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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 November 20, 2015. The next update will be made on November 27.

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. 



#"Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk

#Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

#Red-breasted Sapsucker

#Eastern Phoebe


#Black-capped Gnatcatcher

#Gray Catbird

#Black-throated Blue Warbler


#Clay-colored Sparrow



A *BRANT was photographed at the Amado STP on 11/16 (Laurens Halsey) but was gone the next day.


In Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued on 11/18 (Tony Battiste). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") at the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon.

In Hunter Canyon, *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week on 11/19 (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.


In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER continued at Whitehouse Picnic Area on 11/12 (Melody Kehl).

In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.); they've been reported near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.


A #HARLAN's Red-tailed Hawk was photographed on 11/18 (Laurens Halsey et al) and up to three #CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS continued at the Coachline Gravel Pit (aka El Rio Open Space; annotated map: http://goo.gl/5vIQSb) through 11/20 (m.ob.). Two White throated-Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow have been reported as well. All have been on the east side near the solitary eucalyptus.

A male #BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER was photographed near the northern entrance to Bear Wallow Rd. on Mt. Lemmon on 11/14 (Brian Nicholas).

At McCormick Park, a #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER continued on 11/14 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock).

A #CLAY-COLORED SPARROW continued in the Tanque Verde Wash west of Wentworth Rd on 11/20 (Paul Suchanek). A Black-and-white Warbler continued at Tanque Verde Loop Rd on 11/14 (Paul Suchanek).

At Sweetwater Wetlands a Black-and-white Warbler continued on 11/20 (Nicholas Tritz). The Northern Parula was reported again on 11/20 (Molly Pollock).

A Northern Parula was reported in the Santa Cruz River south of the Ina Rd. bridge on 11/20 (Peter Salomon et al).

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

An #EASTERN PHOEBE was reported from a yard in Whitetail Canyon on 11/20 (Rick Taylor).

A #GRAY CATBIRD was continued in a yard in Portal on 11/19 (Rick Plage).


At Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) a #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER was photographed on 11/17 (Alan Schmierer) along the Birding Trail at the east end of the lake; it was seen in the 5th wash.


A Brown Pelican was photographed at Dankworth Pond on 11/15 (Jeff Coker). Unfortunately it did not survive and was found deceased the following day.




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).




Good birding!

Andrew Core


#Rough-legged Hawk#Red-breasted Sapsucker#Eastern Phoebe*SINALOA WREN#Black-capped Gnatcatcher*YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER*RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER#McCown's Longspur#Lapland Longspur#Baltimore Oriole
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCASIn Huachuca Canyon the *SINALOA WREN continued on 11/6 (Darrel Wilder). Look for it along the stream at the picnic area ("camps") at the first bridge the road crosses in the canyon. In Hunter Canyon, *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued this week (m.ob.). 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.
NOGALES areaTwo *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued in Pena Blanca Canyon south of Pena Blanca Lake on 11/2 (Laurens Halsey). The coordinates of the location where they were first seen are 31.3745, -111.1023, which is about 1.5 miles south of Ruby Road. Map: http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L814321
BENSON areaA *YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was photographed at the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David on 10/18 (Brian Johnson). It was by the pond with "St. Bernard Hermitage" sign in tall willow trees next to the building.
PORTAL & the CHIRICAHUAS (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/XfXfX)A #ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was reported along Desert Willow Rd. on 11/1 (Jay Taylor).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITASIn Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (back for another winter?) was reported at Whitehouse Picnic Area on 11/1 (Melody Kehl) and continued through 11/6 (Laurens Halsey). A different #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was reported again from the Carrie Nation Trail on 11/6 (fide Susan & Bill Birky) just before the first stream crossing, about 0.4 mile beyond the split with the Old Baldy trail.In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued this week (m.ob.); they've been reported near the Florida Canyon parking area and a short distance up the trail.
TUCSON areaAn #EASTERN PHOEBE was photographed in the Tanque Verde Wash just west of Wentworth Rd on 11/1 (Paul Suchanek, Brian Nicholas) and continued on 11/5 (Paul Suchanek) on the east side of the road. A Black-and-white Warbler continued from Tanque Verde Wash at Wentworth Rd on 11/6 (Moez Ali). An #EASTERN PHOEBE was reported along the multi-use path along the Santa Cruz River about ΒΌ mile north of Ina Rd on 11/5 (Moez Ali).At Sweetwater Wetlands, the #BALTIMORE ORIOLE continued through 11/4 (m.ob.); one wintered here last year but ranged widely.A Violet-crowned Hummingbird continued in Oro Valley on 11/3 (Kelly Rishor).
SONOITAA #McCOWN'S LONGSPUR was reported along Curly Horse Rd on 11/5 (Tim Helentjaris).
SAN RAFAEL VALLEYA #LAPLAND LONGSPUR was reported on 11/5 (Tim Helentjaris), as was a Short-eared Owl.
WILLCOX & the SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEYAt Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox a Snowy Plover continued through 11/3 (Brian Johnson).
TUBAC area (annotated map: http://goo.gl/maps/yDqi0)A Black-and-white Warbler was reported along the De Anza Trail in Tubac on 11/5 (Jeremy Gatten).
PATAGONIAA Northern Parula was reported from the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area on 11/1 (Dave Cleary). A permit is required for this area; available at the Patagonia Lake State Park entrance station.


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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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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