This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on September 23, 2016. The next update will be made on September 30.
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/
Where directions are not given, they can be found in the revised EIGHTH EDITION of Tucson Audubon's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona.
SPECIES MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT INCLUDE:
LAS CIENEGAS NCA
A *YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was photographed near Las Cienegas NCA on 9/16 (Katherine Cudney) along Yucca Ash Rd.
A *PHILADELPHIA VIREO was reported in Walker Canyon on 9/17 (Jay Taylor). It was on the north side of Ruby Rd. where the footpath reaches a fence line and veers off to the left. A #DICKCISSEL was photographed here on 9/23 (Richard Fray).
A #DICKCISSEL was photographed at the west end of Ruby Road near the county line on 9/19 (Jake Mohlmann).
A #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE was photographed at the El Rio Preserve (aka Coachline Gravel Pit) in Marana on 9/23 (Andrew Core). It was in the southeast corner with an Inca Dove. Annotated map: http://goo.gl/5vIQSb
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
#LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued at a residence in Portal on 9/23 (David Johnson).
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued on 9/22 (Dawn Zappone) in a yard near Horseshoe Canyon.
A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was reported from the Noland Rd bridge over the San Simon Wash on 9/20 (Rick Taylor).
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
#LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued at Ash Canyon B&B this week (m.ob.).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued at a private residence in Salero Ranch on 9/23 (Curtis Smith).
In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued along the loop trail at Proctor Rd this week (m.ob.).
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.
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was photographed along the Anza Trail on 9/22 (Dave Stejskal); it was north of Clark Crossing Rd and just south of a pair of wooden benches next to the river. A male #PAINTED BUNTING was along the Anza Trail at the powerline cut on 9/22 (Dave Stejskal) and another was north of Bridge Rd near the golf course on 9/18 (David Wright).
The remnants of Hurricane Newton brought dozens of pelagic seabirds to Arizona on September 7; deceased birds could still be found almost anywhere and are very valuable. These can be turned in to the Arizona Game & Fish Department (contact for details) – the ABC and AZFO would appreciate photos as well. A map of Newton's track with seabird sightings superimposed can be found here: https://goo.gl/d2NljU
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: Despite the signage, as of March 2016 Garden Canyon was indeed now open to vehicles up to the upper picnic area and foot traffic beyond this. As of late July 2016, it was reported that it was open all the way to the top.
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).
ROGER ROAD WRF: closed
NOGALES STP: closed
CORONA DE TUCSON WRF: closed