This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on August 26, 2016. The next update will be made on September 2.
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:
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In upper Ramsey Canyon, the pair of *TUFTED FLYCATCHERS continued through 8/25 (m.ob.). The birds are 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. 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 female *FLAME-COLORED TANAGER was reported on the hike up just past the overlook (GPS: 31.43843, -110.31754) on 8/22 (Chris Brown). Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
In Hunter Canyon (https://goo.gl/CR4YXm), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week (m.ob.) 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 trees.
#LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued at Ash Canyon B&B this week (m.ob.) and in Miller Canyon on 8/20 (m.ob.).
*BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS continued at the south end of California Gulch at the confluence with Warsaw Canyon this week (m.ob.). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued in the area on 8/20 (m.ob.). Annotated map: http://goo.gl/wSr0mi
A pair of *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported (and one photographed) in Pena Blanca Canyon south of Pena Blanca Lake on 8/26 (Laurens Halsey) about a mile south of Ruby Road. Map: http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L814321
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), the #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT continued at the Santa Rita Lodge this week (m.ob.). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued along the loop trail at Proctor Rd this week (m.ob.).
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was reported at Willow Tank on 8/25 (m.ob.).
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A male #PAINTED BUNTING continued along the Anza Trail in Tubac on 8/26 (Sara Pike).
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD was reported at a private residence in Salero Ranch on 8/20 (Curtis Smith) and continued through 8/24 (Sue Carnahan).
A #PAINTED BUNTING continued at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds on 8/20 (Christian Fernandez).
LAS CIENEGAS NCA
A female-type #PAINTED BUNTING was reported in Las Cienegas NCA on 8/24 (Chris Benesh). It was about four miles past Empire Gulch near the concrete ford over Cienega Creek.
An American Redstart was reported from Sweetwater Wetlands on 8/23 (Jake Mohlmann).
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