Tres Rios Wetlands (AZ)-200 BIRD IMAGES (209 species)
  Click here to see a list of species. Click on species name to see image
 

    All species observed and photographed are in the Tres Rios wetlands or in the immediately surrounding areas from Baseline Rd (southern boundary) to Lower Buckeye Rd (Northern boundary); from 77th  Avenue  (Eastern boundary) to 115th Avenue (Western boundary).  I have currently photographed 201 species and observed (by sight or sound) another 9 species.  The linked photographs come only from the Tres Rios area and therefore many photographs are at least documentation photos.  A photograph is only attached if an identification can be reasonably confirmed, but see notes on some species.  A PDF spreadsheet is attached at the beginning of the species list (Bird Activity) that gives a seasonal record.  My survey started in December 2010 and continues into the present.   Any suggestions on taxonomic assignment are welcomed and appreciated. I may be contacted at:  robert.bowker@gccaz.edu
    There were 3 reasons for doing this survey of the Tres Rios Wetlands.  1) I wanted to improve my knowledge of local birds and Tres Rios is a convenient site from where I live.  2) I wanted to do not just a one-time seasonal bird count, but a weekly (at least closer to a week between counts) survey of the birds that will give a more complete picture of their seasonal activity.  3) At some point in the future, this survey may be of some use to determine year to year changes in the Tres Rios avifauna.  It is for sure that the number of birds in my survey is a gross underestimate of the birds that come through Tres Rios (eBIRD has 228 which is also low), but it is at least a starting/reference point for other birders, past, present and future.
    A survey of this sort has significant limitations:  1) It does not give densities (rough estimates are now reported in eBird), only presence or absence; 2) it is unlikely to detect many of the night avian fauna; and 3) my inability to search the heavily vegetated areas along the Salt River misses several species.
    The survey does also have benefits:  1) It does verify photographically that these birds are present at Tres Rios; 2) The attached PDF files of bird activity for 2011-2014 will tell a visitor how likely they are to encounter the species of bird and in what season; and 3) eventually I will put together a probability map allowing visitors to look in certain areas to increase their success.

                            Species richness by month
            JAN   FEB   MAR   APR   MAY   JUN   JUL   AUG   SEP   OCT   NOV   DEC  YEAR  OUTINGS  FLD HRS  AVGSp/Out  AVGSp/Mo
  2011    13        3        28        20      66       42      49       38       37      74       87       100     135           54              118               40.9               46.4
  2012    95       88       94        99      89       68      67       72       74      78       95       107     160           82              266               54.8               85.5
  2013   104     101    100      109      96       76      72       83       92      88       95       102     169           62              255               64.1               93.2
  2014     96      94       96      104    104       80      77       76       84      92       97        97      171           52              198               60.4               90.4
  2015     93      93       94                                                                                                        118            9                 28

Bird Activity for 2011-2014* 
* This data set is clearly incomplete for many species, especially those species that are either rare or just hard to detect.  Another year added to this data should resolve many of those issues as well as add species I have not detected yet.  The very low species numbers in 2011 (Jan-Apr) are obviously not because only those few bird species were seen, but because those were the only bird species I photographed and kept records on.  My yearly activity data placed into eBird can be found at these LINKS:  LINK1; Link2; Link3; Link4; Link5; Link6; Link7; Link8.

SLIDE SHOW FOR TRES RIOS BIRDS-click on

Personal Goals for 2015.  My goals for 2015 are:  Use only 150 field hours to see a comparable number of species as in 2014, add 10 new species, and photograph or improve photographs of another 10 species.

What's new for January 2015?  My first outing produced 78 species with many I only see once a year: Fulvous Whistling Ducks, Brown Creeper, a pair of Wood Ducks, and male and female Vermillion Flycatchers.  I have never seen a male inside the preserve only on the perimeter.  It was an active day and had I had time, my day record of 80 species would have been shattered easily.   The second outing started out 'birdy', but quickly died when the wind kicked up by 9: 30 AM.  It was not a bad day considering the 70 species I saw, but the most noteworthy was the drake Wood Duck at the second gate about 100 m west from the parking area on 91st Ave. I have already dramatically improved one of my photos. This last outing was productive in finally adding a Swamp Sparrow hanging out with several Lincoln's at the last outflow, but in the field between the two cottonwood stands.  I also saw a Brown Creeper for the second time this year, doubling my number of observations in the 4 previous years at Tres Rios. The overcast day likely suppressed some of the species I should have seen. 

What's new for Februrary 2015?  The Wood Duck continues by the first exit gate inside the parking area.  I also detected a Yellow Warbler and the Hammond's Flycatcher.  The Yellow Warbler was just after the dam, down the middle road about 75 m, to the N in the Willows and Cottonwoods.  The Hammond's was in its usual spot by the last outflow.  I also observed a Hermit Thrush in this same area.  Beyond this, there was nothing out of the ordinary. My final two outings of February again found nothing out of the ordinary, but added over a dozen Common Ravena, one Wilson's Snipe, and Horned Larks to my yearly list.

What's new for March 2015?  Fighting a upper respiratory virus, my first outing did not find anything significant.  It also was much shorter than most outings and covered much less of the wetlands.  I did find all 3 grebes for the first time in a few months.  Duck numbers and diversity were way down from February.  Duck numbers continue to drastically decrease and for this last outing I did not detect Blue-winged and Green-winged Teals nor a Lesser Scaup.  The two new migrants were Tree Swallows and Western Kingbirds.  I also encountered the most cooperative Least Bittern ever (see new Least Bittern image), the bird lettering take dozens of images with him out in the open at as close a distance as I have ever had.  I am really looking forward to the April and May surges of migrants and summer residents._

NonPasserines-111 species
Podicipediformes (Grebes)-4 species

    Pied billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)                                            Earred Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
    Western Grebe (Aechmorphorus occidentalis)                                    Clark's Grebe (Aechmorphorus clarkii)
Pelicaniformes (Pelicans, Cormorants, Gannets, and Boobies)-4 species
    Neotropical Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)                          Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
    White Pelican (Pelicanus erythrorhynchus)                                        Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Ciconiiformes (Herons, Egrets, Ibises, Bitterns)-9 species
    Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)                                                     Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
    Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)                                                                 Great Egret (Anaka alba)
    Green Heron (Butorides virescens)                                                      Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
    White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)                                                        American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)
    Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)
Anseriformes (Ducks, Geese, and Swans)-24 species
    Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)                 Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)               
    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)                                                             Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)                                                            
    American Widgeon (Anas americana)
    Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)                                                       Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)
    Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)                                                        Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
    Gadwall (Anas strepera)                                                                      Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
    Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)                                         Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
    Redhead (Aythya americana)                                                               Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
)
    Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)                                                         Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
    Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)                                          Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
    Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)                                                                    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
    Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)-No Image                                  Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens)
    Domestic Graylag Geese (Chen sp)
Falconiformes (Hawks, Eagles, Vultures, Falcons, etc)-17 species
    Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)                                                          Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
    Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)                                                      Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
    American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)                                                   Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
    Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi)                                                     Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)
    Peregrin Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
    Merlin (Falco columbarius)                                                                 Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus)
    Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)                                                 Swainson's Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
    Ferruginous HAwk (Buteo regalis)                                                     Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)
    Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)                                               Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Strigiformes (Owls)-4 species
    Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)                                                 Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
    Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)                                                Western Screech Owl (Otus kennicottii)-NO IMAGE
Galliformes (Quail, Turkeys, Bobwhite)-3 species
    Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii)                                                 Pea Fowl (Pavo cristatus)
*
    Helmeted Guinea Fowl (Numida meleagris)*
Gruiformes (Coots, Rails, Sora, etc)-5 species

    American Coot (Fulica americana)                                                     Common Gallinule (Gallinula chlorpus)
    Sora (Porzana carolina)                                                                       Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
    Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

Charadriiformes (Shorebirds: Sandpipers, Plovers, Gulls, Terns etc)-17 species

    Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)                                                           American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
    Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)                                       Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)
    Dunlin (Calidris alpina)                                                                       Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularis)
    Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)                          Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus)
    Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)                                                  Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)
    Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)                                            Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)
    Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)                                                    Black Tern (Chlidonias niger)
    Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)                                                   
Stilt Sandpiper (Calidris himantopus)
    Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 
Columbiformes (Doves and Pigeons)-7 species

    Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)                                                    White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
    Inca Dove (Columbina inca)                                                                 Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina)
   
Feral Pigeon (Columbina livia)                                                             Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata)
    Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Cuculiformes (Cuckoos and Roadrunners)-2 species
    Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californicus)                                     Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)
Apodiformes (Hummingbirds)-6 species
    Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus)
                         Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)                      
    Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)                                                     Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)-NO IMAGE
    Vaux Swift (Chaetura vauxi)                                                                   Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae)  
Coraciiformes (Kingfishers)-1 species
    Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)
Piciformes (Woodpeckers, Sapsuckers, and Flickers)-7 species
    Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)                                          Ladderbacked Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris)
    Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)                                                      Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoides)
    Red Naped Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis)                                      Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)-NO IMAGE                                
    Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)

Caprimulgiformes (Nighthawks, Whip-poor-wills, etc)-1 species
    Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)
Passeriformes: Divided into Alphabetized Families-98 species
    Alaudidae-Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)-1 species
    Bombycillidae-Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilia cedrorum)-1 species
    Cardinalidae (Cardinals, Buntings, Grosbeaks, etc)-5 species
       Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)                                         Black-headed Grosbreak (Pheuticus melanocephalus)
       Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)-NO IMAGE                                Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)                                                  
       Blue Grosbeak (Guiraca caerulea)
    Certhiidae (Creepers)-1 species
      Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)
    Corvidae (Crows, Jays, Ravens)-1 species

       Common Raven (Corvus corax)
    Emberizidae (Sparrows, Juncos, and Towhees)-16 species
       Abert's Towhee (Pipilo aberti)                                                           Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus)
       White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)                            Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
       Lincoln Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)                                               Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)
       Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)                                Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
       Brewer's Sparrow (Spizella breweri)                                                  Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)
       Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
                               Vesper Sparrow (Pooectes gramineus)
      
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)                                             Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)
       Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

    Fringillidae (Finches)-4 species
       House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)                                               Lawrence's Goldfinch (Carduelis lawrencei)
       Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)                                                 American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
    Hirundinidae (Swallows)-6 species
       Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidoteryx serripennis)          Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonata)
       Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)                                 Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
       Cave Swallow (Hirundo fulva)-NO IMAGE                                      Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
    Icteridae (Blackbirds, Grackles, Orioles, Cowbirds, Meadowlarks, etc)-8 species
       Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)            Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
       Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)                                   Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
       Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)                                      Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullocki)
       Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)                                                     Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
    Laniidae-Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)-1 species
    Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)-3 species
       Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyclottos)                                       Crissal Thrasher (Toxostoma crissale)
       Curved-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre)
    Motacillidae-American Pipit (Anthus rubescens)-1 species
    Parulidae (Warblers)-15 species
       Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)                                                 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
      
Townsend's Warbler (Dendroica townsendii)                                      Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens)
       Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica)                             Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)
       Lucy's Warbler (Vermivora luciae)                                                      Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
       Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)                                                  Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla)
       Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)                                              MacGillivray's Warbler (Oporonis tolmiei)
       Hermit Warbler (Dendroica occidentalis)-NO IMAGE                      Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla)
       American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)-House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)-1 species
    Ptilogonatidae-Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)-1 species
    Regulidae-Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)-1 species
    Remizidae-Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps)-1 species
    Sturnidae-European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)-1 species
    Sylviidae (Gnatcatchers)-2 species
       Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura)                                 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)
    Cardinalidae (old family Thraupidae (Tanagers)-2 species
       Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)                                             Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)
    Troglodytidae (Wrens)-5 species
       Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)                             Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
       Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)                                                      House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
       Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)-NO IMAGE
    Turdidae (Robins, Bluebirds, Thrushes)-2 species
       American Robin (Turdus migratorius)                                                Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)
    Tyrannidae (Flycatchers, Kingbirds, Phoebes, Pewees)-15 species
       Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricanus)                                                   Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya)
       Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melanocholicus)                                    Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticallis)
       Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)                              Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
       Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)                                      Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) **
       Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri)                                        Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)
       Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)                                    Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrighttii)                                 
        Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)                                        Cassin's Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)
        Hammond's Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)
    Vireonidae (Vireos)-4 species
       Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)                                                               Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni)                                                            
        Plumbeous Vireo (Vireo plumbeus)                                                     Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii)

         
Habitat views (2011) from west side with currently restricted access to general public
       Habitat 1-Parking lot at 91st Avenue looking W
       Habitat 2-
Parking lot at 91st Avenue looking NW
      
Habitat 3-View of wetlands from outside fenced area at 91st Avenue looking N
      
Habitat 4-First drainage area outside fenced wetlands near 91st Avenue looking W
      
Habitat 5-Salt River drainage about 0.4 mi from 91st Avenue parking area looking SW
      
Habitat 6-Dam area about 0.5 mi from 91st Avenue looking W
      
Habitat 7-Road crossing dam about 0.5 mi from 91st Avenue looking W
      
Habitat 8-Spillway from dam area looking SW
      
Habitat 9-Open field area just W of dam looking W; to the S is the Salt River; to the N are a series of basins
      
Habitat 10-1st Basin past dam looking NW
      
Habitat 11-2nd basin past dam looking W
      
Habitat 12-3rd basin past dam looking W
      
Habitat 13-4th basin past dam looking W
      
Habitat 14-5th basin past dam looking W
      
Habitat 15-6th basin past dam looking NW
      
Habitat 16-7th basin past dam looking NW
       Habitat 17-8th basin past dam looking NW
      
Habitat 18-9th basin past dam looking NW
      
Habitat 19-10th basin past dam looking NW
       Habitat 20-11th basin past dam looking NW
       Habitat 21-12th basin past dam looking NW
      
Habitat 22-Field area near 11th and 12th basins looking SW
       Habitat 23-13th basin past dam looking SW


      *  Yes! These are cheap birds for the list, but they are both in the field guides.
    ** The Western Flycatcher is currently divided into the Cordillean and Pacific-Slope Flycatchers based on calls.  However, these may be two species that will eventually be lumped back together.
   
Acknowledgments.  I have a long list of people to thank for either pointing me to new bird species, helping with identifications, or allowing me access to restricted areas.  These are: Debbie R., Dolores H., Mike D., Jeff R., Les, Tommy D., John S., Mark O., S. Miller, and Mike M.  Thanks go to Google Maps and access to their images.  I apologize for any of you I have forgotten to list.
Return to top of page