Tres Rios Wetlands (AZ)-200 BIRD IMAGES (217 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 208 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:
    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        99      96       85      66       81       95      98       71                  163           36              123

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.


Personal Goals for 2015.  My goals for 2015 are:  Use only 150 field hours to see a comparable number of species as in 2014 (Anything above 160 is good), add 5 new species, and photograph or improve photographs of another 5 species.

What's new for September 2015?  The fall migration is in full swing as birds are stopping in to feed or overwinter.  I am up to 5 species of ducks (Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, N Shovelers, and Ruddy Ducks) and more are to follow.  There is an upswing in sparrows:  Green-tailed Towhee, Lincoln's, Lark, and Brewer's, but not nearly all that will come through or stay for the winter. The warblers are here, but still disappointing by my count.  I have only seen Lucy's, Orange-crowned, Yellow, Wilson's, and Nashville.  The real surprise of the month is the Bonaparte's Gull that showed up in the NE basin, my first of this species here.  Initially, it looked like a Sabine's, but the shadowing created by the morning sun made the out wings look dark; other images showed they were not. I had hoped that my third outing would have been significant, but I was not able to locate the reported Northern Waterthrush and Broad-winged Hawk.  The few species I added were not unexpected. My last outing's most significant find was a House Wren, a rare bird at Tres Rios like so many others that are common in other places around town. I also attained my minimum goal for this year of 160 species with 3 months of birding to go.

What's new for October 2015?  My first outing was a tough 74 species, but 3 notables were detected:  a Solitary Sandpiper in the NE fenced basin, an (possibly 2) American Redstart between the first and second basins where the 3 roads go west from the 91st Avenue Parking, and the find of the day, a Horned Grebe in the SE fenced basin.  This bird was in the Gooding Willows with at least 4 other warbler species (Yellow, Wilson's, Orange-crowned, and Black-throated Gray).  My second outing put me in third place for number of species I have seen in one year with still over 2 months left.  I added Violet-Green Swallows for the year and several other species for this month, but nothing unusual.  Several of the really good species (Northern Waterthrush, Varied Thrush, Virginia warbler, etc) are still eluding me.

What's new for November 2015?  The first outing of the month was a pretty good 71 species. I picked up 2 Hermit Thrushes, 2 Crissal Thrashers, a Common Ground Dove, and an Ash-Throated Flycatcher.  The ducks are coming back, but still not in the massive numbers I expect to see..   

NonPasserines-117 species
Podicipediformes (Grebes)-5 species

    Pied billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)                                            Earred Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
    Western Grebe (Aechmorphorus occidentalis)                                    Clark's Grebe (Aechmorphorus clarkii)
    Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)

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)-25 species
    Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)                 Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)               
    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)                                                             Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)                                                            
    American Widgeon (Anas americana)                                                Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
    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)-6 species

    American Coot (Fulica americana)                                                     Common Gallinule (Gallinula chlorpus)
    Sora (Porzana carolina)                                                                       Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola)
    Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)                                                        Ridgway Rail (Rallus obsoletus)-NO IMAGE

Charadriiformes (Shorebirds: Sandpipers, Plovers, Gulls, Terns etc)-19 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)                                                American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica)***
    Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
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)-8 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)                                    Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Caprimulgiformes (Nighthawks, Whip-poor-wills, etc)-1 species
    Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)
Passeriformes: Divided into Alphabetized Families-100 species
    Alaudidae-Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris)-1 species
    Bombycillidae-Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilia cedrorum)-1 species
    Cardinalidae (Cardinals, Buntings, Grosbeaks, etc)-6 species
       Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)                                         Black-headed Grosbreak (Pheuticus melanocephalus)
       Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)-NO IMAGE                                Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena)                                                  
       Blue Grosbeak (Guiraca caerulea)                                                    Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)
    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)-16 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)                                      Pacific-Slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) **
       Dusky Flycatcher (Empidonax oberholseri)                                        Cordilleran Flycatcher (Empidonax occidentalis)
       Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)                                    Gray Flycatcher (Empidonax wrighttii)                                 
        Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)                                        Cassin's Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)
        Hammond's Flycatcher (Empidonax hammondii)                              
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)    
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.
    ***Image captured from Mobile and 87thAve pond

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, Mark S. 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