This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast
Arizona was made on December 23, 2016; the next update will be made on
December 30. 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." =3D 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:
#"Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
A *STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE continued to be seen daily at the Foothills Road
(aka Rodrigues yard) feeders as of 12/23 (Bob Rodrigues).
A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported in Whitetail Canyon on 12/23 (Rick Taylor).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED
WARBLERS continued on 12/19 (Bill Lisowsky) in the West Fork past the dam.
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 12/19 (m.ob.); they've been seen near the Florida Canyon parking
area and a short distance up the trail.
In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a pair of #BLACK-CAPPED
GNATCATCHERS was reported again at Proctor Rd on 12/20 (Laurens Halsey) and
continued through 12/23 (Karen Kluge, Terry Rosenmeier).
A #CACKLING GOOSE was reported from San Xavier del Bac Mission on 12/22
(Mark Stevenson); remember this is part of the Tohono O'odham reservation
and a permit in generally required away from the mission.
In Agua Caliente Canyon, 4 #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS were reported at the
beginning of the Quantrell Mine Trail on 12/17 (Sally Johnsen). Map:
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In Hunter Canyon (https://goo.gl/CR4YXm), six *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER were
reported on 12/23 (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 12/14 (m.ob.); last year one frequented the area between
trail markers #7 and #8.
An #EASTERN PHOEBE was reported at the Hereford Bridge over the San Pedro
on 12/21 (Sandy Turner) and was photographed just north of the bridge on
12/23 (Chris Harbard). An aggressive (and possibly rabid) skunk was in the
area as well.
In Ramsey Canyon, an American Dipper was reported on 12/15 (Lois Bansberg)
just beyond the overlook where you first encounter the stream. A #PACIFIC
WREN was reported at the 2nd stream crossing on 12/16 (Theresa Lawson, Tom
A female *COMMON GRACKLE was reported from Tanque Verde Wash west of Tanque
Verde Loop Road on 12/17 (Keith Kamper).
At Sweetwater Wetlands, the male #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued this week
(m.ob.); one wintered here the last two years but ranged widely.
A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported again at Catalina State Park on 12/20
(Emma Morrison, Karen Morrison, Todd Fuller). It was seen in the late
afternoon "shortly after crossing second wash when traveling clockwise from
trailhead." I believe this is up the Sutherland Wash Trail. Two weeks ago
it was being seen at the intersection of the Canyon Loop and Sutherland
Trails. Catalina State Park annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/JK93k
At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), two #GREATER SCAUP
continued through 12/21 (m.ob.); one was present on 12/23 (Jeff Coker). A
#PACIFIC LOON was photographed on 12/17 (Alan Schmierer) and continued on
12/18 (Laurens Halsey). A female #GREEN KINGFISHER continued a short
distance up Sonoita Creek from the east end of the lake on 12/23 (Mike &
Wendy Schackwitz); a male #GREEN KINGFISHER continued through 12/18
(m.ob.). An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued at the east end on 12/21 (Mike &
Wendy Schackwitz). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued along the Birding
Trail on 12/21 (m.ob.). A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported again near the
beginning of the trail on 12/20 (m.ob.). A #WINTER WREN continued on 12/20
(m.ob.); observers are encouraged to note or record the calls to help
separate this species from the very similar Pacific Wren.
In Patagonia, a #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW continued from the Paton Center for
Hummingbirds (Patons' Yard) on 12/19 (m.ob.).
WILLCOX & the SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY
A male #EURASIAN WIGEON was photographed at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes
Golf Course on 12/17 (Chris Benesh) and continued on 12/20 (Rick Taylor).
SANTA CRUZ FLATS
A #"HARLAN=E2=80=99S" RED-TAILED HAWK continued along Curry Rd north of Gre=
Reservoir Rd on 12/18 (Claudia Kirscher).
Two #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS and a #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE continued on 12/18
(m.ob.) at the intersection of Wheeler and Baumgartner Rds. They have been
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 #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was reported on
12/18 (Lindsay Story).
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A #WHITE-EYED VIREO continued on 12/19 (Karen Kluge, Terry Rosenmeier)
north of Palo Parado Rd (exit 25 on I-19). It was along the de Anza Trail
about 1.5 miles north of the Richard Williams trailhead, and about 50 yards
past a green gate tied with rope. GPS: 31.545, -111.037
A #BROWN THRASHER was reported along the Santa Cruz River at Santa
Gertrudis Lane on 12/23 (Brigid Pollock); it was across from #12. Remember
to park along the frontage road and walk in.
A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported at Puerto Spring northwest of Tubac on 12/19
(Keith Kamper). From I-19, take the Chaves Siding exit (#40) and turn
right/west and then immediately right/north onto the frontage road. In
about 0.2 miles, turn left/west onto the good dirt road. This takes you
along Puerto Canyon and in 5.2 miles to Puerto Spring. There are no signs
along the way to Puerto Spring, but staying on the main road should get you
there. Map: http://goo.gl/fRAa4A
A #HARRIS'S SPARROW was reported at a private residence in Bisbee on 12/17
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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