This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast
Arizona was made on December 9, 2016; the next update will be made on
December 16. Phone your reports to 520-629-0510 X 3, or email to
rarebirdalert AT tucsonaudubon.org.
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. Documentation and photos of review species may be submitted
Where directions are not given, they can be found in the most recent
edition of Tucson Audubon's "Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona". More
information including updates may be found here:
http://tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/publications/fbi.html. For additional
sightings in the region, please see the The Arizona-New Mexico Birding
For more information about Tucson Audubon field trips, lectures and
educational opportunities, please see www.tucsonaudubon.org.
SPECIES MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT INCLUDE:
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
A *STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE continued at the Foothills Road (aka Rodrigues
yard) feeders on 12/8 (Carol Riddell).
A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported at Cave Creek Ranch on 12/3 (Melody Kehl)
A #BROWN THRASHER continued in a yard in Portal on 12/6 (Rick Plage).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED
WARBLERS continued on 12/4 (Adam Vesely) in the West Fork past the dam. One
was between the dam and the East Bend, and two were at the Oak Grove well
up the canyon. Directions: About 400 yards from parking lot is a metal
gate, and just past the gate the canyon forks. The main trail follows the
East Fork, but most sightings have been in the West Fork to the right.
About 125 yards up the rough trail in the West Fork is a large water tank
and a low dam. The oak grove is about 1/3 mile past the dam. Note: The
trail for the West Fork can be difficult to find, and is steep and rough in
places. If you see the sign with distances to Florida Saddle, Madera
Canyon, etc you've missed the turn. It is not necessary, recommended or
permissible to enter the research station to see these birds. #BLACK-CAPPED
GNATCATCHERS continued in Florida Canyon on 12/4 (m.ob.); they've been seen
near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In Hunter Canyon (https://goo.gl/CR4YXm), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was
reported again on 12/4 (Ken Blankenship) in the upper canyon about 0.7
miles up the trail from the end of Hunter Canyon Road just as the trail
enters the grove of trees.
At the San Pedro House, a #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued along the San
Pedro River on 12/8 (Richard Bansberg, John Broz); last year one frequented
the area between trail markers #7 and #8.
A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP on 12/9 (Karen Kluge).
At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), a #GREATER SCAUP
was reported on 12/7 (Kenneth Zaslow). A #GREEN KINGFISHER and #EASTERN
PHOEBE continued at the east end on 12/8 (Shawn Miller); the kingfisher was
a short distance up the creek. A #PACIFIC WREN and #BLACK-CAPPED
GNATCATCHERS were reported along the Birding Trail on 12/9 (m.ob.). A #GRAY
CATBIRD was reported again along the trail at the foot of the stairs on
In Patagonia, a #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW was reported from the Paton Center
for Hummingbirds (Patons' Yard) on 12/9 (Luke Tiller).
SANTA CRUZ FLATS
Two #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS were reported on12/4 (Melody Kehl) and continued
on 12/9 (m.ob.) at the intersection of Wheeler and Baumgartner Rds on 3/4
(Tim Helentjaris). It was being seen near the tan house on Wheeler, which
is possibly occupied (please be sensitive to any potential occupants or
neighbors); the pomegranate tree is a good place to start looking. A #RUDDY
GROUND-DOVE was reported on 12/8 (Carl Perretta) coming in to drink and
continued on 12/9 (Doug Jenness) with a small group of Inca Doves.
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported again along the Santa Cruz River at
Santa Gertrudis Lane on 12/5 (Bryan Smith). A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was
reported on 12/9 (Paul Wolter). Remember to park along the frontage road
and walk in.
At Pena Blanca Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/zBbzl), an #EASTERN
PHOEBE continued on 12/8 (m.ob.) in the large cove in the northwest part of
the lake, about 1/3 mile north of the boat ramp.
A #WINTER WREN was photographed again at Cienega Creek Preserve (permit
required) on 12/6 (Paul Suchanek). about 100 yards upstream of the
confluence with Davidson Canyon on the north side of the creek. NOTE: This
area is accessible from the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon Trailhead. A
special advance permit is required to visit this preserve; see:
http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=1515 and annotated
A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued at Catalina State Park on 12/5 (Lisa Carol
Wolf). It was seen at the intersection of the Canyon Loop and Sutherland
Trails. Catalina State Park annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/JK93k
A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was reported along the Santa Cruz River north of El
Camino del Cerro Rd on 12/7 (Keith Kamper, Patty Tersey).
At Sweetwater Wetlands, the male #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued this week
(m.ob.); one wintered here the last two years but ranged widely.
Three American Dippers were photographed on 12/3 and 12/4 (Kit
Kleinschmidt, Nathan Hoeme) at the west end of Aravaipa Canyon. They were
spaced out between the trailhead and the mouth of Horse Camp Canyon.
Generally, a BLM permit is required to enter the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
beyond the parking lot.
The revised 8th edition of Tucson Audubon's Finding Birds in Southeast
Arizona is available here: http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/
publications/fbi.html and updates to the 8th edition can be found here:
TUCSON - Mosquito control operations are scheduled at Sweetwater Wetlands
from 6:30-8:30am on Mondays during the warmer months (usually March -
November). The gate will open when operations are finished. Due to
long-term construction, Roger Road WRF is closed. See our Sweetwater page (
or http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/sweetwater for details.
The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department security
procedures are subject to change any time. Please see the "bird watching"
link on this page for important information regarding access:
EL RIO OPEN SPACE PRESERVE/COACHLINE GRAVEL PIT - park in the dirt lot
along the south edge near the berm, not in the neighborhood to the west.
Annotated map: http://goo.gl/5vIQSb
RAMSEY CANYON - Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
ASH CANYON B&B: open dawn to dusk EXCEPT Wednesday, when open noon to dusk.
Parking is limited; please carpool whenever possible. No need to call ahead.
BENSON - the Benson Birding Trail is no longer accessible as the property
is under new ownership.
FORT HUACHUCA - access requirements are posted on its official webpage at
http://www.huachuca.army.mil/pages/des/accesscontrol.html. The Visitor
Control Center is located at the Van Deman Gate on Hwy 90. The fort 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 must pass a background
check and should be prepared to show photo ID for everyone in the vehicle
at the entrance, and possibly your vehicle registration and insurance as
well. Foreign nationals must be accompanied by an approved military escort;
contact the base (520.533.7111), or possibly the Sierra Vista Visitor's
Bureau (520.417.6960) well in advance. ACCESS NOTE: apparently some states
driver's licenses do not meet federal requirements for base entry (IL, MN,
MO, NM, and WA); see https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs for details.
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."
AVRA VALLEY WRF: Gates open 7AM and close PROMPTLY at 2PM (do not linger,
you will be locked inside).
GREEN VALLEY WRF: use the call box at the gate, sign in and out at the
office, and stay away from buildings and construction equipment.
ROGER ROAD WRF: Closed.
CORONA DE TUCSON WRF: Closed.
NOGALES STP: Closed.
SEAZ RBA Compiler - Tucson, AZ
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