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Birding the Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
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Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Overview

There are many riparian corridors in Arizona, and many roadside rest areas, but this is the only roadside rest area in a riparian corridor where I would stop and expect to see Vermilion Flycatchers in the parking lot. The Hassayampa River riparian corridor is a migration route for birds crossing the desert that can be a good place for a quick stop along the highway. Some 230 species of birds have been recorded in the area.

Link to Map.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Description

Hassayampa is a Native American word that translates to "upside down river." While the Hassayampa runs all year, it runs underground (under the sand, not on top of the sand) through most of the course, including along the roadside rest during summer. Despite the apparently dry wash, water flowing below the sand supports large stands of cottonwood trees and desert willow along the edge of the wash and a fringe of saltbush and other shrubs. The surrounding vegetation is typical Arizona uplands desert with a variety of shrubs, mesquite thickets, paloverde trees, and saguaro cactus. In addition to the traditional roadside rest area facilities, 15 signs explain various aspects of the Sonoran Desert habitat and wildlife.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

The rest area is fairly small, as rest areas go, and the easiest way to bird the area is by walking the sidewalk along the perimeter. The shrubs and cottonwood trees at the north end of the rest area can be productive. Across the parking lot from the restrooms, birders can climb over the fence and follow a path through the trees to the river. This is a good way to get over the fence and into the wooded areas.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area The Nature Conservancy operates the Hassayampa River Preserve, a natural area along the Hassayampa River just north of the roadside rest area. The preserve is located on Highway U.S. 93/60, 3 miles south of Wickenburg (west of the highway near mile marker 114). Watch for the "Hassayampa River Preserve" sign over the driveway. Conservancy members get in free, but others are asked for a $5 donation. The preserve is closed Monday and Tuesday. When open, the hours of operation are 7-4. For more information, contact: Hassayampa River Preserve at (928) 684-2772 or bmccollum@tnc.org. This is a great place to spend a few hours wandering the trails along the river.
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Location

The Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area is located on the west side of Highway U.S. 60/93, about 5 miles south of Wickenburg, Arizona (GPS Coordinates; 33.9094N, 112.6758W; 1,925 ft). Watch for standard highway rest area signs.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Hours

The rest area is always open.

Fees

None.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area

Specialties

Vermilion Flycatchers, Cactus Wrens, and neotropical migrants (Summer Tanager is and Lucy's Warblers common during summer). Red-shouldered hawks nest in the Nature Conservancy area, the only known nesting site in Arizona.

Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area
Hassayampa Roadside Rest Area hassayampa roadside rest area

Recent Visit: Hassayampa River--US 60 Rest Area, Maricopa, Arizona, US May 24, 2017 5:30 AM - 7:00 AM Comments: Cool calm and clear 17 species (+1 other taxa) Mallard 2, Gray Hawk 1, Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 10, Mourning Dove 2, hummingbird sp. 1, Gila Woodpecker 5, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2, Vermilion Flycatcher 6, Bell's Vireo 1, Common Raven 1, Phainopepla 1, Lucy's Warbler 2, Yellow Warbler 2, Abert's Towhee 2, Summer Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal 1, Brown-headed Cowbird 1, House Sparrow 2.

Hassayampa River Preserve, Maricopa, Arizona, US May 24, 2017 7:00 AM - 11:05 AM Protocol: Traveling 2.0 mile(s) Comments: Warm to hot, clear, and nearly calm 32 species. Mallard 11, Gambel's Quail 2, Black Vulture 2, Turkey Vulture 9, Zone-tailed Hawk 1, American Coot 8, White-winged Dove 2, Black-chinned Hummingbird 3, Anna's Hummingbird 8, Costa's Hummingbird 1, Gila Woodpecker 20, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 4, Black Phoebe 1, Vermilion Flycatcher 10, Ash-throated Flycatcher 3, Cactus Wren 1, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3, Swainson's Thrush 1, Curve-billed Thrasher 4, Phainopepla 25, Lucy's Warbler 8, Yellow Warbler 20, Yellow-rumped Warbler 2, Yellow-breasted Chat 10, Song Sparrow 3, Abert's Towhee 12, Western Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal 5, Red-winged Blackbird 25, Hooded Oriole 5, House Finch 15, Lesser Goldfinch 20.

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170525

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