This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast
Arizona was made on December 30, 2016; the next update will be made on
January 6. 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:
#"Red" Fox Sparrow
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 12/30 (Bob Rodrigues).
A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported again at Cave Creek Ranch on 12/27 and 12/30
(m.ob.); one (same?) was seen near the library on 12/28 and 12/30 (m.ob.).
A #BROWN THRASHER was reported along Prickly Pear Ln north of the Portal
Store on 12/28 (Rick Plage).
A #"RED" FOX SPARROW was reported in Whitetail Canyon on 12/4 (Rick
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED
WARBLERS continued on 12/30 (Brian Johnson) 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 this week (m.ob.); they've been seen near the Florida Canyon parking
area and a short distance up the trail.
In Chino Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/maps/oTBK), an astounding 23
#BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS and six FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS were reported on
the Green Valley CBC on 12/28 (Dave Stejskal et al). Most were high in the
canyon just downstream from the seasonal waterfall. High clearance is
recommended for the rough road in.
A #PALM WARBLER was reported on 12/24 (Charlie Trapani, Stephen Kloiber) at
Quail Creek Veterans Municipal Park and continued on 12/29 (m.ob.). It
seems to travel with (or associate with) the Mountain Bluebirds.
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In Hunter Canyon (https://goo.gl/CR4YXm), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued
on 12/29 (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
WILLCOX & the SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY
A male #EURASIAN WIGEON continued at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf
Course on 12/30 (Sharon Goldwasser).
A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP on 12/30 (m.ob.).
At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), a #GREATER SCAUP
continued through 12/29 (m.ob.); one was present on 12/23 (Jeff Coker).
Male and female #GREEN KINGFISHERS continued a short distance up Sonoita
Creek from the east end of the lake on 12/30 (m.ob.). An #EASTERN PHOEBE
continued at the east end on 12/28 (m.ob.). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS
continued along the Birding Trail on 12/29 (m.ob.). A #WINTER WREN
continued on 12/27 (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 #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER was photographed and recorded
along Blue Haven Rd at Temporal Gulch on 12/27 (Skye Haas et al).
SANTA CRUZ FLATS
A #HORNED GREBE continued at Arizona City Lake on 12/29 (Tim Helentjaris et
Two #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS and a #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE continued on 12/29 (Tim
Helentjaris et al) 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.
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A #BROWN THRASHER continued at Santa Gertrudis Lane on 12/29 (Larry
Schmahl); it was across from #12. Remember to park along the frontage road
and walk in. A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was photographed on 12/24 and
reported again on 12/27 (Bill Lisowsky). A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was
photographed again on 12/27 (Bill Lisowsky) and continued on 12/30 (Malcolm
Chesworth). A #WHITE-EYED VIREO was reported on 12/27 (John Hirth) was
along the de Anza Trail about 1/4 mile south of Santa Gertrudis Lane.
Five #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS were reported in Rock Corral Canyon on
12/29 (Richard Fray) west of Santa Gertrudis Lane. A high clearance,
four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended; the birds were all within the
first mile up canyon from the corral.
At Sweetwater Wetlands, the male #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued this week
(m.ob.); one wintered here the last two years but ranged widely.
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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