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August 5–9, 2020 | Tucson, AZ

NOTE: 2020 Festival registration is postponed until at least May 4.


New 2020 field trips posted below

Field Trips

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 a few exceptions).

For trips on other days, please click a tab above

August 5–7
Wednesday-Friday OVERNIGHT

Chiricahua Mountains Overnight Tour, hosted by Rick Taylor

  • Lodging: Portal Peak Lodge
  • Wednesday, August 5 – Friday, August 7
  • $550/person includes lodging, most meals, and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Rooms are double-occupancy. No single supplements available for this trip.
  • 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 Mountain-Gem, Rufous, and Lucifer–are all habitués of area feeders. Night birding will depend on the monsoon weather, but may include Whiskered Screech-owl, Elf Owl, and Mexican Whip-poor-will. On the way we’ll also make a stop at Cochise Lake outside of Willcox for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds and more. Join us as we explore the Chiricahua Mountains, the single most diversified land-bounded mountain range in the entire United States. Limited to 8 participants.

August 5–6
Wednesday-Thursday OVERNIGHTS

Madera Canyon Overnight Tour, hosted by Gordon Karre

  • Lodging: Santa Rita Lodge
  • Wednesday, August 5 – Thursday, August 6
  • $275/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and travel from DoubleTree Hotel
  • Rooms are double occupancy. Single supplements available upon request and additional cost.
  • 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 8 participants.

Huachuca Hummingbirds Overnight Tour, hosted by Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood of Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory

  • Lodging: Casa de San Pedro Inn
  • Wednesday, August 5 – Thursday, August 6
  • $300/person includes lodging, meals (dinner, breakfast, snacks), and transportation during tour
  • Rooms are double occupancy. Limited single supplements available upon request and additional cost
  • Difficulty: 2, shorter walking distances over unpaved trails
  • Begins at Casa de San Pedro Inn on Wednesday at 4pm
  • Ends at Casa de San Pedro on Thursday at 12:00pm
    Check in and enjoy the birds at the feeders at Casa de San Pedro, before participating in a hummingbird banding session with hummer experts Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood.  After a wonderful dinner at the inn, enjoy more birding with Sheri and Tom before resting up for the morning’s adventures. We’ll plan to visit feeders at nearby locations possibly including Ash Canyon Sanctuary, Beatty’s Guest Ranch, and Ramsey Canyon for a survey of hummingbirds (Rivoli’s, Broad-billed, Calliope, Lucifer’s, Broad-tailed, Violet-crowned) as well as many other species, including Hepatic Tanager, Painted Redstart, and Scott’s Oriole. Limited to 8 participants

HALF-DAY TRIPS

Photography: Pond at Elephant Head 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 and 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 8 participants

Walker Canyon with Richard Fray

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $70/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.

Harshaw Canyon & the Patagonia Mountains with Rob Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Will include walking along some graded roads and mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for <3 miles.  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, Thick-billed Kingbird, the Azure subspecies of Eastern Bluebird, Hepatic Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak. Back by noon, limited to 8 participants.

Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountains with John Higgins

  • 5:30am – 11:00am
  • $70/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 8 participants.

Las Cienegas NCA with Jennie MacFarland & Alvaro Jaramillo

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $70/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.

Madera Canyon with Robert Mesta and Tom Stephenson

  • 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 8 participants.

Patagonia Lake State Park with Jacob Roalef of Birding Ecotours

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (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 8 participants.

De Anza Trail and Area with Thomas Brown

  • 6:00am – 11:30am
  • $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.

Cochise Lake

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking on groomed trails or roads. Drive time to location approximately 80 minutes.)
    This half-day trip to the Willcox area and Cochise Lake will add a wide variety of shorebirds to your Arizona and festival species list. Likely species include Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Wilson’s Phalarope, Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Western, and Least Sandpipers. The lakes also play host to an array of migrant swallow species, as well as birds of the open grassland like Scaled Quail and Lark Sparrow. With sometimes hourly turnover nearly every visit during migration has a good chance of turning up something unusual. This will be a very relaxed paced half-day trip with limited walking on level surfaces. Limited to 8 participants

Birding with a Purpose: Montezuma Quail Habitat Restoration with Keith Kamper & Audrey Rader of Borderlands Restoration Network

  • 6:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person. 50% of proceeds goes directly to Tucson Audubon work in the Sonoita Creek Watershed
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces. Drive time about 85 minutes to destination.)
    Combine birding and habitat restoration as we explore the Borderlands Wildlife Preserve. The Borderlands Wildlife Preserve has been identified as one of the most important wildlife migratory corridors in Arizona and is a biodiversity hotspot. Along with some great birding we’ll learn about the steps Borderlands Restoration Network is taking to restore Montezuma Quail habitat in this biologically diverse area identified by scientists as one of the areas most in need of protection for species survival. Limited to 8 participants.

Photography: Raptor Flight and Portrait Photography, with Dan Weisz at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

  • 7:00 am—12:00pm
  • $125/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking)
    Join us for this unique opportunity to photograph Raptor Free Flight pre-season practice sessions normally closed to the public.  Get your camera ready for an intimate, up-close look as the Museum’s trainers work while a pair of Harris’s Hawk fly with and around you.  The training flights will be planned with photographer’s needs in mind. We will then head indoors with birds of prey for studio close-ups, perch poses, and a few short flights.  Exact species may change according to weather conditions and raptor availability. Trip participants will walk a mile or more in rough desert terrain. Be sure you have desert hiking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and water container.  Previous photography experience and working knowledge of your DSLR camera is helpful.  A zoom lens of no more than 300mm is recommended, along with a small lens for close-up, indoor photography.  Join Dan Weisz, Raptor Free Flight volunteer and narrator, for a unique experience.  (Entrance fees to the Desert Museum are included in the trip cost). Limited to 9 participants.

FULL-DAY TRIPS (includes lunch and drinks)

California Gulch Adventure with Laurens Halsey & Alex Lamoreaux

  • 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.

Florida and Box Canyons with Ken Blankenship and Allee Forsberg

  • 5:00am – 2:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Florida Canyon trail can be rough. Drive time to location approximately one hour on some gravel road)
    Join local guide Ken Blankenship and explore a well-watered oak-sycamore canyon along with rocky desert slopes in the Santa Rita Mountains. We will start by hiking the rocky trail of infamous Florida Canyon, where we hope to find highlights such as Rufous-capped Warbler, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Scott’s Oriole, Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Summer Tanager, and more. Next, we will make a series of roadside stops in rugged, beautiful Box Canyon. Last year Five-striped Sparrows and a family of Lucifer Hummingbirds established territories in the canyon, will they return? Other highlight birds include Varied Bunting, Hooded Oriole, Canyon Wren, Cactus Wren, Pyrrhuloxia, and Verdin. Lunch included. Limited to 7 participants.

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 7 participants.

Mt. Lemmon: Sonoran Desert to Mixed Conifer Forest with Brian Gibbons & David Simpson

  • 5:30 am – 4:00pm
  • $110/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, Mountain Chickadee, 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.

Beyond Birds: Butterflies of the Southwest with Jim Brock

  • 7:30am – 2:00pm
  • $90/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven terrain)
    Join expert lepidopterist and author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, Jim Brock, on a butterfly excursion during the lush monsoon season. Location will be pre-determined by leader for the best viewing experiences. Lunch provided. Limited to 8 participants.

DRIVE YOURSELF TRIPS—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Sabino Canyon with Julie Michael

  • 6:00am – 9:00am
  • $10/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 (map). $5 parking fee. Return to car by 9am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes always recommended. Leaders are Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Limited to 10 participants.

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

  • 7:00am–9:30am
  • $10/person, plus $5 donation at Mission Garden
  • Difficulty: 1 (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 a year? 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 (map). Call Kendall at (520) 971-2385 if any problems. Limited to 10 participants.

AFTERNOON/EVENING TRIPS

Beyond Birds: Creatures of the Night with Jim Rorabaugh & Hanna Strauss

  • 6:00pm – 10:00pm
  • $65/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 9:30am. Bring a water bottle and be prepared for hot weather. Limited to 10 participants.

Photography: Bat Photography at Pond at Elephant Head with Dano Grayson

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $120/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 8 participants.

Night Birds of the Catalina Mountains with Brian Nicholas

  • 6:00pm – 10:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Very short walks from vehicle at night with several stops along the paved Mt. Lemmon Highway, good hearing required)
    Driving up into the Catalina Mts and stopping at different elevations affords us the opportunity to find a number of owls and nightjars specific to this area.  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 spot-light one or two, but the timing this late in the year can be challenging. Location could change depending on weather. Limited to 8 participants.

Moths: A Nocturnal Exploration with Jeff Babson

  • 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • $10/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Easily accessible location with a short drive)
    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
For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

HALF-DAY TRIPS

Montosa Canyon with Laurens Halsey & Alvaro Jaramillo

  • 5:00am – 11:30am
  • $70/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 8 participants.

 

Santa Cruz Flats with Dave Pearson

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $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.

 

French Joe Canyon with Ethan Beasley

  • 5:00 am – 12:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (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.

 

Florida and Box Canyons with Rob Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Florida Canyon trail can be rough. Drive time to location approximately one hour on some gravel road)

Explore a well-watered oak-sycamore canyon along with rocky desert slopes in the Santa Rita Mountains. We will start by hiking the rocky trail of infamous Florida Canyon, where we hope to find highlights such as Rufous-capped Warbler, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Scott’s Oriole, Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Summer Tanager, and more. Next, we will make a series of roadside stops in rugged, beautiful Box Canyon. Last year Five-striped Sparrows and a family of Lucifer Hummingbirds established territories in the canyon, will they return? Other highlight birds include Varied Bunting, Hooded Oriole, Canyon Wren, Cactus Wren, Pyrrhuloxia, and Verdin. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Madera Canyon with Robert Mesta & Adrian Lesak of Vortex Optics

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $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 8 participants.

 

Rose Canyon Lake with Tom Stephenson & Gordon Karre

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Will include short walks from the van, some uphill on paved road or easy trails.  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 8 participants.

 

Las Cienegas NCA with Jacob Roalef of Birding Ecotours

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $70/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 keep an eye out for Pronghorn Antelope! Limited to 8 participants.

 

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.

 

Pena Blanca Lake and Canyon

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 90 minutes, some gravel road.)

An interesting man-made lake makes a great water source and stopover for migrants and breeding birds. The adjoining canyon is a good location for Elegant Trogon, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Hepatic Tanager. While hard to see, Montezuma Quail favor the hillsides surrounding the lake and other interesting species include Gray Hawk, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Varied Bunting are expected species. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Birding with a Purpose: Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve with Kathe Anderson and John Hughes of Friends of Sonoita Creek

  • 6:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person. 50% of proceeds goes directly to Tucson Audubon work in the Sonoita Creek Watershed
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces. Drive time about 85 minutes to destination.)

The preserve is one of the best known U.S. birding hotspots with tall cottonwoods and willows lining a perennial stream. Discover the threats this beautiful location faces and how you can be a part of the solutions. Open fields, mesquite bosque and a cienega compound the habitat diversity that make it a birding paradise. Listen for the Gray Hawk’s whistle in the cottonwoods while looking for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Brown-crested and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, and more. Nature Conservancy fees are included in the price. Be prepared to wear chigger protection. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Lucy’s Warblers and the De Anza Trail with Whitney Lanfranco & Olya Phillips

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)

For the past three years Tucson Audubon has been conducting nesting experiments with Lucy’s Warblers, one of the two cavity-nesting warblers we have in the United States and designated by the Arizona Game and Fish as a Species of Conservation Concern. The De Anza Trail in Tubac is one stretch of trail where we’ve been monitoring these nestboxes. Come explore the area with Citizen Science Coordinator, Olya Phillips, and Whitney Lanfranco of Rockjumper Birding Tours. You’ll see and learn more about the nestbox program while also searching for Gray Hawks, flycatchers, Yellow-breasted Chats and fall migrants. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past few years. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Photography: Photographing Birds in Flight, Big and Small with Krisztina Scheeff

  • 6:00am – 11:00am
  • $75/person

This trip is the field counterpart to Krisztina’s Flight Photography workshop on Thursday. It can be incredibly rewarding to photograph birds in flight. Equally, however, there can be nothing more frustrating than the very same thing. In this classroom & field workshop professional photographer Krisztina Scheeff with KS Nature Photography will teach you lots of tips and tricks, camera settings and more to help you get those fantastic in flight bird shots. Location of the field trip will be determined the week of the festival to maximize photography potential. Limited to 8 participants.

 

FULL-DAY TRIPS (includes lunch and drinks)

California Gulch Adventure with Richard Fray & 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.

 

Sonoran Desert to Montane Conifer Forest with Ken Blankenship & Allee Forsberg

  • 5:00am—3:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Easy to moderate; walking on rocky trails; no major elevation gain on foot)

We’ll start in beautiful Sonoran desert at the Saguaro National Park East Unit. Here we’ll look for birds of this special habitat, with highlights including: Gilded Flicker, Gambel’s Quail, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Greater Roadrunner, Anna’s Hummingbird, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Pyrrhuloxia, Gila Woodpecker, Curve-billed Thrasher, Cactus Wren, Phainopepla, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Canyon Towhee, Black-throated Sparrow, and more. Next we’ll stroll around Agua Caliente Park, a few miles to the north. Here we hope to find some birds typical of riparian scrub and open mesquite/palm habitat: Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Bewick’s Wren, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Lucy’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Bell’s Vireo, Hooded Oriole, Abert’s Towhee, and more. For the second half of the day, we will ascend high up into the Santa Catalina Mountains for our picnic lunch and several stops in pine-oak-juniper habitat. Highlights among many mountain targets: Painted Redstart, Red-faced Warbler, Steller’s Jay, Mexican Jay, Hutton’s Vireo, Violet-green Swallow, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-throated Swift, Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Greater Pewee, Olive Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Virginia’s Warbler, Grace’s Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Yellow-eyed Junco, Zone-tailed Hawk, Mountain Chickadee, Hepatic Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, and more. Lunch included. Limited to 7 participants.

 

Fort Huachuca with Jennie Macfarland and Alex Lamoreaux

  • 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 (more information here) to enter Fort Huachuca and you must be a U.S. citizen. Lunch included. Limited to 17 participants.

 

Parker Canyon Lake Area with Dave Stejskal

  • 5:00am – 2:30pm
  • $110/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.

 

Photography: Hummingbird Photography Field Workshop with Stephen Vaughan at Paton Center

  • 6:00am – 2:30pm
  • $120/person

This trip is the field counterpart to Steve’s Hummingbird Photography workshop on Thursday. 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. Limited to 8 participants.

 

DRIVE YOURSELF TRIPS—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Sabino Canyon with Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $10/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 (map). $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.

 

Birds & Petroglyphs at Honey Bee Canyon Park with Michael Welch

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $10/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 10 participants.

 

AFTERNOON AND EVENING TRIPS

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.

 

Beyond Birds: Creatures of the Night with Jim Rorabaugh & Hanna Strauss

  • 6:00pm – 10:00pm
  • $65/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 9:30am. Bring a water bottle and be prepared for hot weather. Limited to 10 participants.

 

Photography: Bat Photography at Pond at Elephant Head with Dano Grayson

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $120/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 8 participants.

 

Madera Night Birds and Critters with Tim Helentjaris & Margarethe Brummermann

  • 6:00pm–10:00pm
  • $75/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 and we’ll finish with a black light set-up in the canyon courtesy of biologist Margarethe Brummerman. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Going Batty with Karen Krebbs

  • 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • $10/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 9 participants.

For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

HALF-DAY TRIPS

Box Canyon with Jacob Roalef of Birding Ecotours

  • 5:30am – 11:30am
  • $70/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. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Walker Canyon with Richard Fray

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/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 9 participants.

 

Madera Canyon with Robert Mesta

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $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 9 participants.

 

Saint David Monastery and Area with Jim Rorabaugh

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $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.

 

Empire Ranch and Las Cienegas with Chris Rohrer & Whitney Lanfranco

  • 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 18 participants.

 

Culture & Birds: Tumacacori National Historical Park with Rick Wright

  • 5:30am–12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces. About 60 minutes drive from Tucson)

Founded by Jesuit missionaries at the end of the seventeenth century, Tumacácori was one of the first missions established in what would later be Arizona. The present church, San José de Tumacácori, was begun at the end of the eighteenth century; it was still unfinished when the mission was abandoned fifty years later. Today, the imposing ruins on the west bank of the Santa Cruz River dominate the 360 acres of Tumacácori National Historical Park. As we explore the traces of a momentous confrontation of cultures, we will also experience the rich bird life of the upper Santa Cruz., including such Arizona specialties as the Common Black and Zone-tailed Hawks, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Abert’s Towhee, or Rufous-winged Sparrow.  Limited to 9 participants.

 

Patagonia Area with Rob Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 90 minutes.)

The Patagonia area is one southeast Arizona’s best-known destinations for riparian birds. Some of the specialties found around Patagonia are Gray Hawk, Thick-billed Kingbird, Varied Bunting, Violet-crowned Hummingbird and Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet. There are many famous places to bird here including the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, Harshaw Canyon, and of course the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Our exact itinerary will be at the leader’s discretion, based on where our target birds are being seen most readily. Limited to 8 participants.

 

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.

 

Photography: Photographic Bird ID with Maresa Pryor-Luzier (Field and Class Portions)

  • 6:00am – 10:00am (field portion) 10:30am – 12:00pm (class portion)
  • $75/person

Bird identification can be tricky sometimes, so having your camera along makes sense. This early morning photo workshop to Sabino Canyon to learn photographing for a proper bird identification will include Maresa’s assistance in learning lighting, shutter speeds, and bird behavior for improving your bird imagery. Once returned, Maresa presents a short course on the basics of uploading your images onto your favorite site such as e-bird, Audubon, or social media. Whether a beginner or needing a refresher course, she will lead you in the right direction in producing higher quality images for identification and enjoying the experience in the field. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Photography: Photographing Birds in Flight, Big and Small with Krisztina Scheeff

  • 6:00am – 11:00am
  • $75/person

This trip is the field counterpart to Krisztina’s Flight Photography workshop on Thursday. It can be incredibly rewarding to photograph birds in flight. Equally, however, there can be nothing more frustrating than the very same thing. In this classroom & field workshop professional photographer Krisztina Scheeff with KS Nature Photography will teach you lots of tips and tricks, camera settings and more to help you get those fantastic in flight bird shots. Location of the field trip will be determined the week of the festival to maximize photography potential. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Beyond Birds: Dragonflies & Damselflies in Southeast Arizona with Laurens Halsey

  • 6:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails.)

This is the field trip portion of the Friday 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.

 

FULL-DAY TRIPS (includes lunch and drinks)

Sycamore Canyon with Ethan Beasley

  • 5:00am – 2:30pm
  • $110/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, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Montezuma Quail. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge with Rob Rutledge

  • 5:00am – 2:30pm
  • $110/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. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

California Gulch Adventure with Scott Olmstead & Troy Corman

  • 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.

 

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.

 

Big Day Van with Alex Lamoreaux or Luke Safford

  • 5:00am – 4:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (May include some walking on steeper slopes or rocky/rooted trails. Fast-paced and may include lots of jumping in and out of the van.)

Have you ever experienced the thrill of a “Big Day?” This is a fun, and somewhat competitive, way to see a wide variety of species and locations throughout the Tucson and Southeast Arizona area in a short amount of time! Exact route will be up to the discretion of the leader, to maximize numbers of species seen/heard. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants per van.

 

Sky Islands Naturalist Saunter with Vincent Pinto

  • 5:00am – 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

 

Catalina Highway Adventure with Felipe Guerrero

  • 5:00 am – 3:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately 75 minutes.)

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. We’ll explore our way up the highway and come across a wide variety of bird species including Mexican and Stellar’s Jay, Bell’s and Plumbeous Vireo, and Black-throated Gray and Red-faced Warbler. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Mt. Lemmon Warblers with Tom Stephenson and Homer Hansen

  • 5:30am – 3:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately 75 minutes.)

Warblers are some of North America’s smallest birds, and are known for their wide variety of colors and long migrations from South America and the West Indies to northern Canada and back.  Their rapid movements from branch to branch and behind leaves can make identification challenging. We’ll cover a variety of habitats on this trip giving us opportunities with many types of warblers including Lucy’s, Black-throated Gray, Grace’s, Red-faced, Townsend’s, Hermit, Wilson’s, and Painted Redstart. Lunch included. Limited to 16 participants.

 

DRIVE YOURSELF TRIPS—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Birding Stroll for Beginners at Reid Park—all ages welcome–with Various Leaders

  • Walks beginning at 7am, 8am, 9am, & 10am
  • Free with registration
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking in park)

Explore Reid Park and pick up on some birding basics and tips, and of course, some good birds. Black-crowned Night Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Anna’s Hummingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher, and Verdin hang out in the park along with a host of waterfowl, doves, and grackles. Field trip leader, Kathe Anderson, will follow with a “Birding 101” presentation at the festival venue, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel near Reid Park.

For trips on other days, please click a tab above

 

HALF-DAY TRIPS

Florida Canyon with Laurens Halsey

  • 5:00am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 4 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Florida Canyon trail can be rough. Drive time to location approximately one hour on some gravel road)

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. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Photography: Creating Beautiful Bird Portraits with Maresa Pryor-Luzier

  • 5:00am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person

Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking on groomed trails or roads. Drive time to location approximately 80 minutes) With a few techniques, lighting, and use of space, you can make a beautiful bird portrait. Understanding bird behavior, and the technical aspects of your camera system, allows everyone to enjoy the end results. Join Maresa for a morning at Lake Cochise in Willcox, Arizona for some great tips on getting the images you desire. She recommends a telephoto lens starting at 300mm. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Sparrows of Southeast Arizona with Alvaro Jaramillo and Homer Hansen

  • 5:00am – 11:30am
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour plus driving on gravel roads)

Upstream and uphill of Cienega Creek near the town of Sonoita are the Las Cienegas grasslands, a haven for sparrows throughout the year. In the monsoon season one can expect to find Botteri’s, Cassin’s, Grasshopper, Lark, Black-throated, Rufous-winged, and more which makes it the perfect place to hone one’s sparrow identification skills. An added attraction is the tall cottonwoods which run through the riparian corridor providing a home for Gray Hawks and other raptors. Prepare for this trip by taking Alvaro’s workshop on Thursday; see the workshop page for more details. Limited to 17 participants.

 

Pena Blanca Lake and Canyon with Richard Fray & David Simpson

  • 5:00am – 12:30pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 90 minutes, some gravel road.)

An interesting man-made lake makes a great water source and stopover for migrants and breeding birds. The adjoining canyon is a good location for Elegant Trogon, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Hepatic Tanager. While hard to see, Montezuma Quail favor the hillsides surrounding the lake and other interesting species include Gray Hawk, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Varied Bunting are expected species. Limited to 18 participants.

 

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 9 participants.

 

Photography: Tips for Reviewing Your Work and Techniques to Improve It with Lisa Langell (Field and Class Portions)

  • 5:00am – 10:30am (field portion) 11:30am – 1pm (class portion)
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (very easy walking)

Did you know whether you shoot with a small compact camera or professional-level DSLR, evaluating the quality of your own work can be difficult? Knowing how to determine which images are our “best work” can sometimes be challenging–especially when it’s not immediately obvious. Additionally, we may overlook images that have great potential because they lack a few of the right post-processing techniques. This class will help you self-evaluate your work. You will learn several techniques that will help you seriously critique your own work and make adjustments in post-processing to bring out the best without dramatically altering the image. Field work will be in Madera Canyon at Santa Rita Lodge. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Tucson Migration over the Desert with Brian Gibbons

  • 5:30am – 11:30am
  • $50/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Easy – mostly standing around. A couple of folding chairs will be provided)

A few hour outing to a home on the southeast side of Tucson where you can witness active fall migration. We will spend the first couple hours of the morning listening and watching for low-flying fall migrants. This morning flight phenomenon has been observed for several years at this location and can vary from very light (~20 individuals) to heavy (~200 individuals) any given morning. Mid-August is the peak for these morning flights and we hope to encounter a good variety of birds flying past at treetop level. Many birds make brief stops on the taller trees in the area before continuing on their southward migrations. As the migration slows through the morning we will watch the surrounding desert for typical Sonoran Desert residents like the Costa’s Hummingbird, Gambel’s Quail, Brown-crested Flycatcher,

Curve-billed Thrasher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and Black-throated Sparrow among others. Regular migrants include Western Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Lark Sparrow, Phainopepla, Bullock’s Oriole, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Lazuli Bunting. Limited to 17 participants.

 

Identifying Bird Songs: A Field Workshop with Tom Stephenson

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)

Identifying the warblers and other species singing around us is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying aspects of birding. The language for describing visual ID points for birds greatly helps us identify an unknown bird. The lack of this language for songs, however, makes it often very difficult to know how to figure out an unknown song. Join Tom, co-author of The Warbler Guide book and the Birdgenie app, as he outlines their new system that makes identifying bird vocalizations much easier. During this field workshop we’ll go over a few spectrograms of common species and discuss each song’s structure, quality, and other features that help us make an ID. Then we’ll apply these terms and criteria to all of the birds we find singing around us, uncovering the best ways of identifying our great warblers, vireos, tanagers and other species. We will also explain a simple 3-step memorization system that makes it possible to memorize many vocalizations for your backyard birding or even a foreign trip. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Madera Canyon Sampler with Gordon Karre

  • 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 9 participants.

 

Trogon Search with Jennie MacFarland

  • 5:30 am – 12:00pm
  • $75/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 Tucson Audubon’s Bird Conservation Biologist, Jennie MacFarland. Of course, we’ll see various other species while we look and listen for trogons. Back by noon. Limited to 9 participants.

 

High Elevation in the Catalinas with Dave Stejskal

  • 5:30 am – 12:00 pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (some walking on mild slopes, drive time to location about 50 minutes on paved roads)

Enjoy birding where Tucson residents escape the summer heat in the small mountain hamlet of Summerhaven.  We’ll look for mixed warbler flocks which may include Red-faced, Orange-crowned, Virginia’s, Townsend’s, Hermit, Wilson’s, and Grace’s Warblers. Birding in the conifer forests of Mt. Lemmon can also produce species like Hairy Woodpecker, Stellar’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and Cordilleran Flycatcher. Back by noon. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Birding with a Purpose: Harshaw Creek and Mining with Keith Kamper and Carolyn Shafer

  • 6:00am–12:00pm
  • $70/person. 50% of proceeds goes directly to Tucson Audubon work in the Sonoita Creek Watershed
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces. Drive time about 85 minutes to destination.)

Combine birding and conservation as we explore the unique Patagonia Mountains. Harshaw Creek is lined with Sycamores making it a great location for woodpeckers, flycatchers, tanagers, and more. Elegant Trogons breed through here and Mexican Jays are common in the oaks. We’ll learn about the threat of 21st century industrialized mining in this biologically diverse area identified by scientists as one of the areas most in need of protection for species survival. Limited to 8 participants.

 

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.

 

FULL-DAY TRIPS (includes lunch and drinks)

Southeast Arizona Specialty Clean-up with Tim Helentjaris

  • 5:00am – 3:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Will include 100+ miles of driving, with various stops, possibly some moderate walking distances)

This trip is designed to find species of interest such as Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Elegant Trogon, Thick-billed Kingbird, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, etc., that you may have missed during the other Festival trips. Target birds and trip location/s will be selected by the leader to match the interests of participants and decided upon during the course of the festival. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Hummingbird Safari with Karen Krebbs

  • 6:00am – 2:00pm
  • $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 Bird Sanctuary are preliminary destinations but locations are up to the discretion of the leader and based on current observations. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Birding Photography Field Workshop with Henry Johnson

  • 6:30am – 3:00pm
  • $120/person. Includes class portion on Friday 4:30pm – 6pm, although not mandatory.
  • Difficulty: 1 (Maybe some uphill walking but mostly at feeders. Drive time to location approximately 50 minutes)

For this workshop we will travel up Mt Lemmon to 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.

 

Southern Arizona Life Zones with Jeff Babson

  • 7:00am – 4:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (Some mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces)

Southern Arizona is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the country.  On this tour we explore the many different habitats of the area, from Saguaro forest in the Arizona Uplands of the Sonoran Desert to the coniferous forest of the mountaintops.  We will make several stops along the way and explore the plants and animals of each zone.  This is not specifically a birding tour, but we, of course, will look for birds on our trip.  Come and see what makes southeastern Arizona such a magnet for birders, botanists, herpers, and others interested in natural history. Includes lunch. Limited to 8 participants.

 

DRIVE YOURSELF TRIPS—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Catalina State Park with Michael Welch

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $10/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 (map). $7 parking fee. Limited to 10 participants.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received on or before July 1, 2020 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

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