock of Black-throated Sparrows. However, the highlights from this section included a juvenile Cooper's Hawk perched up in good view, overwintering Sage Thrasher, and a Williamson's Sapsucker. In the mesquite nearer to the riparian strip we got good views of Canyon Towhee, a lifer for several attendees, as well as prominently calling Phainopeplas. Making our way back to the parking lot, the warm temperatures saw Rock and Canyon Wrens out foraging. The real surprise, however, came in the parking lot (doesn't it always!) where a pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows were foraging out in the open on grass seeds, and a Western Meadowlark flew overhead. We managed to spot 29 species on a morning that turned into a beautifully warm day.  By Harry Jones

Bubbling Ponds - January 10th 2024

I was joined by a sisterhood of 16 nature enthusiasts at Bubbling Ponds on January 10th. It was a truly perfect weather day! Over a course of three hours we covered about 1.5 miles of trail and sighted 41 bird species. We also spotted Mourning Cloak butterflies and enjoyed a conversation regarding host plants and life cycles. We discussed conservation issues, being a good steward of the land, and touched briefly on the topic of eponymous names. Camaraderie was the highlight of the day. Another was close-range looks at an Orange-crowned Warbler. After a morning of stretching and straining to see far away birds this bright warbler within arms reach was such a treat at the end of the walk. Writeup and photo by Heather Hofling.

Clear Creek Campground - January 10, 2024

I was joined by 2 brave and bundled up individuals on January 10th for a brisk walk along the trails at  Clear Creek Campground. We started at 8:30 am and it was totally freezing. Our first birds of the morning were Northern Flickers and Gila Woodpeckers warming up in sycamore tree tops. We found flocks of both Black-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Highlights included 4 Hermit Thrush in a hackberry stand foraging berries and a great look (plus photo) at 1 White-throated Sparrow. This sparrow was a life bird for the two viewers and a year bird for me. We were delighted and entertained by a busy group of Bridled Titmouse and compared the differences between Canyon and Abert’s Towhees. Overall it was fairly quiet on this wintery cold day, but we still managed to find 23 species. By Heather Hofling

Sedona Wetlands - January 8, 2024

I was joined by 6 folks on a below freezing January 8th for a very quick 45 minutes at the Sedona Wetlands. All had scope views of 14 duck species including male Hooded & Common Mergansers, male Northern Pintail, and a very close female Common Goldeneye. By Rich Armstrong

Bubbling Ponds Preserve (BPP) - Nov 29, 2023

I was joined by 4 folks on a cool overcast afternoon November 29th at the Bubbling Ponds for the last field trip of the year. It was very quiet around the ponds with a sprinkling of winter waterfowl - Ring-necked Ducks and American Wigeons. Nice entertainment from two Great Egrets chasing each other around. One lonely American Pipit, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a few White-crowned Sparrows rounded out the winter crew. The usual residents were out and about including Belted Kingfisher, Black Phoebe, Great-Blue Herons, Song Sparrow and the lovely show of Red-winged Blackbirds falling into the marsh to roost. By Lisa Grubbs

Chuckwalla Drive - Nov 25, 2023

I was joined by 6 folks on a lovely, sunny November 25th on Chuckawalla Drive. So many intersecting habitats brought a nice variety of birds with the beauty and numbers of Gambel’s Quail taking center stage. Red-tailed hawks perched above while Northern Cardinals, Bushtits, Verdins, Woodhouse Scrub-jays, Western Bluebirds, Canyon Towhees, and Curve-billed Thrashers jockeyed for position on the ground and in the bushes. We had a good laugh when realizing the nondescript bird we identified was a female House Sparrow, not seen very often by any of us. By Kristen Rothrock

Bubbling Ponds Preserve (BPP) - Nov 22, 2023

I was joined by 13 folks at the Bubbling Ponds on November 22nd, an absolutely perfect for birding. Included were several local expert birders who, no doubt, added to the count, which was 43 species. We had a group of 5 from around the country who, having never birded here before, acquired 13 lifers! Winter waterfowl continues to be dismal with a dribbling of Ring-necked Ducks and American Wigeons. We had a pleasing two Green-tailed Towhees with good looks at one of them. One Green-tailed Towhee in my book is always good! Other highlights were ten friendly Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a continuing Great Egret, Wilson’s Snipe, Orange-crowned Warbler, Red-naped Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, a surprise Brewer’s Sparrow,  and singing White-crowned Sparrows. Locals entertained as well with Phainopepla, Verdin, Belted Kingfisher, both Say’s and Black Phoebes, and a pair of Cooper’s Hawks. By Lisa Grubbs

Cave Springs Campground - Nov 19, 2023

Harry was joined by 6 birders who wanted to see an American Dipper and did! As expected the bobbing, dunking bird was seen in Oak Creek just South of the welcome hut. It flew up and down the creek allowing us to watch it fly low to the water. It was very quiet at Cave Spgs Campground until we ran into a mixed flock of nuthatches that were in a kerfuffle. We searched without finding an owl that we hoped was disturbing 3 species of nuthatches. Overall it was gray and only sprinkled until it began to rain mixed with snow pellets. But it worked out because we were already by the cars! (by Kay Hawklee)

Sedona Wetlands - Nov 18, 2023

I was joined by 8 folks including 2 from Florida on November 18th for a not quite rainy 75 minute walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of the continuing White-shielded American Coot, a Western Grebe, Eared Grebes, and a Black-crowned Night Heron.  By Rich Armstrong

Dead Horse Ranch State Park - Nov 15, 2023

I was joined by 8 folks  on November 15th at Dead Horse Ranch State Park for an hour big sit at the bird feeders. We kicked up loads of Oregon Juncos as we made our way to the bird feeding station. Our Big Sit goal became to see more birds than people and we did that by tallying 10 species plus a Ground Squirrel. A spirited Ruby-crowned Kinglet danced overhead and the usual suspects arrived for seed and a drink at the plate to wash it down. A Sharp-shinned Hawk perched in a not too distant tree, probably keeping the numbers down. No owl today, but we had beautiful weather and great birding conversation.  By Nanette Armstrong

Kachina Wetlands - Nov 12, 2023

The Kachina Wetlands are starting to get wintering raptors! It was a great morning with good weather. The group walked around the main trail, to the dock, then around the perimeter and "raptor wise" saw 2 bald eagles, a dark morph red tail, 3 adult red tails, 2 male american kestrels, 2 northern harriers, and 2 cooper's hawks. We saw 4 western meadowlarks which is always a treat, as well as pine siskins, red winged blackbirds, dark eyed juncos, crows and ravens. A great sighting was 13 wilson's snipes and a least sand piper. Super cool! By Josh O'Connor.

Sedona Wetlands - Nov 11, 2023

I was joined by 15 folks including New York, Minnesota, Phoenix, Flagstaff on November 11th for a 75 minute walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views of a White-shielded American Coot found brilliantly days before by Heather Hofling, a Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Western Grebes, an American Pipit, and 2 Black-crowned Night Herons together. Canvasback & Say's Phoebes were life birds for some as well. And a probably male Sharp-shinned Hawk soared for good views. By Rich Armstrong

Jail Trail - Nov 7, 2023

I was joined by 5 others on November 7th for a gorgeous morning on the Jail Trail in Cottonwood. We had a total of 26 species. All had great looks at Lincoln's Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and lots of wintering White-crowned Sparrows. A cute little House Wren vocalized to a Bewick's Wren. All had a nice view high in the trees of a Red-naped Sapsucker. The all too cute Bridled Titmouse is always a treat. And the highlight of the day was not one but two Belted Kingfishers on the river. Hope to see you at the Christmas Bird Counts in December. By Janie Ward Langley

Dead Horse Ranch State Park - Nov, 2, 2023

I was joined by 7 folks on November 2nd. We had a good number on the checklist of 34 species. Some birds were lifers for some such as the Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Siskin, Sharp shinned Hawk, and Green-tailed Towhee, great looks at all of these birds. A spectacular Bald Eagle was perched off a trail just inside the wood line with fabulous looks at the bird and it looking down at us, what a treat that was. The Western Screech Owl has taken residence on Owl Rd and greeted us as we arrived at the armchair birding area. It didn't seem to mind us oohing and awing at him as it was happily preening itself. Another delightful day out on the birding trailing. By Janie Ward-Langley

Bubbling Ponds - Oct 30, 2023 (late afternoon)

I was joined by 18 birders at the Bubbling Ponds on a brisk October 30th lovely fall afternoon. We strolled around the ponds and saw and/or heard 25 species. Highlights were, of course, the Common Black Hawk. We had a real show with hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds and some European Starlings arriving, circling overhead and then dropping like bullets and disappearing into the reeds to roost. Nice look at a female Vermillion Flycatcher along with the Black Phoebe. Little winter waterfowl but some: American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks and Green-winged Teal. Fairly good numbers of White-crowned Sparrows. One lonely Pied-billed Grebe and only two Yellow-rumped Warblers. We heard a Virginia Rail and Sora and our parting bird was an American Kestrel.

Lisa Grubbs

Kachina Wetlands - Oct 28, 2023

14 birders showed up on a cold crisp morning at the Kachina Wetlands, but it warmed up quickly and was a very birdy morning. We ended up with 37 species. Some highlights were great looks at a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a huge flock of Western Meadowlarks. By Sky Schipper

Ogden Ranch Road & Black Canyon Trail - Oct 28, 2023

I was joined by 4 in my Jeep, named Earl, on October 28th for my Trick or Treat field trip. We stopped and started a hundred times on Ogden Ranch Road on the way to Black Canyon Trail. You might think "awww, that sucks" - that must have been the "trick" part of the trip... not so!  That just means that we saw a lot of sparrows in the grasslands on the way. We learned Vesper Sparrows and everyone had them down cold by the end of the trip. Sage Thrasher & Grasshopper Sparrow were lifers for some!  Western Meadowlarks flew by in a flock, then we saw the one with more white in its outer tail feathers than the others as it was going in for a landing - Chihuanhuan Meadowlark! But the big surprise, the treat, was 8 White-throated Swifts chattering and flying above us that Becky Hardy spotted and counted as we were on the trail. It was a great experience! And the trick part was putting the binos up 1000 times to look at just another White-crowned Sparrow.  Kay Hawklee

Bubbling Ponds Preserve - Oct 27, 2023

Bird Walks in the fall are always fun and it turned out to be that on October 27 at the Bubbling Ponds IBA that day. I was joined by 7 others as we walked the ponds and the Black Hawk trail and along the creek. We had 35 species. Wintering waterfowl are slow to arrive but we did have American Wigeon, Pied billed Grebe and stunning Wood Ducks. Our mascot bird the Common Black Hawk graced us with its presence perched over the ponds. A Belted Kingfisher is always a fun bird to hear and see. Lots of sparrows, White-crowned, Chipping, Song and a Lincoln's. A surprise Green-tailed Towhee still hanging around. When the warmth of the sun came out we still had some butterflies to study with Becky Hardy to help with identification. Our highlight was 7 or so Wilson Snipes in the mud flats and hiding in the foliage around that pond a lifer bird for some. By Janie Ward Langley

Dead Horse State Park - Big Sit - Oct 25, 2023

I was joined by 8 folks on October 25th for a 1 hour big sit at Dead Horse State Park. Of 12 species that appeared, a Northern Cardinal, a Dark-eyed Junco and an American Kestrel, not to mention the nocturnal Western Screech-Owl,  were greatly appreciated. Participants searched on their own for the owl. We shared the challenges of our backyard feeders. After the hour, some went to the lagoons to hopefully see the twelve American Avocets recently seen flying overhead. By Kristen Rothrock

Verde Village Preserve - October 20, 2023

I was joined by 13 folks on October 20th for a leisurely walk through the riparian Verde Village Preserve. We saw or heard 27 species. The highlight of the morning was an adult Common Black Hawk and two juveniles who circled above, their calls quite audible. Within minutes, a Red-tailed Hawk joined them in the sky followed by an American Kestrel. As the morning heated up, we switched from birding to butterfly/caterpillar identifying. We saw quite a variety. Additionally, we came upon a visible ant lion larva in its trap swishing sand about, something none of us had ever seen before. A fun morning!  By Kristen Rothrock

Bubbling Ponds - October 18, 2023 (late afternoon)

I was joined by 10 birders on October 18th for a late afternoon stroll around the Bubbling Ponds. We had 28 species. Highlights included the Common Black Hawk, Osprey and Sharp-shinned Hawk. We had a nice study of all three of our teals: Green-winged, Blue-winged and Cinnamon. Winter migrants included singing White-crowned Sparrows and Wilson's Snipe. The usual resident Black Phoebes, Red-winged Blackbirds, Virginia Rail, Lesser Goldfinch were seen, and a nice showing of a Phainopepla.  The surprise was a couple of Lazuli Buntings hanging with a flock of White-crowned Sparrows. And we enjoyed some nice butterflies and dragonflies as well. By Lisa Grubbs

Picture Canyon - October 14, 2023

On October 14th, 11 participants attended a field trip to Flagstaff's Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve, where they were treated to not only a partial solar eclipse, but also a bonanza of late migrants. Birding along the reedbeds of the Rio de Flag yielded numerous Marsh Wrens, Song Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows, as well as Lincoln's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, and Cassin's Finch. As the trail turned into ponderosa pine forest, we witnessed large numbers of woodpeckers, especially Lewis's Woodpeckers which were present in large numbers and competing with the Acorn Woodpeckers for Gambel oak acorns. After a pause to admire the eclipse, which was projected on the ground as the trees acted as pinhole camera, we caught an early flock of Evening Grosbeak, Red-naped Sapsucker, and Pinyon Jay. Time spent scanning the grasslands on the north end of the property yielded Western Meadowlark, American Kestrel, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Cooper's Hawk. We saw 35 species overall, with great looks at some normally skulky or uncommon birds. By Harrison Jones

Sedona Wetlands - October 15, 2023

I was joined by 13 folks on October 15th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. The highlight was a Western Grebe! The pelicans were apparently there at 8 but gone by 9 when we got there. We had Chipping Sparrows, a Redhead, and a cooperative American Wigeon. By Rich Armstrong

picture by Kelly Isley

Yaki Point - Grand Canyon - October 10, 2023

Wow! What a great day. California Condor flew by and looked at us while we looked at her! HawkWatch International hawkwatchers, Josh - spotted it; and Andrew - looked up its info: "Yo Yo" is Condor #958; female 4 yrs 6 mos old. Hatched at Oregon Zoo in March of 2019. Also saw Golden Eagle, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, Swainson's Hawk, Clark's Nutcracker, upside down Common Ravens playing with each other and warning the plastic owl to get the heck out of its area.  Forest birds were visiting a puddle: Williamson's Sapsucker - both female and male; Red Crossbills, Red-breasted Nuthatches. We saw a large flock of Pinyon Jays on the way home and felt really good about eBirding them, so that their presence can be noted. By Kay Hawklee

NAAS and Dark Skies Coalition Star Party - September 21-23, 2023

Migration Game:

NAAS partnered with Dark Skies Coalition at this year's Star Party to get the word out about Lights Out for nocturnally migrating birds. NAAS's Migration Game was a thrilling success. Pictured here is a Mom who acted as a cat waiting to pounce on unsuspecting migrating birds. Children acting a "birds on their migratory routes" learned experiential lessons about the dangers of that birds face during migration:  cats, storms, cars, windows and buildings. 

Owl Prowl:  

People interested in seeing and hearing owls headed into the wilds of Buffalo Park in search of the nighttime raptors. Young folks read fun facts about owls after we stopped and stood stock still, straining our ears to hear the silent hunters. We didn't see any, but had a great time learning how their feathers are so silent and their eyes so sharp! Watch Dark Skies and NAAS websites and communication platforms for the next time when  we may encounter an owl on our prowl!

Dim the Lights for Birds at Night:

Kay Hawklee presented a 25-minute Power Point Presentation to 40+ Dark Sky Star Party particip about the dangers and wonders of nocturnal migrating birdsto learn more about helping birds succeed on their heroic journeys as they migrate through the night skies. NAAS and Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition share the same goal – lights out! Indeed, keeping our nocturnal migrants safe is a win/win/win for birds, astronomers, and the planet. In addition, we learned about the amazing advances in the use of weather surveillance radar and how BirdCast for Coconino County Migration Dashboard can predict how many, and even what species, will be migrating through our county. NAAS will also have tips from Audubon’s “Lights Out” program and Environment for the America’s “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night.”

NAAS Kachina Wetlands Bird Walk - Saturday, September 9, 2023

We enjoyed a beautiful late summer morning for a bird walk at Kachina Wetlands. Eighteen participants joined us in the search for migrants among the ponds and fields of sunflowers. We found a nice variety of warblers and sparrows, good numbers of Western Bluebirds and Lesser Goldfinches, and a large flock of Violet-green Swallows feasting in preparation for their southward migration. A couple of highlights included an American Kestrel right at the start, a handful of Western and Least Sandpipers,

and three very cooperative Virginia Rails that showed nicely along the north edge of Pond 5. Everyone had a chance to view the rails in Margaret’s spotting scope.

We also had some fun discussions about birds: Who knew that Lesser Goldfinches are such impressive mimics, with records of dozens of different birds they have been known to imitate? We learned why the ducks do not look like we might expect them to, as many of the male Mallards and Cinnamon Teals were still in their subdued eclipse plumage. The young Western Bluebirds also looked disheveled as they molt into their adult feathers.

It was a great morning with a fun group of birders! by Tom Hedwall

Buffalo Park - Wednesday, August 30, 2023

15 of us bird nerds met in the parking lot and headed out in hopes of owls. What we got was even more. Early on a warbler "back doored" us and we saw it fly away. But later, thanks to Jeremy Mizel's spotting, we all saw a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Western Bluebirds were thinking of roosting and White-breasted Nuthatches were gleaning their last insects for the night.  Gisela spotted a Barn Swallow amongst the Violet-green Swallows. But the Blue Moon stole the show away from the birds (which we forgot all about). We gasped as the Blue Moon rose above the landscape of Buffalo Park. It was the perfect ending to a very fun field trip! by Kay Hawklee

Hike ‘n Bird – FSR 237: Saturday, August 26, 2023

We had a super fun morning with 8 folks hardly being able to keep up with a mixed flock of warblers early on! 8 people, 8 species of warblers. Great combination! The weather couldn't have been better and the hike was beautiful. Painted Redstarts were everywhere, showing off their red bellies and white wing patches. Red-faced Warblers rounded out the warblers with red on them. Then there were the ones with varying degrees of yellow: Townsend's, Virginia's, MacGillvray's, etc. Pygmy Nuthatches got twitter-pated at one point and White-breasted Nuthatches just wouldn't hush up. It was super fun; yet, peaceful to be in the forest. By Kay Hawklee

Jail Trail - July 1, 2023

Eleven bird watchers moved quietly along the Jail Trail in hopes of hearing a SW Willow Flycatcher and/or a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. We were rewarded when twice we heard the "... distinctive series of hollow, wooden-sounding ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp syllables" of Yellow-billed Cuckoos:  However the cuckoo was true to this eBird description because we never saw one: "Stealthy and shy in dense forests and riparian areas, often sitting motionless for long periods of time.  

However, it was encouraging to know that they still visit the same trail year after year. Cornell’s “All About Birds” website says that they will “… even hunch[ing] their shoulders to conceal their crisp white underparts, as they hunt for large caterpillars.” Well, they concealed themselves from us too! So, we turned to extreme measures even holding a “stakeout” of sorts at several tent caterpillar sites with our fingers and toes crossed. But the stealthy birds didn’t come for their treats. Still exciting, were good views of several Brown-crested Flycatchers as they sat still in bare branches for all to see. These Myiarchus flycatchers were indeed very “raucous” all morning – even out-singing the annoying, but beautiful, Yellow-breasted Chats! By Kay Hawklee

Humphries Peak Trai - June 9, 2023

I was joined by eight folks who hiked a short way up the Humphries Peak Trailhead in search of woodpeckers. In the meadow before the trail, a Green-tailed Towhee greeted us from atop a distant rock. Several Vesper Sparrows sang from the tops of Mullens. We heard and saw many Northern Flickers, but no American Three-toed woodpeckers made an appearance; although we thought we possibly heard one?!  The stars of the show were: 1.  A House Wren feeding nestlings in cavity where one participant saw the next poking out from under the bark. 2.  A cooperative Cordilleron Flycatcher. 3.  Eye-level adult Red-tailed Hawk soaring to a tree top (with a drop dead view behind it!) 4.  Band-tailed Pigeons flying by. It was a cool morning for all of us more ways that one! By Kay Hawklee

Clear Creek Campground - June 7, 2023

Nine folks searched for Yellow-billed Cuckoos at Clear Creek Campground on Wednesday, June 7th. But the Cuckoo was elusive - as they tend to be. No matter. We heard and saw many species including:  Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Summer Tanagers and tons of Yellow Warblers. Birds were clearly either "On Nest", as several were spotted carrying food; while others were actively feeding begging fledglings who had flown the nest. A couple of species of Hummingbirds were seen several times feeding on Desert Willow flowers. No Cuckoo spoke up while we were there, but the birders were pleased anyway. And now they know where to go to find them. It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Just makes us all want to go again! By Kay Hawklee

Jail Trail - June 4, 2023

20 people set out to hear a Southwest Willow Flycatcher on the Jail Trail on Sunday, June 4, 2023. We got to the right habitat - thick willows - but the bird hadn't gotten there yet. No matter, because as we were standing there a Common Black Hawk flew low over us carrying food for its nestlings (later found by Janie).  Earlier Tonie Hansen had guided us all to see an adult Great Horned Owl with two fledglings peeking from the same high branches. Everyone had great views of the owls from a good distance. However one of our target birds, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, flew high, fast and silent overhead, but was still spotted by Janie Ward-Langley and, sadly, not everyone got a look. No vocalizations of either SW Willow Flycatcher or Yellow-billed Cuckoo were heard. Even though there were 20 sets of eyes, we were all very quiet and stealthy while listening for those birds. Indigo Buntings were seen on the way back to the parking lot and thanks to Kristen Rothrock, we didn't mis-identify a Ladderback Woodpecker as a Hairy Woodpecker (while it faced us); even though the bill appeared to be very large. Much discussion was held and the verdict became clear after comparing facial patters and barring on the underneath of the tail by use of Pay Neyman's photo.  It was a super fun morning for all.  By Kay Hawklee

Chapter Pot Luck - May 20, 2023

Just under 20 people enjoyed food, fun and good birds at Montezuma Well Picnic Area. Guides - Lisa Grubbs, Kay Hawklee and Kristen Rothrock birded the path with groups. Rich Armstrong held a Big Sit in the shade near the picnic tables where he pointed out Lucy's Warblers visiting a probable nest site. Over 37 species were observed. The food was great as always and the shade trees made it a very pleasant morning.

Picture Canyon - May 20, 2023

I was joined by 12 birders on a 4 hour bird walk into Picture Canyon on 5/20. We enjoyed pleasant weather while tallying 53 species. Highlights included Northern Waterthrush and Swamp Sparrow as well as great views of colorful Hepatic Tanager and Blue Grosbeak. Life birds were had by many in the group. I continued on with 3 people to a spot that I knew had nesting Lewis’ Woodpecker where we weren’t disappointed. It was a fun outing with fun people. By Tom Linda

Sedona Wetlands - May 7, 2023

I was joined by 8 folks for the last Sedona Wetlands trip of the season on May 7th. Highlights were scope views of adult & immature Black-crowned Night Herons, Barn & Cliff & Northern Rough-winged Swallows lined up on a fence, Summer Tanager, Spotted Sandpiper, male Ruddy Duck with blue bill, and ducks that have not left yet - male Redhead & Cinnamon Teal & female American Wigeon. By Rich Armstrong

Elden Springs - May 6, 2023

I was joined by 7 birders for the May 6 th bird walk to Elden Spring in Flagstaff. It was a bit breezy, but we found 20 species and enjoyed good looks at several of them. Highlights were a Bald Eagle, a pair of Peregrine Falcon, and a Red-faced Warbler. The warbler was spotted by Jeremy Mizel, and he tracked them down for fine looks. The scenery was awesome, and most people got life birds. It was a fun day with fun people. By Tom Linda

Let's Bird Kachina Wetlands - May 6, 2023

Fifteen participants gathered on Saturday morning for a field trip around Kachina Wetlands. It was cool and turned windy, but we had a fun trip with pretty good birding overall. Special guest Christina Vojta joined us and shared some information about the management of the Wetlands with our group as we walked from the forested edge, past the grassy basins, and out to the various ponds.  The birding highlights included a total of 36 species seen. Some favorites were a Bald Eagle flyover, anda surprise Black-crowned Night-heron snoozing in a pack pond. Several of us got a good look at a Sora, which is always a treat! A couple Purple Martins and nice views of Common Yellowthroats rounded out the morning. By Tom Hedwall

Big Sit - Mingus Lake - May 5, 2023

I was joined by 4 folks for a Big Sit at Mingus Lake on May 5th. Not included in the Big Sit was a stop at the Jerome Overlook where we had fantastic looks at MacGillivray's Warbler in a sparse bush 5' away. Here we heard and saw the season's first Western Wood-Pewees and many other warbler species. At Mingus Lake we had 13 species with House Wrens continually singing their "rapid, harsh and squeaky chatter, churr and rattle" song.  Our thought was that we are a little ahead of the main migration period for warblers and with abundant water resources, they were not as focused at the drip coming off Mingus Lake. But it was a beautiful morning nevertheless!  By Kay Hawklee

Big Sit - Armstrong house, April 25, 2023

We were joined by 15 people in our yard on April 25th for a 1 hour sit. The stars were Evening Grosbeaks which were uncooperative for the 1st 45 minutes before all coming to feeders. The colorful were Summer & Western Tanagers and Hooded & Bullock's Orioles. The surprises were a 1st of season male Black-headed Grosbeak, an American Goldfinch (we had not had one in over 10 days), and a very late Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The cutest were Bridled Titmice. The misses were no Red-winged Blackbird or Eurasian-collared Dove or Red-tailed hawk or Brown-crested Flycatcher (heard earlier in day) or Spotted Towhee (at feeder earlier). We still had a respectable 26 species!  By Nanette & Rich Armstrong

Sedona Wetlands - April 22, 2023

I was joined by 9 Prescott birders for a special request full tour of the Sedona Wetlands on April 22nd. Highlights were close scope looks for everyone at White-faced Ibis, Willet, Baird's & Least & Spotted Sandpipers, all 3 teal, male Redhead & Lesser Scaup & Eared Grebes, Black-crowned Night Heron, Virginia's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Summer Tanager, Ladderback Woodpecker, Savannah Sparrow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Western Kingbird, Lucy's Warbler, and Brewer's Blackbird. We added 5 species in the parking lot doing a countdown to get to 64 species! By Rich Armstrong

Sedona Wetlands - April 20, 2023

I was joined by only 4 birders, 3 from CA, on April 20th for a 75 minute walk of the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were 5 swallow species lined up on the fence next to the big pond including Bank Swallows, a close Solitary Sandpiper, a Virginia Rail out in the open for 10 seconds, a male Bullock's Oriole, and close looks at Yellow Warblers. The California folks loved a close male Northern Cardinal singing. By Rich Armstrong

The Jail Trail - April 18, 2023

I was joined by 9 others on Tuesday April 18th for a Bird Walk at The Jail Trail in Cottonwood. The Verde River has experienced a huge runoff of water this year and the habitat has changed quite a bit. It was somewhat windy but we still managed to see 25 species. Great looks at our always special Common Black Hawk, which was calling and soaring in all its glory. We had the Great Horned Owl sitting on a nest. Gorgeous Summer Tanagers have arrived. We saw a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks still here in the valley,  perched for everyone to see. Also Cassin's Finches, an Osprey hovering over the river, Bridled Titmouse foraging in the trees, and everyone heard the Common Yellowthroat singing witchety-witchety-witch. A fun bird walk down the Jail Trail.  By Janie Ward-Langley

Sedona Wetlands - April 16, 2023

I was joined by 9 folks including people from PA, FL, and CO on April 16th for a 75 minute walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were breeding plumage Eared Grebe, a preening male Cinnamon Teal, decent looks at both Sora & Virginia Rail, and a decent variety of ducks. The only migrant was a fairly cooperative Cassin's Vireo, but other than Yellow & Yellow-rumped Warblers, passerines were disappointing. Weather was great and some got life birds!  By Rich Armstrong

Clear Creek Campground - April 13, 2023

I was joined by 10 others on Thursday April 13th at the Clear Creek Campground for a bird walk in this diverse habitat, first along the flowing creek and then in the more dry desert section. It started out a little slow and quiet, but had some hotspots of groups of birds coming through. Our total was 32 species. The highlights were the beautiful Black-throated Sparrow, Bell's Vireo, Hooded Oriole, Bald Eagle, Common Black Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Hammond's Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Common Raven on a nest. For some in the group many of the birds were Lifer birds and it's exciting to be a part of sharing that joy with others.  By Janie Ward-Langley

Bubbling Ponds - April 11, 2023

I was joined by 2 other birders on April 11th on a warm weather day at the Bubbling Ponds. We had 49 species which included the bright neon Vermillion Flycatcher, many Bell's Vireo's singing, Cassin's Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, lots of Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and several Townsend's Solitaires. It was a great bird walk as migration has begun. By Janie Ward-Langley

Sedona Wetlands - April 8, 2023

I was joined by 15 folks including people from PA, CO, OR, and my Birding 101 class on April 8th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were scope views for all of a posing Loggerhead Shrike, a posing Black-crowned Night Heron, and our 1st Western Kingbird. We also had very close cooperative Lucy's Warbler and Northern Cardinal. A large flock of Violet-green Swallows came and drank and left in what seemed like 2 minutes. We still had 9 duck species. Spring seemed to arrive the last 15 minutes of the walk. By Rich Armstrong

Big Sit - Bubbling Ponds Preserve - April 6, 2023

I was joined by 11 folks at Bubbling Ponds Preserve (BPP) for the Big Sit on April 6th from 9-10:00. This trip would have been the perfect “Trick or Treat” day – because we were treated to surprise Painted Redstarts flitting around the trees to the West of the first pond. And we were tricked by the absence of usual species: Abert’s Towhee, Lucy’s Warbler, Mallards and Red-tailed Hawks. We were joined by three Prescott birders and we all had a lovely “shortest hour in all of history” as we sat under the large Cottonwood and saw 28 species. Fun species left over from the winter months were Ring-necked and Redhead ducks. However, it was the migrating warblers that stole the show. Bright yellow warblers just arriving were joined by bright Yellow-rumped Warblers who will be leaving for Flagstaff and beyond soon enough. Migrating swallows were plentiful and we got good looks at the vibrant green of Violet-green Swallows. It just means that another Big Sit at BPP needs to happen in order to break the tie!  By Kay Hawklee

Birding 101 with Dr. Rich Armstrong - Camp Verde Library - March 31, 2023

I taught 30 folks a 2 hour Birding 101 class on March 31st at the Camp Verde library. Then on April 1st I had 10 of them bird Rezzonico Park and the Camp Verde STP. Then on April 2nd I had another 12 of them bird Rezzonico Park and the Camp Verde STP. Highlights were singing Lucy's Warbler, Abert's Towhee, close views of both male & female Vermillion Flycatchers, a very cooperative Hutton's Vireo, Cliff Swallows going in and out of nests, Great Horned Owls on a nest and next to it, and scope views of all 3 male teal species, Greater Yellowlegs, and Wilson's Snipe.  By Dr. Rich Armstrong

Big Sit at Red Rock Ranger Station (VOC)  - April 2, 2023

I was joined by 3 people for the Red Rock Ranger Station Big Sit on April 2nd. Unfortunately, we didn't observe any of the expected sparrow species. We had nice views of Northern Flicker, Gila Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Say's Phoebe, Lucy's Warbler, Turkey Vulture, Anna's Hummingbird, etc. Overall it was not a very birdy morning, but we did end up with a total of 20 species. By Mark Philippart

Brown Bag & Fun Facts: Montezuma Well Picnic Area - April 1, 2023

10 inquisitive birders joined me for a beautiful morning at Montezuma Well Picnic Area. We had three ladies from Flagstaff and several from Cornville. So there was a variation of birders' home habitats. This led to a good discussion about the elevational migration of many species that leave the Verde Valley and head to higher elevation near Flagstaff at some point in the spring. We gathered our questions during the walk and delved into the books at the picnic tables where we learned: 

  • The only North American cavity nesting warblers are Lucy's and Prothonotary.
  • Great Blue Herons are able to see 180 degrees vertically. Which allows them to appear to be looking upward, while tracking a meal underneath it.
  •  Zone-tailed Hawks have a dark trailing edge on their wings.
  • Hutton's Vireos have an affinity for Oak Trees.
  • "Sample", roosting, summer, winter and breeding nests of the Verdin

Highlights during the field portion were a calling Cooper's Hawk and Verdin. It was a successful, fun first BB&FF experience.

by Kay Hawklee

Sedona Wetlands - March 29, 2023

I was joined by 10 people on a finally decent weather March 29th for a 1 hour walk around the Sedona Wetlands. Highlights were breeding plumage Eared Grebe, Lucy's Warbler, Marsh Wren, Juniper Titmice, and close looks at Rock Wren and American Pipit.  By Rich Armstrong

Beaver Creek Day Use and V Bar V Heritage - March 18, 2023

14 birders came out to Forest Service Road (FSR) 618 East of Sedona to see birds and Petroglyphs. The Flagstaff participants outnumbered the Verde Valley ones and the couple from San Diego were a great addition. It was a quiet birding day. Except the participants had a lot to discuss when presented with a couple of distant looks at Hammond's Flycatcher and Hutton's Vireo. We discussed how to tell the difference between Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Hutton's Vireos. The Hammond's Flycatcher with its "no neck" look showed us its long primaries. We moved on to V Bar V Ranch where we were disappointed not to have a troupe of Coatimundi, but were still rewarded by scope views of a Merlin. Whit Manter gave us his thoughts on what to look for between a Sharp-shinned Hawk and Merlin. The weather was perfect and the group was very engaged!   By Kay Hawklee

Bubbling Ponds Preserve - March 14, 2023

I was joined by 13 folks at the Bubbling Ponds Preserve March 14th on a lovely morning where we were treated to lots of singing. Most of our winter waterfowl have left the area with the exception of some stunning Redheads, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Ducks and one Green-winged Teal. All the ponds have water, so there was no muddy habitat for those birds who specialize in foraging there. One lone Canada Goose flew over chatting loudly. A lot of winter migrants have left but there were still a few Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, White-crowned Sparrows, Townsend’s Solitaires and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Summer birds are here and arriving - Common Black Hawks, Osprey, Northern Rough-winged Swallows and a real show of White-throated Swifts feeding and drinking low over the ponds. Love is in the air with residents exhibiting courtship and visiting nest sites including Abert’s Towhees, Black Phoebes, Bewick’s Wrens, and Verdin. A nice raptor show with the Black Hawk, Osprey, Sharp-shined and Cooper’s Hawks, and of course some Red-tailed Hawks. Total of 42 species.

Lisa Grubbs

Big Sit at the Stransky's - March 13, 2023

On March 13th we hosted our 2nd 1-hour Stransky backyard BIG SIT. We were joined by 9 birders and spotted a total of 26 species. Highlights were 3 Turkey Vultures (1st for our yard for this year), a female Common Merganser on the creek, and 10 Cassin’s Finches. Other species included 2 Lincoln’s Sparrow, and a Chipping Sparrow. People enjoyed our backyard adjacent to Wet Beaver Creek and sharing the bright sunny morning birding time together. We even gratefully used our neighbor’s back patio for watching his huge Cottonwood trees. Some folks enjoyed still-warm fritters as surprise treats with their coffee thanks to Sue Meyer! 

Laura & Kip Stransky

Sedona Wetlands - full trip - March 8, 2023

I was joined by 17 people on March 8th for a trip around the entire Sedona Wetlands area. The group included a dozen locals and birders from Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, and Ontario. Unfortunately, there were no birds of interest on  the helicopter & back ponds; but we did have a very nice collection of ducks on the big pond: numerous Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Gadwalls, and Cinnamon Teals. We also had two Lesser Scaup, a Redhead, a Canvasback, and an Eared Grebe. We ended up with 36 species in all. By Mark Philippart

The Jail Trail Cottonwood - March 5, 2023

I was joined by 17 folks on Sunday March 5th to walk the Jail Trail in Cottonwood. We had local birders along with others from Flagstaff, Connecticut, and visitors from Spain. Spring was in the air and birds were singing. We had 29 species of birds on the walk including up close great views of the local female Great Horned Owl perched in a tree over the Verde River and a pair of swimming Hooded Mergansers. Even though we had a large group, the more eyes made it better. Canada Geese did a flyover. We had great looks at a Red-tail Hawk and a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks. A male Anna's Hummingbird was showing courtship display as it went up in the air 100 feet and then dive bombed down to impress the female. He then flew all around the area landing on top of different bushes flashing his iridescent head and throat impressing all 18 of us. At one point a bird was sighted perched high in a tree at a far distance. We first thought it was a hawk, but the closer I got I could definitely see it was a rare bird to this location, a Band-tailed Pigeon. Everyone had great looks and someone was able to get a photo. Keep looking up, you never know what you may come upon. By Janie Ward-Langley 

The Northern Arizona Audubon Fun Day held at the Sedona Wetlands Preserve on Feb. 25 was a big success. The weather cooperated with sunny skies, and the ducks showed up at the ponds. About 100 people, adults and children, visited the preserve and partook in the festivities. Michael Erb made you answer bird trivia questions to ‘win’ one of the coloring books he drew. Tracy and pals from Friends of the Verde River gave a lesson on BioBlitz and encouraged all to get outside and look around! Tony and his group from Yavapai County Flood Control talked about, you guessed it, water and how it flows. Northern AZ Audubon's art table was very popular where participants learned to draw a bird.  The NAAS bird identification and migration games taught participants that they know more birds than they first thought they did. Rich pointed out ducks from the viewing platform giving everyone an opportunity to use the spotting scope. We want to thank our sponsors of this event; Jason Vargo, Events & Rentals Technician from the Sedona Parks & Recreation Department; Roxanne Holland and the Sedona Sewage Treatment Plant; and the City of Cottonwood. Thanks to all the NAAS volunteers-- Nanette & Rich Armstrong, Kay Hawklee, Denae Dearden, Becky Hardy, Sally Reynolds, Susan Meyer and Dana Kjellgren who made this NAAS  Verde Valley Sci-Tech event possible. (photo by Kelly Isley)

The Birds Who Watches You Back program was a huge success! We can only attribute it to the fact that intelligent people, love hearing about intelligent birds?!  The library room was overflowing with 120 people. Dr. Emily Faun Corey told humorous and informative stories about her Corvid, Shade, pictured here with Janie, one of NAAS's best field trip guides.   Dr. Emily's and others' work on this engaging species highlights how very fun and intelligent this species is. If you ever get the chance to hear Dr. Emily and hang out with Shade, you should take it! I'm so glad many folks came last night to be entertained and educated on this wonderful species. 

"Corvids are large, big-brained birds that often live in intimate social groups of related and unrelated individuals. They are known to be intelligent—capable of using toolsrecognizing human faces, and even understanding physics—and some researchers believe crows may rival apes for smarts."  Read more

NAAS & Sedona Library SciTech event on February 11th:

Kids make the best bird sounds ever! We discovered this during out time outdoors with kids who are definitely interested in birds!

Eight children and their parents attended the "Talk, walk and make" event that NAAS hosted at the Sedona Library on February 11th.

Viviane the librarian began the program by pointing out all the books the library has to offer about birds. Then she red a story.

Nanette began with a quick lesson about birds, what makes a bird, what to look for to identify them, when you find one give good directions for others to find the bird, etc. 

We handed out binoculars. Gave a quick lesson on how to focus, how to find a bird with them, how to care for them.  Then we went outside and walked around the new patio and observed birds that were coming into feeders that NAAS Volunteer, Sally Reynolds, had set up. We continued on library grounds following the bird sounds - which were being echoed by several musical childrens' whistles! 

We returned inside for the craft. Pine cones with string tied around them were used as homemade bird feeders the children could take home. The children smeared the cone with vegetable shortening with plastic knife or spoon, then rolled the cone in bird seed. Then placed the cone in a plastic baggie. We instructed the children to hang the pine cone in a place where a squirrel might not be able to reach. Volunteers and kids had a great time!

By Kay Hawklee

News article about Flagstaff January Program:

Community science works to save at-risk bird population - by Hava HerzogJan 27, 2023

"The Northern Arizona Audubon Society (NAAS) is a volunteer-led organization that engages in community science to educate and advocate for the conservation of birds and their habitats. NAAS gathered together Jan. 24 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for a presentation on the pinyon jay and how to help save it."  Read more

Saturday, February 4th - The Jail Trail Birdwalk:  I was joined by a great turn out of 13 people on Saturday February 4th for The Jail Trail Birdwalk. We had birders from Flagstaff and some snowbirds from Ohio. It was pleasant temps with the sun shining and blue skies. Many birds were singing and we all made comments like, "wait it's only early February"!! We were blessed with great looks at Cassin's Finch, stunning looks at The Great Horned Owl, thanks to Tonie Hansen who said "can we just go a little bit further", smiling faces all around. It was perched nicely across the river with the sun shining on it. Wow looks at Evening Grosbeaks as we are having an eruption year for them. Then at the end we watched an aerial show of territorial defense put on by the Cooper's Hawk dive bombing a Red-tail Hawk. Great day to get out and bird with 33 species! By Janie Ward-Langley

Big Sit Field Trip Report - January 31, 2023: January 31st was a special day as NAAS was invited by resident Noreen Ireland to visit this lovely gated community and 14 people joined me. The weather broke just in time to witness much activity. The birds were hungry and were there to feast at Noreen's feeders. The OCV residents with some young ones in tow as well as folks who had seen the notice on the new NAAS website showed off many sharp pairs of eyes. We had a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Bridled Titmouse show off their black and white plumages at the suet. Western Bluebirds flitted among us while a distant Townsend's Solitaire called from the hillside. Song Sparrows, Abert's and Spotted Towhees rustled in the reeds right beside us. Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers clamored from the cottonwoods. A Red-tailed Hawk perched on a far telephone pole waited while we discussed its size, shape, color, to rule out other raptor possibilities. After the big sit hour, we walked along beautiful Oak Creek passing a lone Bufflehead. to a hidden quiet backwater where we saw at least twenty Wood Ducks, some Mallards, and Ring-necked Ducks. Excluding these ducks, we saw 28 species in our hour, which is the new record for an NAAS Big Sit!  by Kristen Rothrock

Sedona Wetlands January 14, 2023: Rich was joined by 19 folks on January 14th at 10 AM for a 1 hour walk at the Sedona Wetlands. Weather cooperated, but birds didn't. Scope views of the normal ducks & Say's Phoebe & Townsend's Solitaire, but many more misses. It seems starting at 10 got people from Flagstaff and others, but less birds. We then went down to Spring creek tank 9571, but only a Black Phoebe was at the tank. Despite the lack of birds, many enjoyed the field trip!

Bubbling Ponds: On October 12 at 4:30 pm (yes, in the evening!) I had 4 other birders (plus 2 locals who joined us for a bit!) to take a walk around bubbling ponds. From the parking lot we saw a Bald Eagle soaring away from us, with the unmistakable white tail. That's my first Bald Eagle in Yavapai County. We proceeded to see a mix of our year-round species (Bridled Titmice showed up quickly, Abert's Towhees and Song Sparrows were unmistakably present too), some summer visitors (the Osprey was really putting on a show, soaring and perching), and some winter visitors (my first Dark-eyed Junco of the season, also Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers) just returning. We then watched a gorgeous fall sunset and tried to entice an owl to join us. No luck, but overall a very pleasant day with 22 species.  By Alex Passos

Big Sit, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, November 30th: I was joined by 10 people for the big sit at Dead Horse State Park on November 30th. There were a few surprises; a glimpse at a Pine Siskin, but good looks at the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Bridled Titmouse, and some American Goldfinches. By comparison, the Lesser Goldfinch was barely in attendance. Of course, White-crowned Sparrows and Oregon Juncos abounded. A Slate-colored Junco were among them. A Spotted Towhee made his appearance just before the hour ended. There was good conversation, new people, and many sharp eyes that identified 22 species.  By Kristen Rothrock

Woods Canyon Trail Field Trip:  5 birders joined me on November 5th for a nearly 2-mile walk along Woods Canyon Trail. Despite the early morning chill, it turned out to be an exceptional day for birding. We passed at least 200 American Robins, 80 Western Bluebirds, 8 Cedar Waxwings, and around 30 Townsend's Solitaires. Other highlights included a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Crissal Thrasher, Rock Wren, Black-throated Sparrow, and Black-chinned Sparrow. However, the co-favorites were a flock of a dozen Cassin's Finches foraging in neighboring junipers and a male Evening Grosbeak! Back at the ranger station, we were treated to very close views of Canyon Towhees & several species of sparrow: White-crowned, Chipping, Song, Lincoln's, and even a hoped for White-throated. We ended up with 41 species in all!  By Mark Philippart

Black Canyon Heritage Park and Lake Pleasant:  The 23rd of October turned out to be a great day to leave the rain behind and head down to Black Canyon City and Lake Pleasant. On the way down, we visited a couple of spots for sparrows; including the Arcosanti Cattle Tank, a dirt tank where shorebirds are often found. We were met at the Black Canyon City Heritage Park by a Meetup member who joins us often, but lives in Phoenix. To my surprise, when we arrived she and two other participants were conversing in Mandarin!  So there were 3 participants who spoke Mandarin and 3 participants who did not. They tried to teach us the difference between the Mandarin word for Cormorant, donkey and stove which are all very similar, but we had a lot of difficulty picking that up... which gave us all a good chuckle. One of the participants saw 5 life birds! We had Harris's Hawks immediately upon entering the heritage park. The road just North of the park always has Inca Doves and one of NAAS's great photographers got wonderful pictures of Curve-billed Thrashers and Cactus Wrens. Lake Pleasant's Cottonwood Day Use Area is the go-to spot for Gilded Flicker and they didn't disappoint! But the lake was down which made it hard to discern whether or not there were Clark's Grebes in all of the Western Grebes? Overall it was a good day with 50 species and great weather, birds and birders...  and pie on the way home!  By Kay Hawklee
Northern Arizona Audubon

P O Box 1496 Sedona, AZ 86339

Sanctuary Locations:

Bubbling Ponds
1950 N Page Springs Rd
Cornville AZ 86325

Sedona Wetlands
7500 W State Route 89A,
Sedona, AZ 86336
(Inbetween mile markes 365 & 366) 

Picture Canyon
N. El Paso Flagstaff Rd 
Flagstaff, Arizona

Kachina Wetlands
2263 Utility Rd,
Flagstaff, AZ 86005

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