This update of Tucson Audubon Society's Rare Bird Alert for Southeast Arizona was made on December 6, 2013. The next update will be made on December 13.
- 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:
#"Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk
The *BLACK SCOTER continued from the pond behind the Hardesty Building at 22nd and Alvernon in Tucson through 12/6 (Mark Stevenson, Molly Pollock). A #YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was reported from the north side of nearby Reid Park on 11/30 (Vernie Aikins) in the trees near the baseball field; a Lewis's Woodpecker continued here on 12/5 (Mark Stevenson); it frequents the trees around the grassy knoll and pink pipes and also the neighborhood north of Camino Campestre.
An immature female *MAGNOLIA WARBLER was photographed in the Tanque Verde Wash on 12/5 (Paul Suchanek) about 1/3 mile west of Wentworth Road (beyond cottonwoods at maintenance shed), feeding in the willows on the north side of wash. Look for a styrofoam cup with golf ball in it where the bird was first seen; map: http://goo.gl/maps/eY4YF.
A #LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH continued above the dam in Sabino Canyon on 12/5 (Laurens Halsey).
A GREATER PEWEE continued in Evergreen Cemetery on 12/5 (Alexander Baish). It has been seen just west of the Ft. Lowell / Oracle intersection and just north of the ditch near the maintenance yard.
Three Greater White-fronted Geese continued at Arthur Pack Park at the golf course pond visible from Linda Vista Blvd. on 12/4 (John Williams).
A Violet-crowned Hummingbird was reported from a yard in west Tucson on 11/30 (Susan Birky) and continued through 12/5; call 520.743.9390 for details on visiting.
A Black-and-white Warbler continued on 12/6 and a Northern Parula continued on 12/1 (Paul Suchanek) along the Tanque Verde Wash at Tanque Verde Loop Road in northeast Tucson.
SIERRA VISTA & the HUACHUCAS
In Huachuca Canyon, the *SINALOA WREN continued through 12/3 (Eric Pilotte). It has been seen near the lower picnic area and just downstream (north) of the bridge. This is about 0.2 miles past the yellow gate. At last check birders were still requested to sign in AND out at the military police station at the intersection of Christy Ave and Boyd Ave, and no food was allowed in Huachuca Canyon due to bear activity. A #PACIFIC WREN continued about 100 yards above the 1.7 mile parking area on 11/28 (Alan Miller).
A female #RUDDY GROUND-DOVE was reported under the feeders and behind the restroom at the San Pedro House on 12/1 (John Saba).
Violet-crowned Hummingbirds were reported in lower Miller Canyon and near Sierra Vista on 12/1 (Joe Woodley, Erika Wilson).
GREEN VALLEY & the SANTA RITAS
In Florida Canyon (annotated map: http://goo.gl/AAzD6), *RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS continued on 12/3 (Eric Pilotte) near the East Bend. Directions: About 400 yards from parking lot is a metal gate, and about 75 yards 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. Some sightings have been in this area. Another location is further up the West Fork from the dam near the "East Bend", where the canyon bends sharply to the east. The birds have been reported here and occasionally even further up the canyon. 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 distance 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. A pair of #BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS was photographed near the parking area on 11/28 (Eric Heisey).
In Green Valley the dark-phase #"HARLAN'S" RED-TAILED HAWK was reported again along the Santa Cruz River north of the Continental Rd bridge on 12/4 (George West).
In Madera Canyon (map: http://goo.gl/dXBYP), the #RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER continued at Whitehouse Picnic Area through 12/3 (Nic Korte). It favors a tree across from (west of) the last parking spot on the left.
WILLCOX & the SULPHER SPRINGS VALLEY
A #HORNED GREBE was reported from Sunsites STP on 12/5 (Peter Salomon).
A #ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was reported on Central Highway about ½ mile south of Bagby Rd on
11/30 (Rick Taylor) and 12/2 (Ron Beck). This is just east of Whitewater Draw WMA.
5 Ross's Geese were at the Faria Dairy on 11/30 (Dennis Braddy).
SANTA CRUZ FLATS
Mountain Plovers continued sporadically from the Evergreen Sod Farms (Tweedy & Pretzer Rds) this week. A #"HARLAN'S" RED-TAILED HAWK was reported on Tweedy Rd south of Pretzer on 11/30 (Larry Norris). A dark morph #"HARLAN'S" RED-TAILED HAWK was reported along Greene Reservoir Road between Tweedy and Sunshine Blvd. on 12/5 (Alexander Baish); possibly the same bird was along Pretzer Rd. east of Sunshine on 12/6 (Doug Jenness).
Crested Caracaras continued (m.ob.), particularly in the southeast corner of the flats in the Wheeler / Baumgartner area.
A Northern Parula was reported from Picacho Reservoir on 12/4 (Dave Stejskal).
PATAGONIA & the SAN RAFAEL VALLEY
At Patagonia Lake State Park (annotated map: http://goo.gl/GgNvs) two #RED PHALAROPES were reported on 12/4 (Matt Brown). A Common Loon was reported on 12/5 (Dennis Braddy).
A SHORT-EARED OWL was reported on 12/6 (Nick Bonomo) along FR58 in the San Rafael Valley; in past years they have been most frequently seen along FR58 east of the crossroads (FR 58/765/214 intersection).
A sub-adult #ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was reported on 12/2 (Matt Brown) about 2 miles east of the Elgin School on Elgin Road, southeast of Sonoita.
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 - Due to long-term construction, access to Sweetwater and Roger Road WRF has changed. See our Sweetwater page or http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/sweetwater for details. Mosquito control operations are scheduled at Sweetwater Wetlands from 6:30-8:30am on Mondays. The gate will open when operations are finished.
GREEN VALLEY - Green Valley WTP will be closed until spring 2014 for construction.
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 - Ash Canyon B&B is open; 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. Consider donating to preserve the property at http://www.abcbirds.org/paton/.
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.
SANTA CRUZ FLATS: Managers at the Evergreen Turf Farm (vicinity of Tweedy and Pretzer Rds) have requested that anyone birding there on the weekends please leave by 5:00 PM. This is due to security issues experienced by the Sod Farm. Birders are still welcome here at other times.
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.
GREEN VALLEY WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT: ALL birders in a party must sign in, not just one representative of said party. Also, please DO NOT park on the grass, due to fire danger from hot catalytic converters. Approach the gate and follow the directions on the call box there to contact the operators to open the gate for you.
AVRA VALLEY WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT: Gates open at 6AM and close PROMPTLY at 2PM (do not linger, you will be locked inside).
NOGALES SEWAGE PONDS: Remain closed to birders.
CORONA DE TUCSON WASTEWATER RECLAMATION FACILITY: Closed to birders.
SEAZ RBA Compiler - Tucson, AZ