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Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert


This update of Tucson Audubon Society’s Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on August 4, 2017. The next update will be made on August 11.


SEVERAL IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS follow the sightings, including information on temporary closures and rules for access to other important birding areas. Abbreviation “m.ob.” = multiple observers. An asterisk (*) preceding a species name in the list indicates that it merits careful, full documentation. A pound sign (#) indicates that brief corroborating details are warranted.



#Semipalmated Sandpiper
#Lucifer Hummingbird
#Green Kingfisher
#Black-capped Gnatcatcher
#Gray Catbird
#Painted Bunting


*BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS continued through 8/8 (Peter Kondrashov) at the south end of California Gulch at the confluence with Warsaw Canyon. Annotated map:

In upper Ramsey Canyon, a *FLAME-COLORED TANAGER continued on the Hamburg Trail between the overlook and the first stream crossing this week (m.ob.). The map here shows the location:
In Carr Canyon, at least one of the *TUFTED FLYCATCHERS continued at the Reef Townsite CG this week (m.ob.) on the north side of the campground. The pair were frequenting the small clearing about 200 yards down the drainage behind the bathrooms (near campsite #9). A *SHORT-TAILED HAWK was photographed overhead on 8/9 (Scott Barnes) between Reef Townsite and Ramsey Campgrounds.
In Hunter Canyon (, *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week (m.ob.) in the upper canyon about 0.7 miles up the trail from the end of Hunter Canyon Road just as the trail enters the grove of trees.
In Miller Canyon, a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported again from the Miller Canyon Trail on 8/5 (Laurens Halsey et al) near Split Rock (which is about a mile from the parking area). It was reported on 8/8 (Scott Barnes) past Split Rock and the stream crossing, and a *RED-EYED VIREO was reported closer to the gate near the parking area.
#LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued at Ash Canyon B&B and in several yards in the Huachuca foothills this week (m.ob.) – dusk is the best time to see them.
In Huachuca Canyon a #BERYLLINE HUMMNGBIRD was reported on 8/5 (John Kendall, Chris Chappell). It was frequenting a stand of willows near the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.

TUBAC area (annotated map:
At least two *ROSE-THROATED BECARDS continued along the De Anza Trail at Tumacacori this week (m.ob.); from the trailhead just north of the mission, head east to the kiosk. There is a short spur to the river just east of here, and they have been seen in this area (occasionally high in the cottonwoods) and just to the north. A *YELLOW-GREEN VIREO was photographed here on 8/5 (Chris Benesh, et al). A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued here on 8/7 (m.ob.).
#BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS were reported again in Rock Corral Canyon on 8/11 (m.ob.) west of Santa Gertrudis Lane. A high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended; the birds were all within the first mile up canyon from the corral.
A male #PAINTED BUNTING was reported along the Santa Cruz River at Santa Gertrudis Lane on 8/10 (Keith Kamper). Remember to park along the frontage road and walk in.

In Florida Canyon (annotated map:, *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week (m.ob.) in the West Fork past the dam. Directions: About 400 yards from parking lot is a metal gate, and just past the gate the canyon forks. The main trail follows the East Fork, but most sightings have been in the West Fork to the right. About 125 yards up the rough trail in the West Fork is a large water tank and a low dam. The oak grove is about 1/3 mile past the dam. Note: The trail for the West Fork can be difficult to find, and is steep and rough in places. If you see the sign with distances to Florida Saddle, Madera Canyon, etc you’ve missed the turn. It is not necessary, recommended or permissible to enter the research station to see these birds. #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued in Florida Canyon this week (m.ob.); they’ve been seen near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail, and at the old corral at FR488 & 62A.
In Madera Canyon (map: #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued along Proctor Rd this week (m.ob.).
In Montosa Canyon (annotated map: #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.) near the culvert, upstream of the concrete stream crossing. A singing Five-striped Sparrow was reported on 8/5 (Matt Brown) and continued through 8/11 (m.ob.); it was just past the stream crossing near the 20 mph sign. This is perhaps the only Five-striped Sparrow next to a paved road in the US!
Another Five-striped Sparrow was reported along Box Canyon Rd 6.7 miles east of Madera Canyon Rd on 8/11 (Cliff Cathers).

Two separate *RUDDY TURNSTONES were photographed on 8/9 – one at the Anderson Dairy in Stanfield west of Casa Grande (Jake Mohlmann et al; GPS: 32.856,-111.934) and the other at the Caballero Dairy on Harmon and Curry Rd. (Keith Kamper et al). Management has asked that birders please view these ponds from the main roads (i.e., Curry) only. This apparently represents the 2nd and 3rd county records.

An immature dark-morph *SHORT-TAILED HAWK was reported again on 8/6 (Keith Kamper) at Paige Creek near where the creek crosses the road. This is on the east side of the Rincon Mountains, east of Tucson about 14 miles from I-10 and just before the concrete tank. One was photographed here on 6/5.
A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported at Sweetwater Wetlands on 8/5 (Susan Killeen, ph. Andrew Core).

Two #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS continued at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course on 8/11 (m.ob.).

At Patagonia Lake (annotated map:, a #GREEN KINGFISHER and a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER continued this week (m.ob.) at the east end along the Birding Trail.
A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued along the Railroad Trail in the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve on 8/5 (m.ob.). Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve annotated map:

A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued at House Pond at Slaughter Ranch on 8/9 (Jerred Seveyka).

PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map:
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued on 8/7 (Rick Taylor) in a yard in Whitetail Canyon.

A Brown Pelican continued at the Amado STP this week (m.ob.).

 Good birding!

 -Andrew Core, Rare Bird Alert Compiler




 The revised 8th edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (2015) is the current edition. Addendum to the revised 8th edition is available at:


 TUCSON – Mosquito control operations are scheduled at Sweetwater Wetlands from 6:30-8:30am on Mondays.  The gate will open when operations are finished. Roger Road WRF was closed as of 1/10/2014 and it is uncertain when access will be allowed again.


 EL RIO OPEN SPACE PRESERVE/COACHLINE GRAVEL PIT – park in the dirt lot along the south edge near the berm, not in the neighborhood to the west. Annotated map:


GREEN VALLEY WWTP – REOPENED March 2017. Protocol for visiting: use the call box at the gate, sign in and out at the office, and stay away from buildings and construction equipment.


ASH CANYON – Ash Canyon B&B is open dawn to dusk EXCEPT Wednesday, when open noon to dusk; parking is limited to six spots.


PATAGONIA – Patagonia Ranch Estates has posted signs that say “No Hunting – No Camping – No Parking” but birders may continue to look along Circulo Montana for grassland sparrows according to Alan Schmierer (July 2017). This is the neighborhood on the west side of the Patagonia Lake State Park entrance road.


BENSON – the Benson Birding Trail is no longer accessible as the property is under new ownership.


FORT HUACHUCA – is an active military installation and will suspend your driving privileges on Post for 30 days on your first offense for talking or using a cell pne while driving. You MUST use a hands free device. Current entry requirements (subject to change without notice): US citizens should be prepared to show photo ID for everyone in the vehicle at the entrance, and possibly your vehicle registration and insurance as well. Foreign nationals must be accompanied by an approved military escort; contact the base (520.533.7111), or possibly the Sierra Vista Visitor’s Bureau (520.417.6960) well in advance.

IMPORTANT: Ft. Huachuca has posted information on access requirements on its official webpage at – look for the “Gate Information” tab on the left side of the homepage. Read the information at the “Visitors Access” button. If you click the “Installation Access Forms” button, you can see the information you’ll have to provide to get access. The Visitor Control Center is located at the Van Deman Gate on Hwy 90.


ACCESS NOTE: apparently some states driver’s licenses do not meet federal requirements for base entry (IL, MN, MO, NM, and WA); see for details.


ACCESS NOTE: Despite the signage, as of March 2016 Garden Canyon was indeed now open to vehicles up to the upper picnic area and foot traffic beyond this. As of late July 2016, it was reported that it was open all the way to the top.


SANTA CRUZ FLATS- Management at the Evergreen Turf Sod Farm has asked birders not to drive into the property (i.e., the 2750 road); birding from perimeter roads (i.e., Tweedy or Pretzer) is still fine.


BAIRD’S SPARROW HILL AND THE VACA RANCH CORRAL in the San Rafael Valley is off limits to birders due to the thoughtless actions of a few birders. DO NOT ENTER THE PROPERTY.  A sign has been posted previously stating that “stopping within 0.25 mile of the corral is prohibited.”


The Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department’s  security procedures and rules are subject to change any time. Please see this link for important information regarding access: Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


  • AVRA VALLEY WRF: Gates open at 6AM and close PROMPTLY at 2PM (do not linger, you will be locked inside). UPDATE: Closed though July 1 for construction.
  • ROGER ROAD WRF: closed
  • NOGALES STP: closed




 California Gulch annotated map:



Ramsey Canyon:

 Hunter Canyon



 Portal annotated map:



 Florida Canyon annotated map:



 Patagonia Lake annotated map:

 Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve annotated map:


TUBAC area

 Tubac annotated map:

 Puerto Canyon map:



 Slaughter Ranch annotated map:

Directions to Birding Sites
Where directions are not given, they can be found in the newest edition of Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, published by and available from Tucson Audubon Nature Shop.

Methodology of this Report
The sequence of sightings in this report is not random. Species are listed by order of overall rarity within locality. The first locality mentioned contains the rarest species seen during the reporting period. Within that locality, species are mentioned in relative-rarity order or in taxonomic order, if relative rarity is the same, within sub-locality. When the sightings for a locality are complete, the rarest remaining species dictates which locality is mentioned next, and so forth. At any point when 2 or more species are of the same relative rarity, taxonomic order then determines the sequence in which the localities are covered. Consequently, the order in which localities are mentioned will vary from one report to the next.

Contributors are listed in the text. The spelling of names given over the phone is not guaranteed to be accurate. Any errors or omissions are unintentional.

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!

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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.

Learn more and purchase a copy from our online Shop

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