This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on October 9, 2015. The next update will be made on October 16.
- 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:
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In upper Ramsey Canyon, the *TUFTED FLYCATCHERS continued on 10/8 (Georgia Doyle). The birds are being seen about 2 miles up the Hamburg Trail from the Ramsey Canyon Preserve Visitor Center. There is an 8-10 inch diameter fir tree that has fallen on the right side of the trail as you go up and has been cut off at about head height leaving the trunk at a 45 degree angle, with the cut part very close to the trail. Just past this log is a small pile of rocks on the side of the trail. The birds were in the area to the north of the trail between these landmarks. It 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
In Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued on 10/9 (Brian Johnson). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") at the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.
In Hunter Canyon, the *SLATE-THROATED REDSTART continued through 10/9 (Ron Beck) but has not been easy to find for most observers; it apparently moves around quite a bit. From the trailhead at the end of the Hunter Canyon Road, take the upper Hunter Canyon Trail. When entering the canyon proper (after walking about 0.6 miles from the trailhead) there is a short trail (30 feet) that goes south to the edge of the stream. From there look south and south east, the bird was first seen about 60 feet downstream in a dead tree and then flew onto the north facing slope. It has also been seen about 200 yards up the canyon. *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued on 10/9 (Ron Beck). 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. Note that the dirt road may not be suitable for low clearance vehicles.
Multiple #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS (mostly females and immatures) continued at Ash Canyon B&B this week through 10/9 (Mary Jo Ballator).
#LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS were also reported in a yards in lower Ash Canyon and lower Miller Canyon this week (Robert Behrstock, Joe Woodley).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued on 10/8 (Laurens Halsey); recently they've been seen above the dam at 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. 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, Madera Canyon, etc you've missed the turn. It is not necessary, recommended or permissible to enter the research station to see these birds. #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued on 10/8 as well; they've been reported near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)
A *SHORT-TAILED HAWK and a male #PAINTED BUNTING were reported from Ron Morriss Park on 10/8 (Peter Collins).
A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued at a private residence in Salero Ranch on 10/3 (Curtis Smith).
WILLCOX & the SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY
A #SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and #SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER were reported at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox on 10/4 (Tim Helentjaris). A Snowy Plover continued as well.
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)
A #PAINTED BUNTING was reported in Whitetail Canyon on 10/6 (Rick Taylor).
A #SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER continued at Willow Tank through 10/4 (Janine McCabe). Two #CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were reported on 10/4 (Ron Beck).
A #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT continued at a residence in Patagonia on 10/7 (Alan Schmierer); the feeder is visible from the street. Homeowner Randy Moore says, "The easiest way to describe the location is to come into town from either direction and turn northwest on 4th Ave (the Wagon Wheel bar is on that corner). It's a right if you're coming from Sonoita, and a left if you're coming from Nogales. Take the first right onto Mendoza Alley and the spot from which to view the feeders is exactly 130m on the left. It's the yard between the high cinder block wall and the chain link fence. I'll put a sign on the simple wire fence of my yard."
A Black-and-white Warbler was reported from the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve on 10/3 (Kathy West) along the Creek Trail.
BUENOS AIRES NWR
A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and #PAINTED BUNTING were reported at Arivaca Cienega on 10/9 (Bob & Bettina Arrigoni).
A Black-and-white Warbler was reported from Sweetwater Wetlands on 10/3 (Bill Scott).
A Violet-crowned Hummingbird was photographed in Oro Valley on 10/4 (Kelly Rishor).
The revised 8th edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (2015) was released in late May! Addendum to the 8th edition is 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.
EL RIO OPEN SPACE/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.
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.
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. http://www.huachuca.army.mil/pages/des/visitoraccess.html
ACCESS NOTE: Garden Canyon is closed to vehicles and hikers at the lower 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