This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on October 21, 2016. The next update will be made on October 28.
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:
#"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker
A *PHILADELPHIA VIREO was photographed along Paige Creek (http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L734193) on the east side of the Rincon Mountains on 10/17 (Paul Suchanek) and continued the next day (m.ob.). There's a spur to the left about ¼ mile past the gate; the bird was at the end of the spur near the creek. A #GRAY CATBIRD was photographed at the nearby Miller Creek trailhead on 10/17 (Paul Suchanek); a #BROWN THRASHER was photographed in the same area on 10/18 (Laurens Halsey). Both birds were in the wild grapes along the wash between the main road and the trailhead.
A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was reported from Palo Verde Park (Broadway/Kolb area) on 10/16 (Mark Stevenson).
At Sweetwater Wetlands, a male #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued through 10/19 (m.ob.); one wintered here the last two years but ranged widely.
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In upper Ramsey Canyon, a *TUFTED FLYCATCHER was reported again on 10/21 (Theresa Lawson). The birds have been 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 Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported on 10/16 (Kathy Kuyper) in the West Fork; this is the first report since April. In the past they've frequented the area past the dam. 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. 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,
ACCESS NOTE: in Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), reports of a large and aggressive black bear have led authorities to close several hiking trails from the upper parking lot until November.
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
Two #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS continued on 10/14 (Dave Jasper) in Dave Jasper's yard at Cathedral Rock Rd and Portal Rd. The feeders are open to the public.
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued at a private residence in Portal on 10/18 (David Johnson).
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued on 10/21 (Dawn Zappone) in a yard near Horseshoe Canyon.
A #DICKCISSEL was reported on 10/17 (Narca Moore-Craig) at a private residence in Portal.
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A #"YELLOW-SHAFTED" NORTHERN FLICKER was reported along the Santa Cruz River at Santa Gertrudis Lane on 10/15 (Will Russell). Remember to park along the frontage road and walk in.
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