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Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona: Birding the Border I 2016
May 6, 2016 to May 15, 2016
John Coons

Lazuli Buntings are migrants through southeast Arizona in May, and we saw a fair number, especially visiting the feeding stations at a few locations. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

We had a great nine days of birding in a variety of habitats in southeastern Arizona. We were fortunate to have a cool spell at the start of the trip, after a 100º day in Tucson just before we started. It warmed up for the latter part of our tour, but it was still pleasantly below the normal high temperatures. We started in the Tucson area, where we birded Sweetwater Wetlands before heading into the saguaro-laden Sonoran Desert. Here we had our first taste of desert birds, with a few Gilded Flickers and Rufous-winged Sparrow being the highlights. The next day, we birded our way to the Chiricahua Mountains, with a prolonged stop at the lake at Willcox, which provided our major waterbird influx of the trip. We then headed over the mountains, with stops among the cool firs and pines on our way to the Southwestern Research Station, our base for the next three nights. Here, we birded the higher elevations of the Chiricahuas, riparian canyons and desert flats. We then worked our way south through Douglas, with a quick stop at the historic Gadsden Hotel, before heading to Sierra Vista and an afternoon visit to Miller Canyon. The next two days found us birding the Huachuca Mountains for more area specialties. After a final morning there, we traveled west through the Sonoita Grasslands to Patagonia, where we visited the well-known feeders at the Paton's property, which is now run by Tucson Audubon. We spent the next two nights in the Nogales area, and did more birding in the Patagonia area before an afternoon and evening foray to California Gulch. We had a final morning in the Nogales area before birding our way north to Montosa Canyon, Green Valley and Madera Canyon, ending up back in Tucson. We drove 1006 miles during the course of our birding!

Highlights of our trip were many, and included the pair of Montezuma Quail that snuck in to the seed at the Rodriguez feeding station, a calling Zone-tailed Hawk near a nest in the Pena Blanca area, several sightings of Greater Roadrunner, a wonderful encounter with a calling Flammulated Owl, close views of both Whiskered and Western screech-owls, the Northern Pygmy-Owl being mobbed by a numbers of species, a tiny Elf Owl calling from its hole in a sycamore, a daytime view of a perched Spotted Owl, a fantastic experience with our Buff-collared Nightjar in California Gulch, a male Lucifer Hummingbird, close views of our calling Elegant Trogons in South Fork, Arizona Woodpeckers working the oak trees, a couple of pairs of very local Mexican Chickadees in the higher elevations of the Chiricahuas, singing Canyon Wrens, Bendire's and Crissal thrashers within a few minutes of each other, a nice look at a brightly-colored male Olive Warbler, a few beautiful Red-faced Warblers, Five-striped Sparrow perched a few meters away, and Scott's Orioles perched and singing, among the many others.

It was a lot of fun to bird with all of you and to share these great experiences. I hope we can do it again soon!

-- John

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) – We saw a pair on the Rio Rico Ponds and another two at Kino Springs.
GADWALL (Anas strepera) – There were a handful of these at the pond at Willcox.
MALLARD (NORTHERN) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) – There were a few at Willcox then we saw some more near the end of the trip in the Nogales area.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – There was a male at the pond at Amado this is a rather uncommon bird in SE Arizona in May.
CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera) – A pair of very pretty individuals were at Sweetwater on our first afternoon and again at Willcox
REDHEAD (Aythya americana) – A lingering bird was hiding in the reeds at the Kino Springs pond.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis) – A male was at the Sweetwater Wetlands on our first afternoon.
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – We saw a few of these but our first was a great view of one on a fence post at Willcox and right next to the road.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – This was a species we saw everyday of the trip.
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – We had a couple of great experiences with this special bird. A pair unexpectedly came into the feeding station at Bob Rodriguez's site and stayed for about 15 minutes. Then we had a group of two males and four females walking up a steep slope in Harshaw Canyon. Yip! Yip! Yip!
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – We heard our first few while owing in the Chiricahua Mountains before we started seeing them in the Huachuca Mountains. We finished up the trip with 17 individuals around the feeders in Madera Canyon.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – There were one or two handsome birds in breeding plumage at Willcox.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Formerly a quite local bird in SE Arizona, it has become more widespread in recent years.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – There were a few at Lakeside Park that were giving some local fishermen pointers.

We ended up seeing a few Scaled Quail, but one of our first -- on the fence post right next to the road -- was especially memorable. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – A few birds in nice breeding plumage were at the lake at Willcox.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – We saw a few of these in the Harshaw Canyon area where this is a quite local species.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – A beautiful adult flew right past us in Green Valley. This may have been the last new bird of the trip for us.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – We saw a couple of heavily streaked immature individuals before we came on to a nice adult. This is a quite pretty raptor when seen well.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – We had one flying over high in the Chiricahua's and some folks saw another there just before our checklist session at SWRS but then we had great views of one in Pena Blanca Canyon that was at a nest.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – There were a few at the lake at Willcox.
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – A surprising number of these striking shorebirds were at the lake at Willcox.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – We saw one lone bird on the beach at Willcox.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Several individuals were seen at Willcox where this is a regular migrant.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – Outnumbered by the Least Sandpipers, we saw a handful at Willcox.
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – There were two individuals along the shoreline at Willcox.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – We estimated about 35 birds at Willcox. Less than half of them were nicely colored females.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) – We saw one at Willcox swimming around with the Wilson's Phalaropes then another at Pena Blanca Lake on our last day.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan) – Two birds that were still molting in to breeding plumage were on the sandbar at the lake at Willcox.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – We saw five individuals along the road at South Fork that perched briefly before taking off. Then we had a better view of one that Mike spotted in Montosa Canyon on our last day.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – This is another species we saw everyday of the trip.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – This wonderful southwest icon showed well on several days. One can't not stop to look at this great bird.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – We saw two birds peaking out from the pipe near Rodeo, NM.
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) – This was one of the trip highlights. After trying earlier we returned and not long after dusk heard this small out tooting and we spotted it in a nearby oak tree for a great look. This is one of the toughest of the western owls to see and to get it so well was a treat. We also got to share it with Lyndon and family.
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – In the desert outside of Portal we had a wonderful view of this handsome little owl perched in an oak tree and calling.
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – On our first evening of owling in the Chiricahua Mountains we got great looks at this local specialty.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – We saw two adults with two young owlets along State Line Road. Then Ken heard one calling in the early morning at our hotel at Rio Rico.

This Greater Pewee that we saw so well in Carr Canyon was really belting out his song from the top of a tree. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma) – We had good looks at two individuals and heard a couple more in our travels which was was unusually high. The first one we saw was in Pinery Canyon but the second one, in Pena Blanca Canyon, was really drawing a crowd of small birds that were giving it the business.
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – Another good experience was hearing this tiny owl calling from a sycamore and we could not see it. It was finally spotted in its hole in the tree. As we watched, the likely male flew up and did an exchange at the nest. Really cool!
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – We had a rather close view of a bird halfway out of its hole staring at us.
SPOTTED OWL (Strix occidentalis) – Jeff spotted this great bird in a Douglas Fir in Miller Canyon. It was well worth the walk up the canyon trail in the warm afternoon.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – We saw a handful flying about over the mesquite desert outside of Portal.
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – We heard a few in the distance but had one come in and make a couple of passes in the light rather close to us in the desert outside of Portal.
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – This was a fantastic experience in California Gulch. We heard one start to vocalize before it got dark and I thought we had a chance of seeing it then but it was behind dense vegetation. Eventually the bird became more vocal and we ended up seeing this rarity perched on an exposed branch in plain sight.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – During our Flammulated Owl searching we had one finally call fairly closely to us and spotted it two or three times as it passed overhead. This is a much larger bird than the Poorwill we saw the next night.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – We saw these on a few days but the most memorable experience was watching the pairs mating in the air. They seemed to lock together and were tumbling toward earth before separating after dropping below the trees.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – We saw several individuals with our best views at the Beatty's feeders in Miller Canyon.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – A few were visiting the feeders at SWRS and we saw and heard a few more on our walks in the Chiricahuas. This is a species that used to be common in the Huachuca Mountains but now is almost a rarity there.
LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – A gorgeous male made a couple of appearances at the feeders at the Ash Canyon B&B. This is another quite local specialty.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – This common species was visiting all the feeder stations we visited.
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna) – We had a number of good views of stunning males. This is a species we did not regularly see in May many years ago. It is not know for sure why they hang around now.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – We heard several buzzing over in the mountains we visited but we finally had good views of males and females at the feeders in Miller Canyon.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – Many were seen well at a few of the feeding stations.
VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia violiceps) – Another very local species in Arizona, we had two or three encounters with an adult at the Paton's feeders in Patagonia.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – After not getting a sniff from these birds on our first morning in the Chiricahiua Mountains we returned and ended up with great views of a male and female of this wonderful bird. Later we heard another one or two calling up Pena Blanca Canyon.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis) – This desert species showed well on our first afternoon outside of Tucson.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides scalaris) – This is the desert version of the Downy Woodpecker. We saw a few with the best looks at the suet feeder at Ash Canyon and again at the Paton's.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – A mountain bird in southern Arizona we saw these in the higher elevations of the Chiricahuas.
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae) – Another specialty of southeastern Arizona we had nice looks at this brown-backed woodpecker.
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)
GILDED FLICKER (Colaptes chrysoides) – We ended up with great views of this specialty to the Sonoran Desert where it mostly nests in saguaro cactus. We had about three individuals in the very pretty desert just outside of Tucson.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – A singing male was seen quite well at the Roadside Rest outside of Patagonia. This is the smallest flycatcher in North America and once we found it, it seemed to follow us.
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – A very vocal individual was blasting out its distinctive "Jose Maria" song at the top of Carr Canyon.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – This was a rather common voice just about anytime we were in the pine forests.
HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) – A calling bird was seen in South Fork in the Chiricahuas on our first morning there.
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – This is the Empidonax flycatcher that breeds in the mountains throughout Arizona. We had our best views in the Chiricahuas.
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – Also, a rather local species . We had nice views of a few of these smallish Empidonax in Carr Canyon. It is one of the more distinctive members of the genus.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – The most conspicuous one was in the clearing in front of our rooms at SWRS.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – During our time we saw a handful of these quite distinctive flycatchers including a female going to a nest at Patagonia.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens) – We saw several of these, usually in the drier habitats throughout the trip.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Our first was in the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson, then we saw a few more in riparian habitats.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – We had great looks at a calling bird at Sweetwater Wetlands on our first afternoon. This is another quite local species in Arizona.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)
THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris) – There were two individuals we saw very well at the famed Roadside Rest near Patagonia.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – This was the most common of the four species of kingbirds that we encountered.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

We saw a beautiful pair of Elegant Trogons in South Fork that began vocalizing when the sunlight hit the canyon bottom in the cool morning. We enjoyed great looks at them for several minutes before they drifted into the trees. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii) – We saw this skulker in a few places but we had nice looks at Sweetwater Wetlands on our first day. The distinctive song makes up for the very plain plumage of this bird.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) – This was a common voice anytime we were in the canyons and mountains.
CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) – We saw one of these migrants in the Chiricahuas.
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni) – We had nice looks at a singing bird in the mixed pine-oak habitat in the Chiricahuas and a couple more later on.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – On our last morning we saw a migrant individual in Montosa Canyon.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) – Our only ones were at the higher elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains.
WESTERN SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma californica) – We had pretty good views at the top of Carr Canyon.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – We saw these most days of the trip.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris) – There were a fair number of these widespread birds around the lake at Willcox.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – There were a few around the ponds at Sweetwater Wetlands.
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – One or two were seen in the saguaro desert outside of Tucson on our first afternoon.
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – We had a few great views of this Chiricahua specialty in both Pinery Canyon and again in the Rustler Park area.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – This quite handsome Parid is a riparian bird in Arizona.
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – We did a bit of looking before we had a good look at this species in the juniper habitat near Paradise.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – We had a few nice looks at this quintessential desert bird in the Tucson area at the beginning and end of the trip.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis) – In the upper elevations of the Chiricahuas we saw this well-known species.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea) – This small nuthatch appeared a few times in the upper Chiricahuas.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana) – Formerly a rather uncommon species in the Chiricahuas in spring, they seem to have become more common after the fires.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – A quite well-known song of the southwest deserts, we saw a few in the canyon country.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – This large wren was seen in the saguaro forests in the Tucson area.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura) – We had great close views of this desert dweller on our first day and again on our last day in Montosa Canyon.
BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila nigriceps) – On our last day we had a fairly close view of this rarity in Montosa Canyon. This bird showed a long bill and was quite responsive but its tail was missing a few feathers.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – In the Carr Canyon area and again in Harshaw Canyon we saw a couple of these popular bluebirds.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – A few were seen and we heard the beautiful song wafting through the pines in the Chiricahua Mountains.

Rufous-winged Sparrow is a species that is almost completely tied to the Sonoran Desert, where this individual showed well on our first afternoon. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – This widespread desert bird was seen several days including one on a nest at the San Pedro House.
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – We had great looks at this local specialty in the desert below Portal. We had one or two individuals in the scope where we could easily see the shorter bill compared to the other thrasher species in the area.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) – This is a very tough bird to see in May as they nest earlier in the spring therefore becoming less vocal and more skulky, but we had a brief scope view.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – Our first ones were in the St. David area then we saw a few more near Patagonia.
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – We did a lot of looking for this unusual species. After not finding it in the strong winds in the Chiricahua Mountains we found a female first then we walked up the slope and had a nice look at a brightly colored male.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata) – Another migrant, we saw a few here and there.
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) – A desert species, we had a few looks early but cleaned it up later in the week.
NASHVILLE WARBLER (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) – Jeff and Darry saw a migrant at the Research Station.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata) – We saw both migrants in the lowlands and breeding birds in the upper elevations of the Chiricahua and Huachuca Mountains.
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Another southwest specialty , we had a few nice looks.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – We may have set a record for most Black-throated Grays seen over a 3-4 day period.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – There were a surprising number of these migrants seen during our time in the mountains.
HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis) – We ran in to two individuals, one in the Chiricahuas and another in Carr Canyon.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – A great local species, we saw these in the Chiricahuas.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Another colorful warbler, we saw a few in South Fork, the Huachuca Mountains and even mobbing the pygmy-owl in Pena Blanca Canyon.
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – Doug spotted the first one singing from a large tree in the St. David area.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) – On our first afternoon we had wonderful looks at this specialty. This and the Gilded Flicker are the two species that are essentially endemic to the Sonoran Desert. This is one of my favorite sparrows.
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii) – On our way into Ramsey Canyon we heard one singing from the mesquite grassland and ended up getting great close views of this rather nondescript sparrow.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis) – It took some looking but we finally got a nice view of this quite local species in the juniper habitat near Portal.
BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri) – I know Sandy and Brenda saw a few on the first day near the motel but I'm not sure we had this wintering species on our tour.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – The best views were at Bob Rodriguez's feeders along the wash outside of Portal.
FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – We had great close views of this quite special species in California Gulch. This is a species with a very restricted range in the US and it was worth the bouncing on the washboard road to get there.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus) – We saw a good number of these birds in flocks on several days of our trip. They were still hanging around in the warm weather and had not yet headed north.
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – Another southern Arizona specialty, we saw several in the higher elevations of the Chiricahua and Huachuca Mountains.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha)
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii) – Jeff and Darry saw a late migrant along the creek in Cave Creek Canyon.
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)
ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti) – This is pretty much a riparian species in most of Arizona and we saw it well on our first afternoon at Sweetwater Wetlands.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) – A handful were seen well in the higher desert but our first was coming to drink in Cave Creek in South Fork.
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) – Another migrant that was still around, we saw this handsome towhee feeding on seed on the ground in Portal.
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) – We heard many more than we saw and we still saw a good number.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – Our best views were in the Chiricahua Mountains where we saw a handful of males and females.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – The first one we saw was at SWRS, then we found a few more when we got into lower elevation sites.
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – A real beauty we saw this species almost every day of the trip.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – A gorgeous male was teed up on a mesquite tree in the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson on our first afternoon.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – A rare but regular visitor to SE Arizona in the spring, we saw a brilliantly colored male that visited the Rodriguez feeders outside of Portal.
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – Most of our sightings were at feeding stations where they were usually seen picking about on the ground. A couple of the males were mostly molted in to full breeding plumage.

One of the most restricted-ranged breeding birds in North America, the Five-striped Sparrow showed well for us in California Gulch. Photo by participant Doug Happ.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – This race of Eastern Meadowlark is a likely candidate for a split, but we have been saying that for a long time.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – The first arrivals of the year showed up at the Rodriguez feeders while we were there.
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – A pair were seen mobbing the pygmy-owl in Pena Blanca Canyon on our last day.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii) – Formerly lumped with Baltimore Oriole, this quite distinct species made a handful of appearances during the week plus of birding.
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – The oriole with the prettiest song in the US, we saw a few of these with our first ones seen on our way up to the higher reaches of the Chiricahua Mountains.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – It was quite a surprise to see two small birds in the top of an Arizona cypress tree in South Fork and scope them to find out they were a pair of Red Crossbills. Unfortunately, they took off before all could get a closer look.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – It was a good year for this irruptive species.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – We saw these everyday.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [*]

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus) – We saw a couple of these familiar rabbits in the mountains.
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – Lots of these native food sources were seen.
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – This large rabbit was seen a few times later in the trip.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis)
HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii)
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)
ROUND-TAILED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus tereticaudus) – These were the prairie-dog like critters we saw at burrows and heard their piping.
MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis)
ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis) – We saw two or three in the Huachuca Mountains where this mammal does not venture far from water.
BOTTAE'S POCKET GOPHER (Thomomys bottae) – We saw a lot of their diggings around the burrows at SWRS.
YELLOW-NOSED COTTON RAT (Sigmodon ochrognathus) – One was spotted near the cabins at SWRS.
GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – A nice looking individual was spotted on the edge of the golf course near Kino Springs.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – It was somewhat of a surprise to see a large individual trot across the main street of Portal and head over to the creek for a drink as if he did it everyday. It was just like he owned the place.
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – We saw a couple in the desert lowlands which is the expected spot for this species.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – A relatively small form of this species is found in SE Arizona and is often referred to as the "Coue's Deer."
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana) – It was great to see a group of about 14 in the grassland on our way to Douglas. Formerly quite regular here, these were the first ones I have seen in this stretch of highway for several years. This is probably due to the several years of drought.
AMERICAN BULLFROG (Lithobates catesbeianus)
CHIRICAHUA LEOPARD FROG (Rana chiricahuensis)
POND SLIDER (Trachemys scripta)
STRIPED PLATEAU LIZARD (Sceloporus virgatus)
DESERT SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus magister)
YARROW'S SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus jarrovii)
SONORAN SPOTTED WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis sonorae) – This species appears to be the one we saw a few times but I am not completely sure. It is quite similar to a couple of other species but the habitat was right for this one.


Totals for the tour: 194 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa