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Home SEAZ Rare Bird Alert


This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on December 19, 2014. The next update will be made on December 26.

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. 


#Rough-legged Hawk

#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

#Red-breasted Sapsucker

#"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker

#Eastern Phoebe


#Winter Wren

#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Gray Catbird


#Louisiana Waterthrush


 Five-striped Sparrow

#Clay-colored Sparrow

#Baltimore Oriole


 Evening Grosbeak


TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)

The *SINALOA WREN continued along the Anza Trail south of the Tubac Bridge on 12/15 (John Puschock). It has been most often heard singing and calling about ¾ mile south of the bridge on the west bank, just south of the powerline cut. This is about halfway to Clark Crossing Rd. Please do not cross the fence.


The #BALTIMORE ORIOLE was only reported once this week, near the Silverbell Golf Course club house (across from Sweetwater Wetlands) on 12/14 (Kathy Kuyper). A Black-and-white Warbler continued at Sweetwater on 12/16 (Peter Bengtson).

Two *PINE WARBLERS turned up on Tucson Valley CBC on 12/14 (Will Russell et al) on the Randolph Golf Course (access granted for CBC).

The #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and the #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER continued at McCormick Park this week (m.ob.).

Another #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was at Ft. Lowell Park on 12/14 (Richard Carlson, Dave Stejskal). A #"YELLOW-SHAFTED" NORTHERN FLICKER was reported on 12/14 (Dave Stejskal) and continued on 12/18 (Mark Stevenson).

Another #"YELLOW-SHAFTED" NORTHERN FLICKER was reported at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park on 12/17 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock).

A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued along the Santa Cruz River south of the Ina Rd Bridge on 12/14 (Laurens Halsey et al).

#CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS continued to be widely reported: one along the Santa Cruz River 1.5 miles north of El Camino del Cerro and one north of the old Orange Grove Pond, 2 at Christopher Columbus Park, and singles along the Rillito River at Craycroft, at Swan, at the Columbus Weed Patch and at the Rillito/Pantano confluence (m.ob.).

A Northern Parula continued from Tanque Verde Wash just east of Tanque Verde Loop Road on 12/19 (Paul Suchanek).


In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported on 12/17 (Laurens Halsey) above the dam near the East Bend – this is the first report since August. 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. 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 gone too far. It is not necessary, recommended or permissible to enter the research station to see these birds. A #GRAY CATBIRD continued on 12/17 (m.ob.) just past the metal gate. Two EVENING GROSBEAKS were reported at the old corral on FR62A on 12/17 (Larry Liese); one continued on 12/19 (Laurens Halsey) along with a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER.

In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER continued at Whitehouse Picnic Area on 12/17 (m.ob.). A Black-and-white Warbler was photographed in the upper canyon on 12/17 (Paul Suchanek).

In Chino Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/maps/oTBK), FIVE pairs of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS was reported on the Green Valley CBC on 12/17 (Dave Stejskal) and two FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS in the upper basin, on the west-facing slope and just downstream from the (dry) waterfall. High clearance is recommended for the rough road in.

A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was along the edge of the pecan grove (private property) on the east bank of the Santa Cruz River on 12/17 (Richard Fray); this is adjacent to Torres Blancas Golf Course, which is at the southern end of S. Abrego Drive.


A *PURPLE FINCH was reported at a residence on 12/17 (David Johnson)

A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported a residence on 12/14 and 12/16 (Rick Plage).


A #ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK continued along Elgin Rd on 12/18 (Tim Helentjaris) about 3 miles west of Elgin.


At the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/0pXsd) the #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued on 12/14 (John Puschock); it has been seen near the junction of the Railroad Trail and the Creek Trail, but has also been seen in several places along the Railroad and Creek Trails.

A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH and three #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS were reported on the Patagonia CBC on 12/18 (Molly Pollock, Chris Benesh, Debra Finch) on private property just upstream from the Patagonia Roadside Rest Area; in some winters the waterthrush can be seen in the creek across from the rest area, but please do not cross the fence.

At Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) a #WINTER WREN continued on 12/15 (Carol Riddell) along the creek at the east end of the lake. A #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER and #EASTERN PHOEBE continued on 12/14 (Alan Schmierer) along the east trail in the 5th wash (Nutting’s Wash). A Northern Parula was reported in the campground on 12/18 (Jan Allen). 


At the San Pedro House, a #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued along the San Pedro River between trail marker #7 and #8 on 12/16 (m.ob.).



Addendum to Finding Birds in SE Arizona 8th Edition (2011) is now 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.

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.

MILLER CANYON - fire and floods have changed Beatty's Guest Ranch; see http://seazhummingbirds.com for more information.

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

ASH CANYON - Ash Canyon B&B is open; parking is limited to six spots.

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

PATAGONIA - The Patons' yard 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.

SANTA CRUZ FLATS: Managers at the Evergreen Turf Farm (vicinity of Tweedy and Pretzer Rds) have requested that anyone birding there on the weekends please leave by 5:00 PM. This is due to security issues experienced by the Sod Farm. Birders are still welcome here at other times.

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!

Mark Stevenson 



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 520-903-1104

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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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