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Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert

This update of Tucson Audubon Society’s Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on May 20, 2022. The next update will be made on May 27.

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


#Short-tailed Hawk

#Semipalmated Sandpiper

#Least Tern

#Ruddy Ground Dove


#Buff-collared Nightjar

#White-eared Hummingbird





#Yellow-throated Vireo

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Chestnut-sided Warbler



#Rufous-capped Warbler



Arizona’s second *PINE FLYCATCHER continued at the Black Bear Flat camping area in Rose Canyon on Mt Lemmon through 5/20 (m.ob.); note there are many Cordilleran Flycatchers here, and there is a $10 fee to enter the canyon. Park at the lake and hike back a short distance. A *TUFTED FLYCATCHER was reported on 5/18 (Rick Taylor) but was not refound (yet). Map:

A *NUTTING’S FLYCATCHER continued through 5/19 (Gary Woods) in Happy Valley (east side of the Rincons) at Paige Creek near where the creek crosses the road. This is east of Tucson about 17 miles from I-10 and just before the gate. There is limited parking; please do not block the ranch driveway.



A *WHITE-TIPPED DOVE continued on 5/20 (Jonathan Batkin) at the confluence of Scheelite and Garden Canyons on Fort Huachuca. There are no accepted records of this long-predicted and anticipated species in Arizona. Please note that no playback is permitted at any time on the fort; for base access; see

At the Hereford Bridge over the San Pedro River, a *CANADA WARBLER was reported on 5/18 (Ron Beck) about 100 yards south of the bridge.

#WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRDS continued in Miller Canyon this week (m.ob.).

A #CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER was reported in Ramsey Canyon on 5/15 (Robb Welch).


PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map:

A *TUFTED FLYCATCHER continued in Rucker Canyon on 5/18 (m.ob.). It has been between Cypress Campground and the old Rucker Canyon Lake (silted in), about 200 yards west of the “lake” and sometimes ranging as far as the campground.


TUBAC area (annotated map:

A *ROSE-THROATED BECARD continued 1/2 mile north of Tubac Bridge this week (m.ob.). A #YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was recorded on 5/18 (Caleb Strand) and continued on 5/19 (m.ob.).

A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued along the Santa Cruz River between Santa Gertrudis Lane and Tubac this week (m.ob.).



A *ROSE-THROATED BECARD was reported at the Patagonia Roadside Rest Area on 5/14 (Felipe Guerrero) and two were photographed on 5/18 (Bill Lisowsky) and 5/19 (Paul Beerman).

At Patagonia Lake (annotated map:, #RUDDY GROUND-DOVES continued along the Birding Trail this week (m.ob.). An #EASTERN PHOEBE was photographed on 5/16 (Katherine Cudney).

At the Paton Center for Hummingbirds, #RUDDY GROUND-DOVES continued this week (m.ob.). A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued on 5/14 (m.ob.).

A #SHORT-TAILED HAWK was reported in Patagonia at the Arizona Birding Tours feeders ( on 5/16 (Caleb Strand).



A #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was photographed at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course on 5/16 (Dave Stejskal) and continued on 5/17 (m.ob.).



A #LEAST TERN was reported at the Amado STP on 5/19 (Susan Patla); it was later seen at Canoa Ranch Conservation Park, where it remained until 5/20 (m.ob.).

In Madera Canyon (map:, an #OVENBIRD was reported on 5/16 (m.ob.). at the Santa Rita Lodge.



#BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS continued this week (m.ob.) at the south end of California Gulch at the confluence with Warsaw Canyon. Annotated map:

A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued at the Guy Tobin trailhead along the Anza Trail this week (m.ob.).

#RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued in Ramanote Canyon ( on 5/15 (m.ob.). High clearance/4WD is recommended for the road in.



A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported in Empire Gulch on 5/16 (Craig Sells).



Good birding!

-Andrew Core, Rare Bird Alert Compiler


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

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

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


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

TUCSON – Mosquito control operations are scheduled at Sweetwater Wetlands from 6:30-9:00 am on Mondays.  The gate will open when operations are finished. Roger Road WRF was closed as of 1/10/2014 and it is uncertain when access will be allowed again. See

The gravel pit at the south end of Renaissance Ave may be viewed from outside the fence, but do not enter the pit. Similarly, the fields at the intersection of nearby Indian Agency Rd/Los Reales Rd. may be viewed from the road, but the pit is posted “No Trespassing”.

GREEN VALLEY WRF – Apparently now open after a long closure due to COVID19 restrictions – hours are either 7am-2pm or 7am-3pm and it is open daily instead of weekends only as before. Protocol for visiting when open: use the call box at the gate, follow the signs for parking, and stay away from buildings and construction equipment. If you’d like to call ahead, you can try at 520-625-0025. Map

ASH CANYON – open dawn to dusk EXCEPT Thursday, when open noon to dusk. Parking is limited; please carpool whenever possible. No need to call ahead.

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

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

IMPORTANT: Ft. Huachuca has posted information on access requirements on its official webpage at – look for the “Gate Information” tab on the left side of the homepage. Read the information at the “Visitors Access” button. If you click the “Installation Access Forms” button, you can see the information you’ll have to provide to get access. The Visitor Control Center is located at the Van Deman Gate on Hwy 90 and opens at 5:00 am.

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

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

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

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

  • AVRA VALLEY WRF: Gates open at 6AM and close PROMPTLY at 2PM (do not linger, you will be locked inside). UPDATE: under construction; if the gate is locked, use the call box to request access (not guaranteed). Due to ongoing construction, birders are advised to call ahead at 520-577-7341 to check on access.
  • ROGER ROAD WRF: closed
  • NOGALES STP: closed



California Gulch annotated map:


Ramsey Canyon:
Hunter Canyon


Portal annotated map:


Madera Canyon annotated map:
Florida Canyon annotated map:
Green Valley WRF:


Patagonia Lake annotated map:
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve annotated map:

TUBAC area

Tubac annotated map:
Puerto Canyon map:


Slaughter Ranch and San Bernardino NWR annotated map:

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

Sweetwater Wetlands

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

Learn more

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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


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


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