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August 7–11, 2019 | Tucson, AZ

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Field Trips

Expert leaders guide half-day, full-day and NEW overnight birding field trips. Learn more about our expert leaders from tour companies such as: WINGS, Sky Island Tours, Borderland Tours, Adventure Birding Company, VENT, Desert Harrier Guiding Services, Fun Birding, Aplomado Environmental, Sabrewing Nature Tours, SABO, Ravens-Way Wild Journeys, and Tropical Birding!

Field trips include van transportation (with a few exceptions such as “Drive Yourself” trips).  A packed lunch, snacks, and drinking water are provided on full-day field trips. A light snack and drinking water are provided on half-day field trips. All trips depart from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Reid Park (again with few exceptions–see bold in description).

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received on or before July 1, 2019 will be refunded less a 10% processing fee. No refunds will be issued after July 1. Tucson Audubon reserves the right to cancel or revise any event for any reason. If it becomes necessary to cancel a paid event (field trip or dinner) for which you have a reservation, we will notify you and issue a full refund. No refunds will be issued for no-shows.

For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

Thursday–Friday Overnight

California Gulch, Madera Canyon, and De Anza Trail, overnight trip hosted by Richard Fray of Fun Birding Tours

  • Lodging: Amado Territory Inn
  • Thursday, August 8 – Friday, August 9
  • $295/person includes lodging, meals (lunch on Thursday, dinner, breakfast, snacks), and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Difficulty: 3 (Moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes and steps possible)
  • Departs: Thursday from DoubleTree at 9:00am
  • Returns: Friday to DoubleTree at 12:00pm
    We will start birding on the way south in Madera Canyon before nearby lunch with an early check-in at the Amado Territory Inn. Driving out to California Gulch in the afternoon will position us to look for Five-striped Sparrow and other specialties as it cools down until dark when we’ll listen for Buff-collared Nightjar and Elf Owl. Late night arrival back at the Inn will be followed by a leisurely breakfast there the next morning before birding in nearby riparian areas to look for more local specialties such as Gray Hawk and Rose-throated Becard. An efficient trip covering top areas and hot local specialties. Limited to 9 participants each trip.

One Spot Left! – One night trip to Madera Canyon, hosted by Thomas Brown

  • Lodging: Santa Rita Lodge
  • Thursday, August 8 – Friday, August 9
  • $275/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Difficulty: 3 (Moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes and steps possible)
  • Departs: Thursday from DoubleTree at 1:00pm or arrive at Santa Rita Lodge for 3:00pm start
  • Returns: Friday to DoubleTree at 12:00pm
    Staying at the Santa Rita Lodge gives you a unique experience of spending the night in iconic Madera Canyon where Elegant Trogons croak and hummingbirds zoom. Who knows, you might even see a Coatimundi snacking at the hummingbird feeders! Elf Owls are known to nest near the lodge and sometimes are visible poking their head out of their hole. Begin by enjoying the birds at the feeders (Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Wild Turkey) before evening birding in the mouth of Madera Canyon and proceeding up into the oak-juniper habitat, listening for nightjars and owls characteristic of these habitats (Mexican Whip-Poor-Will, Whiskered Screech-Owl & Elf Owl). We’ll get an early start the next morning and explore the same range of habitats looking for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting lower down as well as Painted Redstart, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Elegant Trogon in mid-canyon. Limited to 9 participants each trip.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

New Trip!Paton Center for Hummingbirds with Christopher Collins sponsored by Birding Ecotours

  • 5:30am–11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately 75 minutes)
    The Paton Center for Hummingbirds is famously known for its backyard birds, scenic location, and Violet-crowned Hummingbirds. Wally and Marion Paton first began inviting birders into their yard shortly after moving to Patagonia in 1973, and after their passing, the center was acquired by the Tucson Audubon Society with generous help from the American Bird Conservancy and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. It is a place to explore and experience the special birds of southeast Arizona and it is dedicated to the celebration and conservation of hummingbirds—and all of southeast Arizona’s astounding biodiversity. Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are common and the many feeders attract a wide array of bird species. Sit and watch the bird show and enjoy a short walk along trails and the Richard Grand Memorial Meadow.Limited to 8 participants.

One Spot Left! – Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountains with John Higgins

  • 5:30am–11:00am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Paved roads, less than 1 mile walking)
    Come see the birds that actually like it the desert during the summer. We will travel through the saguaro cactus forest of the Pima County Tucson Mountain Park and the west side of the Saguaro National Park, looking for Gilded Flicker, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and other desert denizens. The tour will stop at the National Park Service visitor center with its exhibits, restrooms and air conditioning. Limited to 9 participants.

One Spot Left! – Walker Canyon with Laura Erickson and Tim Helentjaris

  • 5:30am–12:00pm
  • $80/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along some graded roads and mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for about 3 miles. Drive time to location about 75 minutes)
    This area is located in the southern mountains just a few miles from the border and west of Nogales with excellent oak habitat, and much less birder visitation than many other better known locations. Walking along the old road/trail in the shade of the riparian zone and flanked by grasslands, we’ll have opportunity for many target species, including Montezuma Quail, Gray Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Acorn and Arizona Woodpeckers, Rufous-winged and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Scott’s Oriole and Varied Bunting. Thick-billed Kingbird have also recently colonized this drainage and we’ll be actively hunting for them as well. Back by noon, limited to 8 participants.

One Spot Left! – Secluded Photography Opportunity with Brian Gibbons

  • 5:00am–12:00pm
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Cool morning will quickly turn into a warm day, close-toed shoes, long pants and long sleeves, sun hat and sunscreen recommended. Some walking over uneven, rocky terrain expected.)
    Join us for a very early departure to a bird photography location in Agua Caliente Canyon of the Santa Rita Mountains where montane oak-juniper woodland ensures a good variety of birds. We will be largely sedentary in the early morning while we wait, in blinds, at a drip and feeders that are maintained for wildlife. Hummingbirds, Orioles, Woodpeckers, Sparrows, Doves, Finches and a variety of early migrants are all possible at the drip as well as other wildlife. When the morning activity wanes we will check the woodlands nearby for other activity. We may also visit another feeder setup at Santa Rita Lodge. Limited to 9 participants. Recommended Equipment: DSLR Camera, telephoto lenses, tripod, binoculars.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Sabino Canyon with Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area walking a loop that includes both Sonoran desert upland and Sabino Creek riparian area. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return to car by 9am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes always recommended. Leaders are Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Limited to 15 participants.

Bird with eBird: Sweetwater Wetlands with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (About one mile walking on groomed pathways)
    You may know eBird as “the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project,” but it seems daunting to start using it in the field–or maybe you just want to make sure you are contributing and using it to its fullest capacity. Join eBird expert, Kathi Borgmann at the most eBirded hotspot in Arizona, Sweetwater Wetlands, where you’ll search for Cinnamon Teal, Tropical Kingbirds, and Abert’s Towhees, while getting the latest tips on how to get the most out of eBird through data entry short cuts, editing checklists, recording/editing tracks, Merlin integration, and more. Limited to 10 participants. If you do not have an eBird account, sign up before the trip at ebird.org. Please download the free eBird mobile app and the free Merlin Bird ID app for your smartphone prior to the trip and install the Southwest US bird pack. Meet near the bathrooms by main parking area at 2511 W. Sweetwater Drive. Limited to 10 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Trip is FULL – Sky Islands Birding Blitz – the Grand Loop with Vincent Pinto

  • 5:00 am–4:30 pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (100+ miles of driving, with various stops, possibly some moderate walking distances)
    Join Naturalist & Wildlife Biologist Vincent Pinto for a memorable day of birding in a wide range of Sky Island habitats. During this ambitious outing you’ll search for birds in Riparian Forest, Wetlands, Grasslands, Mesquite Woodland, Desert Scrub, and Madrean Evergreen Woodland. Starting at Tubac we’ll ply the Santa Cruz River for Rose-throated Becard, Tropical Kingbird, Gray Hawk, Green Kingfisher, possibly a Sinaloa Wren, and many other species. The Rio Rico Wetlands promise a number of waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds if conditions are right, including White-face Ibis and Black-bellied Whistling Duck. Next we’ll visit both ends of Patagonia Lake where we hope to see Common Black Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Green Kingfisher, Montezuma Quail, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, and a wide range of other birds. A brief stop at the Roadside Rest area often yields Thick-billed Kingbird. Our circuit then leads us to Las Cienagas National Conservation Area with hopes of spotting White-tailed Kite, Grasshopper & other Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Brown-crested Flycatcher, as well as Black-tailed Prairie Dogs and herds of Pronghorns. Passing through Box Canyon, we’ll stop for Five-striped Sparrow. The productive environs of Florida Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains are our next target, where Golden Eagle, Orioles, Tanagers, Warblers, and possibly of Rufous-capped Warbler are in the offing. We conclude our birding blitz in famed Madera canyon where we’ll look for Elegant Trogon and a broad spectrum of other birds. This trip has the possibility of recording over 100 bird species! Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Hummingbird Hotspots in the Huachucas with Tom Wood and Sheri Williamson

  • 5:00 am–3:00 pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (limited walking on mostly flat trails, with most time at hummingbird feeding stations. About 90 minutes drive time to Sierra Vista area)
    Southeast Arizona is a mecca for U.S. hummingbird diversity, and the monsoon season is the best time of the year to find the full complement of species. We’ll drive to the east slopes of the Huachuca Mountains to meet Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory Directors, Tom Wood and Sheri Williamson, and visit a number of hummingbird hotspots, such as Ash Canyon B&B and Beatty’s Guest Ranch. Flexible itinerary will allow us to pinpoint staked-out species and spend some time sorting through often tricky female and immature plumaged birds. Lunch included. Limited to 7 participants.
Afternoon/Evening Trips

Trip is FULL – Going Batty with Karen Krebbs

  • 6:00pm–8:00pm
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Easy watching from pathway/parking area and short drive.)
    Join Karen Krebbs on an adventure to watch thousands of bats come out of their roost at dusk. Karen has studied bats for more than 30 years and will share her vast knowledge of these misunderstood night creatures. This nightly Tucson spectacle even brings in a Cooper’s Hawk or Peregrine Falcon on occasion. Limited to 10 participants.

Trip is FULL – Creatures of the Night with Jim Rorabaugh, Hanna Strauss and Margarethe Brummerman

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $50/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Will include walking in the dark, some uphill on paved road, groomed trail. Total distance about 3-4 miles.)
    Sabino Canyon night hikes during monsoon season are a local favorite past-time. Bring your flashlight as we walk up in the light and walk down in the dark in search of birds, toads, snakes, bugs, and more! Good possibilities for Lesser Nighthawk and Common Poorwill at sunset and we’ll hope for monsoon rains so we can see and hear Spadefoots and giant Sonoran Desert Toads. Lizards, scorpions, and tarantulas are crowd favorites and maybe we’ll run into a Gila Monster. We will return early near the Sabino headquarters to discover all sorts of creepy-crawlies with an black light set-up courtesy of biologist, Margarethe Brummerman. We will go at a slow pace and plan on being back to the vans around 9:30pm. Bring a water bottle and be prepared for hot weather. Limited to 20 participants.

Trip is FULL – Buenos Aires NWR and Brown Canyon with Charles Corson

  • 2:00pm–10:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Rocky to sandy footing, muddy if rains are recent, should be expected. Good boots, long pants and long shirts with a good, protective hat is a must. Also, a jacket to protect against an unexpected rain is encouraged. Participants should bring a flashlight, red lens or cover is recommended, for Brown Canyon. And, as always, bring water (water and restrooms will be available at the headquarters and in Brown Canyon)
    Come join an afternoon and evening outing to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR) and explore what the season’s monsoons attract for birders to discover (50 mi. southwest of Tucson). We’ll stop at the refuge headquarters and learn about the Masked Bobwhite Quail recovery program from team biologists, see some up close and then, wander to productive late afternoon birding and possibly experience a dramatic monsoon storm. We’ll end the evening in the heart of the Baboquivari Mnts, Brown Canyon, to see if we can hear and see Buff-collard Nightjars who make a summer home in the canyon. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, situated in the southern half of the Altar Valley between the San Luis, Las Guijas and Baboquivari mountain ranges, is scenic and varied Sonoran semi-desert grassland ending at its southern end at the international border. We’ll be at the end of summer breeding season but at the start of fall migration so there are possibilities for both typical and surprising birds. The valley is dotted with man-made water entrapments (ponds) that attract migrants and summer species. Pastures become active with sparrows, blackbirds, kingbirds and raptures feasting on the abundant insect production of the summer rains. Sack dinner included. Remember to bring water bottle. Limited to 8 participants.
Thursday–Friday Overnight

Trip is FULL – One night trip to Ramsey Canyon, hosted by Jake Mohlmann of WINGS Birding Tours

  • Lodging: Ramsey Canyon Inn
  • Thursday, August 8 – Friday, August 9
  • $295/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and transportation during tour
  • Difficulty: 3 (Moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes and steps possible)
  • Begins at Ramsey Canyon Inn on Thursday at 3:30pm—Please arrive by 3pm to be ready
  • Ends at Ramsey Canyon Inn on Friday at 12:00pm
  • ****Transportation is not included from Tucson to Ramsey Canyon Inn, you must drive yourself to the Inn****
    One of the most beautiful areas in all of Southeast Arizona, Ramsey Canyon is full of giant Sycamores and amazing biodiversity. The Ramsey Canyon Inn is adjacent to the Nature Conservancy Preserve where there are hummingbird feeders that attract Rivoli’s, Black-chinned, Broad-billed, and Rufous Hummingbirds as well as possible Violet-crowned or Blue-throated. After dinner, we will visit Ramsey Canyon for night-birding to find Whiskered Screech-Owl and others. The next day’s route will prioritize areas in the bird-rich Huachuca Mountains to find possible rarities such as Flame-colored Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher but also the more regular specialties of this region including Elegant Trogon, Greater Pewee, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Painted Redstart. Limited to 9 participants each trip.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Trip is FULL – De Anza Trail and Area with Robert Mesta

  • 5:30am–12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)
    An easy stroll through this lush riparian corridor along the Santa Cruz provides many opportunities for migrants, Gray Hawks, flycatchers, and hordes of Yellow-breasted Chats. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past two years. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Raptors and Arizona Specialties with Kevin Karlson and Luke Tiller

  • 5:30am–12:00pm
  • $80/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven terrain)
    Join Kevin Karlson, co-author of Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America, and Luke Tiller, professional hawk-watcher, to search for raptors across Southeast Arizona. We’ll scout areas out ahead of time with hopes of positioning the group to find numerous types of raptors including vultures, buteos, accipiters, harriers, and falcons. We won’t ignore other bird species while checking the sky for flying Birds of Prey, and depending on the location we’ll seek out some of the many special birds that make their home in this unique environment. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – Box Canyon Loop with Rob Ripma, sponsored by Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    This beautiful and scenic loop that starts near Madera Canyon and crosses the northern part of the Santa Rita Mountains offers fantastic birding during the monsoon season. The road goes along rugged Box Canyon where at least one pair of Five-striped Sparrows has been seen the past few years. Varied Buntings, Hooded and Scott’s Orioles, Canyon and Cactus Wrens, Pyrrhuloxia, and more will be singing their hearts out as you make various stops along the drive. The loop comes out just north of the ranching community of Sonoita. Return to the venue by 12pm. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Beyond Birds: Butterflies of the Southwest with Jim Brock

  • 5:30am–1:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven terrain)
    Join expert lepidopterist, Jim Brock, on a butterfly excursion during the lush monsoon season. Location will most likely be lower Carr Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains, but will be pre-determined by leader for the best viewing experiences. Snacks and water will be provided. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Rose Canyon Lake with Eric Scheuering and David Simpson

  • 5:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Will include short walks from the van, some uphill on paved road or easy trails, about 2 miles. Drive time to location about 1 hour)
    The road into Rose Canyon, as well as the small lake at its end, is the top destination for mid-level birding on Mt. Lemmon. The oak and pine habitats contain many Madrean species normally found only south of the border. This short paved road is interspersed with camp sites and picnic grounds which affords easy access for several top targets for birders coming to the Sky Islands including Cordilleran Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Hutton’s Vireo, Hepatic Tanager, and several warblers including Red-faced, Olive, Hermit, Virginia’s, Black-throated, and Grace’s. Common Black Hawks often nest in the immediate area of the lake itself. Back by noon, limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – Madera Canyon with Scott Crabtree and Adrian Lesak sponsored by Vortex Optics

  • 5:30am–11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (possibly some steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails )
    Birding-famous Madera Canyon offers an amazing introduction to the specialty birds of SE Arizona. Enjoy birding through a variety of habitats including grassland, oak-juniper, and Madrean evergreen and an easy stop at the Santa Rita Lodge for hummingbirds. Black-capped Gnatcatcher is a possibility while walking the Proctor Loop trail first thing in the morning along with Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting. We’ll then head to higher elevation, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. Who knows, maybe an Elegant Trogon will appear too! Vortex binoculars will be available for participant use during the trip. Limited to 8 participants.
For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Shorebird Field Workshop at Cochise Lake with Kevin Karlson and Homer Hansen

  • 6:00am –12:00pm
  • $80/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Minimal walking on flat surfaces. Drive time approximately 85 minutes)
    This interactive workshop shares a different approach to field ID that Kevin calls Birding by Impression, which is the title of his book in the Roger Tory Peterson Reference Series. Shorebirds are the focus of this field trip (but other birds will also be identified), and the leaders will encourage participants to first note basic impressions of relative size, body shape, structural features and behavior to form an accurate mental picture of every bird seen. Plumage details are then added to create a strong holistic ID picture. This ID approach is similar to the one in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide (2007). Natural history information is also shared to enhance your appreciation of birds. Come and experience a different way of looking at birds, and enjoy Kevin’s unique way of sharing his knowledge of birds. Limited to 17 participants.

One Spot Left! – Santa Cruz Flats with Dave Pearson

  • 5:15am – 12:30pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Birding from vehicles and the road but very hot by mid-morning. Drive time to flats area approximately one hour. Will include driving on gravel roads.)
    This flat area of agricultural fields, mesquite bosques, pecan groves and desert scrub is rarely birded in the summer, but it holds many surprises. Tropical Kingbirds will be fledging their young at this time, and we can expect to see between 20 and 40 individuals in the rows of pecan trees along the road. Raptors such as Black Vultures, Swainson’s Hawks, and Burrowing Owls and if we are lucky, an early Crested Caracara are possible. Sludge ponds and flooded fields at this time of year have yielded rarer shorebirds like Ruddy Turnstone, Willet, Snowy Plover and Sanderling along with blackbirds, including Yellow-headed. It will be very hot by 10 am so put on sunblock, bring a water bottle and wear a hat. Limited to 8 participants.

One Spot Left! – De Anza Trail and Area with Gordon Karre

  • 6:00am–12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)
    An easy stroll through this lush riparian corridor along the Santa Cruz provides many opportunities for migrants, Gray Hawks, flycatchers, and hordes of Yellow-breasted Chats. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past two years. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

Oracle State Park and Peppersauce Canyon with Kathe Anderson and Jim Eager

  • 5:15am–11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2: (Some mild hiking on fairly flat trails or gravel roads. About 45 minutes to destinations)
    We’ll start in beautiful Oracle State Park, located at 3,700’ to 4,600’, with landscape dominated by rolling hills and panoramic vistas as it transitions from desert grassland to oak-woodland. There, we’ll likely encounter common desert species, such as Harris’s Hawk, Gila Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Curve-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee and summer visitors such as Summer Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler and Brown-crested Flycatcher, among others. Then we’ll move onto Peppersauce Canyon, an oasis mostly shaded by huge sycamores, where Bell’s and other vireos, plus Acorn Woodpeckers and Western Wood-Pewees are common, amongst a variety of lovely summer surprises. Limited to 8 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Hummingbird Videography Field Workshop with Steve Siegel at the Paton Center

  • 6:00am to 2:30pm
  • $120/person
    This field workshop is new for 2019, and offers the opportunity to hone your video skills with rapidly moving, constantly changing subjects…hummingbirds at the feeders of the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia. We will be shooting in ambient light capturing the changing colors of the birds as they move about, and shooting for slow motion. How slow you can get will depend on the frame rates possible with your camera. This field workshop will be combined with a separate classroom session where we will discuss techniques to optimize and present your footage. Join bird videographer Steve Siegel to see how video can open new vistas in your nature imaging. Recommended equipment includes a digital camera with video capabilities or a camcorder. Also a tripod. A telephoto lens is desirable, and a telephoto zoom in the range of 100 to 400 mm is advantageous. Please be familiar with the basic video functions of your camera. There may be opportunities to film other birds at the Paton Center. Please e-mail Steve at RM4BIRDS@YAHOO.COM with any questions you may have. Lunch included, courtesy of The Gathering Grounds Restaurant in Patagonia. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Tucson’s Birthplace and the Flowing Santa Cruz River with Kendall Kroesen

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • Free with Festival Registration, plus $5 donation at Mission Garden
  • Difficulty: 2 (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)
    First we visit the Santa Cruz River, just west of downtown, where a new release of reclaimed water is restoring some of Tucson’s long-lost riparian ecosystem. What birds were here historically, and which of them have recolonized this area after only seven weeks? Then see Tucson from Sentinel Peak (now usually called “A” Mountain) and compare the view with a photograph taken from there in 1880–what’s changed? Look for upland desert birds on the closest patch of Saguaro-paloverde habitat to downtown. Then visit Mission Garden, at the base of the mountain. The garden revives Tucson’s history through garden plots representing four millennia of multicultural and gastronomic history. Find some of the same birds that have been visiting Tucson gardens for 4,000 years! Directions to meeting place: From the Doubletree Hotel, go south on Alvernon half a mile and turn right (west) on 22nd Street. Go about five miles west, passing under Interstate 10. Pass Santa Cruz Lane and then, just after passing Desert Survivors Plant Nursery (on the right), turn right into parking for the Santa Cruz River Park. (If you go over the river, you’ve gone too far.) Call Kendall at (520) 971-2385 if any problems. Limited to 20 participants. Kendall Kroesen, kkroesen@cox.net, (520) 971-2385.
Afternoon/Evening Trips

Bat Photography at Pond at Elephant Head with Dano Grayson

  • 5:45pm–10:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Most of the time spent in photography blinds)
    The desert comes alive at night and the Pond at Elephant Head offers the perfect opportunity to catch it in action with your camera. Bat migration is happening during the monsoon season and offers an amazing experience. Join Wildlife Photographer, Dano Grayson for an evening of photographing bats and other wildlife at this private photography location. Recommended equipment: Camera with telephoto lens of at least 300mm along with tripod and shutter release cable. Limited to 9 participants.

Moths: A Nocturnal Exploration with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

  • 6:30pm–9:30pm
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Easily accessible location with a short drive)
    This trip is the field counterpart to accompanying moth workshop. On this trip, we will set up a UV light and see what treasures the night produces. UV lights, also known as black lights, emit wavelengths that attract many insects, including moths and beetles. Many of these insects are common, but live their lives in darkness and many people are unaware of their existence. This trip will shine a light into the hidden diversity that exists at night in the Sonoran Desert. Limited to 10 participants.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Trip is FULL – Florida Canyon with Rob Ripma

  • 5:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Walking a narrow trail with uneven surfaces and some increase in grade for about 2 miles. Drive time to location about 1 hour)
  • Back by noon, limited to 8 participants.
    This canyon is just east of the more famous Madera Canyon and with much less visitation but no fewer species of high interest to the birders visiting the Sky Islands. From the parking lot, we’ll first look for Black-capped Gnatcatchers and then cross the creek, walking along the riparian area flanked by upland desert and grasslands, keeping our eyes open and ears alert, for Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Botteri’s and Black-chinned Sparrows, along with Varied Bunting. Working our way up higher along the creek, our prime target is the elusive Rufous-capped Warbler, always a treat for any birder but often difficult to find. In the meanwhile, we’ll be alert for many other species through here: Gray Hawk, a chance to compare several Myiarchus species of flycatchers, Bell’s and Hutton’s Vireo’s, and Hooded Oriole, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of the soaring resident Golden Eagles.

Trip is FULL – Patagonia Lake State Park with Alex Lamoreaux

  • 5:30am–12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for around 2-3 miles. Drive time to location about 80 minutes)
    This is the top eBird hotspot in the state with lake, riparian, and upland desert/grassland habitat affording the chance for a number of target species of lower elevations. Early walking along the birding trail, we hope to find Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Rufous-winged Sparrow, and Lucy’s Warbler, eventually heading for the inlet creek where we might possibly find Green Kingfisher—one can hope! Scanning the lake, there are Mexican Ducks along with other species, as well as Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, and shorebirds at the dam area. Afterwards, a stop at the famous Roadside Rest will provide opportunity for both Thick-billed Kingbird and Varied Bunting. Back by noon, limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Cienega Creek and Davidson Canyon with Ethan Beasley

  • 5:30am–11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (The walking will include steep slopes and uneven trail tread. The trailhead is about 45 minutes’ drive from Tucson)
    An emerald oasis, Cienega Creek is an increasingly rare and imperiled habitat in Southeastern Arizona. Tall, shade-giving Fremont Cottonwoods form a cooling canopy over this perennially flowing stream. It is home to Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, and Lucy’s Warbler, among many others, including, potentially, Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The creek has also hosted a number of vagrants in its lush, riparian vegetation. We’ll enter Cienega Creek at its confluence with Davidson Canyon which contains a number of morteros, or holes cut into bedrock, used by ancient people to grind food. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Pond at Elephant Head Photography with Dano Grayson

  • 5:00am –11:00am
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Cool morning will turn hotter in late morning. Most of time spent in photography blinds)
    Join Wildlife Photographer Dano Grayson for a morning of photographing the wildlife wonders of the Sonoran Desert. A full cast of characters come to visit the Pond including Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, warblers, Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunners, and of course the occasional surprises. Shooting from sunrise through the morning. The day offers opportunities to capture thousands of quality images of the local animals using unique methods to enrich your Portfolio with these desert delights. Needed Equipment: DSLR Camera, telephoto lenses, tripod, small tripod-type folding chair if desired, and binoculars. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Madera Canyon Sampler with Robert Mesta and Laura Erickson

  • 5:30 am–12:00 pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)
    This loop starts in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Black-capped Gnatcatcher has been a regular along this nature trail along with Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting. Next we’ll head into the mid-elevation oak-juniper habitat, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. After this we’ll spend some time walking along the riparian trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders that make Madera one of the best spots for hummingbird diversity in the country. Maybe we’ll find an Elegant Trogon! Back by noon. Limited to 17 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Trip is FULL – Mt. Lemmon with Brian Gibbons and Bruce Webb

  • 5:30 am–3:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately 75 minutes.)
    Rising over 6,000 feet above Tucson, Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet, and a popular escape from urban life and the Arizona’s dry early-summer heat (before the relief of the cooling monsoon rains). It is also an incredible birding experience and biology lesson. Traversing six life zones, from the Sonoran Desert at the base to mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations, the 25-mile drive up the wide, paved, two-lane Catalina Highway is equivalent biologically to traveling from Mexico to Canada. Our efforts will be concentrated on the higher elevations far above the desert below. We’ll look for typical mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and Plumbeous Vireo. We’ll make a special effort to track down a variety of warblers; Painted Redstart and Olive, Red-faced, and Grace’s Warblers all breed in these mountains and by August they are beginning to form mixed-species foraging flocks. A few hummingbird feeders are scattered about our route as well. Combine the birds with temperatures nearly 30 degrees cooler at the top and unparalleled scenery, it is hard to beat the Catalinas in August! Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – Fort Huachuca with Jennie Macfarland and David Simpson

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to locations approximately 2 hours on some rough road.)
    Fort Huachuca, established in 1877, is an active U.S. Army post on the eastern slopes of the Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista. Garden and Huachuca Canyons are home to southeast Arizona specialties Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, and Painted Redstart. Flycatchers such as Sulphur-bellied, Dusky-capped, Buff-breasted and Greater Pewee are commonly seen hawking insects while striking Hepatic Tanagers and Red-faced Warblers show off their colors. You will need a Security Clearance ID to enter Fort Huachuca and you must be a U.S. citizen. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – Hummingbird Photography Field Workshop with Stephen Vaughan at Ash Canyon B&B

  • 6:00am–2:30pm
  • $120/person
    This trip is one of the field counterparts to the hummingbird photography class. Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, which can present quite the challenge for a photographer. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the specialized techniques needed to create stunning images of hummingbirds. This field portion will be limited to 8 participants from the workshop and will be traveling to Mary Jo’s Ash Canyon B&B in the Huachuca Mountains. We will cover ambient light, fill-flash and high-speed flash photography techniques. Join professional nature photographer Stephen Vaughan for this fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of photographing these flying jewels. Recommended equipment: Digital SLR, TTL flash, tripod and a telephoto lens capable of focusing close enough the fill the viewfinder with a 5 x 7 inch object. You can email Steve at StephenHVaughan@Gmail.com if you have questions. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – California Gulch Adventure with Gavin Bieber and Kyle Carlsen

  • 5:00am–3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 2 hours on some rough road.)
    This trip sets out in search of some of the avian treasures (at the very northern edge of their ranges here) for which southeast Arizona is renowned. The main event for the day is the chance to bird the rugged and remote California Gulch in search of Five-striped Sparrow, Varied Bunting, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Gray Hawk, and Montezuma Quail as well as other species from south of the border. California Gulch is set in the stunningly beautiful Atascosa Highlands and requires a full two hours in the van each way to get to this spot, including some rough roads. Depending on recent reports, we will try to maximize our time in this area by birding other nearby sites such as Pena Blanca Lake or Arivaca to look for other SE Arizona specialties. Note: this trip may include a steep mile-long (round trip) trek into the canyon or we may be able to simply take a short walk on a rocky jeep track. Access conditions are variable and can be impacted by the monsoon rains. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Trip is FULL – The 21st century field guide—Merlin Bird ID at Sabino Canyon with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    Join Kathi Borgmann from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as she walks you through the Merlin Bird ID app. This free app can help you identify birds by answering 5 simply questions or by using Merlin Vision to identify photos. Merlin Bird ID isn’t just for beginning birders–learn how to use more advanced features like setting targets for upcoming trips, filtering by location, and more to help you learn birds faster. Kathi will also show you eBird basics. Sabino Canyon offers a beautiful mix of Sonoran desert upland and riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return to car by 9am. Limited to 10 participants.

Trip is FULL – Catalina State Park with Michael Welch

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces.)
    This state park on the northwest side of Tucson sits adjacent to the western slopes of the Coronado National Forest’s Santa Catalina Mountains and contains a good mixture of desert scrub, mesquite bosque, and riparian vegetation. These habitats support a varied mix of bird species including Brown-crested Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Sparrow, and Blue Grosbeaks. We will explore the Birding Trail which crosses a seasonal wash and depending on monsoon storms you may get your boots wet. Meet at main parking area at the end of the state park road. $7 parking fee. Limited to 12 participants.
Afternoon/Evening Trips

Trip is FULL – Night Birding in Southeast Arizona w/ Laura Erickson and Tim Helentjaris

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Very short walks from vehicle at night, good hearing required)
    Night birding during the monsoon season can be hit or miss, but there are good chances for a variety of unique nocturnal avian species. Target species will include Elf Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Lesser Nighthawk, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Common Poorwill, and Mexican Whip-Poor-Will. Hopefully we’ll be able to detect several of these and even be able to see one or two. This is a great time of year to see all sorts of wildlife activity in the evening. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Creatures of the Night with Jim Rorabaugh and Hanna Strauss

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $50/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Will include walking in the dark, some uphill on paved road, groomed trail. Total distance about 3-4 miles.)
    Sabino Canyon night hikes during monsoon season are a local favorite past-time. Bring your flashlight as we walk up in the light and walk down in the dark in search of birds, toads, snakes, bugs, and more! Good possibilities for Lesser Nighthawk and Common Poorwill at sunset and we’ll hope for monsoon rains so we can see and hear Spadefoots and giant Sonoran Desert Toads. Lizards, scorpions, and tarantulas are crowd favorites and maybe we’ll run into a Gila Monster. We will go at a slow pace and plan on being back to the vans at 9:30pm. Bring a water bottle and be prepared for hot weather. Limited to 20 participants.

Trip is FULL – Hummingbird Murals of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe with Dan Weisz

  • 1:30pm–4:00pm
  • $35/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Very short walks from vehicle)
    For a different kind of ‘birding’, take a tour of a number of beautiful outdoor murals depicting hummingbirds, created by artists of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. According to Louis D. Valenzuela, an accomplished Yaqui artist, the hummingbird “represents the Yoeme culture. The hummingbird is considered to be a spiritual bird that comes from the ‘Sewa Ania’ Flower World and is a messenger with powerful blessing and protection.” Limited to 9 participants.
For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Introduction to Bird Photography Workshop with Ben Knoot at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

  • 6:30am – 11:00am
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails at museum. Drive time to location approximately 35 minutes)
    Want to get into bird photography but don’t know where to start? In this introductory course, Tropical Birding Guide, Ben Knoot, will guide you through some of the essential pieces of information you’ll need to get your photography started. This class will not necessarily focus on an abundance of top quality images, but will instead focus on basic methods and techniques for in the field bird photography. The class will begin with a 30min presentation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel near Reid Park (festival venue), then we’ll drive to the iconic Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Your way is paid for at this outdoor museum which has 230 animal species, two bird aviaries, and plenty of wild birds of the Sonoran Desert as well. Limited to 9 participants.

One Spot Left! – Las Cienegas NCA with Chris Rohrer and Luke Tiller

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour plus driving on gravel/dirt roads)
    Las Cienegas is a 45,000-acre national conservation area with high desert grasslands, riparian strips and perennial streams, marshes, and juniper-oak woodlands. Here we can find grassland breeders such as Cassin’s, Botteri’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, “Lilian’s” Eastern Meadowlark, and Loggerhead Shrike, as well as riparian-associated species including Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Las Cienegas is great for mammals, too — we’ll visit a colony of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (road condition permitting) and keep an eye out for Pronghorn Antelope. Limited to 17 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Hummingbird Photography Field Workshop with Stephen Vaughan at Paton Center

  • 6:00am – 2:30pm
  • $120/person
    This trip is one of the field counterparts to the hummingbird photography class. Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, which can present quite the challenge for a photographer. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the specialized techniques needed to create stunning images of hummingbirds. This field portion will be limited to 8 participants from the workshop and will be traveling to the famous Paton Center for Hummingbirds. We will cover ambient light, fill-flash and high-speed flash photography techniques. Join professional nature photographer Stephen Vaughan for this fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of photographing these flying jewels. Recommended equipment: Digital SLR, TTL flash, tripod and a telephoto lens capable of focusing close enough the fill the viewfinder with a 5 x 7 inch object. You can email Steve at StephenHVaughan@Gmail.com if you have questions. Lunch included, courtesy of The Gathering Grounds Restaurant in Patagonia. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

The 21st century field guide—Merlin Bird ID at Sabino Canyon with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    Join Kathi Borgmann from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as she walks you through the Merlin Bird ID app. This free app can help you identify birds by answering 5 simply questions or by using Merlin Vision to identify photos. Merlin Bird ID isn’t just for beginning birders–learn how to use more advanced features like setting targets for upcoming trips, filtering by location, and more to help you learn birds faster. Kathi will also show you eBird basics. Sabino Canyon offers a beautiful mix of Sonoran desert upland and riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return to car by 9am. Limited to 10 participants.

Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center and Arthur Pack Park with Jim Gessaman

  • 6:00am – 8:30am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (flat walking trails, around 1-2 miles easy walking)
    The Mason Center is located on 20 acres of mostly undisturbed saguaro-ironwood desert in NW Tucson with many hummingbird and seed feeders which attract a variety of Sonoran Desert birds and wildlife. As a protected area adjacent to additional natural desert in Arthur Pack Park, it provides habitat for the preservation and study of many desert plants and animals. Costa’s, Black-chinned, and Anna’s Hummingbirds could be expected along with Gilded Flicker, Cactus Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Abert’s Towhee, and Lucy’s Warblers. Meet at the Mason Center parking lot at 3835 W. Hardy Road. Return to car at 8:30am. Limited to 12 participants.

Birding Stroll for Beginners—all ages welcome!

  • 9:00am – 10:00am
  • Free with registration
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking on sidewalks)
    We’ll do a leisurely stroll around the hotel to pick up some birding basics and tips, fun stories, and of course, some good birds. Anna’s and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Verdin, and more hang out right around the festival venue! Meet in the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Finish at 10am when the Nature Expo and Kid’s Zone opens.

Youth Birding Outing at Sweetwater Wetlands presented by Zeiss Sports Optics

  • 7:00am-9:30am
  • Free with registration
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking, around 1 mile)
    Get ready for a fun and easy walk through Tucson’s favorite wetlands to see exciting species like Green Heron hiding in the reeds and Tropical Kingbirds in the willows. Birders ages 6 – 17 and of all experience levels are welcome to participate in an expert-led trip! Binoculars will be available to use, courtesy of Zeiss Sports Optics. Meet near the bathrooms by main parking area at 2511 W. Sweetwater Drive.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Trip is FULL – Wildcard Leader’s Choice with Felipe Guerrero

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces.)
    We’ll see what areas around Southeast Arizona demand our attention as guide Felipe Guerrero leads our adventure for some of those sought after avian specialties we’d all like to see. Target birds and trip location(s) will be selected by the leader. Back by noon, limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Harshaw Canyon Area with Gavin Bieber

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along some graded roads and mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces. Drive time to location ~85 mins)
    Driving out of Patagonia and along this road penetrating the low-lying Patagonia Mountains provides the opportunity to find many birds of oak and mountain riparian habitats for the Sky Islands. Depending upon what areas are most productive, stops could include Harshaw cemetery, Harshaw Creek, and various side drainages with their old mining roads. We’ll be looking, and listening, for the elusive Montezuma Quail, Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, the Azure subspecies of Eastern Bluebird, Hepatic Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak. Back by noon, limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Madera Canyon with Rob Ripma

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along some graded roads and mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces.
    Iconic Madera Canyon is one of the top destinations for any birder. We’ll start in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Black-capped Gnatcatcher has been a regular along this nature trail along with Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting. Next we’ll head into the mid-elevation oak-juniper habitat, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. After this we’ll spend some time walking along the riparian trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders that make Madera one of the best spots for hummingbird diversity in the country. Maybe we’ll find an Elegant Trogon! Back by noon. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Saint David Monastery and Environs, Benson with Jim Rorabaugh

  • 5:30am – 12:30pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes but excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour on paved roads.)
    Saint David is a curiously lush oasis bordering the San Pedro River, characterized by artesian wells and springs that support high groundwater levels and abundant trees and ponds. The Holy Trinity Monastery is open for birding, and Summer Tanager, orioles, Tropical Kingbird, Gray Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and others are likely to be seen, as well as migrants. We will also search for Mississippi Kites, which nest nearby, and any other rarities that happen to be in the area. If the mosquitoes aren’t too bad (bring repellent), we will visit the San Pedro River from the Monastery’s trail system. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Tyrant Flycatchers Field Workshop with Homer Hansen

  • 5:15am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (some walking on uneven or uphill surfaces)
    Following up on the flycatchers presentation, this field trip will head out to various habitats to observe and practice identification of our Arizona flycatchers. In the field, many species of flycatchers can be easily observed perched in the open watching for insect prey, allowing opportunities to study bill shape and size, wing length, and primary projection. These characteristics will be combined with habitat and behavior to help learn how to identify Tyranid species. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Box Canyon with Jacob Roalef

  • 5:00am – 11:00am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    This beautiful and scenic canyon in the northern part of the Santa Rita Mountains offers fantastic birding during the monsoon season. You’ll bird the rugged Box Canyon where at least one pair of Five-striped Sparrows has been seen the past few years. Varied Buntings, Hooded and Scott’s Orioles, Canyon and Cactus Wrens, Pyrrhuloxia, and more will be singing their hearts out as you make various stops along the drive. Lucifer Hummingbirds have been spotted in the area too and are a possibility. Return to the venue by 11am. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – De Anza Trail and Area with Robert Mesta

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)
    An easy stroll through this lush riparian corridor along the Santa Cruz provides many opportunities for migrants, Gray Hawks, flycatchers, and hordes of Yellow-breasted Chats. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past two years. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Trip is FULL – Sky Islands Naturalist Saunter with Vincent Pinto

  • 5:15am – 4:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Sun exposure, steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails, 3-4 miles hiking. Drive time to location approximately 90 minutes.)
    Join Naturalist, Wildlife Biologist, Ethnobotanist, and Wilderness Survival Instructor, Vincent Pinto, for an in-depth exploration of the Grasslands, Desert Scrub, Riparian Areas, and Madrean Evergreen Woodlands of the Patagonia region, making for a very diverse trip, bird and plant-wise! Vincent will lead you on a series of short to medium distance walks to investigate the flora and fauna of the 42-acre Raven’s Nest Nature Sanctuary, spectacular Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Patagonia Lake, and the Patagonia mountains. This trip has a good chance at Varied Bunting, Bell’s Vireo, Rufous-winged and Botteri’s Sparrow, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Common Black Hawk, Gray Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Montezuma Quail, Arizona Woodpecker, and Painted Redstart. Come prepared for a wide variety of weather and a varied terrain, bringing: a good and fairly spacious backpack, sunscreen, wide-brimmed sunhat, rain gear, sturdy hiking shoes, plenty of water, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and any personal medication you may need. The pace of explorations will be moderate during your outing, but expect to cover about 3 miles for the day. There will be a few steep ups and downs as well as frequently rocky terrain. This is monsoon season, so higher humidity and possibly high temperatures may prevail. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge with Rob Rutledge

  • 5:00am – 3:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rock terrain)
    This Trip will be stopping at the water sources on this 118,000 acre refuge. This scenic loop starts at in the town of Arivaca with stops at the Cienega (wetland) and along the Arivaca Creek where Gray Hawks and Zone-tailed hawks nest. Then crosses into the foothills of several mountain areas looking for high desert birds like Crissal thrashers and Black-capped and Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. We will hit several water tanks good for birding during the monsoon season. The route goes through the refuge which covers most of the Altar valley along the rugged Baboquivari mountains, home of Kitt Peak observatory. The Valley’s 3,300 foot elevation supports a wide variety of birds like Swansons hawks, Loggerhead Shrikes, Blue Grosbeaks, Vermilion Flycatchers, Ash-throated Flycatchers. The loop comes out west of Tucson. Return to the venue by 3pm. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Carr & Ash Canyons with Brian Gibbons and David Simpson

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to locations approximately 2 hours on very rough road.)
    We’ll get an early start from Tucson to explore the Madrean oak woodland and open pine forests of Carr Canyon. This scenic canyon on the east flank of the Huachucas supports species such as Arizona Woodpecker and Painted Redstart on its lower slopes, and species such as Olive Warbler, Buff-breasted Flycatcher and Greater Pewee along the upper stretches of the road. We’ll spend a few hours exploring along the main road that winds up to near the peaks of the Huachucas before taking our picnic lunch and then descending to nearby Ash Canyon, where a private bank of hummingbird feeders at Mary Jo’s B&B should be buzzing with activity, including perhaps the range-restricted and very attractive Lucifer Hummingbird. We will be walking slowly along nearly level dirt roads at up to about 7000 feet in elevation. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULLSycamore Canyon with Ethan Beasley

  • 5:00am – 2:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Round-trip hiking distance of about 2.5 hot miles, over very uneven tread and multiple, wet stream crossings. About 90 minutes drive on some rough road)
    Rugged, remote Sycamore Canyon is legendary among birders for the rarities it has harbored over the years, as well as for its scenic terrain. This steep-sided canyon is in the Pajarito Wilderness Area of Coronado National Forest. It drains southward into Mexico, crossing the international border 5.6 miles from the trailhead off Ruby Road, west of Nogales. Along the way we’ll encounter species typical of Oak-Juniper and Riparian habitats, with the potential to see Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Montezuma Quail. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Mt. Lemmon: Desert to Forest with Brian Nicholas and Troy Corman

  • 5:30 am – 3:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately 75 minutes.)
    Rising over 6,000 feet above Tucson, Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet, and a popular escape from urban life and the Arizona’s dry early-summer heat (before the relief of the cooling monsoon rains). It is also an incredible birding experience and biology lesson. Traversing six life zones, from the Sonoran Desert at the base to mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations, the 25-mile drive up the wide, paved, two-lane Catalina Highway is equivalent biologically to traveling from Mexico to Canada. Our efforts will be concentrated on the higher elevations far above the desert below. We’ll look for typical mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and Plumbeous Vireo. We’ll make a special effort to track down a variety of warblers; Painted Redstart and Olive, Red-faced, and Grace’s Warblers all breed in these mountains and by August they are beginning to form mixed-species foraging flocks. A few hummingbird feeders are scattered about our route as well. Combine the birds with temperatures nearly 30 degrees cooler at the top and unparalleled scenery, it is hard to beat the Catalinas in August! Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – California Gulch Adventure with Richard Fray and Matt Griffiths

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 2 hours on some rough road.)
    This trip sets out in search of some of the avian treasures (at the very northern edge of their ranges here) for which southeast Arizona is renowned. The main event for the day is the chance to bird the rugged and remote California Gulch in search of Five-striped Sparrow, Varied Bunting, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Gray Hawk, and Montezuma Quail as well as other species from south of the border. California Gulch is set in the stunningly beautiful Atascosa Highlands and requires a full two hours in the van each way to get to this spot, including some rough roads. Depending on recent reports, we will try to maximize our time in this area by birding other nearby sites such as Pena Blanca Lake or Arivaca to look for other SE Arizona specialties. Note: this trip may include a steep mile-long (round trip) trek into the canyon or we may be able to simply take a short walk on a rocky jeep track. Access conditions are variable and can be impacted by the monsoon rains. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

Trip is FULL – Parker Canyon Lake Area with Eric Scheuering

  • 5:00am – 3:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately two hours on some rough and curvy road.)
    This 130-acre, deep water lake is tucked back on the west slopes of the Huachuca Mountains and because of its location is under-birded but holds great potential. Grassy hillsides dotted with oaks may hold Montezuma Quail, Western or Eastern Bluebirds, Bushtits, flycatchers, and early migrants. Western Grebes and Ospreys have been seen catching fish out of the lake during summer and Cassin’s Kingbirds are quite common. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.
For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

One Spot Left! – A Beginner’s Look at Dragonflies & Damselflies in Southeast Arizona with Laurens Halsey

  • 6:30am – 12:00pm
  • $50/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails.)
    This is the field trip portion of the Saturday workshop aimed at examining some of the odonate diversity found around Southeast Arizona. Have you been curious about dragonflies but mystified by the challenge of identifying them? Join Laurens Halsey for a field trip aimed at providing a foundation for how to go about identifying these challenging arthropods. Limited to 9 participants.

Pond at Elephant Head Photography with Brian Zwiebel

  • 5:00am –11:00am
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Cool morning will turn hotter in late morning. Most of time spent in photography blinds)
    Join Brian Zwiebel, of Sabrewing Nature Tours, for a morning of photographing the wildlife wonders of the Sonoran Desert. A full cast of characters come to visit the Pond including Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, warblers, Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunners, and of course the occasional surprises. Shooting from sunrise through the morning. The day offers opportunities to capture thousands of quality images of the local animals using unique methods to enrich your portfolio with these desert delights. Needed Equipment: DSLR Camera, telephoto lenses, tripod, small tripod-type folding chair if desired, and binoculars. Limited to 9 participants.

Green Valley Sampler with Brian Nicholas

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Mostly flat walking and some walking through grassland habitat. 45 minute drive time to location.)We’ll be sampling a few birding locations in Green Valley, including Canoa Ranch and the Green Valley Wastewater ponds. Other areas may be selected based on activity closer to the tour date. Green Valley Wastewater is a great stop at any time of day for migrating sandpipers and waterfowl, and Canoa Ranch is a new hotspot which has great diversity, and has seen a lot of migrants due to its location and restored pond. If time permits we may shoot down to the Amado Sewage ponds just one exit away from Canoa Ranch. Trip limited to 9 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Birding Photography Field Workshop with Henry Johnson

  • 6:30am – 3:00pm
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Maybe some uphill walking but mostly at feeders. Drive time to location approximately 45 minutes)
    For this workshop we will travel to Mt Lemmon at the instructor’s cabin to practice the principles reviewed in the Birding Photography workshop. At 7500 feet expect to see Yellow-eyed Juncos, Acorn Woodpeckers, Steller’s Jays, Pine Siskins, Black-headed Grosbeaks, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, plus hummingbirds and a possible warbler or tanager. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Bird with eBird: Sweetwater Wetlands with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (About one mile walking on groomed pathways)
    You may know eBird as “the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project,” but it seems daunting to start using it in the field–or maybe you just want to make sure you are contributing and using it to its fullest capacity. Join eBird expert, Kathi Borgmann at the most eBirded hotspot in Arizona, Sweetwater Wetlands, where you’ll search for Cinnamon Teal, Tropical Kingbirds, and Abert’s Towhees, while getting the latest tips on how to get the most out of eBird through data entry short cuts, editing checklists, recording/editing tracks, Merlin integration, and more. Limited to 10 participants. If you do not have an eBird account, sign up before the trip at ebird.org. Please download the free eBird mobile app and the free Merlin Bird ID app for your smartphone prior to the trip and install the Southwest US bird pack. Meet near the bathrooms by main parking area at 2511 W. Sweetwater Drive. Limited to 10 participants.

Birds & Petroglyphs at Honey Bee Canyon Park with Michael Welch

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes, most of walking in soft sand)
    Join Michael Welch for a trip to this under-birded and hidden park in Oro Valley. Fall migrants, like Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting, are beginning to come through and we will look for usual desert inhabitants, like the range-restricted Gilded Flicker. We will also check out a large rock with Indian petroglyphs. Most of the walking will be in soft sand, but it could be wet in places this time of year so please be prepared. Meet at 13880 N Rancho Vistoso Blvd, Oro Valley (map here). Limited to 12 participants.

Fort Lowell Park with Ken Murphy

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking around city park trails)
    Less than 15 minutes from the festival venue, this is one of the best spots in Tucson to find Vermilion Flycatchers and the city park habitat (along with pond) offers a good variety of species for us to find. This is a favorite park of local trip leader, Ken Murphy, and we’ll walk the grounds hoping to find Broad-billed Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lark Sparrows, and Lucy’s Warblers. Meet at the front parking area near the pool (map here). Limited to 12 participants.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Trip is FULL – Montosa Canyon with Gavin Bieber  

  • 5:00am – 12pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour with some gravel roads.)
    While Madera Canyon has long been the most visited spot in the Santa Rita Mountains, this adjacent canyon to the south is deserving of more birders’ attention. Join us on a half-day exploration of Montosa Canyon, which supports some hackberry thornscrub habitat as well as a nice drainage with scattered oaks and mesquites. Our top target is Black-capped Gnatcatcher, which has been breeding in the area for several years, and we should also see dazzling Varied Buntings on territory. Five-striped Sparrow frequented the area in past years as well. Some more common species we can expect to encounter include Bell’s Vireo, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Wren, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – French Joe Canyon, “Small Group Adventure” with Ethan Beasley

  • 5:00 am – 12:00pm
  • $95/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (hiking of about 3 miles, over extremely uneven tread, and occasionally through vegetation that has overgrown the trail of use. Expect over an hour drive time.)
    Wild, scenic, rugged and remote, French Joe Canyon, in the Whetstone Mountains, is almost as famous for the rough road visitors must use to get there as it is for the many rare birds reported from it over the years. Rufous-capped warblers have nested there intermittently, and it was once the premiere place to see this species, in the ABA area. Situated at about 5,000 feet above sea level, the canyon contains shady riparian areas with oak, ash, and Arizona Walnut. The agave-studded hillsides along the course of the canyon attract a great many hummingbirds in August, drawn to feed at the spectacular blossoms of these plants. We’ll have the possibility to see Black-chinned Sparrow, Plumbeous Vireo, Summer and Hepatic Tanagers, Scott’s Oriole, and Peregrine Falcon, among other species. Back by noon. Limited to 5 participants.

Trip is FULL – Rock Corral Canyon, “Small Group Adventure” with Tim Helentjaris

  • 5:00 am – 12:00pm
  • $95/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along some mountain roads and mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for ~4 miles. Drive time to location ~1 hr. Be prepared with a small pack to carry water and snacks, bring sturdy shoes for walking and hat for the sun.)
    Rock Corral Canyon is a hidden gem in southern Arizona, not far from Tucson but seldom visited due to access issues. The scenery in here is astounding and with cattle prohibited to protect important botanical resources, the abundant vegetation draws a number of interesting avian visitors and often some surprises. On the way in, we’ll look for Rufous-winged, Cassin’s, and Botteri’s Sparrows. Reaching the mesquite and upland desert lining this narrow riparian area, we’ll be on the look-out for Gray Hawk, Southwest Yellow-billed Cuckoo known to nest here, both Black-tailed and Black-capped Gnatcatchers, multiple Tanagers, and if we’re lucky, perhaps we’ll also find the Five-striped Sparrows resident in this secluded canyon. Time permitting, perhaps a stop along the way back to find a rarity or two on the group’s want list. Back by noon, limited to 5 participants.

Trip is FULL – Celebrity Birding in Madera Canyon with Kevin Karlson

  • 5:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (some walking on a few steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)
    Enjoy birding with festival featured speaker, Kevin Karlson, in the iconic Madera Canyon where you are likely to hear great stories as well as see magnificent Rivoli’s Hummingbirds and Painted Redstarts. We’ll walk through a mixture of grassland, mesquite, and riparian habitat around Proctor Road and then head into the mid-elevation oak-juniper habitat, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. Who knows maybe we’ll find an Elegant Trogon too! Back by noon. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Trogon Search with Richard Fray

  • 5:30 am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (some walking on a few steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)
    Elegant Trogons are one of those bird species you never tire of seeing, and you never forget the moments you spend with it. We’ll put forth a half-day’s effort to search for trogons in a pre-determined location with local guide, Richard Fray. Of course, we’ll see various other species while we look and listen for trogons. Back by noon. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Tubac De Anza Trail and Area with Robert Mesta

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)
    An easy stroll through this lush riparian corridor along the Santa Cruz provides many opportunities for migrants, Gray Hawks, flycatchers, and hordes of Yellow-breasted Chats. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past two years. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – San Pedro House with Chris Rohrer

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Prepare for possibility of chiggers. Drive time to location approximately 90 minutes)
    The San Pedro River is one of the single most important biological features in the arid Southwest and serves as a migratory corridor for an estimated 4 million migrating birds each year! The conservation and restoration of the San Pedro River has been a long-standing priority for Tucson Audubon and this field trip will give you the opportunity to see it up close. Riparian specialties like Common Ground-Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Gray Hawk are expected along with a good mixture of flycatchers like Western Wood Pewee, Cassin’s Kingbird, and plenty of Vermilion Flycatchers. A walk through the historic ranch house operated by the Friends of the San Pedro will follow our birding. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Las Cienegas NCA with Jennie MacFarland

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour plus driving on gravel/dirt roads)
    Las Cienegas is a 45,000-acre national conservation area with high desert grasslands, riparian strips and perennial streams, marshes, and juniper-oak woodlands. Here we can find grassland breeders such as Cassin’s, Botteri’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, “Lilian’s” Eastern Meadowlark, and Loggerhead Shrike, as well as riparian-associated species including Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Las Cienegas is great for mammals, too — we’ll visit a colony of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (road condition permitting) and keep an eye out for Pronghorn Antelope. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Celebrity Birding in Summerhaven with Laura Erickson

  • 5:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (some walking on mild slopes, drive time to location about 45-50 minutes on paved roads)
    Enjoy birding with festival featured speaker, Laura Erickson, in the small mountain hamlet of Summerhaven, where Tucson residents escape the summer heat. Expect great conversation and stories while looking for mixed warbler flocks which may include Red-faced, Orange-crowned, Virginia’s, Townsend’s, Hermit, Wilson’s, Grace’s and more warblers. Birding in the conifer forests of Mt. Lemmon can also produce species like Hairy Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee, and Cordilleran Flycatcher. Back by noon. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – Cienega Creek & Davidson Canyon with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

  • 5:30am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 45 minutes.)
    The perennial stream flow and lush riparian vegetation is an important nesting and migration corridor for a multitude of avian species. Home to Yellow-breasted Chat, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, and Lucy’s Warbler, the creek has also hosted a number of vagrants. Cienega Creek has potential for Yellow-billed Cuckoo as well. Under the shade of towering Fremont cottonwoods, we will explore this well-watered and increasingly rare habitat on a half-day outing. Limited to 9 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Trip is FULL – Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve and Patagonia area with Jake Mohlmann

  • 5:00am – 1:30pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour on mostly paved roads)
    The preserve is one of the best known U.S. birding hotspots with tall cottonwoods and willows lining a perennial stream. Open fields, mesquite bosque and a cienega compound provide the habitat diversity that make it a birding paradise. Listen for the Gray Hawk’s whistle in the cottonwoods while looking for Common Ground Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Thick-billed Kingbird, and more. Nature Conservancy fees are included in the price. Be prepared to wear chigger protection. Afterwards enjoy lunch from local restaurant at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds while looking for Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Lunch included, courtesy of The Gathering Grounds Restaurant in Patagonia. Limited to 9 participants.

Trip is FULL – Hummingbird Safari with Karen Krebbs

  • 6:00 am – 2:30 pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately two hours.)
    This small-group excursion is a “can’t miss” for beginner birders interested in getting to know some of the area’s most dazzling birds and a few popular hummingbird locales around Southeast Arizona. Peak hummingbird diversity is happening and you’ll have the chance to see anywhere from 7 – 10 species. Beatty’s Guest Ranch and Ash Canyon are preliminary destinations but locations are up to the discretion of the leader and based on current observations. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Trip is FULL – California Gulch Adventure with Brian Gibbons and David Simpson

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 2 hours on some rough road.)
    This trip sets out in search of some of the avian treasures (at the very northern edge of their ranges here) for which southeast Arizona is renowned. The main event for the day is the chance to bird the rugged and remote California Gulch in search of Five-striped Sparrow, Varied Bunting, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Gray Hawk, and Montezuma Quail as well as other species from south of the border. California Gulch is set in the stunningly beautiful Atascosa Highlands and requires a full two hours in the van each way to get to this spot, including some rough roads. Depending on recent reports, we will try to maximize our time in this area by birding other nearby sites such as Pena Blanca Lake or Arivaca to look for other SE Arizona specialties. Note: this trip may include a steep mile-long (round trip) trek into the canyon or we may be able to simply take a short walk on a rocky jeep track. Access conditions are variable and can be impacted by the monsoon rains. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.
For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

Wednesday–Thursday Overnights

Trip is FULL – Madera Canyon, hosted by Gordon Karre

  • Lodging: Santa Rita Lodge
  • Wednesday, August 7–Thursday, August 8
  • $275/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Difficulty: 3, moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes
  • Departs: Wednesday from DoubleTree at 1:00pm or arrive at Santa Rita Lodge for 3:00pm start
  • Returns: Thursday to DoubleTree at 12:00pm
    Staying at the Santa Rita Lodge gives you a unique experience of spending the night in iconic Madera Canyon where Elegant Trogons croak and hummingbirds zoom. Who knows, you might even see a Coatimundi snacking at the hummingbird feeders! Elf Owls are known to nest near the lodge and sometimes are visible poking their head out of their hole. Begin by enjoying the birds at the feeders (Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Wild Turkey) before evening birding in the mouth of Madera Canyon and proceeding up into the oak-juniper habitat, listening for nightjars and owls characteristic of these habitats (Mexican Whip-Poor-Will, Whiskered Screech-Owl & Elf Owl). We’ll get an early start the next morning and explore the same range of habitats looking for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting lower down as well as Painted Redstart, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Elegant Trogon in mid-canyon. Limited to 9 participants each trip.

Trip is FULL – Ramsey Canyon, hosted by Jake Mohlmann of WINGS Birding Tours

  • Lodging: Ramsey Canyon Inn
  • Wednesday, August 7 –Thursday, August 8
  • $295/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and transportation during tour
  • Difficulty: 3, moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes and steps possible
  • Begins at Ramsey Canyon Inn on Wednesday at 3:30pm—Please arrive by 3pm to be ready
  • Ends at Ramsey Canyon Inn on Thursday at 12:00pm
  • ****Transportation is not included from Tucson to Ramsey Canyon Inn, you must drive yourself to the Inn****
    One of the most beautiful areas in all of Southeast Arizona, Ramsey Canyon is full of giant Sycamores and amazing biodiversity. The Ramsey Canyon Inn is adjacent to the Nature Conservancy Preserve where there are hummingbird feeders that attract Rivoli’s, Black-chinned, Broad-billed, and Rufous Hummingbirds as well as possible Violet-crowned or Blue-throated. After dinner, we will visit Ramsey Canyon for night-birding to find Whiskered Screech-Owl and others. The next day’s route will prioritize areas in the bird-rich Huachuca Mountains to find possible rarities such as Flame-colored Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher but also the more regular specialties of this region including Elegant Trogon, Greater Pewee, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Painted Redstart. Limited to 9 participants each trip.
Wednesday–Friday Overnight

Trip is FULL – Two-night trip to the Chiricahua Mountains, hosted by Rick Taylor

  • Lodging: Portal Peak Lodge
  • Wednesday, August 7–Friday, August 9
  • $550/person includes lodging, most meals, and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Difficulty: 3, moderate walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes
  • Departs: Wednesday from DoubleTree Hotel at 6:30am
  • Returns: Friday to DoubleTree Hotel at 4:00pm
    Ecologically fascinating, the Chiricahua Mountains are the scenic backdrop for a bird-rich outing designed to cut a transect from the Chihuahuan Desert to Rocky Mountain coniferous forest. Sandwiched in between are the Sierra Madrean pine-oak woodlands, home to such charismatic species as the Elegant Trogon. Under stupendous red cliffs rising 3,000 feet above the canyon floor, trogons share sycamore-laced South Fork Cave Creek with Arizona Woodpeckers, Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, and Painted Redstarts. At higher elevations we’ll search for gregarious little Mexican Chickadees, within public lands in the U.S., confined exclusively to the Chiricahua Mountains. Other denizens of the highlands include Virginia’s, Grace’s, Red-faced, and Olive Warblers. We’ll have two nights in the hamlet of Portal at the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon, where a dozen species of hummingbirds–including Rivoli’s, Blue-throated, Rufous, and Lucifer–are all habitués of area feeders. On a pre-breakfast outing into the cool desert air we’ll sample the arid San Simon Valley, home of Scaled Quail, as well as elusive Bendire’s and Crissal Thrashers, Neighboring foothills shelter Juniper Titmouse and Black-chinned Sparrow, specialties of the Great Basin avifauna. Night birding may include Whiskered Screech-owl, Elf Owl, and Mexican Whip-poor-will. Join us as we explore the Chiricahua Mountains, the single most diversified land-bounded mountain range in the entire United States. Limited to 9 participants.

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.

Learn more and download now!

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

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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

color_square_face_right

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