|For more information or to register for this trip, call
Charles at 888-203-7464 ext. 912 or Charles directly
at 720-320-1974 or by email at info@PIBird.com.
|Day 1: Arrival Flights and Birding in Tucson at Agua
After arriving in Tucson by midday, we will have time to
make a trip up to Agua Caliente Park on the northeast side
of the metro area. This park is a little jewel in the desert; it
features a pond with surrounding cattail marsh, open
woodlands, brushy tracts and thorn scrub desert.
Consequently, species of many different habitats may be
found in a relatively small area. Rufous-crowned Sparrow
and Vermilion Flycatcher are found in the open areas of
the park, while Bell’s Vireo, Pyrrhuloxia and Phainopepla
prefer the brushy scrub. In the surrounding desert,
Gambel’s Quail, Curve-billed Thrasher and Verdin work the
mesquite and acacia.
Overnight in Tucson.
Day 2 Catalina Mountains and Mt. Lemmon
The Catalina Mountains rise over 7,500 feet above the city
of Tucson, and traveling the 25-mile road to the top at
Mount Lemmon will take us from the Sonoran Desert to the
Canadian life zone, the equivalent of a 2,500 mile journey
to the north. We will begin our day at Molino Basin, where
the foothills chaparral hosts Scott’s Oriole, Canyon
Towhee, Bridled Titmouse and Anna’s Hummingbird. A
little higher up, at Bear and Rose Canyons, we will look for
Yellow-eyed Junco, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-faced Warbler
and Painted Redstart. At the top of Mount Lemmon we
may find Mountain Chickadee, Broad-tailed Hummingbird,
and with a little luck, the elusive Olive Warbler.
Overnight in Tucson.
Day 3: Florida Wash and Madera Canyon
First thing in the morning, we stop in Florida Wash: Crissal
Thrasher, Varied Bunting, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Black-
tailed Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Pyrrhuloxia, Rufous-
winged Sparrow, Cassin’s Sparrow and Botteri‘s Sparrow
are all possible here. The colors and patterns on these
birds should really stand out in the morning light.
Then we continue to Madera Canyon for birds of the
transition zone and oak-pine forests. At the parking lot at
the entrance to the canyon we’ll walk a trail that may
produce Summer Tanager, Say’s Phoebe, Zone-tailed
Hawk or Bell’s Vireo. Higher up we will stop at a couple of
lodges that have hummingbird feeders. Possible hummers
include Blue-throated, Magnificent and Broad-billed, and
the seed feeders at the lodges attract Bridled Titmouse
and Mexican Jay. At the end of the road is the Vault Mine
Trail, from which we will look for higher altitude specialties
like Hepatic Tanager, Grace’s Warbler and Elegant Trogon.
Overnight in Rio Rico
Day 4: Patagonia Area
We will start early toward Patagonia Lake State Park, a
good place to find waterfowl and a possible site for Black-
capped Gnatcatcher. When we have finished at the lake
we will stop at the famous Patagonia Roadside Rest Stop to
have a look around for any of the many interesting species
that have been seen here. Rose-throated Becard and
Thick-billed Kingbird, among many others, have been
Next is the Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek
Preserve. White-winged Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird,
Broad-billed Hummingbird, Canyon Wren, Cassin’s
Kingbird, Phainopepla, Lucy’s Warbler, Pyrrhuloxia, Varied
Bunting, Lesser Goldfinch, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Gray
Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, Gambel’s Quail, Greater
Roadrunner, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed
Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Brown-crested
Flycatcher, Bridled Titmouse, Summer Tanager, Abert’s
Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak and
Varied Bunting all nest in this area. Bronzed Cowbird and
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet are possible here.
At the legendary Paton's feeders in Patagonia we’ll join
other birders watching the daily hummingbird show, starring
the Violet-crowned Hummingbird, as well as Broad-billed
Hummingbird and Magnificent Hummingbird. This should be
a great photo opportunity. After finishing in Patagonia we’ll
take the scenic drive around the north end of the
Huachuca Mountains and drop down into Sierra Vista.
Overnight in Sierra Vista.
Day 5: Sierra Vista Area—Miller, Garden, Scheelite or
Carr Canyons, San Pedro River and More
Our exact destinations will vary depending on the presence
of desirable species in the vicinity. Miller or Carr Canyon:
Cordilleran Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Pygmy
Nuthatch, Olive Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Grace’s
Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Western Tanager, Evening
Grosbeak (always a great photo subject), Red Crossbill
and Buff-breasted Flycatcher are all possible here.
San Pedro River Valley: Gambel’s Quail, Scaled Quail,
Common Ground-Dove, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed
Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Chihuahuan Raven, Verdin,
Curve-billed Thrasher, Phainopepla, Bell’s Vireo,
Pyrrhuloxia, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Abert’s
Towhee. Again we will take our time for good views and
Overnight in Sierra Vista.
Day 6: Chiricahua Mountains
Today we will visit the legendary Chiricahuas, where
Cochise and Geronimo had strongholds in the late 1800’s.
In addition to interesting history and fantastic scenery, this
area has good birds, too! The desert floor around the
town of Portal is possibly the best place in Arizona to see
the elusive Crissal Thrasher. Nearby rocky slopes provide
an opportunity for Black-chinned Sparrow. The lower
forest elevations around Cave Creek are home to Painted
Redstart, Arizona Woodpecker, Blue-throated Hummingbird
and with a lot of luck, Whiskered Screech-Owl. A bit higher
up the mountains we will look for Greater Pewee, Grace’s
Warbler, Yellow-eyed Junco and Hepatic Tanager. At the
highest accessible points in the mountains are found Red-
faced Warbler, Olive Warbler and the much-sought-after
Mexican Chickadee. This is the only place in North
America to get this bird.
Overnight in Willcox
Day 7: Willcox Playa and Sulphur Springs Valley in
Morning; Departure after 2 PM
This morning we will spend a few hours exploring the playa
and lakes near Willcox, where we should find a wide variety
of ducks and grebes, as well as White-faced Ibis and Great
Blue Heron. The Sulphur Springs Valley is a major
wintering site for North American sparrows, and for our
April trips many of these will still be present; we may see
Cassin’s, Chipping, Lark, Savannah, Song, Lincoln’s and
White-crowned Sparrows, and Lark Buntings should be
present, too. The valley is also a great place to see
Loggerhead Shrike, Greater Roadrunner, Curve-billed
Thrasher, Chihuahuan Raven and both meadowlarks.
When we have finished our birding in the area we will
return to Tucson for flights home.
Weather: You can expect daily lows in the 50's or 60's
and daily highs in the 80's. It can reach into the 90's in
some areas. There is little chance of rain. Much of the
birding will be in higher elevations, giving us the chance to
escape the heat most days.
Overview of Trail Conditions: This trip might entail a
moderate amount of hiking. While much of our birding will
be done within a short distance from our vehicles, to
maximize our birding opportunities we will need to do some
walking in Madera Canyon and the Huachuca canyons, and
the optional hike up Scheelite Canyon is relatively steep
and rocky. Some places will have fairly even walking, but
the terrain will be uneven in most areas.
|Southeast Arizona Birding
|All photos by Bill Schmoker
(above and including the
banner photo) and all photos
to the bottom, left and right..