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Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert

September 24, 2022. The next update will be made on September 30.

REPORT a RARE BIRD: Call 520-629-0510 ext 8 or

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

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

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


Patagonia Lake Map

Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve MAP

*ROSE-THROATED BECARDS continued at the Patagonia Roadside Rest Area this week (m.ob.).

At the Paton Center for Hummingbirds, a #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE and a #PAINTED BUNTING continued this week (m.ob.).

At Patagonia Lake (annotated map:, #PAINTED BUNTINGS continued along the Birding Trail this week(m.ob.).

A #SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and a #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER continued at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox on 9/23 (m.ob.).

A #TENNESSEE WARBLER was reported at Muleshoe Ranch in the Galiuro Mountains on 9/23 (Nate Peterson).

Two #SABINE’S GULLS were reported (and one photographed) at Round Mountain Dam Number 2 on 9/18 (m.ob.); #CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, a #PAINTED BUNTING and #DICKCISSELS were reported as well.

Two #COMMON TERNS were photographed at a golf course in southwest Tucson on 9/19 (Dan Weisz).

A #PAINTED BUNTING was reported again in Catalina State Park on 9/20 (Tim DeJonghe).

#DICKCISSELS were reported in northeast Tucson, southeast Tucson, Himmel Park, Marana Wastewater Reclamation Facility, Sam Lena Park and SHARP (Southeast Houghton Area Recharge Project) this week (m.ob.).

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

At the San Pedro House, a #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was photographed along the river on 9/19 (Steve Nord). One usually winters between markers #6 and #7 south of the bridge, but can range up and down the river.

A #DICKCISSEL was reported on 9/24 in a private yard in lower Ash Canyon (Robert Behrstock).

Tubac Area Map

Puerto Canyon Map


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

An #EASTERN KINGBIRD continued in Carmen (GPS: 31.5893,-111.0528 ) on 9/18 (Steve Nord).

#PAINTED BUNTINGS continued along the Anza Trail at Clark Crossing Rd and Santa Gertrudis Lane this week (m.ob.).

#RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued in Ramanote Canyon ( on 9/23 (Damon Haan). High clearance/4WD is recommended for the road in.

(annotated map:

Four #CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were reported along Stateline Rd. on 9/22 (m.ob.).

A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and five #PAINTED BUNTINGS were reported at San Bernardino NWR on 9/18 (Richard Webster).

San Bernardino NWR annotated map:

A #PAINTED BUNTING continued at Arivaca Lake this week (Brian Nicholas).

#DICKCISSELS were reported at Aguirre Lake and Arivaca Cienega on Buenos Aires NWR this week (m.ob.).

Madera Canyon map:

A #DICKCISSEL was reported at Canoa Ranch Conservation Park on 9/24 (m.ob.).

Two flyover #DICKCISSELS were reported in Safford on 9/23 (m.ob.).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

California Gulch annotated map:

Ramsey Canyon:
Hunter Canyon

Portal annotated map:

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

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

TUBAC area
Tubac annotated map:
Puerto Canyon map:

Slaughter Ranch and San Bernardino NWR annotated map:

Species Mentioned

#Semipalmated Sandpiper

#Short-billed Dowitcher

#Sabine’s Gull

#Common Tern

#Ruddy Ground Dove

#White-eared Hummingbird

#Green Kingfisher

#Eastern Kingbird


#Tennessee Warbler

#Louisiana Waterthrush

#Rufous-capped Warbler

#Clay-colored Sparrow

#Painted Bunting