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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

July

July 17–Tuesday 6:00 a.m.
Agua Caliente Canyon–Santa Rita Mountains, Tucson Audubon Members Only
Trip rating: Moderate, over a mountain trail with some elevation gain.
No, this is a different Agua Caliente Canyon, not the one northeast of Tucson but just north of Montosa Canyon on the west side of the Santa Rita Mountains. Not birded as much and we’ll be exploring this trail that climbs very gradually through oaks flanked by upland desert grasslands for birds typical of these habitats and hopefully add to our information on what might be residing up here. Bonus prize for anyone who can identify the nature/purpose of the mystery structure in the lower canyon! You’ll want to bring good walking shoes, sun protection, and water/snacks. We’ll plan to be back by noon. Trip is limited to 11 participants, instructions for meeting will be emailed before trip. Field Trip is FULL. Tucson Audubon members, please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Tim Helentjaris ( tnhelentjaris@msn.com)

July 18–Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.
Route 77 eBird Hotspots with Bob and Prudy Bowers
Trip Rating: Easy/Moderate. Walking Distance: Mostly short and easy; Less than 1 mile. Elevation Change: essentially none. Ground Conditions: mostly level unpaved paths and trails, camping areas. Round trip about 100 miles from SaddleBrooke; summer weather conditions.
You can get your kicks on Route 66, but it’s birding heaven on Route 77. Leaders will select several birding stops, depending upon weather, eBird reports and other whims, from eBird hotspots between Mammoth and Winkelman. These include the 7B Ranch Nature Trail, Mammoth Sewage Ponds, Dudleyville at the San Pedro River, The San Pedro River Preserve, Winkelman Flats Park on the Gila River and the Shores Recreation Area on the Gila River. Limited to 14 participants, registration here is required. Meet at the SaddleBrooke Mini-Mart parking area at 6:30 AM, and car pool from there. Round trip mileage from the meeting place is approximately 100 miles, and we should return to SaddleBrooke by 2:00 PM. Complete details will be emailed to registered participants. Please register for this trip here.
Leaders: Bob and Prudy Bowers, bobandpru@gmail.com

July 21–Saturday, 6:00 a.m.
Looking for Becards on the De Anza Trail
Rose-throated Becards have been extremely rare the past few years around SE Arizona but reports along the De Anza Trail this year have been positive for one, or two, different nest sites. We’ll see if we can get lucky! Along with becards, we’ll have plenty of other exciting birds to find such as Brown-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, and Summer Tanager. Plan on around 2 miles of flat walking on trails. Meet at the Green Valley McDonald’s on Continental Road at 6:00 a.m. Limit of 15 participants. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Robert Mesta, robertmesta@cox.net

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. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, 520.982.3272

July 22–Sunday 6:00 a.m.
Madera Canyon
Trip rating: Easy, though we may walk some trails with uneven/rocky ground.
Let’s explore Madera Canyon. The exact itinerary will be determined a day ahead based on bird reports but may include a stop at the Proctor trail head and a visit to the feeders at the lodge for hummingbirds and ice cream bars. Wear good walking shoes, sun protection, and bring water and snacks. Meet at the Green Valley McDonald’s at the Continental exit off the 10. We’ll depart promptly at 6 a.m. and plan to be back to the meeting spot before noon. Trip is limited to 12 participants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the waitlist.
Leaders: Scott Crabtree and Linda Matson (heyltd@cox.net)

July 25–Wednesday 6 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip Rating: Moderate. Walking Distance: 4 miles. Ground Conditions: Rocky trails and uneven pavement.
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 around 9 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 12 participants. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Julie Michael, jbirdsaz123@gmail.com

July 28–Saturday, 6:00 a.m.
Looking for Becards on the De Anza Trail
Rose-throated Becards have been extremely rare the past few years around SE Arizona but reports along the De Anza Trail this year have been positive for one, or two, different nest sites. We’ll see if we can get lucky! Along with becards, we’ll have plenty of other exciting birds to find such as Brown-crested Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, and Summer Tanager. Plan on around 2 miles of flat walking on trails. Meet at the Green Valley McDonald’s on Continental Road at 6:00 a.m. Limit of 15 participants. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: Robert Mesta, robertmesta@cox.net

July 28–Saturday 6:30 a.m.
Catalina State Park
This walk will be an easy stroll on good trails through a beautiful part of the Sonoran Desert. We hope to get good looks at Blue Grosbeaks, Varied Buntings, Brown-crested Flycatchers and a variety of other desert species. A few early migrants may join the mix. The trip will be limited to 12 participants. There is a $7 fee per car to enter the park. Directions and recommendations will be provided to those registered. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Michael Welch, manddwelch@comcast.net

August

August 5–Sunday 6:30 a.m.
Santa Catalina Mountains
Time for the high elevation migrant warblers and hopefully pockets of our breeders. Casual sometimes uphill strolling at high elevations of less than two miles. Meet behind the Pima County Sheriff’s office at North Bear Canyon Road and Tanque Verde Road at 6:30 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

August 8 – 12–Wednesday – Sunday
Southeast Arizona Birding Festival presented by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics
Numerous field trips ranging from overnight adventures in the Patagonia mountains to half-day trips along the De Anza trail daily Wednesday – Sunday. Prices vary for field trips and workshops, and includes some free talks. To register and see the full lineup of activities please click here.
Leader: Festival Coordinator Luke Safford, lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org

August 14–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

August 19–Sunday 6:30 a.m.
Fort Lowell Park – Birding for Beginners
Trip rating: Easy.
Though this walk is geared towards beginners, experienced birders are welcome to come and share their knowledge. Join Maureen and Linda to stroll around Fort Lowell Park and search for our urban Tucson birds and perhaps some migrants. We may walk 1 to 1.5 miles, including down into the sandy Pantano Wash area. Meet at the parking lot at the main entrance off Craycroft, in front of the pool. Trip is limited to 14 participants. Please register for this trip here starting Monday, July 23.
Leaders: Maureen Daney (mdaney6@gmail.com) and Linda Matson (heyltd@cox.net)

August 22–Wednesday 6 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip Rating: Moderate. Walking Distance: 4 miles. Ground Conditions: Rocky trails and uneven pavement.
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 around 9 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 12 participants. Please register for this trip here starting Monday, July 30.
Leader: Julie Michael, jbirdsaz123@gmail.com

August 25–Saturday 5:30 a.m.
San Pedro House
Songbird migration will be in full swing and the trails along the San Pedro River and the pond should be hopping with activity. Resident and migrating Flycatchers, Warblers, Buntings, and others will be our targets along with the elusive Green Kingfisher. The feeders around the house may also provide good birding opportunities. The trip will be limited to 12 participants. The meeting time and place will be provided to those registered. Departure from Tucson will be around 5:30 AM. Please register for this trip here starting Monday, July 30.
Leader: Michael Welch

August 30–Thursday 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 starting Monday, August 6.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net


				
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.

Birding Canoa Ranch with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation

Join birding expert Brian Nicholas to see a wide variety of sparrows, raptors, and the possibility of waterfowl on the newly restored pond at Historic Canoa Ranch. All ages welcome.
Upcoming dates:
Saturday, August 18, Saturday, August 25
Time: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Where: Historic Canoa Ranch, 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Road, Green Valley 85622
Cost: Free with PCNRPR Membership, Non-PCNRPR Member $5 fee. Online registration required: www.pima.gov/nrpr
For more information: www.pima.gov/canoaranch; email: CanoaRanch@pima.gov or call 520-724-5220

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.

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

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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