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Home Southeast Arizona Rare Bird Alert


This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on January 13, 2017. The next update will be made on January 20.

  • 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • 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/1main/whatIsABC.html.

Where directions are not given, they can be found in the revised EIGHTH EDITION of Tucson Audubon's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona. 


#Eurasian Wigeon

#Greater Scaup

#Ruddy Ground-Dove

#Green Kingfisher

#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

#Eastern Phoebe



#Winter Wren

#Pacific Wren

#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Rufous-backed Robin

#Gray Catbird

#Brown Thrasher

#Palm Warbler

#Louisiana Waterthrush

#"Red" Fox Sparrow


#Baltimore Oriole



A *NUTTING'S FLYCATCHER continued south of the confluence of California Gulch and Warsaw Canyon on 1/13 (m.ob.) at GPS: 31.3989, -111.2475, but on 1/12 (Rich Hoyer) it was 300 yards east at 31.39837, -111.24355). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS have been seen in the area as well (m.ob.). Annotated map: http://goo.gl/wSr0mi

At Pena Blanca Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/zBbzl), an #EASTERN PHOEBE was reported again on 1/10 (Tim Helentjaris) in the large cove in the northwest part of the lake, about 1/3 mile north of the boat ramp.

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

A male *ROSE-THROATED BECARD continued along the De Anza Trail south of the Tubac Bridge on 1/13 (m.ob.). The bird was originally seen in a small open area near the kiosk; you pass through two gates to get there from the bridge. GPS: 31.605859, -111.043010 but the bird has ranged widely since, even to south of the powerline cut. An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued on 1/13 (m.ob.).

A second *ROSE-THROATED BECARD was reported north of the Tubac bridge on 1/6 (Kay Carter) – this one was a female or immature male about 2/3 of the way to the golf course. GPS: 31.618725, -111.041915.

Three miles to the south in Tumacacori, two more *ROSE-THROATED BECARDS (male and female) were photographed along the De Anza Trail on 1/10 (Paul Suchanek) and the female continued on 1/11 (Deanna Mac Phail).

A #BROWN THRASHER continued at Santa Gertrudis Lane on 1/13 (Michael Andersen); it was across from #12. Remember to park along the frontage road and walk in. A #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBIN continued along the de Anza Trail just south of the crossing on 1/13 (Michael Andersen).

Two #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS and a Five-striped Sparrow continued in Rock Corral Canyon on 1/13 (Richard Fray) west of Santa Gertrudis Lane. A high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended; the birds were all within the first mile up canyon from the corral.

PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)

A *STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE continued to be seen daily at the Foothills Road (aka Rodrigues yard) feeders as of 1/13 (Thor Manson).

A #GRAY CATBIRD was continued at Cave Creek Ranch on 1/10 (Chris Ruge).

A #"RED" FOX SPARROW continued in Whitetail Canyon on 1/13 (Rick Taylor).


A female *STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE was photographed at Arivaca Creek in Buenos Aires NWR on 1/7 (Deborah Locke, ph. David Griffin). A #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE was photographed on 1/8 (Brian Nicholas) and continued on 1/11 (Timothy Spahr).


A male #EURASIAN WIGEON continued at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course on 1/12 (Chris Ruge).


A #GREATER SCAUP continued at the Amado STP on 1/8 (Brian Walsh).


At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), a #GREATER SCAUP continued through 1/9 (m.ob.). A #GREEN KINGFISHER continued a short distance up Sonoita Creek from the east end of the lake on 1/7 (m.ob.). An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued at the east end on 1/11 (Eric Pourchot). #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS and a #GRAY CATBIRD continued along the Birding Trail this week (m.ob.). A #WINTER WREN continued on 1/13 (m.ob.); a #PACIFIC WREN was reported on 1/10 (Ruben and Victor Stoll). Observers are encouraged to note or record the calls to help separate these two very similar species.


An #EASTERN PHOEBE continued at the Hereford Bridge over the San Pedro on 1/11 (Chris Harbard).


#BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued in Florida Canyon this week (m.ob.); they've been seen near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.

A #PALM WARBLER continued at Quail Creek Veterans Municipal Park on 1/13 (m.ob.). It seems to travel with (or associate with) the Mountain Bluebirds.


At the intersection of Wheeler and Baumgartner Rds. two #RUFOUS-BACKED ROBINS continued on 1/13 (Darrel Wilder); one #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE continued through 1/7 (m.ob.). All have been 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.

A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was photographed on 1/9 (Jon Curd) along the Santa Cruz River just south of Sasco Rd. One was present here last winter.


An #EASTERN PHOEBE was photographed again from Yellowstone Tank along Redington Pass Rd on 1/7 (Brian Nicholas).

At Sweetwater Wetlands, the male #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued this week (m.ob.); one wintered here the last two years but ranged widely.


A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was reported about a mile up from the west end of Aravaipa Canyon on 1/11 (Nick Beauregard). An American Dipper was at the confluence with Virgus Canyon, and a #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was between Virgus Canyon and Horse Camp Canyon. Generally, a BLM permit is required to enter the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness beyond the parking lot.



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 paved lot in the southwest corner or along the south edge near the berm. Construction may hinder access for the next few months. 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 2017.

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 (KY, ME, MT, PA, SC, MN, MO, and WA); see https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs or http://huachuca-www.army.mil/pages/des/visitoraccess.html 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).




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 520-290-9453

Additional numbers





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Phone: 520-629-0510 x3

E-Mail: rarebirdalert

Documentation and photos of review species may be submitted to AZFO.

The Arizona-New Mexico Birding ListServ

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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