ARIZONA WINTER SPECIALTIES
Exceptional winter birding on a short tour with numerous specialties and potential rarities.
Sandhill Cranes grace the sky above Arizona's Whitewater Draw in the Sulphur Springs Valley -- just a small fraction of the thousands that can typically be found here in winter. [Photo by guide Dave Stejskal]
Southern Arizona is a fabulous place for a birding tour in winter! Yes, the trogons and hummingbirds have largely departed, and nests hang empty in the trees. But other species have arrived to take their places. The wide San Rafael Grasslands seethe with a multitude of wintering finches. Scarce thrashers sing from mesquites in the desert near Phoenix. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes rise bugling from protected roosting sites in the Sulphur Springs Valley. A plethora of raptors ply the vast desert skies, searching for prey and thermals. Winter irruptives like Mountain Bluebirds and Lawrence's Goldfinches appear in varying numbers most years. And Mexican species wander across the border to add a tropical twist.
This short tour is designed to sample the riches found in several parts of southern Arizona in the winter: several key spots around Phoenix and Tucson, the riparian areas around Patagonia and Nogales, the San Rafael Grasslands near Sonoita, and the birdy Sulphur Springs Valley. We'll be based in Phoenix for one night and Tucson for four, and all of the areas we visit are easy day trips from very comfortable hotels. If you're looking to escape the winter blahs, head to southern Arizona for a truly exceptional winter birding experience!
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