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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 July 25, 2014. The next update will be made on August 1.

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. 


#Tricolored Heron


#Berylline Hummingbird

#Plain-capped Starthroat

#Lucifer Hummingbird

#Allen's Hummingbird


#Black-capped Gnatcatcher





In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week (m.ob.) above 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. 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. #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued in multiple locations – they've been reported along the trail, near the dam, and from the intersection of FR62A and FR481, about 400 yards downstream from the Florida Canyon parking area. A #BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRD (very rare in Pima Co.) was reported on 7/23 (Taylor Abbott); no details as to location were available.

In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), *BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS continued sporadically this week (m.ob.) in the dispersed campground on Proctor Rd. near sites 6, 7, and 8 and closer to the main road at the cattle guard. Local mockingbirds may imitate the distinctive call. This is about ½ mile west of Madera Canyon Rd. along Proctor Rd. Please stay on the road as the bird(s) may attempt to nest again this year. A pair of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS was reported along the Proctor Loop Trail at Proctor Rd on 7/22 (Laurens Halsey) and one on 7/25 (Craig Thayer).

At the Santa Rita Lodge feeders, a #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT continued through 7/25 (m.ob.). Two different birds were photographed on 7/20 and 7/21 (Tom Hince, Billie Cantwell). An adult male #ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD was reported on 7/19-7/22 (Richard Fray, Laurens Halsey).

In Montosa Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/8L8tv) a pair of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS was reported on 7/23 (Curtis Lund); they've been seen near the big culvert recently.

In Cave Canyon, a *RED-EYED VIREO was reported on 7/21 (Keith Kamper). It was about 1.5 miles up the well-marked Cave Canyon Trail, along the dry creek and behind a large campsite. The site is to the left of the trail and has a fire ring and stacked cinder blocks.

Keith says: "Cave Canyon is located on the east side of the Santa Rita Mountains, and can be accessed from FR92 (Gardner Canyon Road), which is about 2.5 miles south of Las Cienegas NCA west entrance, on AZ 83 (about 4 miles north of Sonoita). The road is passable in a passenger car, but a vehicle with a little extra ground-clearance would be preferable. The road is well-signed to the trail head." Don't confuse it with Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahuas!

Nearby, a #DICKCISSEL was reported along Curly Horse Road, about 1/3 mile east of AZ 83 on 7/23 (Bill Howard).


The #TRICOLORED HERON continued at the golf course pond behind the Hardesty Building at 22nd and Alvernon on 7/25 (Jim Hayes).


The #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT continued at the Foothills Road (aka Jasper/Rodrigues yard) feeders through 7/25, when a second bird was reported (Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick). The bird has been visiting the feeder on the right side of the trail before reaching the picnic table.


A *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was seen again in Hunter Canyon (between Miller and Ash Canyons) on 7/24 (Erika Wilson). 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.

In Miller Canyon, a possible #BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRD was reported from Beatty's Guest Ranch on 7/25 (fide Tom Beatty, Sr.).

A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD was reported on 7/25 (Richard Fray) at Ash Canyon B&B. Be aware that a hybrid Lucifer x Costa's Hummingbird is also frequenting the feeders.


A #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER was reported on 7/23 (Laurens Halsey) in California Gulch.



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 - 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 - Ash Canyon B&B is open; 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.

SANTA CRUZ FLATS: Managers at the Evergreen Turf Farm (vicinity of Tweedy and Pretzer Rds) have requested that anyone birding there on the weekends please leave by 5:00 PM. This is due to security issues experienced by the Sod Farm. Birders are still welcome here at other times.

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!

Andrew Core
SEAZ RBA Compiler - Tucson, AZ


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 520-903-1104

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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