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August 10–14, 2022 | Tucson, AZ

Field Trips

Van field trips include van transportation, but “Drive Yourself” field trips do not.  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 Van Trips depart from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Reid Park. “Drive Yourself” field trips will meet on-site at birding locations and you will received detailed directions.

For trips on other days, please click a tab above

Thursday, August 11

 

OPEN TRIPS:

Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

 

Hummingbird Safari with Karen Krebbs

  • 5:30am – 2:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately two hours.)

This small-group excursion is a “can’t miss” for beginner birders interested in getting to know some of the area’s most dazzling birds and a few popular hummingbird locales around Southeast Arizona. Peak hummingbird diversity is happening and you’ll have the chance to see anywhere from 7 – 10 species. Beatty’s Guest Ranch and Ash Canyon are preliminary destinations but locations are up to the discretion of the leader and based on current observations. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)


Montosa Canyon with Ethan Kistler

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Hard (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 the Five-striped Sparrow, a skulky sparrow which frequents the area. We’ll also search for Black-capped Gnatcatcher, which has been breeding in the area for several years, and keep our eyes out for dazzling Varied Buntings on territory. Some more common species we can expect to encounter include Bell’s Vireo, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Wren, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Limited to 9 participants.


Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

De Anza Trail at Santa Gertrudis with Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 6:30am – 9:30am
  • $25/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking on some sandy/gravel trails)

Join Sabrewing Nature Tours for a leisurely stroll through the riparian forest along the Santa Cruz River following the historic De Anza Trail. This is a fantastic location for three types of kingbirds (Cassin’s, Tropical, and noisy Thick-billed) along with a wide variety of other desert riparian species like Inca Dove, Gray Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bell’s Vireo, and Blue Grosbeak. Drive time to the meeting location from the festival venue is about 50 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

Understanding The Language of the Birds with Kristi Dranginis

  • 5:00am – 7:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails)

Did you know that a particular call of a bird can tell you if a deer is sneaking away from you or that a cougar is nearby or that another person is approaching you on the trail, giving you advance notice and the time you’d need to respond? In addition to identifying when a predator is moving through the landscape, understanding the language of the birds will also help us learn how to quiet our minds, blend in to the world around us and attune to our senses, allowing us to become sensitive to our effect on the natural world and those around us. Kristi Dranginis, founder of Bird Mentor and author of Identify Any Bird Anywhere, will help you learn the skills of instinctive birding, interpreting what the language of the bird looks and sounds like, through this engaging dawn bird sit. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, your favorite morning beverage, binoculars if you chose and the willingness to try something new. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 25 participants.

 

Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Sweetwater Wetlands with Noah Buchanan & Simon Tolzmann

  • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

Head over to our favorite birding hotspot in Tucson to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

 

Beginning Birding Photography with Lee Hoy and Alyce Bender at Reid Park

  • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • $35/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

Bring your camera gear… whatever you have and join Lee Hoy and Alyce Bender of Wildside Nature Tours for this fun, casual photo walk-a-bout. Lee and Alyce will help find subjects while discussing exposure, reading light, and composition while helping each person with setting up their cameras for quick response to the action. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 2 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 16 participants.

 

Birding with a Purpose: Kino Environmental Restoration Project with Tony Figueroa and Tom Brown

  • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • $10/person
  • Easy to Moderate (mostly easy with paved trail and overlook, but some steep grade if walking down to sandy trails)

Join Tucson Audubon’s Invasive Plant Manager, Tony Figueroa, and birding guide Tom Brown, at KERP–a Pima County facility designed to control flooding and harvest urban stormwater. Tucson Audubon started working at KERP in the summer of 2021, spraying buffel and fountain grass, and during winter 2022 we removed invasive trees, with chainsaws and chemically treated the stumps to prevent regrowth. You’ll have the opportunity to see firsthand how it is benefiting the birds and other wildlife. Birds to look for include Harris’s Hawk, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Lark Sparrow, and Yellow Warblers. Who knows what might show up to the ponds! This outing is offered in partnership with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR).

 

Catalina State Park with Michael Welch

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (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 Northern Cardinals. We will explore the Birding Trail which crosses a seasonal wash and depending on monsoon storms you may get your boots wet. $7 parking fee. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 40 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

 

Mindful Birding (with a bit of Yoga) at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds with Holly Thomas and Chris Benesh

  • 6:30am – 10:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Will include flat walking trails/roads with simple yoga stretches that can be done in the field–no yoga mat required)

Meet in Patagonia at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds for a unique outing that will introduce you to some mindful practices that you can incorporate into your birding experience. Our leaders will share the health benefits of mindful birding, lead the group in guided meditation and explore other nearby birding areas. There may be some time for optional sketching or journaling. This will not include a formal yoga practice, but we’ll do some simple stretches that can be done in the field. No mats or yoga attire (regular “birding” clothes are fine!) will be needed.  Our focus will be on being open to whatever shows up rather than a list of target species or identification of species (though we are not opposed to id-ing birds, it won’t be an ID intensive field trip). This field trip may be for you if you are curious about mindfulness practices, and you’re interested in exploring a less target-oriented style of birding. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 70 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 12 participants.

 

El Rio Preserve and Pollinator Gardens with Kim Matsushino and Kari Hackney

  • 6:30am – 8:30am
  • $10/person
  • Moderate (mostly easy with paved trail and overlook, but some steep grade if walking down to sandy trails)

Join Habitat at Home Coordinator, Kim Matsushino, and Urban Habitat Manager, Kari Hackney for a tour of the beautiful pollinator garden installed at the El Rio Preserve in Marana, along with looking for a variety of birds attracted to the seasonal lake. Learn about the habitat improvements that have been made at the location, specifically the pollinator and habitat gardens, and how you can bring these same enhancements to your home. Birds to look for include Broad-billed Hummingbird, Black-necked Stilt, Brown-crested Flycatcher, and Common Yellowthroat. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 30 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

Afternoon/Evening Trips (Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips)

 

Sunset Birding Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Reid Park with Noah Buchanan & Simon Tolzmann

  • 5:45pm – 7:15pm
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

We’ll meet at the nearby birding hotspot, Reid Park, to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is less than 5 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

Moths: A Nocturnal Exploration with Jeff Babson

  • 7:30pm – 10:00pm
  • Free with Festival Registration
  • Difficulty: Easy (Easily accessible location with a short drive)

On this trip, we will shine a light into the hidden diversity that exists in the Sonoran Desert! Pima County Naturalist, Jeff Babson 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. Feel free to arrive anytime during the allotted timeframe. Great for families! Location to be determined and specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.

 

 


 

FULL TRIPS

Overnight Field Trip—Meet at Lodging Location

 

Huachuca Hummingbirds at the Casa de San Pedro Inn, hosted by Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood of Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory

  • $300/person (includes one night lodging, gourmet dinner, breakfast, and birding guides)
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Shorter walking distances over some unpaved trails with possible grades)
  • Begins at Casa de San Pedro Inn on Thursday, August 11 at 4pm
  • Ends at Casa de San Pedro on Friday, August 12 at 12pm

Check in and enjoy the birds at the feeders at Casa de San Pedro, before participating in a hummingbird banding session with hummingbird 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, or 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 9 participants.

Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

 

California Gulch Adventure with John Yerger and David Simpson

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: Hard (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, 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 16 participants.

Carr & Ash Canyons with Cameron Cox and Troy Corman

  • 5:00am – 3:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: Hard (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 16 participants.

 

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

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

Rising over 6,000 feet above Tucson, Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet, and a popular escape from urban life and the Arizona’s dry early-summer heat (before the relief of the cooling monsoon rains). It is also an incredible birding experience and biology lesson. Traversing six life zones, from the Sonoran Desert at the base to mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations, the 25-mile drive up the wide, paved, two-lane Catalina Highway is equivalent biologically to traveling from Mexico to Canada. Our efforts will be concentrated on the higher elevations far above the desert below. We’ll look for typical mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and Plumbeous Vireo. We’ll make a special effort to track down a variety of warblers; Painted Redstart and Olive, Red-faced, and Grace’s Warblers all breed in these mountains and by August they are beginning to form mixed-species foraging flocks. A few hummingbird feeders are scattered about our route as well. Combine the birds with temperatures nearly 30 degrees cooler at the top and unparalleled scenery, it is hard to beat the Catalinas in August! Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Culture & Birds: The Dragoons and the Amerind Foundation with Rick Wright

  • 5:30am – 2:30pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild slopes, but still on good surfaces. Drive time to location approximately 60 minutes.)

Rising to 7500 feet above sea level, the steep, sparsely vegetated Dragoon Mountains are home to such uncommon birds as Zone-tailed Hawks, Hepatic Tanagers, and Black-chinned Sparrows. The area is equally notable for its human history, commemorated in the collections of the nearby Amerind Foundation. We will bird the mountains in the morning, then after lunch pay a visit to the Foundation’s museum, featuring the art, culture, and history of the region’s Native American inhabitants.

 

 

Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

Box and Florida Canyons with Rob Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:00am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Hard (Walking a narrow trail with uneven surfaces and some increase in grade.  Drive time to location about 1 hour)

These two canyons are just north of the more famous Madera Canyon and offer fabulous birding in riparian areas flanked by upland desert and grassland. From the Florida Canyon parking lot we’ll keep our eyes open and ears alert for Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Black-chinned and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, along with Varied Bunting.  Working our way up higher along the creek, we’ll look for Gray Hawk, three species of Myiarchus flycatchers, Bell’s and Hutton’s Vireo’s, Hooded Oriole, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of the soaring resident Golden Eagles. Time permitting we will drive through Box Canyon hoping to find a rare Five-striped Sparrow or singing Scott’s Orioles. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Patagonia Lake State Park with Alex Lamoreaux of Wildside Nature Tours

  • 5:00am – 12:30pm
  • $70/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Will include walking along mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for around 2 miles, one area with steep stairs.  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 Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, Bridled Titmouse, 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 Cormorants, and shorebirds at the dam area.  Afterwards, time-permitting, a stop at the famous Roadside Rest will provide opportunity for both Thick-billed Kingbird and Varied Bunting. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Paton Center for Hummingbirds with Skye Haas and Jonathan Lutz

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately 75 minutes.)

The famous Paton Center for Hummingbirds is known for its backyard birds and scenic location dating back to 1973! Wally and Marion Paton first began inviting birders into their yard shortly after moving to Patagonia, and after their passing, the center was acquired by the Tucson Audubon Society with generous help from the American Bird Conservancy and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. It is a place to explore and experience the special birds of southeast Arizona and it is dedicated to the celebration and conservation of hummingbirds—and all of southeast Arizona’s astounding biodiversity. Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are common and the many feeders attract a wide array of bird species. Sit and watch the bird show with Skye and Jonathan along with short walks around the growing trail system. Limited to 8 participants.

 

Arivaca Lake and Buenos Aires NWR with Brian Nicholas

  • 5:00am – 1:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Difficult. (Some walking on steeper slopes with loose rock at Arivaca Lake. Open areas with high exposure. Drive time to location about 90 minutes)

We will explore Arivaca Lake and some areas of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge such as Aguirre Lake.  Locations and order will depend on overall and recent monsoon activity. Aguirre Lake always has some water and can be a shorebird bonanza during good monsoon years when the lake fills. Arivaca Lake was the hottest hotspot of the year in Pima County last year and always has potential for rarities. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Thick-billed Kingbirds and Gray Hawks are regular summer residents and Varied Bunting is expected most years. Based on scouting other short stops will be made in Buenos Aires NWR or Arivaca. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Las Cienegas NCA with Eric Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour plus driving on gravel/dirt roads)

Las Cienegas is a 45,000-acre national conservation area with high desert grasslands, riparian strips and perennial streams, marshes, and juniper-oak woodlands. Here we can find grassland breeders such as Cassin’s, Botteri’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, “Lilian’s” Eastern Meadowlark, and Loggerhead Shrike, as well as riparian-associated species including Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Las Cienegas is great for mammals, too — we’ll visit a colony of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (road condition permitting) and keep an eye out for Pronghorn Antelope. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Madera Canyon Sampler with Richard Fray

  • 5:30am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)

We’ll start in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Along with sparrows we will be looking for birds of upland riparian habitat including 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 nature trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders at the Santa Rita Lodge 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.

 

Oracle State Park and Peppersauce Canyon with Kathe Anderson

  • 5:30am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild hiking on fairly flat and rolling trails or gravel roads. About 50 minutes to destinations)

We’ll head to beautiful Oracle State Park, located at 3,700’ to 4,600’, with landscape dominated by rolling hills and panoramic vistas as it transitions from desert grassland to oak-woodland. There, we’ll likely encounter common desert species, such as Harris’s Hawk, Gila Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Curve-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee and summer visitors such as Summer Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler and Brown-crested Flycatcher, among others.  Then we’ll move onto Peppersauce Canyon, an oasis mostly shaded by huge sycamores, where Bell’s and other vireos, plus Acorn Woodpeckers and Western Wood-Pewees are common, amongst a variety of lovely summer surprises. Limited to 9 participants.

 

Birding with a Purpose: Montezuma Quail Habitat Restoration with Tess Wagner and Cholla Nicoll of Borderlands Restoration Network

  • 6:00am–12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (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. We’ll walk the Smith Canyon Loop Trail (Approx 2 mi) with experts in habitat restoration and wildlife. Afterwards we’ll tour the Borderlands Nursery & Seed to see the process of developing materials for restoration planting and a chance to purchase native plants and seeds. The Borderlands Wildlife Preserve has been identified as one of the most important wildlife migratory corridors in Arizona and is a biodiversity hotspot. 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.

Borderlands Restoration Network is an ecological restoration nonprofit located in Patagonia, AZ with a mission to rebuild healthy ecosystems, restore habitat for plants and wildlife, and reconnect border communities to the land through shared learning.

 

De Anza Trail & Lucy’s Warblers with Whitney Lanfranco and Olya Weekley and Tubac Nature Center Volunteer

  • 6:00am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)

Over the last 8 years Tucson Audubon has been conducting nestbox 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 Community Science Coordinator, Olya Weekley, and Whitney Lanfranco of Leica Sports Optics. 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. A volunteer from the Tubac Nature Center will also be on the walk to share local bird and nature experience. Limited to 8 participants.

 

High Elevation in the Catalinas with Wesley Homoya of Natural Selections Tours

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (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 8 participants.

 

Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountains with John Higgins

  • 5:30am – 11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (Paved roads, less than 1 mile walking)

Come see the birds that actually like it in 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.

 

Afternoon/Evening Trips (Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips)

Brown Canyon Evening Adventure with Tim Helentjaris

  • 4:00pm – 10:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: Moderate (Rocky to sandy footing on trails and/or road. Drive time to location approximately 75 minutes)

We will take an evening outing to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and explore the heart of the Baboquivari Mnts, Brown Canyon, to see if we can hear the rare Buff-collard Nightjars who make a summer home in the canyon. These elusive nightjars tend to start getting quiet this time of year but we’ll make an effort to add it to our festival species list. Of course there will be other fantastic species to see such as Lesser Nighthawk, Common Poorwill, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Rufous-winged Sparrow, and Northern Cardinal to name a few. Dinner included. Limited to 8 participants.

Hummingbird Murals of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe with Dan Weisz

  • 1:30pm–4:00pm
  • $35/person
  • Difficulty: Easy (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.

 

Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

     

    Tohono Chul Docent-Led Birding Tours

    • 8:30am – 9:30am
    • Free with festival registration, $5 suggested donation at Tohono Chul
    • Difficulty: Easy (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)

    For visitors and those new to the Sonoran Desert, Tohono Chul’s easy-walking trails and gardens provide close-up looks at many of the desert specialties. Of the more than 500 bird species that spend time in Arizona during the year, 140 are known to have visited Tohono Chul, and on any given morning you might see up to 10 or 20 species here. All year long you can watch our state bird, the Cactus Wren, flit from cactus to tree and back again, chattering as he goes. Observe the Curved-billed Thrasher, with its saucy two-part whistle, scrabbling on the ground or nesting in cholla cactus. Enjoy our two year-round resident hummingbird species, Anna’s and Costa’s, as they dart about, feeding among the many colorful flowers. And be sure to look upward for a glance of our majestic Cooper’s Hawks, a pair of which has nested in the gardens for each of the last four years. Meet at Tohono Chul. Limited to 10 participants.

     

    Sonoran Desert Ecology Hike with Franklin Lane and Melissa Fratello of the Arizona Master Naturalists Association

    • 6:00am – 10:00am
    • $15/person
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate (mostly flat trails with some uneven and rocky terrain, 2.5 miles roundtrip. Please bring at least 2 liters of water).

    Enjoy an interpretive hike through desert and riparian zones of the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Coronado National Forest. Of course we’ll look for birds, but this will be an overall natural science experience exploring the flora, fauna, geology and cultural history of the Sonoran Desert. The most bio-diverse of North America’s four deserts.  Meet at the trailhead marker on the east side of the parking area at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $8 parking fee (encourage carpooling). Drive time to the meeting location from the festival venue is about 25 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Historic Canoa Ranch with Julie Michael and Adrian Lesak of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics

    • 6:30am – 9:00am
    • $20/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Mostly flat, groomed trails)

    The Historic Canoa Ranch is a Pima County park that hosts a great variety of bird species due to its good sized lake and newly constructed cienega. Redhead were around all of last summer and there is always the chance for wandering gulls, terns, or waders. Say’s Phoebes, Vermilion Flycatchers, Black-throated Sparrows, and Blue Grosbeaks should be common. This outing is offered in partnership with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR). Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 40 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 20 participants.

     

     

    For trips on other days, please click a tab above

    Friday, August 12

    OPEN TRIPS:

     

    Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

     

    Culture & Birds: Sonoita Grasslands & Vineyards with Rick Wright

    • 5:30am – 3:00pm
    • $125/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, and possibly rocky/uneven surfaces. Drive time to location approximately 75 minutes with some gravel roads)

    Rolling high desert grasslands and grassy oak savannas create a spectacular landscape at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society. This ranch, southeast of Sonoita, is accessed only through reservation and permit, so you’ll have a unique experience in the grasslands looking for sparrows (Cassin’s, Botteri’s, Grasshopper), Eastern Meadowlark, Loggerhead Shrike, White-tailed Kite, and more. In addition, we’ll make a stop for a wine tasting at Sonoita Vineyards, which will include a souvenir glass and picnic lunch. Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

    Santa Cruz Flats with Keith Kamper and Cameron Cox

    • 5:00am – 12:30pm
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (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 can hold many surprises. Tropical Kingbirds should be fledging their young at this time, and we can expect to see them 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 a variety of shorebirds, waders and blackbirds, while swallows and flycatchers catch our attention in the air. It will be very hot by 10 am so put on sunblock, bring a water bottle and wear a hat. Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Sky Island Discovery with Franklin Lane and Karen Vandergrift of the Arizona Master Naturalists Association

    • 5:30am – 11:30am
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Some steeper slopes on somewhat rocky/rooted trails. 2 miles roundtrip hiking at 9,000′ elevation. Bring at least 1 liter of water.)

    The Santa Catalina Mountains are one of many (65) Sky Islands within the Madrean Gap of the Basin and Range Geological Province.  Enjoy a driving and hiking interpretive experience including a two mile hike on the Mt Lemmon Loop Trail. We’ll make brief stops at Babad Do’ag and Windy Point on our way up. Ecologically speaking, we’ll be driving vertically to the Canadian border! Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

     

    Patagonia Area with Nolan Walker of Arizona Birding Tours

    • 6:00am – 11:00am
    • $25/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)

    Some of the most well-known birding locations in Southeast Arizona, and the United States, occur in the riparian area that runs along the Sonoita Creek and around the small mining town of Patagonia. Gray Hawks, Summer Tanagers, and Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are the stars of the show. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 65 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 6 participants.

     

    De Anza Trail at Santa Gertrudis with Sabrewing Nature Tours

    • 6:30am – 9:30am
    • $25/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking on some sandy/gravel trails)

    Join Sabrewing Nature Tours for a leisurely stroll through the riparian forest along the Santa Cruz River following the historic De Anza Trail. This is a fantastic location for three types of kingbirds (Cassin’s, Tropical, and noisy Thick-billed) along with a wide variety of other desert riparian species like Inca Dove, Gray Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bell’s Vireo, and Blue Grosbeak. Drive time to the meeting location from the festival venue is about 50 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

    Birding with a Purpose: Kino Environmental Restoration Project with Jay Snowdon and Tom Brown

    • 6:30am – 8:30am
    • $10/person
    • Easy to Moderate (mostly easy with paved trail and overlook, but some steep grade if walking down to sandy trails)

    Join Tucson Audubon’s Invasive Plant Project Manager, Jay Snowdon, and birding guide Tom Brown, at KERP–a Pima County facility designed to control flooding and harvest urban stormwater. Tucson Audubon started working at KERP in the summer of 2021, spraying buffel and fountain grass, and during winter 2022 we removed invasive trees, with chainsaws and chemically treated the stumps to prevent regrowth. You’ll have the opportunity to see firsthand how it is benefiting the birds and other wildlife. Birds to look for include Harris’s Hawk, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Lark Sparrow, and Yellow Warblers. Who knows what might show up to the ponds! This outing is offered in partnership with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR).

     

    Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center with Jim Gessaman

    • 6:00am – 8:00am
    • $10/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (flat walking trails, around 1-2 miles easy walking)

    The Mason Center is located on 20 acres of mostly undisturbed saguaro-ironwood desert in NW Tucson with many hummingbird and seed feeders which attract a variety of Sonoran Desert birds and wildlife. As a protected area adjacent to additional natural desert in Arthur Pack Park, it provides habitat for the preservation and study of many desert plants and animals. Costa’s, Black-chinned, and Anna’s Hummingbirds could be expected along with Cactus Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and Lucy’s Warblers. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 25 minutes. Limited to 10 participants.

     

    Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Sweetwater Wetlands with Noah Buchanan & Simon Tolzmann

    • 6:30am – 8:30am
    • $15/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

    Head over to our favorite birding hotspot in Tucson to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

     

    Beginning Birding Photography with Lee Hoy and Alyce Bender at Reid Park

    • 6:30am – 8:30am
    • $35/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

    Bring your camera gear… whatever you have and join Lee Hoy and Alyce Bender of Wildside Nature Tours for this fun, casual photo walk-a-bout. Lee and Alyce will help find subjects while discussing exposure, reading light, and composition while helping each person with setting up their cameras for quick response to the action. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 2 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 16 participants.

     

    Birdability Outing to Agua Caliente Park with Birdability’s Virginia Rose and Freya McGregor

    • 8:00am – 10:30am
    • $10/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (At Agua Caliente Park, a 0.8 mile asphalt loop trail, with an optional additional 0.3 mile side trip. For detailed accessibility information on this location, please visit the Agua Caliente Regional Park Birdability Site Review on the Birdability Map.)
    • Bathrooms: Wheelchair accessible bathrooms are available at McDonald Park. Bathrooms are available at Agua Caliente, although no wheelchair accessible bathrooms are present.

    Type of bird outing: This trip is designed to be intentionally inclusive and accessible for beginner and advanced birders who experience accessibility challenges as a result of a disability or other health concern. The three outing leaders experience their own accessibility challenges, including one who uses a manual wheelchair, and the location’s accessibility features have been documented in detail to help you decide if you’d like to attend.

    Join us for a leisurely birding experience at Pima County’s Agua Caliente Park. Enter via E Roger Rd, and we will meet at the end of the parking lot farthest from the entrance. We will bird along the asphalt loop trail which extends approximately 0.8 miles around two retention basins. Participants are welcome to wait for us and enjoy some stationary birding, or turn back at any time. We have the option of travelling along several hard packed dirt trails (total distance about 0.3 miles) that branch off from the asphalt trail, or the group splitting if participants have different preferences. This outing is offered in partnership with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR).

    Target birds: Phainopepla, Lucy’s Warbler, Cooper’s Hawk, Great-horned Owl, Vermilion Flycatcher, Verdin, Gila Woodpecker, Purple Martin, Lesser Goldfinch, Bell’s Vireo, Brown-crested Flycatcher.

    Number of attendees: Limited to 15 participants, with up to five additional attendants if you need to bring someone to help you participate.

    Additional information: 12 pairs of loaner binoculars will be available. Please feel free to email info@birdability.org with any additional questions you may have about this event. To learn more about Birdability, please visit birdability.org

     

    Afternoon/Evening Trips (Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips)

     

    Sunset Birding Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Reid Park with Noah Buchanan & Simon Tolzmann

    • 5:45pm – 7:15pm
    • $15/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

    We’ll meet at the nearby birding hotspot, Reid Park, to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is less than 5 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

     

    Going Batty with Karen Krebbs

    • 7:30pm – 8:30pm
    • Free with Festival Registration
    • Difficulty: Easy (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. You will meet Karen on-site on the east side of Tucson near Pantano and Broadway. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is approximately 15 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.

     

    Moths: A Nocturnal Exploration

    • 7:30pm – 10:00pm
    • Free with Festival Registration
    • Difficulty: Easy (Easily accessible location with a short drive)

    On this trip, we will shine a light into the hidden diversity that exists in the Sonoran Desert! Pima County Naturalist, Jeff Babson 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. Feel free to arrive anytime during the allotted timeframe. Great for families! Location to be determined and specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.

     

     

     


    FULL TRIPS

     

    Overnight Field Trip—Meet at Lodging Location


    Madera Canyon at the Santa Rita Lodge, hosted by Laurens Halsey

    • $250/person (includes lodging, dinner, breakfast, and birding guide)
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes)
    • Begins at Santa Rita Lodge on Friday, August 12 at 3pm
    • Ends at Santa Rita Lodge on Saturday, August 13 at 12pm

    Staying at the Santa Rita Lodge gives you a unique experience of spending the night in iconic Madera Canyon where Elegant Trogons croak and hummingbirds zoom. Who knows, you might even see a Coatimundi snacking at the hummingbird feeders! Elf Owls are known to nest near the lodge and sometimes are visible poking their head out of their hole. Begin by enjoying the birds at the feeders (Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Wild Turkey) before evening birding in the mouth of Madera Canyon and proceeding up into the oak-juniper habitat, listening for nightjars and owls characteristic of these habitats (Mexican Whip-Poor-Will, Whiskered Screech-Owl & Elf Owl). We’ll get an early start the next morning and explore the same range of habitats looking for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting lower down as well as Painted Redstart, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Elegant Trogon in mid-canyon.  Limited to 9 participants.

     

    Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

     

    Big Day Adventure with Alex Lamoreaux of Wildside Nature Tours

    • 5:00am – 3:00pm
    • $110/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (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.

     

    Ramsey Canyon Bird Photography with Jamie Cunningham & Tyler Ficker of Sabrewing Nature Tours

    • 5:00am – 3:00pm
    • $125/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Most of the time will be spent in photography blind. Drive time to final location approximately 90 minutes)

    Join Sabrewing Nature Photographers Tyler Ficker and Jamie Cunningham to experience the new photography blind at Ramsey Canyon Inn B&B! This exciting new opportunity gives photographers the chance to photograph up to 10 hummingbird species and a variety of songbirds, all from the comfort of the newly designed photo blind. This blind was designed by the Sabrewing photography team and puts special focus on backgrounds, light angle and the ability to switch out perches easily! This tour will include a boxed breakfast.

     

    Mt. Lemmon: Sonoran Desert to Mixed Conifer Forest with Jake Mohlmann

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

    Rising over 6,000 feet above Tucson, Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet, and a popular escape from urban life and the Arizona’s dry early-summer heat (before the relief of the cooling monsoon rains). It is also an incredible birding experience and biology lesson. Traversing six life zones, from the Sonoran Desert at the base to mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations, the 25-mile drive up the wide, paved, two-lane Catalina Highway is equivalent biologically to traveling from Mexico to Canada. Our efforts will be concentrated on the higher elevations far above the desert below. We’ll look for typical mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and Plumbeous Vireo. We’ll make a special effort to track down a variety of warblers; Painted Redstart and Olive, Red-faced, and Grace’s Warblers all breed in these mountains and by August they are beginning to form mixed-species foraging flocks. A few hummingbird feeders are scattered about our route as well. Combine the birds with temperatures nearly 30 degrees cooler at the top and unparalleled scenery, it is hard to beat the Catalinas in August! Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Patagonia Hotspots with Julie Michael

    • 5:30am – 2:30pm
    • $110/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, and possibly rocky/uneven surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour on mostly paved roads)

    Some of the most well-known birding locations in Southeast Arizona, and the United States, occur in the riparian area that runs along the Sonoita Creek and around the small mining town of Patagonia. Gray Hawks, Summer Tanagers, and Violet-crowned Hummingbirds are the stars of the show. We’ll have lunch at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds courtesy of local favorite, Gathering Grounds. Limited to 8 participants.

     

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

    • 6:00pm–10:00pm
    • $120/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (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. Leaves from festival venue in 15-passenger van. Limited to 8 participants.

     

    Birding Photography on Mt. Lemmon with Henry Johnson

    • 6:30am – 3:00pm
    • $125/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (Maybe some uphill walking but mostly at feeders. Drive time to location approximately 50 minutes)

    For this workshop we will travel up Mt Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains to the instructor’s cabin to practice your photography in mixed conifer forest. 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.


    Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)


    Native Plant Birding Walk on the Yetman Trail with Whitney Lanfranco and Carianne Funicelli of Strategic Habitat Enhancements

    • 6:00am – 10:00am
    • $45/person
    • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate (Around 2 miles round trip over rocky trail with sandy wash portions)

    We’ll head out to the Camino de Oeste Trail in the Tucson Mountains. This is a 2-mile round trip stroll through a Sonoran Desert wash and hillside that will bring us to the remains of an historic homestead known as the Bowen Stone House. Along the way we will focus on birding and identifying the native plants along the way, with discussion of the resources they provide to our rich avifauna. There will be a lot to see and so we will be walking at an easy pace, but there will be some rocky and sandy portions of the trail. Limited to 8 participants.

    Birding with a Purpose: Birding by Boat at Patagonia Lake State Park with Eric Ripma of Sabrewing Nature Tours and Sonoita Creek Watershed Specialist, Howard Buchanan

    • 5:00am–12:30pm
    • $75/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (May include walking along mostly level trail but with uneven surfaces for around 1 mile, one area with steep stairs. Please follow boat rules. Sunscreen highly recommended. Drive time to location about 80 minutes)

    Check out the top eBird hotspot in the state from a different perspective as we will be birding from a pontoon boat. Sonoita Creek Watershed Specialist, Howard Buchanan, will share with us the unique features of Patagonia Lake and the conservation challenges it faces. Mexican Duck, Ruddy Duck, and Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants should be readily seen on the lake along with raptors and riparian species along the shore. Time permitting we will explore some of the trails around the state park after the boat excursion for more Arizona specialties. Limited to 6 participants.

     

    Beyond Birds: Lizards of Saguaro West with Jim Rorabaugh and Larry Jones

    • 6:00am – 11:30am
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild hiking on sandy/rocky trails. Drive time to locations approximately 50 minutes)

    Are you interested in more than birds? The Sonoran Desert is home to a variety of amazing creatures and this trip will offer the opportunity to go herping with Larry “The Lizard Guy” Jones and Jim Rorabaugh, co-author of A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sonora, Mexico. We’ll look for Desert Iguanas and a variety of other desert lizards while walking the Sendero Esperanza Trail in Saguaro NP and on the way back we’ll stop to look for Collared Lizards and other rock dwellers. Gilded Flickers, Purple Martins, and other Sonoran Desert birds won’t be ignored! Limited to 9 participants.

     

    Rose Canyon Lake with Ethan Kistler

    • 5:30am – 12:00pm
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (Will include short walks from the van, some uphill on paved road or easy trails, about 2 miles. Drive time to location about 50 minutes)

    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. Back by noon, limited to 9 participants.

     

    Pena Blanca Lake and Canyon with Richard Fray and David Simpson

    • 5:00am – 12:30pm
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (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 nesting birds. The adjoining canyon is a good location for Elegant Trogon, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Hepatic Tanager. Montezuma Quail favor the hillsides surrounding the lake and other interesting species include Gray Hawk, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and Varied Bunting are expected species. Expect to walk on groomed trails around the lake and a gravel/loose rock forest service road through the canyon. Limited to 18 participants.

     

    Madera Canyon Sampler with Gordon Karre

    • 5:30am – 12:00pm
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)

    We’ll start in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Along with sparrows we will be looking for birds of upland riparian habitat including 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 nature trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders at the Santa Rita Lodge 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.

     

    Tubac De Anza Trail with Robert Mesta

    • 6:00am – 11:30am
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Easy (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 few years.  A volunteer from the Tubac Nature Center will also be on the walk to share local bird and nature experience. Time permitting, a stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

    Arivaca Cienega Area with Ethan Beasley

    • 5:00am–12:00pm
    • $65/person
    • Difficulty: Moderate (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain. Drive time to Arivaca is about 75 minutes.)

    Just outside of the small town of Arivaca is the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge where efforts to re-introduce the Masked Bobwhite are being undertaken by a group of partners, including Tucson Audubon. We’ll focus our birding efforts at the Arivaca Cienega and along the Arivaca Creek where we’ll look for Black Vultures, Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Tropical Kingbird, and buntings. Limited to 9 participants.

       

      Willcox and Cochise Lake with John Yerger

      • 6:00am – 12:00pm
      • $65/person
      • Difficulty: Easy (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 9 participants.

       

      Looking for Burrowing Owls with Dan Weisz

      • 5:00pm – 8:00pm
      • $45/person
      • Difficulty: Easy (Mostly birding around vehicle, possible short walks over dirt trail or on road)

      We’ll travel up towards the small town of Marana just northwest of Tucson with hopes of finding Burrowing Owls. Once we find them, we’ll spend some time at a respectful distance admiring these unique long-legged owls. The surrounding agricultural fields and nearby water treatment facility will offer us the opportunity for a variety of other birds, including possible Lesser Nighthawks at dusk. Leaves from festival venue in 15-passenger van. Limited to 9 participants.

       

      Scorpion Adventure with Kari McWest and Chris Benesh

      • 6:00pm – 10:30pm
      • $50/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (Will include walking in the dark on possibly some uneven surfaces and gravel roads. Recommended to have a black light)

      Go beyond the birds and explore the world of scorpions with Kari McWest and Chris Benesh. Arizona is one of the world’s hot spots for scorpion diversity, especially Southeast Arizona, so we may see over 10 species of scorpions on this tour. Route will be up to the discretion of the leaders based on weather, but will consist of numerous stops in different types of habitats. Leaves from festival venue in 15-passenger van. Limited to 8 participants.

       

      Creatures of the Night with Hanna Strauss and Wesley Homoya of Natural Selections Tours

      • 6:00pm – 10:00pm
      • $25/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (Will include walking in the dark, some uphill on dirt trails and some paved road. 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 parking area by 10pm. Bring a water bottle and be prepared for hot weather. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is approximately 25 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

       

      Guindani Canyon with Brian Gibbons

      • 5:30am – 12:00pm
      • $65/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (About 3 miles roundtrip walking on some steeper slopes and rocky/rooted trail. Be prepared for sun exposure and bring water. Drive time to location approximately 50 minutes)

      Guindani Canyon is situated on the east slopes of the Whetstone Mountains and accessed through Kartchner Caverns State Park. The trail begins in grassy desert with intermixed mesquites and a narrow line of oaks in the canyon bottom, where one can find Ash-throated Flycatchers, Rufous-winged, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrows, and Lucy’s Warblers.  Approaching the canyon mouth, the foothills are festooned with flowering agaves that attract a variety of hummingbirds possibly including Lucifer Hummingbird. Limited to 9 participants.

       

       

      Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

      Sabino Canyon with Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh

      • 6:30am – 9:00am
      • $15/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (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 areas. Until 2010 portions of this otherwise lush riparian area were overrun with thickets of the invasive cane Arundo donax (Giant Reed). Jean and Mark and two other leaders from the Arizona Master Watershed Stewards program organized a removal project that totaled 6,000 volunteer hours and measurably improved riparian biodiversity. A 6-minute video here gives details. Gila Woodpeckers, Purple Martins, and Cactus Wrens should be readily seen with other desert and riparian birds. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $8 parking fee. Return to car by 9 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes always recommended. Leaders are Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 25 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      Behind the Scenes at the Reid Park Zoo

      • 8:00am – 9:30am
      • $10/person
      • Difficulty: Easy (paved pathways)

      Join keepers at the Reid Park Zoo for a tour of the South American and Flight Connection Aviaries and get a sneak peek at some of the birds that will be featured in the zoo’s upcoming expansion. Please be prepared for moderate walking in the heat. Face masks are currently required in some sensitive areas. Participants will meet keepers at the Zoo’s main entrance at 8am. Includes zoo entry fee. Limited to 20 participants.

       

      The Secret Lives of Desert Purple Martins with Jennie MacFarland and Olya Weekley

      • 6:00am – 10:00am
      • $20/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (walking over uneven, rocky terrain and off trails relatively short distances)

      Be a part of the Desert Purple Martin Project research crew for a morning! Tucson Audubon is using technology and a network of volunteers to learn more about these little known birds that nest in saguaro cavities during the monsoon abundance. We will visit several saguaros with active nests and use an endoscope camera and telescoping pole to peek inside the nests. We will be gathering real datapoints of what stage each nest has reached as specific timing of nests is still not completely known to science. Participants must wear sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, binoculars, hat and other sun protection. Bring water and snacks, it heats up quickly in the desert! Meeting place will be the Greasewood Park parking lot. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      Mission Gardens—Tucson’s Birthplace with Kendall Kroesen

      • 8:00am–9:30am
      • Free with festival registration, plus $5 donation at Mission Garden
      • Difficulty: Easy (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)

      We’ll visit Mission Garden (at the base of “A” Mountain) which 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! Drive time to the meeting location from festival venue is about 15 minutes. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      Southwestern Songbirds at Saguaro National Park East with Holly Kleindienst

      • 6:30am – 9:00am
      • $15/person
      • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild slopes, and soft, rocky or uneven terrain.)

      Come for a hike to see and hear many songbirds unique to the Southwest in the cactus forests of Saguaro National Park East. Likely species include: Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Phainopepla, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Pyrrhuloxia, and maybe even a nomadic Greater Roadrunner.  We will walk about three miles on scenic trails that are sometimes soft, rocky, or uneven, with some slopes.   Meet at the Broadway Trailhead for Saguaro NP East. Specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      Reid Park with Bruce Webb of Swarovski Optik

      • 9:00am – 10:00am
      • Free with Festival Registration

      The tall aleppo pines and eucalyptus, along with two large ponds, create great bird habitat right next to the festival venue. Meet Bruce Webb of Swarovski Optik at Reid Park to look for Black-crowned Night Herons, Neotropic Cormorants, Cassin’s Kingbirds, Vermilion Flycatchers, and more. This is a great opportunity if you’re just getting into birding. Drive time to the meeting location from festival venue is about 2 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      Tohono Chul Docent-Led Birding Tours

      • 8:30am – 9:30am
      • Free with festival registration, $5 suggested donation at Tohono Chul
      • Difficulty: Easy (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)

      For visitors and those new to the Sonoran Desert, Tohono Chul’s easy-walking trails and gardens provide close-up looks at many of the desert specialties. Of the more than 500 bird species that spend time in Arizona during the year, 140 are known to have visited Tohono Chul, and on any given morning you might see up to 10 or 20 species here. All year long you can watch our state bird, the Cactus Wren, flit from cactus to tree and back again, chattering as he goes. Observe the Curved-billed Thrasher, with its saucy two-part whistle, scrabbling on the ground or nesting in cholla cactus. Enjoy our two year-round resident hummingbird species, Anna’s and Costa’s, as they dart about, feeding among the many colorful flowers. And be sure to look upward for a glance of our majestic Cooper’s Hawks, a pair of which has nested in the gardens for each of the last four years. Meet at Tohono Chul. Limited to 10 participants.

       

      For trips on other days, please click a tab above

      Saturday, August 13

           


          OPEN TRIPS:

          Overnight Field Trip—Meet at Lodging Location


          Madera Canyon at the Santa Rita Lodge, hosted by Gordon Karre

          • $250/person (includes lodging, dinner, breakfast, and birding guide)
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Walking distances over unpaved trails with some steeper slopes)
          • Begins at Santa Rita Lodge on Saturday, August 13 at 3pm
          • Ends at Santa Rita Lodge on Sunday, August 14 at 12pm

          Staying at the Santa Rita Lodge gives you a unique experience of spending the night in iconic Madera Canyon where Elegant Trogons croak and hummingbirds zoom. Who knows, you might even see a Coatimundi snacking at the hummingbird feeders! Elf Owls are known to nest near the lodge and sometimes are visible poking their head out of their hole. Begin by enjoying the birds at the feeders (Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Wild Turkey) before evening birding in the mouth of Madera Canyon and proceeding up into the oak-juniper habitat, listening for nightjars and owls characteristic of these habitats (Mexican Whip-Poor-Will, Whiskered Screech-Owl & Elf Owl). We’ll get an early start the next morning and explore the same range of habitats looking for Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrow, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting lower down as well as Painted Redstart, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Elegant Trogon in mid-canyon.  Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

          Montosa Canyon with Wesley Homoya of Natural Selections Tours  

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (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.

           

          Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

           

          Empire Ranch Area with Caleb Strand of Arizona Birding Tours

          • 6:00am – 11:00am
          • $25/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)

          Las Cienegas is a 45,000-acre national conservation area with high desert grasslands, riparian strips and perennial streams, marshes, and juniper-oak woodlands. You will meet at Empire Ranch and bird the significant riparian areas along Cienega Creek. Here we can find riparian-associated species including Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 50 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 6 participants.

           

          Understanding The Language of the Birds with Kristi Dranginis

          • 5:00am – 7:00am
          • $20/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails)

          Did you know that a particular call of a bird can tell you if a deer is sneaking away from you or that a cougar is nearby or that another person is approaching you on the trail, giving you advance notice and the time you’d need to respond? In addition to identifying when a predator is moving through the landscape, understanding the language of the birds will also help us learn how to quiet our minds, blend in to the world around us and attune to our senses, allowing us to become sensitive to our effect on the natural world and those around us. Kristi Dranginis, founder of Bird Mentor and author of Identify Any Bird Anywhere, will help you learn the skills of instinctive birding, interpreting what the language of the bird looks and sounds like, through this engaging dawn bird sit. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on, your favorite morning beverage, binoculars if you chose and the willingness to try something new. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 25 participants.

           

          Birdability “Big Sit” at Sweetwater Wetlands with Marcia OBara and Birdability’s Virginia Rose and Freya McGregor

          • 6:00am – 10:30am
          • Free–drop by anytime during the timeframe
          • Difficulty: Easy (0.1 miles to covered ramada where we’ll set up the “Big Sit.” For detailed accessibility information on this location, please visit the Sweetwater Wetlands Birdability Site Review.)

          Bathrooms: Bathrooms are available although the threshold is not on a slant or in the middle of a doorway.

          This trip is designed to be intentionally inclusive and accessible for beginner and advanced birders who experience accessibility challenges as a result of a disability or other health concern. The three leaders experience their own accessibility challenges, including one who uses a manual wheelchair, and the location’s accessibility features have been documented in detail to help you decide if you’d like to attend. We’ll be birding around the ramada at Sweetwater which will provide shade, and we’ll also have some chairs, snacks, and water for you. We’ll be looking for target birds such as Mallard, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Tropical Kingbird, Song Sparrow, Abert’s Towhee, and Common Yellowthroat. Additional information: 12 pairs of loaner binoculars will be available. Please feel free to email info@birdability.org with any additional questions you may have about this event. To learn more about Birdability, please visit birdability.org

           

          Tucson Audubon Mason Center and Safe Urban Habitat with Kim Matsushino and Olya Weekley

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (flat walking trails, less than one mile easy walking)

          Join Habitat at Home Coordinator, Kim Matsushino, and Community Science Coordinator, Olya Weekley for a tour of the 20-acre Mason Center that is situated in a nearly pristine saguaro-ironwood habitat in NW Tucson. Learn about the habitat improvements that have been made around the facilities, including pollinator and habitat gardens, and how you can bring these same enhancements to your home. Along with discovering new ways to improve your habitat at home, we’ll also look for Sonoran specialty birds like Costa’s Hummingbird, Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, and Black-throated Sparrow. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 25 minutes. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Christopher Columbus Park with Matt and Karen Vandzura and Adrian Lesak of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking surfaces, with less than two miles covered)

          This city park on the west side of town hosts two lakes, Silverbell and Archer Lakes, that provide habitat for herons, grebes, a resident Snow Goose, and many other bird species. Vermilion Flycatchers are all over the place and the water resources bring a variety of other bird species to the park. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.  Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Isabella Lee Natural Preserve with Karen Howe & Matt Griffiths

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Two mile loop over level, but often soft, uneven and dusty terrain. No restrooms are available)

          Isabella Lee Natural Preserve, at the confluence of Agua Caliente and Tanque Verde wash in northeast Tucson, is a dry mesquite bosque providing year-round habitat for resident and migrant birds. Summer hosts Lucy’s Warblers, Bell’s Vireos, and Ash-throated Flycatchers. One or two pairs of Blue Grosbeaks are also possible. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 25 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Reid Park with Swarovski Optik with Bruce Webb

          • 7:30am – 8:30am or 9:00 – 10:00am
          • $5/person

          The tall aleppo pines and eucalyptus, along with two large ponds, create great bird habitat right next to the festival venue. Meet Bruce Webb of Swarovski Optik at Reid Park to look for Black-crowned Night Herons, Neotropic Cormorants, Cassin’s Kingbirds, Vermilion Flycatchers, and more. This is a great opportunity if you’re just getting into birding. Drive time to the meeting location from festival venue is about 2 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants during each time slot.

           

          Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Sweetwater Wetlands with Noah Buchanan & Jacob Bagley

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $15/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

          Head over to our favorite birding hotspot in Tucson to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

           

          Afternoon/Evening Trips


          Sunset Birding Photography with Hunt’s Photo at Reid Park with Noah Buchanan and Simon Tolzmann

          • 5:45pm – 7:15pm
          • $15/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces)

          We’ll meet at the nearby birding hotspot, Reid Park, to try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is less than 5 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 15 participants.

           

           


           

          FULL TRIPS:

           

          Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)


          California Gulch Adventure with Scott Olmstead and Cameron Cox

          • 5:00am – 3:30pm
          • $110/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (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, 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 16 participants.

           

          Carr & Ash Canyons with Brian Gibbons and David Simpson

          • 5:00am – 3:30pm
          • $110/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (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 16 participants.

          Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge with Richard Fray

          • 5:00am – 2:30pm
          • $110/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Will involve some walking on dirt/gravel trails and roads on mostly flat surface. Open areas with high exposure. Drive time to location about 90 minutes)

          We’ll explore this 117,000 acre refuge with habitat that ranges from semi-desert grassland to cottonwoods and is uniquely managed for Masked Bobwhite Quail. Depending on water levels we may stop at Arivaca Cienega, Aguirre Lake, and the BANWR Headquarters. Swainson’s Hawk, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, and Eastern Meadowlark should be in the grassland areas, and we’ll keep our eyes open for early fall migrants like Lazuli Buntings. If water levels are high at Aguirre Lake we could expect a variety of shorebirds as well. Limited to 8 participants.

           

          Mt. Lemmon: Sonoran Desert to Mixed Conifer Forest with Jake Mohlmann

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

          Rising over 6,000 feet above Tucson, Mount Lemmon is the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet, and a popular escape from urban life and the Arizona’s dry early-summer heat (before the relief of the cooling monsoon rains). It is also an incredible birding experience and biology lesson. Traversing six life zones, from the Sonoran Desert at the base to mixed conifer forests at the highest elevations, the 25-mile drive up the wide, paved, two-lane Catalina Highway is equivalent biologically to traveling from Mexico to Canada. Our efforts will be concentrated on the higher elevations far above the desert below. We’ll look for typical mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee, and Plumbeous Vireo. We’ll make a special effort to track down a variety of warblers; Painted Redstart and Olive, Red-faced, and Grace’s Warblers all breed in these mountains and by August they are beginning to form mixed-species foraging flocks. A few hummingbird feeders are scattered about our route as well. Combine the birds with temperatures nearly 30 degrees cooler at the top and unparalleled scenery, it is hard to beat the Catalinas in August! Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

           

          Sycamore Canyon with Ethan Beasley

          • 5:00am – 3:00pm
          • $110/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (Round-trip hiking distance of about 2.5 hot miles, over very uneven tread and multiple, wet stream crossings. About two hour drive on some rough road)

          Rugged, remote Sycamore Canyon is legendary among birders for the rarities it has harbored over the years, as well as for its scenic terrain.  This steep-sided canyon is in the Pajarito Wilderness Area of Coronado National Forest.  It drains southward into Mexico, crossing the international border 5.6 miles from the trailhead off Ruby Road, west of Nogales.  Along the way we’ll encounter species typical of Oak-Juniper and Riparian habitats, with the potential to see Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Montezuma Quail. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.

           

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

          • 6:00am – 2:00pm
          • $110/person
          • 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. Concludes with a lunch provided by the local Gathering Grounds at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Limited to 8 participants.

           

           

          Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

          Las Cienegas NCA with Chris Rohrer

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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 8 participants.

          High Elevation in the Catalinas with Alex Lamoreaux of Wildside Nature Tours

          • 6:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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.

           

          Photography Field Workshop: Bird Photography at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds with Maresa Pryor-Luzier

          • 5:30am – 11:00am
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately 75 minutes.)

          Join Maresa in a hands-on bird photography workshop. We’ll start with feeder-watching and then walk-through the Richard Grand Memorial Meadow looking for Violet-crowned Hummingbirds, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Lazuli Buntings, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Phainopepla, and more. We’ll work on natural lighting, aperture and shutter speed settings, backgrounds, and enjoy the morning. As a long-time birder and photographer, Maresa’s compassion for the outdoors and documenting nature’s behavior and beauty is a great thrill to share with other photographers. Limited to 8 participants.


          Tyrant Flycatcher Field Workshop with Homer Hansen

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces.)

          Following up on the flycatchers presentation, this field trip will head out to various habitats to observe and practice identification of our Arizona flycatchers. In the field, many species of flycatchers can be easily observed perched in the open watching for insect prey, allowing opportunities to study bill shape and size, wing length, and primary projection. These characteristics will be combined with habitat and behavior to help learn how to identify Tyranid species. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Saint David & Benson Area with Jim Rorabaugh

          • 5:30am – 12:30pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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. 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. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          San Pedro House with John Yerger

          • 5:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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.

           

          Tubac De Anza Trail with Robert Mesta

          • 5:30am – 11:30am
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (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 few years.  A volunteer from the Tubac Nature Center will also be on the walk to share local bird and nature experience. Time permitting, a stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve with Skye Haas

          • 6:00am – 12:30pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, but still on excellent surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour on mostly paved roads)

          The preserve is one of the best known U.S. birding hotspots with tall cottonwoods and willows lining a perennial stream. Open fields, mesquite bosque and a cienega compound the habitat diversity that make it a birding paradise. Listen for the Gray Hawk’s whistle in the cottonwoods while looking for Common Ground Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Thick-billed Kingbird, and more. Nature Conservancy fees are included in the price. Be prepared to wear chigger protection. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Birds & Culture: Birding Tumacacori Mission with Rick Wright

          • 6:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)

          Almost 300 years ago, Jesuit missionaries moved their San José de Tumacácori to the banks of the Santa Cruz River, where the imposing ruins still stand, the centerpiece of a National Historical Park. Today, this riparian oasis is home to more than 200 species of birds over the course of a desert year. On our half-day visit, we can hope to discover Gray Hawks, Vermilion Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, or Rufous-winged Sparrows as we explore a site as rich in history as it is in natural history. Limited to 9 participants.

           

           

          Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

          Honey Bee Canyon Park with Gerry Hodge

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Some mild slopes, most of walking in soft sand)

          Join Gerry Hodge 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. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 45 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.  Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Madera Canyon with Sabrewing Nature Tours

          • 6:00am – 9:00am
          • $25/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (a few steeper slopes on some trails that are rocky/rooted)

          This well-known birding location offers an opportunity to find desirable southeast Arizona species like Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and possibly Elegant Trogon. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 55 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 8 participants.

           

          Fort Lowell Park with Holly Kleindienst

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (easy walking around city park trails)

          Less than 15 minutes from the festival venue, this is one of the best spots in Tucson to find Vermilion Flycatchers and the city park habitat (along with pond) offers a good variety of species. We’ll walk the grounds hoping to find Broad-billed Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lark Sparrows, and Lucy’s Warblers. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 10 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand.  Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Tohono Chul Docent-Led Birding Tours

          • 8:30am – 9:30am
          • Free with festival registration, $5 suggested donation at Tohono Chul
          • Difficulty: Easy (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)

          For visitors and those new to the Sonoran Desert, Tohono Chul’s easy-walking trails and gardens provide close-up looks at many of the desert specialties. Of the more than 500 bird species that spend time in Arizona during the year, 140 are known to have visited Tohono Chul, and on any given morning you might see up to 10 or 20 species here. All year long you can watch our state bird, the Cactus Wren, flit from cactus to tree and back again, chattering as he goes. Observe the Curved-billed Thrasher, with its saucy two-part whistle, scrabbling on the ground or nesting in cholla cactus. Enjoy our two year-round resident hummingbird species, Anna’s and Costa’s, as they dart about, feeding among the many colorful flowers. And be sure to look upward for a glance of our majestic Cooper’s Hawks, a pair of which has nested in the gardens for each of the last four years. Meet at Tohono Chul. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Birding Stroll for Beginners with Clay Taylor of Swarovski

          • 9:00am – 10:00am
          • Free with festival registration
          • Difficulty: Easy (Slow walking on sidewalks)

          Join festival friend and sponsor, Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optik, for a leisurely stroll around the hotel to pick up some birding basics and tips, and of course, some good birds. Anna’s and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Verdin, and more hang out right around the festival venue! Hummingbird feeders around the hotel will make it easier. Meet at the Swarovski Optik Mobile Experience outside of the Expo area. Finish at 10am when the Nature Expo opens.

           

          or trips on other days, please click a tab above

          Sunday, August 14

          OPEN TRIPS:

           

          Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

           

          Hummingbird Photography Field Workshop with Stephen Vaughan at the Paton Center

          • 6:00am – 2:00pm
          • $125/person

          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. We’ll traveling to the famous Paton Center for Hummingbirds and discuss 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.

           

          Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

           

          Montosa Canyon with Ethan Kistler

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (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 the Five-striped Sparrow, a skulky sparrow which frequents the area. We’ll also search for Black-capped Gnatcatcher, which has been breeding in the area for several years, and keep our eyes out for dazzling Varied Buntings on territory. Some more common species we can expect to encounter include Bell’s Vireo, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Wren, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

           

          Photography with Hunt’s Photo in Madera Canyon with Noah Buchanan & Jacob Bagley

          • 6:30am – 8:30am
          • $15/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Fairly good trail surfaces, but with some rocky/rooted sections)

          Enjoy a birding photography experience in the iconic Madera Canyon with Jacob Bagley, an amazing young photographer, and try out the latest in photography gear with Noah Buchanan of Hunt’s Photo. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new equipment in the field before making your purchases, as well as receive tips for birding photography from the experts. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 50 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Accessible Birding at Sweetwater Wetlands with Marcia OBara

          • 7:00am – 9:00am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: This field trip is designed to meet the needs of participants with accessibility needs.

          Join us for an accessible outing to Sweetwater Wetlands. This premier hotspot has areas that are accessible to most participants, and our route will be determined by those attending. Expect some paved areas, hard packed gravel and paths that are mostly level. Accessible bathrooms are available as well as ample level parking. Intermittent shade is available. We can expect waterfowl, warblers, raptors and wading birds. Limited to 6 participants, but if needed, each participant may bring an assist person.

           

           


          FULL TRIPS

           

          Full-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks & lunch)

          Specialty Clean-up with Tim Helentjaris

          • 5:00am – 2:00pm
          • $110/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Depends upon areas chosen but generally short walks from vehicle, but be prepared for uneven surfaces or slight upgrade)

          This specialty outing is designed to find species of interest that participants might 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 provided. Limited to 8 participants.

          Half-day Van Trips—Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for Van Trips (includes snacks)

          Birding with a Purpose: San Pedro River with Robert Mesta and David Robinson

          • 5:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Around 2-3 miles walking distance over mostly level terrain, some ups/downs in wash/river area, muddy conditions are possible in sections. Drive time to location about 90 minutes)

          We’ll head to the San Pedro River, designated one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2022. As American Rivers’ announcement explains, “Arizona’s San Pedro River supports one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in North America and is one of the last, major free-flowing rivers in the desert Southwest. However, excessive groundwater pumping is causing stretches of the San Pedro to dry up— a problem exacerbated by poorly planned development that withdraws too much of the river’s limited water. Additionally, rollbacks to the Clean Water Act initiated during the Trump administration have removed protections for seasonal and intermittent streams, which encompass almost 94 percent of the San Pedro River’s waterways and provide the lifeblood that sustains the river.” On this field trip, we’ll see for ourselves just how special the San Pedro is, and what we can do to protect it — all while enjoying an exciting morning of Arizona birding at the San Pedro House and along the river itself. (To download American Rivers’ 2022 report on the San Pedro River, click here.) Limited to 8 participants.

          Arivaca Cienega Area with Ethan Beasley

          • 5:00am–12:00pm
          • $65/person

          Difficulty: Moderate (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain. Drive time to Arivaca is about 75 minutes.)

          Just outside of the small town of Arivaca is the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge where efforts to re-introduce the Masked Bobwhite are being undertaken by a group of partners, including Tucson Audubon. We’ll focus our birding efforts at the Arivaca Cienega and along the Arivaca Creek where we’ll look for Black Vultures, Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Tropical Kingbird, and buntings. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Madera Canyon with Philip Chaon

          • 5:00am – 11:30am
          • $65/person

          Iconic Madera Canyon is one of the top destinations for any birder. We’ll start in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Black-capped Gnatcatcher has been a regular along this nature trail along with Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting. Next we’ll head into the mid-elevation oak-juniper habitat, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. After this we’ll spend some time walking along the riparian trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders that make Madera one of the best spots for hummingbird diversity in the country. Maybe we’ll find an Elegant Trogon! Limited to 9 participants.

           

          De Anza Trail and Area with Jake Mohlmann

          • 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 volunteer from the Tubac Nature Center will also be on the walk to share local bird and nature experience. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Walker Canyon with Richard Fray

          • 5:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person

          Difficulty: Moderate (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.

           

          High Elevation in the Catalinas with Cameron Cox

          • 5:30 am – 12:00 pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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.

           

          Box and Florida Canyons with Skye Haas

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Hard (Walking a narrow trail with uneven surfaces and some increase in grade.  Drive time to location about 1 hour)

          These two canyons are just north of the more famous Madera Canyon and offer fabulous birding in riparian areas flanked by upland desert and grassland. From the Florida Canyon parking lot, we’ll keep our eyes open and ears alert for Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Black-chinned and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, along with Varied Bunting.  Working our way up higher along the creek, we’ll look for Gray Hawk, three species of Myiarchus flycatchers, Bell’s and Hutton’s Vireo’s, Hooded Oriole, and perhaps even catching a glimpse of the soaring resident Golden Eagles. Time permitting we will drive through Box Canyon hoping to find a rare Five-striped Sparrow. Back by noon, limited to 9 participants.

           

          Patagonia Area with Scott Olmstead

          • 5:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Some walking on mild slopes, and possibly rocky/uneven surfaces. Drive time to location approximately one hour on mostly paved roads)

          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 Roadside Rest, 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 9 participants.

           

          Cochise Lake with Chris Rohrer

          • 6:00am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (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.

           

          Cienega Creek & Davidson Canyon with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

          • 5:30am – 11:30am
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to location approximately 45 minutes.)

          The perennial stream flow and lush riparian vegetation at Pima County’s Cienega Creek Natural Preserve 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. This outing is offered in partnership with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR).  Limited to 9 participants.

           

          Las Cienegas and Empire Ranch with Jennie MacFarland and David Simpson

          • 5:30am – 12:00pm
          • $65/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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.

           

           

          Drive Yourself—Meet On-Site Field Trips. Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly

           

          Catalina State Park with Michael Welch

          • 6:30am – 9:00am
          • $20/person
          • Difficulty: Moderate (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 Northern Cardinals. We will explore the Birding Trail which crosses a seasonal wash and depending on monsoon storms you may get your boots wet. $7 parking fee. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 40 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Beyond Birds: Dragonflies & Damselflies in Southeast Arizona with Michael Bogan

          • 7:00am – 11:00am
          • $15/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Flat walking trails.)

          Have you been curious about dragonflies but mystified by the challenge of identifying them? Join Michael Bogan, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Arizona, for a field trip focused on examining the odonate diversity found around Southeast Arizona. This trip will be a two part outing starting at Sweetwater Wetlands for an easy and accessible walk, followed by a more “moderate” level of walking at the nearby Santa Cruz River which will involve more walking on uneven ground or even getting our feet wet. These two locations will enable us to see the difference between lotic and lentic species. Specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 12 participants.

           

          Lakeside Park with Holly Kleindienst

          • 6:00am – 8:00am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (1.75 mile round trip on concrete and paved surfaces. Restrooms are available)

          Lakeside Park in southeast Tucson is a great place to get to know your urban birds. We’ll be at the front end of the possibility of migrating shorebirds, wading birds, gulls or terns, so while unlikely, we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled for unusual birds as well. Last August a Tricolored Heron hung out at this lake for a few weeks. We’ll explore the lake and the adjacent lawns and ball fields. Likely sightings include Black-crowned Night-heron, hummingbirds (Anna’s, Black-chinned, & Broad-billed), Cassin’s Kingbird, Vermillion Flycatcher, Cooper’s Hawk, swallows, Abert’s Towhee, and more! Drive time to park and meeting location is about 15 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 10 participants.

           

          Sweetwater Wetlands with Luke Safford

          • 6:00am – 8:00am
          • $10/person
          • Difficulty: Easy (Less than a mile walking on excellent surfaces.)

          Celebrate the end of a fantastic festival with some of your Tucson Audubon friends. We’ll maneuver in groups of no more than 10 around this “must see” destination for any birder. This artificial wetland is the premier birding hotspot in the Tucson Valley, offering a stunning variety of species that can be found here at any time during the season. Green Heron, Common Gallinule, Tropical Kingbird, Common Yellowthroat, and Abert’s Towhees are some of our prime targets. Drive time to meeting location from festival venue is about 20 minutes, specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 20 participants.

           

          Cancellation Policy

          Cancellations received on or before August 1, 2022 will be refunded less a 10% processing fee. No refunds will be issued after August 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

          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

          Michael T. Bogan (he/him)

          Michael is an Assistant Professor of Aquatic biology at the University of Arizona. Originally from California, he earned his PhD at Oregon State University, where his research focused on stream ecosystems of the Madrean Sky Islands and Sonoran Desert. He is well-known for his work on Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, and his beautiful photos of dragonflies. His research topics include Arid Lands, Conservation Biology, Invasive Species and Population and Community Ecology.

          Michael serves as the faculty advisor for the UA chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, a national Diversity in STEM organization. Michael is a partner on our Santa Cruz River Heritage Project work and has contributed to the Vermilion Flycatcher in the past year.

          Michael has a hard time choosing a single favorite bird, but says that Curve-billed Thrashers are pretty hard to beat. “I could watch them goofing around through the leaf litter and be entertained for days!”

           

          Alberto Búrquez

          I currently work at the Instituto de Ecología, Department of Ecology of Biodiversity, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). I got my bachelor and master’s degree at UNAM, and my PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. I do research in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Ethnoecology. Drylands ecology and societal use of resources in water-limited systems have been an ever-present passion through my life. It might be because I am a Sonoran Desert born person. However, my personal theory is that once someone experiences the desert landscapes they are smitten for life. I am passionate about bird and honorary bird species like bats and hawkmoths, particularly in their mutualist interactions with plants. My current projects include: 1) Columnar cacti: ecology, evolution, societal services. 2) Effects of extreme events on vegetation, 3) Species Distribution and Biogeography, 4) Indigenous lands and ecosystem processes, and 5) drought and freezing resistance in plants at the edges of distribution.

           

          Jeanne Calhoun

          Fascinated by wilderness and everything wild since growing up backpacking with her family in the Sierras, Jeanne pursued a diverse environmental career over the past 30+ years.  With a Bachelor’s in Biology (Carleton College) and a Master’s in Geology (Oregon State University), she pursued multiple aspects of environmental protection, with the last 23 years focused on ecological conservation in Arizona, working for The Nature Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US National Park Service.  During her ten years at TNC, Jeanne was responsible for on-the-ground conservation in four ecoregions in Arizona, management of TNC’s preserve system, land management and restoration, government relations, and water policy.

          Jeanne spent seven years with the USFWS where she oversaw threatened and endangered species issues in southern Arizona. She enjoyed the challenges of dealing with controversial issues such as the international border, proposed mining projects, energy infrastructure, wilderness management and climate change.

          Most recently, she worked for Grand Canyon National Park as Chief of the Science and Resource Management Division, where she oversaw all science research as well as natural and cultural resource management activities in the park.  During her years at the Grand Canyon, Jeanne initiated the first Paleontological Resources Inventory for the park, led a Climate Change Analysis for the park’s watershed, reinitiated the effort to designate 94% of the park as Wilderness, and led publication of the Natural and Cultural Resource Condition Assessment for the park.

          Recently retired, Jeanne has a passion for water sports, hiking and exploring Arizona’s spectacular landscapes, and is learning how to play the saxophone.

           

          Colleen Cacy

          Colleen is a partner with the firm Gadarian and Cacy, PLLC, a Tucson law firm specializing in professional Tax Strategy, Estate Planning and Asset Protection law.

          • J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law (1986)
          • President of the Board of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council
          • Elected member, American College of Trust and Estate Council
          • Memberships: Executive Committee of the Probate and Trust Section of the State Bar, the State Bar of Arizona, the Probate and Trust and Tax Sections of the State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Pima County Bar Association.
          • Past President of the Board of ZUZI Dance Company

           

          Richard Carlson

          Richard started birding as a child in Minnesota 70 years ago. After a brief interlude at Harvard, where he majored in caving, mountain climbing, winter mountaineering and economics, he began birding again in Washington DC with the Maryland Ornithological Society. He was one of Chan Robbin’s volunteers in establishing the first Breeding Bird Surveys. Bribed by the Nixon administration to leave town with a fellowship to Stanford, he moved West in 1969. He worked at Stanford Research Institute, where he co-authored “Solar Energy in America’s Future” and led field trips for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. He became President of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory and expanded his birding to Latin America. He has birded throughout the Neotropics and in Africa, Australia, Antarctica, India, China and Europe. He hopes to ultimately see at least half the birds of the world. He and his wife Pat now migrate between homes in Tucson and Lake Tahoe depending on where the birds are.

           

          Tricia Gerrodette

          Tricia never wound up with a career but instead had a variety of jobs and life experiences. She's been a bookkeeper, a typist, a proofreader and then a test analyst for a defense contracting company. She was a tour guide for trips into Mexico's Copper Canyon for Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). The trips focused on Mexican and railroad history as well as the history and culture of the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) natives.

          Secretary of the board for Tucson Audubon, member of the board for Friends of the San Pedro River, president of the now-defunct Huachuca Audubon Society, treasurer for Sky Island Unitarian Universalist Church, Water Sentinel with Sierra Club Water Sentinels, Steering Committee for Sustainable Water Workgroup.

          When Huachuca Audubon Society disbanded in May 2016, Cochise County became part of the "assigned" territory for Tucson Audubon Society. That was a huge amount of land, although not too many people, to absorb. I was invited to be on the Tucson Audubon board to help with that effort, and to help protect the San Pedro River. That work still continues! Photo by Mark Levy.

          Kathy Jacobs

          Kathy Jacobs is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS). CCASS is a component of the Arizona Institutes for Resilience, and builds capacity to accelerate adaptation and on-the-ground solutions to climate issues.  She is currently a member of a team that is building the Indigenous Resilience Center at the UA.  From 2010 – 2013, Jacobs worked in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. She was director of the Third National Climate Assessment, and the lead advisor on water science, policy, and adaptation. From 2006-2009 Jacobs was Executive Director of th

          e Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of Arizona’s three universities focused on water sustainability. She worked 23 years for the Arizona

          Department of Water Resources, including 15 as the director of the Tucson Active Management Area.  She was engaged in multiple aspects of implementing Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act, including development of water conservation programs and the Assured Water Supply Rules.  Jacobs has served on nine National Academy panels; she earned her M.L.A. in environmental planning from Berkeley.

           

          Elisabeth (Lissie) Jaquette

          Elisabeth (Lissie) Jaquette had been an occasional birder prior to moving to Arizona in 2018. Since connecting with Tucson Audubon, she has become increasingly passionate about birding, and is excited to give back by serving on the board. Lissie first became involved with Tucson Audubon by participating in the Habitat at Home program, then by joining as a member, and more recently by volunteering with the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival, the Birdathon, and several bird surveys.

          Lissie’s education includes a BA from Swarthmore College and an MA from Columbia University. Since 2017 she has served as Executive Director for the American Literary Translators Association, a non-profit membership organization.

          When Lissie is not birding, she enjoys hiking and trail running in the Sonoran Desert, and translating literature from Arabic to English (her latest book was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Awards). She lives in Tucson with her 1-year-old son, Cassin (named for the kingbird); dog, Cooper (named for the hawk); and husband, Dan (sadly not named for any birds).

           

          Riana Johnson

          Riana Johnson is a skilled researcher with experience in quantitative, qualitative, and data visualization within the energy efficiency and utility industry. She brings creativity along with strong data analysis skills to her work. She uses her background in fine art and econometrics to deftly craft data visualizations and tell data-driven stories. Riana is a new birder and loves living in Tucson where the Vermillion Flycatchers are plenty. She recently started a chapter of the Feminist Bird Club in Tucson where she can mix her passion for activism, art, and birds. Riana has degrees in Political Science and Studio Art from New York University and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Arizona.

           

          Linda McNulty

          Linda McNultyLinda’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Rochester, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona, where she graduated Summa cum Laude and was elected to the Order of the Coif. A recently retired partner at the law firm of Lewis and Roca, LLP, Linda was a member of the firm’s Real Estate and Finance practice group. Her law practice focused primarily on commercial real estate, business and natural resources law. Linda has served a number of board roles, including: President of the Tucson chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and member to the board of directors of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority, the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, and the Wilderness Land Trust. Early in her career, Linda worked for the Arizona Department of Water Resources and she’s maintained a connection to water policy issues in Arizona. Linda has been a member of Tucson Audubon Society since 1976 and lives with her husband Michael in Tucson.

           

          R. Cynthia Pruett

          Cynthia-Pruitt-with-raffle-tickets-by-Kendall-KroesenFor a long period I was what you might call a "lapsed birder". I started birding in college with a boyfriend who became my husband and we traveled all over the United States while he was in the service; leading to a pretty comprehensive bird list. Then suddenly, other life activity got in the way and for about 25 years birding was shelved. In the late 80's I was introduced to an avid woman birder at an environmental conference and the passion came back. My work career involved many executive jobs, some of them key environmental positions, which only reinforced my understanding of the need to protect important habitat around the world. It's (the birding) led to many trips to many countries, a joy of seeing both new and revisited birds and of course, to becoming active in Audubon chapters, both here and in Virginia.

           

          Cynthia M. VerDuin, CPA

          Cynthia began birding when she was 10 by participating with her girl scout troop create a bird-watching badge. In the 90’s she began birding with family, friends and with bird walks in various Ohio regions. Since 2010, she has enjoyed Tucson Audubon bird walks and short trips. Beginning in 2016, she has participated in the Birding Festival, serving as a volunteer in 2017-2019 and at Meet your Birds events. She served on the Gala and Finance committees in 2016-2017, and joined the board in 2018. She now serves as Treasurer and Search Committee co-chair.

          Cynthia founded her accounting firm in 2007, focusing on not-for-profits, small companies and individuals, providing accounting, tax planning and reporting services, calling upon her Kent State University (BA degree in accounting with honors) and her experience at one of the “Big Eight” accounting firms (Arthur Andersen). Cynthia is also a Physical Therapist and commercial hot air balloon pilot, and enjoys hiking, birding, biking and swimming.