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Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona: Birding the Border II 2018
May 19, 2018 to May 28, 2018
Dave Stejskal

Adding a bit tropical flavor to the avifauna of Southeast Arizona was a pair of nesting Rose-throated Becards near the town of Tubac, south of Tucson. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Weather in mid-May can be hot and windy, but we had minimal wind to deal with on this tour this year and the heat was pretty tolerable, I thought (remember, it's a dry heat!). Another worry that's always in the back of my mind for these springtime tours in Arizona is the threat of fire. With our unusually dry fall, winter, and spring preceding this year's tour, fire was a real possibility. But we managed to dodge a bullet this year after that fire on the west side of the Chiricahuas was contained a few days before the start of our trip, thank goodness. So, with the weather and the fire threat not really affecting the outcome of our tour together, you'd think that we'd have a great trip – and we did!

We really started the trip off right with some nice feeder birding in Madera Canyon and then a bunch of nightbirds after a picnic dinner – Common Poorwill, Lesser Nighthawk, Elf Owl, Whiskered Screech-Owl, and Mexican Whip-poor-will. How cool was that! The next morning, we made a run to Sweetwater Wetlands for a few things that prefer a moister habitat in this desert region. Then it was off to the Chiricahua Mountains to the east.

The Chiricahuas provided us with a lot of birding excitement in a beautiful setting, all the while being very comfortably based at the American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Research Station. Every time I stay in the Chiricahuas, it makes me wish that I lived closer to them than in Tucson! We filled our days there with lots of Southeast Arizona specialties, including the likes of Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee, Red-faced Warbler, Yellow-eyed Junco, and many others. We got a real feel for the variety of the habitats there, too, with montane riparian woodlands, pinyon pine/juniper foothills, Madrean oak forest on the slopes, dry Chihuahuan Desert flats, and rolling grassland. There's quite a lot packed into a relatively small area, which is why this region is so rich.

After the Chiricahuas, we drove back to the west to the Huachuca Mountains and Sierra Vista. We weren't lacking much here after having done so well in the Chiricahuas, but the Huachucas really produced well for us with great looks at Montezuma Quail, Lucifer Hummingbird, Zone-tailed Hawk, Botteri's Sparrow, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, and others. And that Bobcat on our way up to Carr Canyon was a real treat, too!

Next was the Patagonia/Nogales area, a region loaded with lots of juicy possibilities. We did great here, too, with our best looks at Gray Hawk, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Varied Bunting, Rose-throated Becard, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, and Buff-collared Nightjar, among others. It was a shame to have to wrap it up after we left Nogales and headed back north to Tucson!

Thank you all so much for joining me on this great trip and allowing me to show off the state that I love so much. It's always a thrill for me to show off the landscapes, plants, and wildlife – including all of those birds – to people who appreciate them, too. I hope we can all travel together again on another birding adventure soon! Good birding, Dave

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

Montezuma Quail were tough to come by on this tour this year, likely due to the very dry conditions statewide this year. We did enjoy fabulous looks at a pair of these striking quail frequenting the feeders at Ash Canyon near Sierra Vista. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – A couple of sleeping birds on the aerators at the Amado sewage ponds.
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis) – This pair was present at Willcox for most of May, but they weren't there on our second visit on Day 5 [b]
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) – This one occasionally breeds in Southeast Arizona, but I'm sure the ones we saw were still heading north. [b]
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) – Many of the ducks that we saw at Willcox were late lingering birds from winter/spring and do not breed locally. [b]
GADWALL (Mareca strepera) – We saw many more than usual of this one and the next species at Willcox. [b]
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) [b]
MALLARD (NORTHERN) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) – This familiar green-headed form is typically outnumbered by "Mexican" Ducks or intergrades between Mallard and "Mexican" Duck.
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) – We saw quite a few of these at Willcox, where they breed.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Anas crecca) – A few late birds at Willcox. [b]
REDHEAD (Aythya americana) – A single late female at Willcox. [b]
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis) – This one breeds in small numbers at both Willcox and at Patagonia Lake.

This newly-arrived Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher is one of four species of cavity-nesting flycatchers found in the mountain canyons of Southeast Arizona. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – This one used to be easier to find east of the Chiricahuas, but I'm finding more Gambel's Quail out there now.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – One of the most charismatic species in all of Arizona! [N]
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – After 'dipping' in the Chiricahuas this year, we eventually got great views of a pair of these at the feeders in Ash Canyon at the base of the Huachucas.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – These put on quite a show at the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon. All of the Wild Turkeys that we see now in Southeast Arizona are offspring of reintroduced birds from the 1980's. [I]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – One or two late birds at Willcox. [b]
CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii) – We found a distant sleeping bird at the dam at Patagonia Lake SP. [b]
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A single bird on that first full morning at Sweetwater in Tucson, but then we had 25 or so at Patagonia Lake SP near the end of the tour. The numbers of this one have really increased in Arizona in the past two decades, and now 1000's breed in the Phoenix area!
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – A couple of birds with the above Neotropics.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

One of the last birds seen on our tour this year was this gorgeous male Varied Bunting coming to the feeders in Madera Canyon south of Tucson. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – One of the birds that we saw at Willcox our second time through may have been a White-faced X Glossy hybrid. [b]
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Only in the Patagonia/Nogales area on this tour.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis) – This bird appeared to still be incubating on the nest in the Huachucas. [N]
COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus) – One of the big surprises early on was seeing this immature bird lift off from Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson and soar overhead. This one is quite rare in Tucson proper and is a bird I seldom see on this tour (it's much more common in central Arizona). [b]
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – We were down to our final afternoon before we found this one flying high above Green Valley. Great spotting, Josh!

Many of the mountain canyons in Southeast Arizona host a pair or two of scarce Spotted Owls, but finding them during the daytime on a roost can often be a tricky task! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – This beautiful raptor has rapidly increased in numbers and in range in s. Arizona, now being found regularly north of Phoenix.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – We had a stretch of six days in a row with this one (all light-morph birds, too).
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Linda spotted our first one high in Carr Canyon in the Huachuca Mts.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) – Only at Sweetwater Wetlands on this tour.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) [N]
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – At least one pair of these seemed to be incubating eggs at Willcox this year. [N]
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – Good numbers of paired birds at Willcox again this year, but I didn't spot any birds nesting there.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus) – A single bird on our second visit made several folks very happy! [b]
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – A few late birds still moving through at Willcox. [b]
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – Numbers of these had dwindled down to just five birds on our second visit to Willcox. [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Mid-May seems to be the peak of spring migration for this one in Southeast Arizona. [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – A single bird on our second Willcox visit. [b]
WILLET (Tringa semipalmata) – Three birds on our first visit to Willcox. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) – The most frequently-seen gull species in Southeast Arizona at any season. [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – There always seem to be a few of these in the Portal area.

Green Kingfisher is a very rare and sporadic breeder in Southeast Arizona, so finding this female at Patagonia Lake SP was a real treat for our group. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – I scratch my head every time I see this one in Southeast Arizona since it used to be so common in the region only two decades ago. Numbers plummeted around the turn of the century for no apparent reason and they've yet to rebound.
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina) – Never really that common anywhere.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Common and conspicuous nearly everywhere on this tour.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – I don't think that the numbers of this species or the above White-winged have been adversely affected by the invasion of Eurasian Collared-Doves in the state.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – We had more than our fair share of sightings of this unpredictable species during the tour.
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) – YESSSS!!!! It seemed to take us forever to track this one down, but we finally found it peering down at us from the top of a Ponderosa Pine near the Research Station one evening. Honestly, I was about to give up on it! I'm sure glad that I didn't since it was Don's 700th World Bird!
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – A roosting bird in a Fremont Cottonwood at the San Pedro House was a real treat!
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – We saw one of these Southeast Arizona specialties fly in to a tree in the fading light, allowing us to study it at length before we departed. This one is a little smaller than the above Western Screech-Owl and it generally occupies denser forest at higher elevations.
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (MOUNTAIN) (Glaucidium gnoma gnoma) – We found a couple of these tiny owls on our last morning in the Chiricahuas. The birds of the Southeast Arizona mountains call with paired notes, unlike birds to the north and west of here. More than one species might be involved.

The beautiful Scott's Oriole is not only lovely to look at, but it's also an excellent songster. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – This was the first of the owls that we saw on this tour, making an appearance shortly after we had finished our picnic dinner on that first evening.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – We saw a reliable family of these decreasing owls in front of the Chase Bank in s.w. Tucson.
SPOTTED OWL (MEXICAN) (Strix occidentalis lucida) – Thanks to Josh's sharp eyes, we were all treated to fabulous looks of a perched bird next to the road in the Chiricahuas. Much to our delight, a second bird joined the first after it had crossed the road and the two began to allopreen until they decided that they'd had enough of us! WOW!!!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Quite a few of these flew by as we waited for the owls to start calling in Madera Canyon on that first evening together.
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – Much shorter-tailed than the next two species. Good flight views on the first evening and then we almost ran one over on our way out of California Gulch!
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – Although it didn't behave as well as I would have liked, we still came away with great views in flight just after sunset near the Mexican border. A very local bird within the state, but common farther south in Mexico.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae) – I rarely ever get this one perched on the roadside, but he gave us pretty good looks before he flew off into the woods. A recent split from the familiar Eastern Whip-poor-will.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – Daily in the mountains on the first half of the tour. After mid-May, this is really the only swift species that one would expect to see in the state.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Formerly known as the Magnificent Hummingbird, the name just recently got reverted back to what I learned while growing up in Arizona. The name change is due to a split between this one and the the birds in the highlands of Costa Rica and w. Panama.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – Easy to see in the Chiricahuas. This is the largest of the regularly occurring hummingbird species within the U.S.

A pair of scarce Thick-billed Kingbirds was far to the east in the town of Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – We didn't have to wait too long before a stunning male showed up at the feeders in Ash Canyon at the base of the Huachuca Mts. Still quite local in Southeast Arizona, this site seems to be the most reliable one for it.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – Still the most common and widespread hummer in Southeast Arizona, but I think that Broad-billed Hummingbird might take those honors soon.
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna) – Probably the most common hummer year-round in the cities of s. Arizona.
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte costae) – We never got an adult male, but we had a couple of imm./female birds along the roadside near Patagonia in the flowering Desert Honeysuckle.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – Mostly in the mountains on this tour, but there were a few late migrants near Patagonia in the above honeysuckle.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – This beauty has seen an incredible increase in numbers and range in the past couple of decades.
VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia violiceps) – At least a couple of these striking Southeast Arizona specialty hummers at the feeders in Patagonia - the easiest place in the U.S. to see them!
Trogonidae (Trogons)
ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – We ran into at least three of these gaudy Southeast Arizona specialties on our walk along South Fork in the Chiricahuas. Our first male was a little flighty, but the pair we had later really were confiding! One of those 'must see' species when you come to Arizona at this season.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – A female was heard to be sticking around during the tour and we were rewarded with great looks through the scope after Josh spotted her sitting quietly above the stream just upstream from the lake.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – These spent more time at the hummingbird feeders than most anyplace else!

This day-roosting Western Screech-Owl near Sierra Vista gave us some excellent scope studies one afternoon. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis) – Common around Tucson, even at our airport hotel.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides scalaris) – The closest relative of this one is the Nuttall's Woodpecker to the west.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – These Rocky Mountain Hairy Woodpeckers nearly completely lack the white spotting in the wings that you see on Eastern birds.
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae) – Great views of this specialty woodpecker in the Chiricahuas and at Madera Canyon.
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)
GILDED FLICKER (Colaptes chrysoides) – We found a very responsive bird in the Tucson Mountains just west of the city. Smaller with a higher-pitched voice than the Northern Flicker, this one is primarily a Saguaro cactus specialist.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – I sure don't see as many of these as I used to.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We did well with the big falcons on this trip, having a couple of sightings of both Peregrine and Prairie.
PRAIRIE FALCON (Falco mexicanus) – The best was the bird in the town of Portal on Day 4 of the tour.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – One of the first birds that we saw on our walk at Proctor Road at the mouth of Madera Canyon on the first afternoon. The smallest of the N. American flycatchers and found only here and in S. Texas within the U.S.

One of the 'must see' birds on any spring trip to Southeast Arizona is the stunning Elegant Trogon. This female was accompanied by a gorgeous male bird along the South Fork Trail in the Chiricahua Mountains. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – One flycatching in the 2011 burn at Rustler Park. [b]
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – Terrific views of this big pewee near Rustler Park in the Chiricahuas.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)
WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – A single on the last morning along the Santa Cruz R. near Tumacacori. This one is usually the last of the Empidonax flycatchers to move through in the spring. [b]
HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) – A single bird in the Chiricahuas was our only sighting. [b]
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis) – A few birds on our final morning along the Santa Cruz R. [b]
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – I wouldn't be disappointed at all if taxonomists decided to re-lump Pacific-slope and Cordilleran flycatchers as Western Flycatcher. It would uncomplicate my life a little.
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – The birds that we saw in Carr Canyon were expected there, but the multiple birds that we had near Rustler Park were a bit of a surprise. [N]
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – This one replaces Eastern Phoebe in the West.
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – Nesting under the eaves of cabins 4, 5, & 6 at the Research Station. [N]
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – These gorgeous birds were more in evidence once we got to the Patagonia/Nogales area near the end of the tour. Numbers of these, BTW, have just exploded in the Tucson area, especially in the winter months.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – We recorded this and the much larger Brown-crested Flycatcher every day on this tour. This one is very common in the oak woodland in the mountains and is the smallest of the three regular Myiarchus.
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens) – The dullest of the three Myiarchus, and the one that prefers the driest habitats.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – The race here in Southeast Arizona is the largest of the several races of this widespread species (it ranges south to n. Argentina!).
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – These long-distance migrants (they winter in w. Amazonia) had just arrived to breed in the mountains of Southeast Arizona a week before.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – We didn't really get the great looks at this one that we wanted until our final morning at the ponds in Nogales.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) – Our most common and widespread kingbird species on the tour.
THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris) – We had super looks at these local specialties at both Portal far to the east and then at Tumacacori north of Nogales.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae) – We walked in to an active nest late one afternoon near Tubac and had fabulous looks at a pair of these rarities. It was interesting to see an abandoned nest on the way in there – not sure if it was a nest from this year or last year...
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – This species seems to be holding its own in the West.

A water source in the desert is always going to be popular with the birds, such as with this adult male Bronzed Cowbird at Ash Canyon near Sierra Vista. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii) – Folks found a fledgling being fed by an adult bird at California Gulch while I was making dinner. [N]
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni) – Never out of earshot while in the oaks.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) – This is the only member of the old "Solitary Vireo" split that breeds in Arizona.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – Very few this year and none singing.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) – We saw this one only on our day in the highest reaches of the Chiricahuas. This one got hit hard by West Nile virus, but it has since recovered.
WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) – Nicely at the Portal feeders. Recently split from the California Scrub-Jay.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – Easily the most common jay in the mountains of Southeast Arizona.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – It was great to see an active nest in one of the isolated mesquite trees next to the road south of Rodeo, NM. [N]
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – The most common raven throughout Arizona, this one is very often misidentified as the above Chihuahuan Raven by over-eager visiting (and local!) birders.
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

This lingering White-crowned Sparrow at the Portal feeders was the Rocky Mountain breeding race Z.l. oriantha, which sports black lores and a pink bill. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – A common breeder in the mountains of Southeast Arizona.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – A few still heading north at Willcox on both of our visits there. [b]
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – It was great to see the big colony of dark-foreheaded birds (subspecies melanogaster) nesting on the side of our Nogales motel!
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – We eventually found several of these local specialty birds high in the Chiricahuas. This is the only place within the U.S. where you can go to see this bird.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – Darned cute!
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – Not much in the way of field marks on this one – but it does have that crest. This is about as far south in the world that this one gets.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – Almost daily on this tour, but restricted to the lowlands.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus) – These interior Western birds look pretty different from the birds on the West Coast - maybe a split sometime in the future?

Distinctively pale, this 'Lilian's' Eastern Meadowlark, the only meadowlark that breeds regularly in Southeast Arizona, gave us some super views next to the road on the Arizona-New Mexico border. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis) – A few very close birds high in the Chiricahuas.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis nelsoni) – Almost daily. These Western mountains birds sound different from both birds on the West Coast and birds in the East.
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea) – The Western replacement species for the Brown-headed Nuthatch.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana) – I predict that once someone does the genetic work and does a thorough analysis of the song differences in this widespread but highly variable species, it will be split into a few different species.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – One of the most characteristic songs of the West.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – Arizona's State Bird was seen quite well on a few occasions.
SINALOA WREN (Thryophilus sinaloa) – Darn it! We were so close! [*]
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – Pretty common in the oak forest of the mountains.
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura) – One of the first birds of the trip was this little guy near the mouth of Madera Canyon on that first afternoon.
BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila nigriceps) – We really struck gold with this one near Patagonia when we found a couple of vocal males not too far apart from each other on Blue Heaven Rd. When I went back to get our van, I found out why that first male was so vocal - he and his mate were busy feeding a couple of recently fledged juveniles!
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (MEXICAN) (Sialia sialis fulva) – We found a male that was just singing his little head off at the top of Carr Canyon. This race, often referred to as "Azure" Bluebird, is much duller in plumage than the nominate race to the east, S. s. sialis. That eastern race is now breeding locally in the Tucson area and it'll be interesting to see what happens when these two races meet.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – Great looks at this migrant at the bridge at South Fork in the Chiricahuas. [b]
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – The breeding birds in the mountains here are larger and paler than what you've probably seen at home.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius) – Nearly restricted to the mountains here in Arizona.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – The common thrasher in much of the desert habitat of Southeast Arizona.
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – This one is much more local than the above Curve-billed, and we were lucky to see it a couple of times at Willcox and near Portal.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) – We found a responsive bird in a likely-looking patch of habitat near Sierra Vista. This one can be very quiet and sneaky at this season.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

These re-introduced Wild Turkeys put on quite a show for us on our first visit to Madera Canyon on the first afternoon of the tour. Video by guide Dave Stejskal.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – We finished 2/3 of our tour before we laid eyes on this one! [I]
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – Really impressive numbers of these along Sonoita Creek near Patagonia.
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – Nice looks at this monotypic family in the pines high in the Chiricahuas – and ABA #600 for Jean!! WOO HOO!!
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) – Quite common once we got to the Patagonia/Nogales area. [N]
VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis virginiae) – Another one of the 'ladies' (Olive, Lucy, Virginia, & Grace) that was seen very well on this tour (both in the Chiricahuas and in the Huachucas).
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) – It looks like this one isn't going to be split from the "Myrtle" Warbler this year.
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Great looks, especially in the Huachucas.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – Almost entirely black, white, and gray – there is that tiny spot of yellow on the lores.

This adult Peregrine Falcon flying over Portal got the other birds' attention! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER (Basileuterus rufifrons) – Heard in Hunter Canyon after a long hike up, but it wouldn't budge. [*]
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Our most common migrant warbler on the trip. [b]
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – The 2011 fire really took out a lot of this species' habitat in the Chiricahuas, but we were able to find one responsive male at Barfoot Park after a picnic lunch there. One of my favorite Southeast Arizona birds!
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Close behind in the favorite category is this one, which is common throughout the mountains of Southeast Arizona.
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) – We had several sightings of this local species, including on the first afternoon and way to the east near Portal.
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii) – This one performed like a champ for us near Sierra Vista on our last morning there. It turned out to be really common in the Las Cienegas area near Sonoita that same day.
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – Also at Las Cienegas was this little guy. The breeding race here is restricted to s. Arizona and n. Sonora.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis) – Jean and Catherine were the lucky ones to see this one well on our hike up Hunter Canyon. Th rest of us got no more than glimpses.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – This handsome sparrow was seen nicely at the Portal feeders.

Brown-headed Cowbirds doing what Brown-headed Cowbirds do on the way into California Gulch. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – This one appeared without making a sound, making me think that there was an active nest nearby. It's a rough ride in, but it's still the easiest place to see it in the U.S.!
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – Common in the pine forests of the mountains.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha) – We had a few late birds still frequenting the feeders. This is the race that breeds in the s. Rockies (rarely in n. AZ, though). [b]
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia) – Very pale here, unlike what you're likely used to at home.
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca) – This one avoids the wetter riparian habitats that Abert's Towhee favors.
ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti) – Easy at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) – Great views on our way up to Carr Canyon in the Huachucas.
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) – A late-staying migrant at the Portal feeders was nice. [b]
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) – Especially common in the regenerating oak woodland in the Huachucas.

If you're used to seeing Eastern Bluebirds in the East, then this one probably looked pretty pale and washed out to you. The race here, S.s. fulva, ranges from Southeast Arizona southward into Mexico and is distinctly paler overall than the nominate birds east of here. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – Now properly split out into its own family, Icteriidae.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – This one inhabits the pine/oak woodland in the mountains, and usually doesn't overlap with the similar Summer Tanager which prefers moister riparian habitats.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – We recorded this almost daily. This species has one of the most protracted spring migrations of any bird in Arizona.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – The breeding race here is C.c. superbus, and it is indeed superb!
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – Similar to the closely related Northern Cardinal, but that bill shape is unique.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – Karl spotted an adult male feeding in the fruiting mulberry tree along the Santa Cruz R. on our final morning. A rare migrant from the east here. [b]
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) – The Western replacement species of the above Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) – Daily.

A lovely splash of color at the feeders in Portal was this vibrant male Blue Grosbeak, newly-arrived from the wintering grounds in W. Mexico. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – Most of these had moved on to the north, but a few were still at the feeders near Portal.
VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor) – This colorful species was just arriving in numbers at the end of this tour and we had good looks at three different sites (none better than Madera Canyon on the final afternoon).
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – A few lingering non-breeders at Willcox on our second visit there.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – You'd think that the default meadowlark here in s. Arizona would be Western, right? Turns out that Western is a very rare breeder here and the only meadowlark in the grasslands here during the breeding season is this distinctive race of Eastern Meadowlark.
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – We had great views of adult males of all three of our regular oriole species at the Portal feeders, including the lovely Hooded.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – The only oriole here with a 'pretty' song.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – An especially good study of a bird taking a drink from the water feature at the Ash Canyon feeders near Sierra Vista.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii) – A few still hanging on at the feeders in Portal. [b]
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – A long-staying pair finally showed up late in the afternoon at Dave Jasper's feeders in Portal.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – Decent numbers still at the Portal feeders and elsewhere. [b]
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – Daily on this tour.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus) – This is the cottontail found in the oak/juniper woodland above the hot, flat desert.
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – This one really likes that hot, flat desert.
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – Much larger and lankier than the above cottontails.
ANTELOPE JACKRABBIT (Lepus alleni) – Even larger than the above Black-tailed, we saw this one exceptionally well on our way out of California Gulch.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – The only chipmunk species in the region.
HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii) – Sort of chipmunk-like, this one is unrelated to the true chipmunks. Great looks at the Portal feeders.
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) – The only mammal that we recorded daily on the tour.
ROUND-TAILED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus tereticaudus) – Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson is a reliable place to see this one.

We normally see the vibrant Coachwhip snake dashing across the road in front of our van as we drive the roads of southern Arizona, but this individual was uncharacteristically motionless in a dry creek bed near Sonoita late one morning. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – Seen by a few folks in the Chiricahuas – the only place to see this one in the U.S.
ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis) – Larger with a bushier tail, and more arboreal than the rather similar Rock Squirrel.
BOTTAE'S POCKET GOPHER (Thomomys bottae) – Very common in the main clearing at the Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahuas.
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – One of these was spotted trotting across the desert east of the Chiricahuas.
STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis) – We found this one while we searched for the Flammulated Owl in the Chiricahuas.
BOBCAT (Lynx rufus) – After running in front of our van and charging up the hill, this beautiful cat paused long enough to look back at us to give us a great, albeit quick, look at it.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – We had a decent-sized herd cross the Portal road just as we were arriving back in town from the first set of feeders.
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – A few of these out in the flat desert lowlands near the Chiricahuas. Also called the Black-tailed Deer.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – These small White-tailed Deer were unusually common this year in Cave Creek Canyon, likely due to the lack of water higher in the mountains. The race here is called Coues's White-tailed Deer.
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana) – Seen east of the Chiricahuas and in the Sonoita Grasslands.
COACHWHIP (Masticophis flagellum) – This big, pink snake was, quite atypically, immobile and in plain sight in the dry wash at Las Cienegas.
WESTERN DIAMOND-BACKED RATTLESNAKE (Crotalus atrox) – Thanks to a hot tip, we all enjoyed close looks at a small one resting in the relative coolness of the morning shade at Sweetwater Wetlands.

Our only rattlesnake of the tour was this inactive Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson on our first morning together. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

AMERICAN BULLFROG (Lithobates catesbeianus) – A real pest throughout the state, and a real threat to the native frogs in the region. [I]
CANYON TREEFROG (Hyla arenicolor) – Heard only in Madera Canyon that first evening. [*]
CHIRICAHUA LEOPARD FROG (Rana chiricahuensis) – Both the Research Station and the Beatty's have set up ponds to help conserve this threatened species.
POND SLIDER (Trachemys scripta) – Several at Sweetwater Wetlands on our first full morning. [I]
COMMON LESSER EARLESS LIZARD (Holbrookia maculata) – A few of us saw this one at Patagonia Lake. As the name suggests, this one has no external ear openings.
ORNATE TREE LIZARD (Urosaurus ornatus) – Common on fences, walls, and trees in the south-central part of the state.
SOUTHWESTERN FENCE LIZARD (Sceloporus cowlesi) – We had this one on our walk back to the van after seeing the pair of Rose-throated Becards at their nest.
DESERT SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus magister) – Very common at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson (and in my yard!).
CLARK'S SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus clarkii) – Similar to the above species, we saw a few throughout on larger trees. This one is paler overall than Desert, is more arboreal, and has dark banding on the forelimbs. It's also an important prey item for Gray Hawk!
TEXAS HORNED LIZARD (Phrynosoma cornutum) – Josh spotted this guy working through the grass at the edge of the road at Willcox. The long horns on the head and the dark diagonal striping on the face are the best field marks for this one. It's also one of the biggest of the horned lizards.
SONORAN SPOTTED WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis sonorae) – This seemed to be the most common whiptail in the leaf litter of the lower woodland habitats in the Huachucas and the Patagonia area. This is one of those all-female species that reproduces asexually.
DESERT GRASSLAND WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis uniparens) – This one lacks the spots on the back of the above species. Another all-female species.
TIGER WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis tigris) – Another common species at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson. This one reproduces sexually (i.e. – there are males in the population).


Totals for the tour: 206 bird taxa and 18 mammal taxa