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Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert

January 20, 2023. The next update will be made on January 27.

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.




A *RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continued from the farms south of I-10 and San Simon on 1/19 (Jackie Lewis). Take Nolan Road (the road to Portal) 6.5 miles south from I-10, then take Ratliff Rd east about 2.7 miles to a ranch. The bird prefers the five rows of leafless pecan trees. This is an active farm; please stay on the signed, public roads as a courtesy to the workers. Map:



A *TRUMPETER SWAN continued at Graham County Regional Park on 1/19 (m.ob.).



A *COMMON GRACKLE continued along Woodland Rd. in northeast Tucson on 1/19 (Gary Rosenberg) near Sommertime Farms; it has been seen on both sides of the road. A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued through 1/15 (m.ob.).

An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued at Agua Caliente Park on 1/20 (Linda McNulty).

Two #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS continued at La Posta Quemada Ranch in Colossal Cave Mountain Park in southeast Tucson on 1/20 (m.ob.).

A # RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported at Lakeside Park on 1/15 (Denise Turley).

A #PALM WARBLER was reported at Sweetwater Wetlands on 1/19 (Cathy Theisen, Christina Klock).


TUBAC area (annotated map:

A female *ROSE-THROATED BECARD continued about 1/2 mile north of the Tubac bridge on 1/19  (m.ob.).

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



A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Ajo STP on 1/14 (Doug Backlund).



A female #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP on 1/18 (m.ob.). A #RED PHALAROPE was photographed on 1/17 (Brennan Mulrooney) and seen by many before departing to the north mid-morning.



At Patagonia Lake (annotated map:, a #GREATER SCAUP continued along the Birding Trail on 1/18 (m.ob.). A #WINTER WREN continued on 1/18 (m.ob.).

At the Paton Center for Hummingbirds, a #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued this week (m.ob.). It was also seen at Patagonia Town Park on 1/19 (Bill Lisowsky). A hybrid Red-naped x Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has also been hanging around town.



At Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, a #GREATER SCAUP was reported on 1/19 (m.ob.).



In Madera Canyon (map:, a #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued at the Whitehouse Picnic Area through 1/18 (m.ob.) and a #WINTER WREN continued through 1/14 (m.ob.).



At the San Pedro House, a #WINTER WREN and a #PACIFIC WREN continued near marker #6 this week (m.ob.).

A #PACIFIC WREN was reported in Huachuca Canyon at the 1.7-mile parking area on 1/14 (Ron Beck) and recorded on 1/15 (Diana Doyle).

A # RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported on 1/16 in a private yard in Sierra Vista (Robert Behrstock).



A #WINTER WREN continued in Empire Gulch on 1/18 (David Palmer).

#LAPLAND LONGSPURS and #THICK-BILLED LONGSPURS continued from the Davis Pasture this week (m.ob.).



A #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER continued on the road to Arivaca Lake on 1/14 (Bill Lisowsky, Seth Ausubel). GPS: 31.5277,-111.271


PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map:

A #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW continued in a private yard on 1/19 (Rose Ann Rowlett).

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

#Greater Scaup
#Red Phalarope
#Green Kingfisher
#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
#Eastern Phoebe
#Winter Wren
#Pacific Wren
#Black-capped Gnatcatcher
#Rufous-backed Robin
#Palm Warbler
#Golden-crowned Sparrow
#Thick-billed Longspur
#Lapland Longspur