Gateway To The Copper Corridor


2019 Summer Gateway, Visitors Guide.

Birds on the Brain?

Ten Top Spots for Birdwatching

Is Gila County a great

place to strap on the binoculars

and see birds?

Ask ‘Tommy D’ Debardeleben,

author of a popular website

frequently updated with

his adventures seeking rare

birds around the Grand Canyon

State. Most of his daysoff

work during 2017 were

spent birding Gila County

- starting the year with 137

species he had found on prior

visits, and doubling that

already-impressive tally to

275 before New Year’s Eve.

Search posts at tommysbirdingexpeditions

for anecdotes

from across Gila County,

from a Rufous-winged Sparrow

singing at the Southern

tip of the county, just off

Highway 77 near Winkelman

and the Gila River (where

Black Vulture and Mississippi

Kite are also possible),

to ‘chases’ northwards hoping

for Short-tailed Hawk

in the Pinal Mountains – to

San Carlos Lake for Hooded

Merganser, Bonaparte’s

Gull, and Franklin’s Gull –

and to Green Valley Park in

Payson for Northern Parula

and Rufous-backed Robin.

“I fell in love with the

county,” he writes, “I saw

how diverse it was, and how

much potential it had for

personal discovery. Before I

knew it, I had spent a huge

chunk of the year devoting

my birding time to Gila was a fun ride.”

Nature-lovers seeking narrative

descriptions can spend

hours reading Tommy D’s

blog posts and be familiar

Photo by Muriel Neddermeyer

Olive Warbler

with most of the 10 spots in

this list of great places to see

and photograph birds. You’ll

also want to bookmark ebird.

org as a browser favorite,

and also explore this exhaustive

website – where easyto-navigate

maps pinpoint

‘hotspots’ where birders

have collectively reported

their sightings.

Want a few more numbers?

Consider this trip list

posted June 24 (last month)

Birders enjoying the sights at Pinto Creek.

by a group of birders who

drove from the Valley to

explore the Pinal Mountains

together. Stopping

along Russell Gulch Road

the group found flycatchers

including Black and

also Says’ Phoebe; Vermilion

Flycatcher and Cassins

Kingbird; colorful riparian

birds such as Yellow

Warbler, and chaparral obligates

including Crissal

Thrasher, Black-chinned

Sparrow and Gray Vireo.

They stopped at the Kellner

Canyon group use site to add

10 Gambel’s Quail, two Eurasian

Collared-Dove, two

Gila County

Photo by Muriel Neddermeyer

Red Breasted Nuthatch

Brown-crested Flycatcher,

two Cassin’s Kingbird and

one Western Kingbird; also

two Bell’s Vireo, four Verdin,

six Phainopepla, four

Hooded Oriole and eight Lucy’s

Warblers. Once above

the pinyon-juniper chaparral

and into the Ponderosa

Pine forest they found Zonetailed

Hawk and Greater Pewee

at the Sulfide Del Rey

campsite, where a Mexican

Whip-poor-will was reported

two days before their visit.

Arguably most impressive?

Check out their list from Signal

Peak near the mountaintop

online. See photos and read

more at; connect

with the author and sign-up

for updates about Tommy’s

treks at

Gateway - Summer 2019 31

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