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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: TAS adheres to the ABA’s position on birding ethics: www.aba.org/about/ethics.htm
  • To register for a trip: Click on the registration link at the end of that trip’s description and you will receive a confimation 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

January

January 27–Saturday 5 a.m.
Big Thrasher Day! (Curve-billed, Bendire’s, Crissal, & LeConte’s)
Trip rating: All day, lots of driving, bring good walking shoes. Ground conditions: Uneven terrain. Driving: 400 miles.
A long trip for some great birds. With any luck we should have Sagebrush and Bell’s Sparrow, 4 species of thrasher with the LeConte’s as the dessert to entice us. Terrain is uneven and you will want good walking shoes. On our way back, we will take a side trip into Santa Cruz Flats with Crested Caracara and Moutain Plover as possibilities. Meeting place to be determined at 5am. Plan for all day, bring lunch and plenty of water. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Melody Kehl, outdoor1@cox.net

January 27–Saturday 8 a.m.
Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area
Difficulty: Easy; 1-2 miles round trip; hiking on well-maintained dirt trails and roads.
Meet at 8:00am at the main parking lot near the big shed and kiosk. Carpooling to location will be arranged among participants if desired.
An oasis in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert grassland, Whitewater Draw is known for its amazing numbers of wintering Sandhill Cranes (10,000+). This Important Bird Area is the winter home for many species of waterfowl (Northern Pintail, Gadwall, possible Snow Goose) and raptors (Ferruginous Hawks, falcons, possible Bald Eagle) among the many other species found in this marsh/desert habitat. Check out the Arizona IBA website here for more information about Whitewater Draw. Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Ken Blankenship (kenhblankenship@comcast.net)

January 27–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

January 31–Wednesday 8 a.m.
Willcox Playa
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: standing by your car! Elevation Gain: walking up the 20 steps at Apache Station observation ramp.
We are headed to the Willcox Golf Course Ponds and the nearby Apache Station Wildlife Area looking for wintering Sandhill Cranes, hawks and waterfowl. Scope and ID handouts will be available. Those new to birding or to Southeast Arizona are especially invited. Bring snacks and be ready for weather. In-door restrooms at Texas Canyon and Willcox train station visitor center. Porta-potty at Apache Station. Meet at car-pooling spot on west side of Houghton Road just north of I-10. Back by 2:30 p.m. Round-trip mileage of 200 miles. Car-pooling encouraged. Contact leader if any questions. No limit but please register for this trip here.
Leader: John Higgins, 520-578-1830, jghiggins@comcast.net

February

February 3–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

February 3–Saturday 8 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip Rating: Easy. Walking Distance: 4 miles. Elevation Gain: 25 feet. Ground Conditions: Rocky Trails.
We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area walking a loop that includes both Sonoran desert upland and Sabino Creek riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return by 11 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leaders are Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Limit 15 participants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leaders: Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh (jhhenge@yahoo.com)

February 4–Sunday 7 a.m.
Tucson Eastside Parks
Join Tucson Audubon for an easy in-town checkup on our eastern city parks and wild areas. Casual stroll of 2 miles or so on mostly level gorund. Meet at the eastern Lakeside Park parking lot at 7:00 AM. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272

February 10–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

February 13–Tuesday 9:00 a.m.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Difficulty: 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

February 15—Thursday 7:30 a.m.
Florence Farmlands
Trip Rating: Easy. Mostly car birding, plus some walking on varied surfaces.
Start at the McDonald’s in Florence at 7:30am, wrap up there about 11am. First we’ll drive Arizona Farms Road for likely burrowing owls and possible ferruginous hawks, with a stop at a cattle pen for blackbirds. Then we’ll head east into the farmlands behind the prisons. This seems an unlikely area, but can be quite productive, including sparrows, raptors, cardinals, meadowlarks, common desert birds and more. Limited to 7 participants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

February 17–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

February 20–Tuesday 10:30 a.m.
Reid Park Ramble
Trip rating: Easy. Walking distance: 1 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: paved paths, grass.
We will walk around the park for two hours looking for wintering waterfowl, raptors and woodpeckers. Easy pace. Meet at the bus stop in front of the Adaptive Rec Center Pool (looks like a big white circus tent) north of the zoo entrance. Turn off 22nd St. on to Randolph Way and left onto Zoo Ct. Call or email leader if any questions. No limit but please register for this trip here.
Leader: John Higgins. 520-578-1830, jghiggins@comcast.net

February 24–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

March

March 3–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders:
Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

March 4–Sunday 6:30 a.m.
Tubac De Anza Trail
It’s early black-hawk time and we will keep an eye to the sky while looking for early migrants along the river. Casual stroll of 2-3 miles on mostly level ground. Meet at 6:30 AM at the Green Valley McDonalds on Continental Road. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Please register for this trip here starting on Monday, February 5.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272

March 8-9–Thursday & Friday
Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Pinal Mountain, with an overnight in Globe at Noftsger Hill Inn B&B
Noftsger Hill B&B is written up as one of the top 10 B&B’s in an old schoolhouse in the country (Rooms $90 and $150 single/double occupancy (plus tax), but some rooms easily accommodate additional guests at $20pp). Please make your reservations with Rosalie as soon as you can after you register for this trip here. Call Rosalie at: 928-425-2260 or email: info@noftsgerhillinn.com, and no later than Dec 31, 2017. If carpooling, suggested donation to your driver: $12-15. Donations in Kathe’s car will go to Tucson Audubon.
This trip should get us a varied collection of songbirds and others that are winter residents in the desert, chaparral, and oasis at the Arboretum, including woodpeckers, thrushes, wrens, titmice and sparrows. Reservations required. Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

March 17–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

March 18–Sunday 9am
Tubac Hawk Watch, Ron Morriss Park
Trip rating: easy. Walking distance: none, mostly stationary. Ground conditions: gravel
Join Stephen Vaughan to document northward migration of raptors along the Santa Cruz River corridor. Prior to this field trip on March 17, Stephen will share “How to Identify Birds of Prey” at the Oro Valley Living with Nature program. For several years the Tubac Hawk watch has counted up to 22 species of raptors in this area during the month of March, including Common Black-Hawk, Gray Hawk, and Zone-tailed Hawk. We suggest you bring binoculars, folding chairs, hats, sunscreen, lunch, and water. To get to Ron Morriss Park take I-19 south to exit #40 turn left (east) to the Frontage Road turn right (south) to Bridge Road turn left (east) to the T turn right (south) this is still Bridge Rd it will turn east, go to Calle Iglesia and turn right (south) and follow it into Ron Morriss Country Park. Carpooling is encouraged; meet at the old Fry’s building just east of I-19 (902 W Irvington Rd) at 8 a.m. No limit, but please register here starting Monday, February 12th.
Leader: Stephen Vaughan, stephenhvaughan@gmail.com, 719-649-8741

March 29–Thursday 7 a.m.
Birding with a Purpose: Paton Center for Hummingbirds
Trip Rating: Difficult; Be prepared for work using shovels and trowels after an easy morning of birding.
Last summer, Tucson Audubon planted hundreds of native plants to improve bird and willdife habitat along Sonoita Creek. Now, we need your help to keep the well-entrenched invasive Johnsongrass at bay, and give our natives a chance to thrive. The work will be light-to-moderate digging with shovels and hand-digging with trowels. Before we start the restoration work we will look for early migrants including Gray Hawk, Rufous Hummingbird, and Lazuli Bunting. Please register for this trip here starting Monday, February 26.
Leaders: Luke Safford and Andy Bennett

March 31–Saturday 8 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No online registration necessary.
Leaders: Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.


				
Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands

No registration needed!
November – Februrary starts at 8 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.
Fry’s Grocery Store at Irvington and I-19: On the north side of Irvington just east of I-19.  Park in front of the store but well away from the area most used by shoppers.
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.

Sweetwater Wetlands

Sweetwater Wetlands is a gem of urban bird and wildlife activity right in urban Tucson. 306 bird species have been documented here. Join our weekly bird walks on Wednesdays and see what you can find!

Learn more

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