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Home Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert


This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on February 12, 2016. The next update will be made on February 19.

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 at http://www.azfo.org/gallery/1main/whatIsABC.html.

Where directions are not given, they can be found in the EIGHTH EDITION of Tucson Audubon's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona. 


 #Greater Scaup

#Eastern Phoebe


#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Gray Catbird

#Brown Thrasher


#Louisiana Waterthrush


#Clay-colored Sparrow

#"Red" Fox Sparrow

#McCown's Longspur

#Baltimore Oriole


In Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued on 2/11 Jon Curd). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") downstream of the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.

At the San Pedro House, a #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued along the San Pedro River on 2/11 (Jon Curd); it was between trail markers #7 and #8.


A *YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER continued in Patagonia City Park near the gazebo on 2/10 (Jeff Dyck).

At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), a female #GREATER SCAUP continued on 2/7 (David Yeamans); along the Birding Trail at the east end of the lake an #EASTERN PHOEBE and a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER continued this week (m.ob.).


At Pena Blanca Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/zBbzl), a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER continued on 2/12 (Bill Prather). It has been seen in the large cove in the northwest part of the lake, about 1/3 mile north of the large boat ramp area; see map for marker. An #EASTERN PHOEBE was reported again on 2/9 (m.ob.).

A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was photographed on 2/8 (Bill Lisowsky) at the Palo Parado trailhead for the De Anza Trail north of Nogales.


In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued on 2/6 (Ron Hirst) in the West Fork. 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 this week (m.ob.); they've been reported near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.

A #GREATER SCAUP continued at Torres Blancas Golf Course on 2/10 (Laurens Halsey).

Two #McCOWN'S LONGSPURS continued at Quail Creek Veterans Municipal Park on 2/10 (Laurens Halsey).


A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued at Catalina State Park on 2/12 (m.ob.). It has been seen near the trailhead parking lot, frequenting the large Netleaf Hackberry on the left just before Sutherland Wash (to the south). Catalina State Park annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/JK93k

A #BROWN THRASHER continued at Sweetwater Wetlands on 2/10 (Nicholas Tritz); a Black-and-white Warbler continued this week as well (m.ob.). A #BALTIMORE ORIOLE was reported again on 2/10 (fide Sylvia Foster), after a long absence. On 2/11 the oriole was observed flying across the river to Columbus Park, where it posed briefly for a photo before continuing across the lake.

A #LOUISIANA WATERTHUSH was reported from Sabino Canyon at Creek Trail #52 (Shuttle Stop 1) on 2/9 (Mark Stevenson).


A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued on 2/6 (m.ob.) and an #EASTERN PHOEBE on 2/9 (Larry Neily) along the Santa Cruz River at Sasco Rd.

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

A #GRAY CATBIRD continued in a yard in Portal on 2/10 (Rick Plage).

A #"RED" FOX SPARROW continued this week in a yard in Whitetail Canyon (Rick Taylor).



The revised 8th edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (2015) was released in late May! Addendum to the 8th edition is available at: http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/publications/359-fbiaddendum8th.html

TUCSON - Mosquito control operations are scheduled at Sweetwater Wetlands from 6:30-8:30am 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.

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

GREEN VALLEY WWTP - Protocol for visiting: use the call box at the gate, sign in and out at the office, and stay away from buildings and construction equipment.

RAMSEY CANYON - Ramsey Canyon Preserve is open; it is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

ASH CANYON - Ash Canyon B&B is open dawn to dusk EXCEPT Wednesday, when open noon to dusk; parking is limited to six spots.

BENSON - the Benson Birding Trail is no longer accessible as the property is under new ownership.

PATAGONIA - The Paton Center for Hummingbirds remains open to birders.

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 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.  

IMPORTANT: Ft. Huachuca has posted information on new access requirements on its official webpage at www.huachuca.army.mil - 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. http://www.huachuca.army.mil/pages/des/visitoraccess.html

ACCESS NOTE: Garden Canyon is closed to vehicles and hikers at the lower picnic area due to extensive flood damage; repairs will take a while, according to base personnel.

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 is currently revising security procedures and the following 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).




Good birding!

Andrew Core


Important Phone Numbers

General Info: 520 629-0510
University Nature Shop: 520 629-0510 x1
Rare Bird Alert: 520 629-0510 x3
Education: 520 629-0510 x7012
Membership: 520 629-0510 x7002
Agua Caliente Nature Shop: 760-7881
Executive Director: 520 629-0510 x7001
FAX: 520 623-3476

Sick or injured birds, please call:
Tucson Wildlife Center at 520-290-9453

Additional numbers



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Phone: 520-629-0510 x3

E-Mail: rarebirdalert

Documentation and photos of review species may be submitted to AZFO.

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Directions to Birding Sites
Where directions are not given, they can be found in the newest edition of Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, published by and available from Tucson Audubon Nature Shop. Changes in site access since the publication of this guide can be found by going to our Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona Online Addendum.

Methodology of this Report
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.


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