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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 February 28, 2015. The next update will be made on March 6.

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. 


#Pacific Loon

#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

#Red-breasted Sapsucker


#Winter Wren

#Pacific Wren

#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Black-throated Blue Warbler


#Worm-eating Warbler

#Louisiana Waterthrush


#Clay-colored Sparrow

#Harris's Sparrow

#Golden-crowned Sparrow

#Baltimore Oriole


ACCESS NOTE: The annual controlled burn at Sweetwater Wetlands will be Thursday March 5. The park will be closed for the day, but will reopen on Friday.


In Huachuca Canyon on Ft. Huachuca, the *SINALOA WREN continued on 2/25 (Lynn Daugherty) at the lower picnic area about 70 yards downstream (north) of the bridge.

*RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS were reported again in Hunter Canyon (between Miller and Ash Canyons) on 2/20 (Bruce Berman). 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.

TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)

The *SINALOA WREN continued along the Anza Trail south of the Tubac Bridge on 2/20 (George West). 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 #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN was reported at Clark Crossing Rd at the river on 2/28 (Bill Lisowsky).


A *YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER continued on 2/26 (Elise Brooks) at Patagonia City Park across from the Gathering Grounds coffee shop.

At Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER continued on 2/27 (David Dunford) along the Birding Trail at the east end of the lake.

At the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/0pXsd) the #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued on 2/27 (Kathy West); it was in the hackberry trees just north of the boardwalk on the Spring Trail. The preserve is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

A #GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW was reported from the Paton Center for Hummingbirds (Paton's yard) on 2/25 (Sheri Williamson fide Larry Morgan). A #WORM-EATING WARBLER was reported on 2/24 (Joan Campbell) – documentation of these rarities would be appreciated!


At Pena Blanca Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/zBbzl), a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER continued on 2/25 (Richard Fray). It has been most often seen on the south side of the cove that is about 1/3 mile north of the large boat ramp area; see map for marker.

Two #CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were reported Kino Springs on 2/20 (Bill Lisowsky).


A #PACIFIC LOON continued at the Amado STP through 2/26 (Laurens Halsey).

In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER continued on 2/26 (Donald Sutherland); 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.

#BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued in the Florida Canyon drainage 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. An EVENING GROSBEAK was reported again near the corral near the parking area on 2/25 and 2/26 (m.ob.).

In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), the #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER continued at Whitehouse Picnic Area on 2/27 (Laurens Halsey).


A #RED PHALAROPE was photographed at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox on 2/25 (Steve Juhasz) and continued through 2/28 (Janine McCabe).


At Sweetwater Wetlands #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued this week along the Santa Cruz River. It has been most often encountered mid-morning and late afternoon at Sweetwater Wetlands, but it has also been seen north along the river on both banks. A Black-and-white Warbler continued this week at Sweetwater (m.ob.).

ACCESS NOTE: The annual controlled burn at Sweetwater Wetlands will be Thursday March 5. The park will be closed for the day, but will reopen on Friday.

At McCormick Park, the #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued on 2/24 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock).

A #LOUISIANA WATERTHUSH continued again at the Sabino Canyon dam on 2/25 (Mark Stevenson, Jean Hengesbaugh).

A #PACIFIC WREN was reported again from Sycamore Reservoir on Mt. Lemmon on 2/26 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock); this is about a 4 mile roundtrip hike from Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area (http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=454).

A #WINTER WREN was photographed at La Posta Quemada Ranch at Colossal Cave Mountain Park in southeast Tucson on 2/25 (Paul Suchanek) and continued on 2/27 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock). It has been seen from the Bundrick Long Loop trail just north of a small pond next to the exit road from ranch, specifically in a large pile of dead cottonwood limbs along the wash just north of a Hohokam farming display.

A #HARRIS'S SPARROWcontinued in the Tanque Verde Wash south of the gate at the southeast corner of Woodland Road on 2/23 (Diane Touret).


A male #BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER continued at the intersection of Wheeler and Baumgartner Rds on 2/21 (m.ob.). It was being seen near the tan house on Wheeler, which is possibly occupied (please be sensitive to any potential occupants or neighbors); the pomegranate tree is a good place to start looking. An American Redstart and Summer Tanager continued in the area as well (m.ob.).




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).




Good birding!

Andrew Core



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

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Phone: 520-629-0510 x3

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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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