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Field Guides Tour Report
May 17, 2013 to May 26, 2013
Chris Benesh

The view from the Southwestern Research Station, Chiricahuas. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

A wonderful group and some wonderful birds made for a memorable visit to Arizona's southeast corner this year. Highlights were many, including a bunch of nightbirds, three species of quail, many colorful warblers, orioles, tanagers, and buntings. Oh, and there were an assortment of poster birds for southeast Arizona: Elegant Trogon, Painted Redstart, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Montezuma Quail. All in all, there was a lot to see and experience. Thanks to all of you for all of the great spotting, the laughs, the stories, etc. This trip was a reunion for a few of you, and I look forward to traveling with all of you again in the future. Until that time, good birding to all.

-- Chris

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A big flock of some 28 birds seen in Rio Rico.

Enjoying kingbirds at the roadside rest. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi)
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)
CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera) – Seeing these colorful teal was a treat!
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata)
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii)
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – Well seen in the Chiricahuas on our drive up to higher elevations and then again on the drive to California Gulch.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – We were quite fortunate to see a lone bird at Pena Blanca Lake on our way out to California Gulch. This was one of the last sightings of this species in this area. The population, which had built up to 30 individuals, was wiped out when the lake was restocked with large mouthed bass this past year.
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

A breeding plumaged Eared Grebe in Willcox. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Bart spotted one for us that was really hiding well.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) – Great looks at one in St. David that was soon joined by a male who copulated with her.
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis) – Fantastic view of an adult bird that cruised past us on Mt. Lemmon.
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus)
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

A Swainson's Hawk eyes us from above. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – A couple of these cavorting together the first afternoon of the trip on Mt. Lemmon.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus) – Two seen at Willcox were a treat. This species is a scarce migrant in the state.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)
MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa)
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (Calidris fuscicollis) – Three of these were present at Willcox on our visit there. This species is still considered quite rare in the state.
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – A great showing of this species at Willcox, with a few Red-neckeds mixed in.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum) – Another local rarity, this was also at Willcox.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Thanks to a tip from John Coons, we had good scope views of one.
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Otus flammeolus) – With a bit of work we had some good views of this species in the Catalinas.
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii)
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – We had some great looks at owls on this trip, and one of the most memorable was the point blank study we had of this species. Wow!
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma) – A couple of good views, with perhaps the most exciting being the one Casper spotted for us at Barfoot Junction.
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi)
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – This species is still nesting in Tucson thanks to the placement of nest cavities along the banks of the Santa Cruz River.

This sleepy Spotted Owl showed nicely in Miller Canyon. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

SPOTTED OWL (Strix occidentalis) – Nice look at this scarce species in Miller Canyon. One of the most popular birds of the trip.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – Bart got us all on to the bird that was coming to feed between the cabins at SWRS.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – Great looks on Mt. Lemmon the first evening.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae)
LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – Leah spotted a male at Mary Jo's, the first that had been sighted in quite some time there.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte costae)
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris)
WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (Hylocharis leucotis) – Good views of a male coming to the Beatty's feeders in Miller Canyon.
Trogonidae (Trogons)

The male Elegant Trogon. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – A couple of nice looking males seen on the trip. One of the trip favorites!
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis)
RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus nuchalis)
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus)
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae)
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)
GILDED FLICKER (Colaptes chrysoides)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)
HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii)
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis)
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis)
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons)
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

A Thick-billed Kingbird enjoyed by the group south of Patagonia. (Video by guide Chris Benesh)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)
THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris) – Great looks at this scarce species at the famous roadside rest area.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Vireonidae (Vireos)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii)
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)
WESTERN SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma californica)
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi)
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – In the Sonoran desert of Arizona there is a breeding population of Purple Martins that nest in saguaros. We enjoyed a few of these in Tucson Mountain Park.
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Paridae (Chickadees and Tits)

One of the wonderfully silky Phainopeplas seen on the trip. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli)
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – Nice to see this species bouncing back after the big fire of 2011.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi)
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – Great looks at one coming to feeders in Paradise.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Wonderful to hear its song.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

A Bendire's Thrasher sits up near Rodeo. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – Nice view of a couple of birds near Rodeo.
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale)
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Ptilogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens)
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – Not a warbler and not olive colored, scented, or flavored.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae)
VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis virginiae) – This one took quite a bit of effort to see well, but we did connect in the end.
MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)

A record shot of the wonderful Slate-throated Redstart we saw at SWRS. Very few records for Arizona and the US. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae)
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – Great views of Red-faced Warbler near Rustler Park.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – One can never tire of watching the antics of this active, acrobatic species. What a looker!
SLATE-THROATED REDSTART (Myioborus miniatus) – We pulled into the parking lot at SWRS just in time to be told of the presence of a Slate-throated Redstart on the property. Thanks to Leah, we were watching it within 15 minutes. A super rare bird in Arizona.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps)
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)
ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis)
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii)
CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii) – Not normally very vocal in Spring, we had one along the Portal Road.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

A Five-striped Sparrow peering back at us. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – We had some terrific looks at this species in California Gulch.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata)
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – Really stunning views of one out on the grasslands on our way to Sonoita.
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis) – Leah spotted this local rarity at the edge of the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Willcox.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (MOUNTAIN) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha)
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus)
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena)
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

A male Indigo Bunting singing away in a Santa Rita side canyon. (Video by Chris Benesh)
VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor) – Some wonderful views of this species in the Patagonia area.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum)
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]


A large (presumed) Myotis bat seen near Patagonia. (Photo by guide Chris Benesh)

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus)
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis)
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)
NAYARIT FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – Better known as Mexican Fox Squirrel.
ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis)
BOTTAE'S POCKET GOPHER (Thomomys bottae)
BLACK BEAR (Ursus americanus)
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)


Bats are notoriously difficult to identify and often have to be enjoyed without putting a specific name to them. We saw a large apparent Myotis bat when we were birding along Blue Heaven Road in Patagonia. I am unsure of the species. We also enjoyed some nectar feeding bats at SWRS, but there are a couple of species that come in to feed, and I'm not sure if we saw one or the other or both. They are the Mexican Long-tongued Bat and the Lesser Long-nosed Bat.

Totals for the tour: 208 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa