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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 April 29, 2016. The next update will be made on May 6.

  • The RBA number is 520-629-0510 ext 3; press 1 to hear the RBA or press 2 to report a rare bird, OR email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • For additional sightings in the region, please see the The Arizona-New Mexico Birding ListServ

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


#Semipalmated Sandpiper

#Least Tern


#Lucifer Hummingbird



#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Gray Catbird

#Brown Thrasher




#Golden-crowned Sparrow




In upper Ramsey Canyon, a *TUFTED FLYCATCHER continued on 4/28 (m.ob.). The bird is being seen about 2 miles up the Hamburg Trail from the Ramsey Canyon Preserve Visitor Center, about 1/3 mile past the junction with the Brown Canyon Trail. It was moving up and down the canyon and was not tied to a specific spot. This is an occasionally steep 4 mile round trip hike at 6,000 ft elevation to reach this location; take plenty of water (several quarts) and be prepared for very hot dry days or sudden monsoon storm activity. The map here shows the location: https://goo.gl/aMh1ke  A male *FLAME-COLORED TANAGER was photographed in this area on 4/29 (Ken Blankenship).

In the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, the male *FLAME-COLORED TANAGER continued through 4/28 (m.ob.) on the Bledsoe Loop Trail. Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued on 4/26 (m.ob.). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") downstream of the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.

A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued at Ash Canyon B&B this week (m.ob.). Another was reported from a yard in lower Ash Canyon on 4/28 (Robert Behrstock).


*BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS continued at the south end of California Gulch at the confluence with Warsaw Canyon on 4/29 (Dave Stejskal). Annotated map: http://goo.gl/wSr0mi

At Pena Blanca Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/zBbzl), a pair of *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS was reported below the dam on 4/27 (Jake Mohlmann).


An *AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was reported at the Reay Lane WTP in Thatcher on 4/ 22 (Jeff Coker) and continued through 4/27.

A #LEAST TERN was reported at Dankworth Pond on 4/22 (Jeff Coker). 

A Caspian Tern was reported from Roper Lake SP on 4/25 (Jeff Coker, Diane Drobka).


An *AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER continued through 4/25 (m.ob.) at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox; a #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER continued through 4/27 (Ken Blankenship) and a Snowy Plover through 4/25.


A *COMMON GRACKLE was photographed on Mt. Lemmon in Summerhaven on 4/27 (Chris Charlesworth); it was along the creek across from the Cookie Cabin.

A female *PURPLE FINCH was photographed at the El Rio Open Space Preserve (Coachline Gravel Pit) on 4/27 (Andrew Core). It was along the river where the river divides into two channels. Annotated map: http://goo.gl/5vIQSb

A #BROWN THRASHER was reported again at WOW Arizona B&B in Catalina on 4/23 (Christopher Vincent).


A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP on 4/24 (Terry Rosenmeier). A probable Caspian Tern was reported on 4/25 (Peter Collins) and 4/28 (David Griffin).


In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.) near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail. A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported near the parking area on 4/29 (Hugh Rodgers).

In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER continued at Proctor Rd on 4/25 (Lisa Walsh).

In Chino Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/maps/oTBK), two pairs of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS and two FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS were reported on 4/27 (Nick Komar). High clearance is recommended for the rough road in.

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

A #GRAY CATBIRD was reported in a yard again in Portal on 4/24 (Rick Plage). Possibly the same bird was reported at Cave Creek Ranch on 4/27 and 4/29 (m.ob.).

A #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW was reported from a Portal yard on 4/23 (Rick Plage).

An #OVENBIRD was reported in West Turkey Creek on 4/25 (Keith Kamper). Keith says, "from Hwy 181 take West Turkey Creek Road (FR 81) 8.8 miles where you will cross a narrow bridge. Just beyond that, on the left there is a small campsite. On the other side of the creek there is a light-colored cabin with the windows boarded up. I had the Ovenbird about 150 yards beyond this along the creek."


Three Caspian Terns were reported at Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) on 4/24 (Jake Mohlmann) and one continued on 4/25 (Will High).


The revised 8th edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (2015) is the current edition. Addendum to the revised 8th edition is available at: http://www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/publications/431-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. ACCESS UPDATE: Closed due to construction until August 2016.

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: 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.

ACCESS NOTE: Garden Canyon now open to vehicles up to the upper picnic area.

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.

The Arizona-New Mexico Birding ListServ

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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