Date: 1/1/18 11:06 am From: Tommy DeBardeleben <debardelebentommy...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] Birding in Greenlee County, AZ (No Sightings)
In 2017 I decided to focus a lot of my birding efforts in two counties that are under-birded, one that is relatively close to me and another that is further away. Those two counties were Gila County and Greenlee County. They are both very fun to bird and explore, both under-birded. Greenlee County is very under-birded, almost too under-birded. I took four trips to Greenlee County last year, and I would have loved to take more if it wasn't so far for me.
Greenlee County is the second smallest county in Arizona, and by far the least human populated county in Arizona. It's by far the most under-birded too. I really became interested in Greenlee County when Caleb Strand, Joshua Smith, and I, took a trip there in February last year. My interest in the county grew even more when Gordon Karre and I took two trips: one in spring, and the other in late fall. With the exception of water sources, Greenlee County has a variety of habitats from Chihuahuan deserts up to pine, spruce, and fir forests. One of the most impressive things about the county are the massive riparian areas throughout the county along rivers and creeks that include Upper and Lower Eagle Creek, and the Blue, Black, Gila, and San Francisco Rivers. Elevation in the county goes from roughly 3500' to 9400'.
I decided to do a little research project on Greenlee County, and publish it on my website to help me learn more about it and also for those who may be interested in birding in the county. It is a guide for finding birds and birding locations. Also, I did some research and compiled a list of what I was able to find with what birds have been seen in Greenlee County. I had eBird as a great source for compiling the list, and the Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas and trip reports from Arizona Field Ornithologists Expeditions provided information about several species that haven't been reported to eBird yet. In total by what I was able to find, resulted in 264 species. On eBird the total is 258 species.
Greenlee County is awesome and there are some major gaps to fill with the bird list as well as lots of knowledge to gain about the county. I see at as a wonderful opportunity for Arizona and neighboring New Mexico birders to discover some awesome things of their own. 264 species gives a ton of room for discovery (258 on eBird)! The next lowest county total in Arizona on eBird is Navajo County at 311 species.
Here is a link to the online guide. Please let me know if there are any birds to your knowledge that aren't on the list that have been seen in the County. I've been to a lot of the birding locations mentioned in the 5 birding areas, but some of them I haven't been to yet, and they are included because they are worth exploring. The project is basic right now, but I will be adding more to it in the coming weeks, including links to trip reports and past articles for those who have birded the county.
I hope you all have a great New Year, and I also hope that you'll all consider taking a trip to Greenlee County in 2018 to discover your own Greenlee County birds, and to give this county more needed data.