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Birding Field Trips

 

General Information

  • Tucson Audubon field trips are free, unless stated otherwise.
  • It is customary for carpool passengers to help pay for fuel and other vehicle-related costs at the end of each trip. 10 cents/mile is a good place to start; use Google Maps for mileage.
  • Contact the trip leader with questions. For general questions or help registering, contact the Field Trip Coordinator, Luke Safford , 520-209-1811.
  • Trip leaders: Learn more about them! Leaders are in charge of all aspects of the day’s birding.
  • Trip birding ethics: Tucson Audubon adheres to the American Birding Association’s position on birding ethics: http://listing.aba.org/ethics
  • To register for a trip: Click on the registration link at the end of that trip’s description and you will receive a confirmation email. If the trip is full you will be put on the waiting list but will not receive an email.
  • Waiting list: If a place becomes available, you will be contacted by the field trip coordinator.
  • Cancellations: Contact the leader or coordinator ASAP to free your space.

Current Field Trips


May

May 26–Saturday 6 a.m.
Empire Cienega & Grasslands
As it gets warmer in the lowlands, it’s time to checkout the burned over riparian areas of the cienega for effects of the habitat change. Casual easy stroll of 1-2 miles overall on mostly level ground. Meet on the northwest corner of I-10 and Houghton Road at 6:00 AM. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272.

June

June 2 – Saturday 9am to 1pm.
Birdland Ranch Wildlife Conservation Area, Canelo, AZ
Trip Rating: Working Field Trip. Easy Trail, Walking Distance of Azure Bluebird Nest Box Trail, 2.5miles through grasslands and forested areas. Fairly rigorous field work for installing nest box poles in 4 new locations. Involves mixing post hole cement mixture. No restrooms. Drinking water not available on the trail, but canteens can be refilled in the field during lunch break. Pack sack lunch to have in the field. Field trip duration 9am to 1pm.
Join Tucson Audubon for a field trip to Birdland Ranch Wildlife Conservation Area in Canelo, AZ to walk and work (!) on the Azure Bluebird Nest Box Trail. After the morning’s field work to install a few new nest box locations, you’ll be able to take a peek inside the old stations to see what’s happening! This is a trail that has been active for over 18 years. Other cavity-nesting species to frequent these boxes are Elf Owls, Ash and Dusky capped Flycatchers, Acorn woodpeckers, and Northern Flicker. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Kate Scott and Luke Safford, lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org

June 12–Tuesday 8:00 a.m.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Trip Rating: Easy. Distance 0.25 to 0.50 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: paved and smooth dirt trails.
Tucson Audubon partners with the Tucson Botanical Gardens for a garden bird walk. The walk is especially good for beginning bird watchers and those interested in attracting birds to their own yards. Along the way we’ll point out some of the many bird-friendly plants at the gardens and give you ideas for how to bring birds into your own yard. There will be a limited number of loaner binoculars for guests to borrow. The birding is free but there is an entrance fee to enter the gardens. Meet at the gardens–2150 N Alvernon Way. No online registration necessary.
Leader: Vivian MacKinnon, v_mackinnon@yahoo.com

June 15–Friday 6:30 a.m.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Pinal Mountain
Enjoy the Arboretum during nesting of colorful neotropic summer residents, and early in the morning while it’s cooler and less crowded. Meet at the Arboretum at 6:30am, stroll the paths for about ninety minutes, then head to Globe to explore the transition zone and higher elevations of Pinal Mountain. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch somewhere in the Ponderosa pines, at a picnic site, before heading down the mountain and returning to the Arboretum about 3ish. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

June 23–Saturday 6:00 a.m.
Carr Canyon, Huachuca Mountains
Upper elevation warblers, flycatchers, tanagers and more on the menu. Easy meandering on rocky trails and campgrounds of 1+ miles. Car pooling recommended and passenger cars discouraged on the high elevation, narrow, dirt and rocky road. Meet on the northwest corner of I-10 and Houghton Road at 6:00 AM. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272

July

July 7–Saturday 3:00 p.m.
California Gulch
Trip rating: Moderate. Walking Distance: cumulative walking of about one mile. Elevation gain: up to 100 ft. Ground conditions: dirt roads and trails, river bed with rolling rocks–walking conditions may be strenuous for some. Weather conditions: it will be HOT–bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. Bring a chair and your dinner.
Meet at 2 p.m. for late afternoon and evening birding. We will look for a variety of birds in the afternoon including Five-striped Sparrows and Black-capped Gnatcatchers. Other species possible here include Montezuma Quail, Gray Hawk, Varied Bunting and Common Ground-Dove. In the evening we will look, and listen, for Elf Owl, Western Screech Owl, Common Poorwill and Buff-collared Nightjars. We will not visit California Gulch proper, but will head south about 3/4 of a miles further south and do our birding there. No participant limit but the number of participants is reliant on the number of high-clearance vehicles we have. Please indicate if you have a high-clearance vehicle and are willing to drive. Remember we return after dark. You will receive instructions about where to meet before the trip. Please register for this trip here starting Monday, June 11.
Leader: Melody Kehl ( melodysbirding@cox.net )

July 10–Tuesday 8:00 a.m.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Trip Rating: Easy. Distance 0.25 to 0.50 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: paved and smooth dirt trails.
Tucson Audubon partners with the Tucson Botanical Gardens for a garden bird walk. The walk is especially good for beginning bird watchers and those interested in attracting birds to their own yards. Along the way we’ll point out some of the many bird-friendly plants at the gardens and give you ideas for how to bring birds into your own yard. There will be a limited number of loaner binoculars for guests to borrow. The birding is free but there is an entrance fee to enter the gardens. Meet at the gardens–2150 N Alvernon Way. No online registration necessary.
Leader: Vivian MacKinnon, v_mackinnon@yahoo.com

July 21–Saturday 6:00 a.m.
Scotia Canyon, Huachuca Mountains
One of my favorite birding areas on the west side of the Huachuca Mountains. Hopefully this year we don’t get rained out! Even in the rain last year we had a good list of birds that you can find here. Easy stroll of 2 miles or so with some water crossings. Meet on the northwest corner of I-10 and Houghton Road at 6:00 AM. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Register for this trip here starting Monday, June 25.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272


				
Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands

No registration needed!
May – August starts at 6 a.m.

Trip rating: easy; Walking distance: 1 mile; Trip duration: 2 hr; Elevation gain: none; Ground condition: concrete and dirt trails. Restrooms at the trailhead.
Join Luke Safford for an easy walk through the Sweetwater Wetlands to see waterfowl, regular and visiting warblers, and several exciting species hiding in the reeds. Birders of all experience levels welcome! The Wetlands are located at 2511 W Sweetwater Drive.
Contact Luke with questions, 520-209-1811, lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org.
Every Wednesday. Start times: November – Feb: 8 a.m.; March – April: 7 a.m.; May – August: 6 a.m.; September – Oct: 7 a.m.

Learn about Sweetwater Wetlands

Thursday Mornings at Birds at Agua Caliente Park – NOW $5 FEE

Pima County leads this walk–please register below on Pima County’s website
Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation offers this guided birding walk in the desert oasis of Agua Caliente Park to spot wetland birds, hummingbirds, songbirds, and raptors. Binoculars are available for use. Online registration required at Pima County’s website at www.pima.gov/nrpr. Location: Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park, 12325 E. Roger Road. Meet at the Visitor’s Center. Visit the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop at Agua Caliente Park after the walk.
Meeting times: Sept – Oct: 8:00 am,  Nov – Feb: 8:30 am, Mar – Apr: 8:00 am, May – Aug: 7:30 am.
Online registration now required, $5 fee. Online registration: www.pima.gov/nrpr. For more information, email  eeducation@pima.gov , or call 520-615-7855. Further PCNRPR bird trips can be found here.

First Saturday Mornings at Arivaca Cienega

No registration needed!
The first Saturday of each month, November – April. Start time 8 a.m.
Trip rating: Easy. Walking distance: About 2 miles. Trip duration: 2 1/2 – 3 1/2  hours. Elevation gain: minimal. Ground condition: good dirt trails and sometimes boardwalks. Restrooms at the parking lot only.

Join one of several expert birder leaders for a walk through this great birding site consisting up upland desert, grassland and wetlands. You will likely see 30-55 species depending on the season, including potentially some southeast Arizona specialties. RSVP not required. From Tucson, go south on I-19 to Amado exit 42, exit right, the Arivaca road is across from the Longhorn Bar. It is not a high speed road. The Arivaca Cienega trailhead (plenty of parking) is located 1/4 mile before the town of Arivaca and is well-marked.

Share your eBird checklists from our trips with our account: “tasfieldtrips

Meet our fantastic field trip leaders!

Liability Waiver: All participants on Tucson Audubon field trips are required to sign a standard waiver. If you would like to read the waiver before the trip, view it here.

Departure Times: Please arrive before the departure time listed in the trip description. Trips will leave promptly at the time given.

Please dress appropriately for your field trip. Always wear sturdy shoes, a hat, and use sun protection. Bring plenty of snacks and water for yourself. Always bring your binoculars, your field guide, and for most trips a scope can be useful. Bring money to cover your share of the carpooling expenses and any required entry fees (i.e. state parks).

Tucson Audubon strongly encourages carpooling and the sharing of the driver’s fuel expenses. Drivers and trip leaders are not expected to contribute.

Basha’s Grocery Store: Catalina, AZ. parking lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of Oracle Rd. and Golder Ranch Rd.
Commuter lot at Oracle and Ina:  One block west of the intersection of Oracle and Ina, on the south side of the street.  Actual location is Via Ponte and W. Ina Rd.
Empty Grocery Store Lot at Irvington and I-19: On the north side of Irvington just east of I-19. 
Houghton and I-10: Exit 275 off of I-10 on the north side of I-10 there is a large dirt parking lot used by commuters
McDonald’s (Tucson) on the northeast corner of Tanque Verde Rd. and Catalina Highway.   We meet on the east side a bit away from where patrons would park.
McDonald’s (Green Valley) Use the Continental Rd. exit off of I-19 and turn right to the McDonald’s.  We meet in the right most portion of the parking lot as one is facing the restaurant.

Enter to win a pair of Zeiss Terra binoculars!

Proceeds benefit our youth birding programs

Buy tickets in our Nature Shop, over the phone (520 629-0510), or at a Tucson Audubon event! Raffle drawing on May 15, 2018. Thank you!

Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona

Revised 8th Edition, 2015
Tucson Audubon’s updated edition brings together all the latest information on finding birds in southeast Arizona. This is your best source of detailed information that will help in planning bird watching adventures in the region.

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Birding Southeast Arizona App

A great interactive companion to our Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, our new app covers over 130 birding sites in six subregions in and around Tucson, all vetted by local experts. Search by nearest site, by bird, or by city and get exact directions! Keep track of your sightings and share with friends on Facebook.

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447