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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 May 22, 2015. The next update will be made on May 29.

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

#Short-billed Dowitcher

#Least Tern

#White-eared Hummingbird

#Plain-capped Starthroat

#Lucifer Hummingbird


#Black-capped Gnatcatcher




 hybrid Flame-colored Tanager x Western Tanager





At the Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a *TUFTED FLYCATCHER was reported on 5/22 (Mark Phillips). To quote Mark's directions, "There is a 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. I placed a small pile of rocks on the side of the trail about 35 feet beyond the tree. The bird is working the area to the north of the trail." A pair of *FLAME-COLORED TANAGERS continued at the upper bridge on the Bledsoe Loop through 5/21 (m.ob.). Ramsey Canyon Preserve is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In Hunter Canyon, *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued through 5/21 (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.

In Miller Canyon, a *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER was reported just past the 2nd stream crossing (about 2 miles above Beatty's Guest Ranch.) on 5/21 (Robert Weissler). The #WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD continued at Beatty's Guest Ranch on 5/21 (m.ob.). A hybrid male Flame-colored x Western Tanager continued on 5/21 (Robert Weissler). Hybrid tanagers have been reported annually from Miller Canyon since at least 2006.

A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD continued at the Battiste B&B on 5/19 (Tony Battiste). Please call if planning a visit (520-803-6908).

A #LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD was in a yard in lower Ash Canyon on 5/21 (Robert Behrstock).


A *BOBOLINK was reported in the riverbed adjacent to Sweetwater Wetlands on 5/20 (Mark Stevenson). The #LEAST TERN continued at Sweetwater Wetlands on 5/16 (m.ob.); a different #LEAST TERN was photographed at Lakeside Park on 5/16 (Chris Rohrer).

Yet another #LEAST TERN was photographed at the Coachline Gravel Pit (aka El Rio Open Space; annotated map: http://goo.gl/5vIQSb) on 5/22 (Craig & Barb Thayer, Andrew Core).


In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued through 5/20 (Gavin Bieber); recently they've been seen above the dam, sometimes as high as 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.

In the Florida Canyon drainage, #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS continued 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. They've also been reported at the corral at the junction of FR62A and FR488.

In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), a #PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT continued at the Santa Rita Lodge on 5/21 (m.ob.).


At Patagonia Lake (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs), a #PACIFIC LOON was reported at the dam on 5/22 (Dave Stejskal). A free pass, available at the Patagonia Lake State Park entrance station, is required for this area (Sonoita Creek State Natural Area).


A #SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was reported at Lake Cochise by the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox on 5/16 (Dave Stejskal) and continued 5/18 (John Higgins).

An #OVENBIRD was photographed in a yard in Willcox on 5/16 (Max Jarrett) and continued the next day.



The revised 8th edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (2015) was released this week! 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.  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



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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Revised 8th Edition out now!


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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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