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Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert

This update was made February 16, 2024. The next update will be February 23.

REPORT A RARE BIRD: Call 520-629-0510 ext 8 or rarebirdalert@tucsonaudubon.org

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.

See here for a list of review species in Arizona, i.e., species that the ABC considers “rare”.


A *PINE WARBLER continued at Jesse Owens Park on 2/15 (m.ob).

A #HORNED GREBE continued at the Cemex Cement Plant Pond on Tangerine Rd this week (m.ob.). Viewing of this deep pit is difficult, as management has since asked birders not to climb the berms or enter the facility.

A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued at Catalina SP this week (m.ob.).

A #GRAY CATBIRD continued in a yard at 3rd and Plumer in central Tucson this week (m.ob.).

A #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE was reported at Columbus Park on 2/16 (Eli Rodich).


The *CAPE MAY WARBLER was reported again this week after short absence, this time at the corner of 4th and Sonoita Ave. on 2/11 (Julie Holding) and along Sonoita Ave between 3rd Ave and 4th Ave on 2/12 (Rich Schwab).

#RUDDY GROUND-DOVES continued at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds this week (m.ob.).

At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), #GREATER SCAUP continued along the Birding Trail at the east end of the lake this week (m.ob.).

#RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS continued along Blue Haven Road between the Patons and the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve and at the Preserve this week (m.ob.).

At the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve a #GREEN KINGFISHER continued on 2/11 (Observer:Nancy Leonard ). A #WINTER WREN was reported on 2/15 (Peter Siminski). Annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/0pXsdI


A #CACKLING GOOSE continued through 2/11 and a #EURASIAN WIGEON continued through 2/15 at the Faria Dairy pond (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L616368) this week (m.ob.). View from the road only.


A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP this week (m.ob.).

TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)

#GREEN KINGFISHERS continued along the Santa Cruz River between Santa Gertrudis Lane and Chavez Siding Rd this week (m.ob.).

A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported along Santa Gertrudis Lane on 2/16 (Rob Rutledge).


A #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was reported in Peppersauce Canyon on 2/11 (Sochetra Ly). GPS: 32.53759, -110.72291


An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued in Empire Gulch on 2/15 (David Palmer).

#THICK-BILLED LONGSPURS continued this week (m.ob.) from the Davis Pasture section of Las Cienegas NCA. Map: https://goo.gl/Pj9itL

PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)

A #BROWN THRASHER continued in a Whitetail Canyon yard this week (Rick Taylor).

A #BROWN THRASHER continued at Cave Creek Ranch this week (m.ob.).

A #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW continued at the Battiste Bed & Breakfast on 2/10 (Tony Battiste).

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 https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water/sweetwater-wetlands

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 closure for construction – hours are either 7am-2pm or 7am-3:30pm and it is open daily instead of only weekends 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 https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs 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 https://home.army.mil/huachuca/ – 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. https://home.army.mil/huachuca/index.php/about/Garrison/DES/physical-security/access-control

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: http://www.pima.gov/wwm/about/pdf/birdwatching.pdf. 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.
  • NOGALES STP: closed

California Gulch annotated map: http://goo.gl/wSr0mi

Ramsey Canyon: https://goo.gl/aMh1ke
Hunter Canyon https://goo.gl/CR4YXm

Portal annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX

Madera Canyon annotated map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP
Florida Canyon annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6
Green Valley WRF: https://goo.gl/FA2TVJ

Patagonia Lake annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/0pXsd

TUBAC area
Tubac annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0
Puerto Canyon map: http://goo.gl/fRAa4A

Slaughter Ranch and San Bernardino NWR annotated map: https://goo.gl/uX96Pw


#Cackling Goose

#Eurasian Wigeon

#Greater Scaup

#Horned Grebe

#Ruddy Ground Dove

#Green Kingfisher

#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

#Red-breasted Sapsucker

#Eastern Phoebe

#Winter Wren

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Gray Catbird

#Brown Thrasher



#Golden-crowned Sparrow