This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on March 27, 2015. The next update will be made on April 3.
- 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 rarebirdalert.
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 EIGHTH EDITION of Tucson Audubon's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona.
SPECIES MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT INCLUDE:
A #HEERMANN'S GULL was reported at Coachline Gravel Pit on 3/21 (Janine McCabe) and was seen by a few before departing south near sunset (m.ob.).
A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported at the Cienega Creek Preserve on 3/25 (Moez Ali) about 1/4 mile east and upstream of the dry Davidson Canyon confluence, about 50 yards before where the creek emerges from below ground. It was reported again on 3/27 (Pat Pourchot and Jennifer Johnson). NOTE: This area is accessible from the Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon Trailhead. A special advance permit is required to visit this preserve; see: http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=1515 and annotated map: http://goo.gl/8DrrSk
A #PACIFIC WREN continued at Sycamore Reservoir on Mt. Lemmon on 3/21 (Jay Taylor); this is about a 4 mile roundtrip hike from Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area (http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=454).
At Sweetwater Wetlands a #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued on 3/27 (Luke Safford). A Black-and-white Warbler continued this week as well (m.ob.).
A #BROWN THRASHER was photographed on the east side of the Rincons on 3/25 (Paul Suchanek). It was off Mescal Road near the turnoff to the Miller Creek trailhead for accessing Saguaro NP. Look for a huge oak tree on the west side of the road about 1/10 mile before the turnoff to Miller Creek trail; the thrasher was in the brush just to the west of the oak tree (or within 100 yards or so).
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
The *SINALOA WREN continued along the Anza Trail south of the Tubac Bridge on 3/22 (Claire English). It has been most often heard singing and calling about ¾ mile south of the bridge on the west bank of the river, just south of the powerline cut. This is about halfway to Clark Crossing Rd. Please do not cross the fence. A #RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was reported about halfway between the powerlines and Clark Crossing Rd on 3/21 (Clifford Cathers).
A *SHORT-TAILED HAWK continued at the Tubac Hawk Watch at Ron Morriss Park through 3/23 (fide Peter Collins).
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In Huachuca Canyon on Ft. Huachuca, the *SINALOA WREN continued through 3/24 (m.ob.). at the lower picnic area about 10 yards downstream (north) of the bridge.
The first #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD of the season appeared on 3/24 (Mary Jo Ballator) at Ash Canyon B&B and continued through 3/27 (Bill Brown). Another one was in a yard in lower Ash Canyon on 3/26 (Robert Behrstock).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
A #PACIFIC LOON continued at the Amado STP through 3/22 (m.ob.).
In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), two #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued at Proctor Rd on 3/27 (Laurens Halsey).
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), a #WINTER WREN was reported on 3/21 (Eric Ripma) and a pair of *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported on 3/21 (m.ob.); recently they've been seen above the dam, past the East Bend and near 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 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.
In the Florida Canyon drainage, #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.); they've been reported near the Florida Canyon parking area and from the intersection of FR62A and FR481, about 400 yards downstream from the Florida Canyon parking area. They've also been reported at the corral at the junction of FR62A and FR488.
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD was reported as a residence in Portal on 3/27 (David Johnson).
A #GRAY CATBIRD continued in a yard in Portal on 3/21 (Rick Plage).
At Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) a pair of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued on 3/22 (Kim Richard Eckert) along the Birding Trail at the east end of the lake; they were about 100 yards up the 4th wash.
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 - 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. ACCESS NOTE: Garden Canyon is closed to vehicles and hikers before the middle 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).
ROGER ROAD WRF: closed
NOGALES STP: closed
CORONA DE TUCSON WRF: closed