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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 September 4, 2015. The next update will be made on September 11.

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. 



#Black-bellied Plover


#Semipalmated Sandpiper

#White-eared Hummingbird

#Plain-capped Starthroat

#Lucifer Hummingbird



#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Louisiana Waterthrush

#Northern Waterthrush




IMPORTANT: Ft. Huachuca has posted information on future access requirements on its official webpage at www.huachuca.army.mil . New access requirements began 3 August 2015. 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. http://www.huachuca.army.mil/pages/des/visitoraccess.html



In Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued this week through 9/3 (m.ob.). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") at the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.

In Hunter Canyon, the *SLATE-THROATED REDSTART continued through 9/2 but has not been easy to find for most observers. (m. ob.). From the trailhead at the end of the Hunter Canyon Road, take the upper Hunter Canyon Trail. When entering the canyon proper (after walking about 0.6 miles from the trailhead) there is a short trail (30 feet) that goes south to the edge of the stream. From there look south and south east, the bird was first seen about 60 feet downstream in a dead tree and then flew onto the north facing. *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued on 9/3 (m. ob.). The birds have been seen about 0.7 miles up the trail from the end of Hunter Canyon Road just as the trail enters the grove of trees. Note that the dirt road may not be suitable for low clearance vehicles.

In upper Ramsey Canyon, the *TUFTED FLYCATCHERS continued on 9/4 (Philip Kline). The birds have being seen about 2 miles up the Hamburg Trail from the Ramsey Canyon Preserve Visitor Center. There is an 8-10 inch diameter fir tree that has fallen on the right side of the trail as you go up and has been cut off at about head height leaving the trunk at a 45 degree angle, with the cut part very close to the trail. Just past this log is a small pile of rocks on the side of the trail. The birds were in the area to the north of the trail between these landmarks; but more recently they have been found about 150 yards down the trail toward Ramsey Canyon Preserve. It 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 Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Multiple #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued at Ash Canyon B&B this week (m.ob.). In Miller Canyon, a female #WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD continued at the Beatty's feeders on 9/1 (m. ob.).


#BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued near the confluence of California Gulch and Warsaw Canyon 8/29 (Allen Chartier). Map: http://goo.gl/wSr0mi


A *SHORT-TAILED HAWK reported near the parking lot for Arivaca Cienega 9/1 (Keith Kamburn) was a real surprise in the lowlands.


In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT was reported again at the Santa Rita Lodge on 9/3 (m.ob.). At Proctor Road at the mouth of Madera Canyon, #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.); look for them along the Proctor Loop Trail, especially between the parking lot and Proctor Road and farther up the trail.

In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continue; recently they've been seen above the dam at the oak grove. 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 Rufous-capped Warbler 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.


At Lake Cochise in Willcox, two #BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were found on 9/3 (Richard Webster) and continued on 9/4. A #SANDERLING found there 9/2 (Tim Helentjaris) continued on 9/4. A #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was present 9/4 (Christopher Rustay) (m. ob.)


It was a good week for Waterthrushes. A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was heard about 100 yards above the dam in Sabino Canyon 9/2 (Will Russell).

#NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES were reported along Cave Creek at the Southwestern Research Station 8/29 (Rick Taylor), along Escapule Wash near the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista 8/29 (Bill Brown), along Tanque Verde Wash at Wentworth Road, Tucson 29 Aug (Peter Collins) and in Empire Gulch at Las Cienegas NCA 8/31 (Allen Chartier).



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/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.

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 - new hours: 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 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.  

IMPORTANT: Ft. Huachuca has posted information on future access requirements on its official webpage at www.huachuca.army.mil . New access requirements begin 3 August 2015. 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. 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!

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 520-290-9453

Additional numbers



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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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