A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Arizona: Birding the Border IV 2021

May 22-31, 2021 with Dave Stejskal guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Lucifer Hummingbird has probably increased in the state over the past several decades, but the spread of hummingbird feeders and feeder watchers likely accounts for most of the increased sightings. It was nice to see one of these actually feeding on some flowers for a change! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

We added this 4th departure of the Arizona: Birding the Border tour pretty late in the game, but the demand was certainly there for it. Even though this was the latest spring tour that I've ever guided in Southeast Arizona, the late start certainly didn't hurt us! Migrants were still coming through in decent numbers, the breeders had almost all arrived and were settled in (where were those Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, though?), and the windy conditions of the earlier tours had all but abated. The ongoing megadrought had bird activity and song subdued, but we were still able to dig most things out for a look.

We started out the tour with a trip down to nearby Madera Canyon - less than an hour south of our airport hotel. We had our first introductions to some of the widespread Southeast Arizona specialty birds here, and finished up our evening there with some fine looks at Elf and Whiskered Screech-owls after a picnic dinner. We added both Common Poorwill and Lesser Nighthawk to our tally for the day before we arrived back in Tucson for the night. It was a fine start this wonderful tour!

The tour route took us to the Chiricahua Mountains near the southeast corner of the state for three nights, then to the Huachuca Mountains just north of the Mexico border for a couple of nights, and finally to the productive Patagonia-Nogales area due south of Tucson for two more nights before we wrapped thing up on Memorial Day.

This tour recorded over 200 species of birds, with only six of those being 'heard only' and not being seen by anyone in the group. Mighty impressive for late May! We shared a number of memorable highlights on this one, with some of the best being that stunning male Montezuma Quail in the Chiricahuas, decent looks of rare Buff-collared Nightjar in the Pajarito Mountains west of Nogales, males of both Lucifer and White-eared hummingbirds in the Huachucas, at least four different sightings of Zone-tailed Hawk, both Northern Pygmy- and Spotted owls in the Chiricahuas, a fine male Elegant Trogon along the South Fork Trail, a subtly-plumaged female Rose-throated Becard nest-building near Tubac, cooperative Thick-billed Kingbird near Patagonia, close Mexican Chickadee high in the Chiricahuas, great looks of both Bendire's and Crissal thrashers in the desert near the Chiricahuas, close Olive Warbler near Rustler Park, excellent Five-striped Sparrow on our final day near Madera Canyon, and so many others. Throw in all of that wonderful scenery, some surprisingly good food throughout, decent weather (i.e. - not windy and no withering heat), I'd have to give our tour an 'A+'!

Thanks to all of you for joining me on this delightful trip, added to our schedule at the last minute! You were a fabulous group to travel with and I hope that we have a chance to bird together again if we happen to cross paths after my ultimate retirement!

—Cheers, 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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) [b]

Migrant ducks seemed to be lingering in Southeast Arizona longer than usual this year, including this one.

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We had to walk in a little farther on the South Fork Trail in the Chiricahuas to find this stunning male Elegant Trogon, but it was worth it! Photo by participant Len Sander.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]

Most of our late ducks were found at Willcox, which usually has a few lingering birds. Shovelers should be well north of here in late May.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera) [b]

This and the Am. Wigeon were both late at Willcox.

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) [b]

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)

MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi)

We had good looks at this recent split from Mallard, but we also saw a bunch of birds that appeared to be hybrids between the two.

NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) [b]

This was the strangest of the lingering ducks at Willcox, with very few May records at this site.

GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Anas crecca) [b]

REDHEAD (Aythya americana) [b]

A single adult male at Benson.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) [b]

These lingering Ring-necks have been at this little pond all winter and spring - and they're still there in July!

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata)

Willcox is a very reliable spot for this distinctive quail of open country.

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Definitely scoring very high on the 'cuteness meter' is this Bridled Titmouse, which is, rather delightfully, common and widespread in Southeast Arizona. Photo by participant Jan Wood.

GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii)

Numerous, especially at the feeders in the Portal area.

MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae)

Thanks to a very timely tip, we were able to get a look at this responsive male in the Chiricahuas late one morning. This has been a very difficult spring for this one - the drought has hit it hard.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) [I]

All of the birds that we saw and heard are likely decendents from birds reintroduced into the state in the '70's and '80's.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii) [b]

This one is a rare spring migrant in Southeast Arizona, where it does not breed, so the bird we saw at Patagonia Lake was notable.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

Scarce this spring in the Portal area.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

Can you believe that the first record in the state for this one was only in 2000? They're everywhere!

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

I think that our only birds this year were in Portal. The numbers of this one in the state have dropped off of a cliff, starting around the turn of the century. The reasons for this decline are unknown, but it does coincide with both the current megadrought and the appearance of West Nile disease in the state.

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)

We spotted a couple of birds on the greens of the Kino Springs golf course.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

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Our only breeding junco in Southeast Arizona is this Yellow-eyed Junco. Photo by participant Lois Wood.

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)

Nice looks at this characteristic, and charismatic, species.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

Fantastic looks at this one in Green Valley on our way back to the hotel.

COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii)

That bird in the middle of the road below Madera Canyon just wouldn't let us get very close.

BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi)

Excellent flight views and audio of this scarce and local Mexican species near the Mexican border at the end of the tour.

MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae)

We found one of these perched low in a pine next to the road in the Chiricahuas one evening for good looks. A rather recent split from the Eastern Whip-poor-will of eastern N. America.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

Very reduced numbers this spring, presumably related to the megadrought and the general lack of flying insects.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

Known as the Magnificent Hummingbird just a couple of years ago. Now split from the Talamanca Hummingbird of Costa Rica & Panama.

BLUE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis clemenciae)

We cleaned up our looks of this one at Rose Ann & Richard's place in Portal – and got to enjoy their good company for a bit one afternoon!

LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer)

Fantastic looks at an adult male at the Ash Canyon feeders late one afternoon! A very local bird in the state and in the U.S.

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

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This fine adult White-faced Ibis showed off the white feathered border to its bare red facial skin at Patagonia Lake State Park. Photo by participant Len Sander.


This one invaded Arizona from the west back in the '70's.

COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte costae)

We had our best encounter with this one at Felipe Guerrero's new house in Patagonia.

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)

Most of the migrants had already passed through the lowlands earlier in the month, so most of ours were at elevation on this tour, where they breed.

BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris)

This one and the above Black-chinned vie for the honors of 'most abundant hummingbird on the tour' every year.


Nice looks at Felipe's house and at the Paton's feeders in Patagonia.

WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD (Hylocharis leucotis)

This local Mexican specialty put in an appearance for us at the Miller Canyon feeders.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

SORA (Porzana carolina) [b]

A surprise at the Sweetwater Wetlands on our first morning together.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata) [*]

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) [N]

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

A few at Willcox on both of our visits.

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)

These seem to be ever-present at Willcox throughout much of the year.

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Lois spotted this tiny Elf Owl a few feet away from where we finished up our peach pie after a delicious picnic dinner in Madera Canyon! Photo by participant Lois Wood.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii) [b]

A single late migrant at Willcox.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) [b]

A couple of late migrants at Willcox as well.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) [b]

Another late migrant at Willcox.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) [b]

That imm. bird at Willcox had been there for a few weeks already, but I was surprised to see a group of four at Patagonia Lake.

CALIFORNIA GULL (Larus californicus) [b]

A surprise find with the above Ring-bills at Patagonia Lake.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

Decent numbers of these at Patagonia Lake, where they've never bred, rather surprisingly.

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)

A single bird with the above Neotropics at Patagonia Lake.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

I don't often see this one in Southeast Arizona but, when I do, they're usually at Willcox.

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The megadrought of the 2000's has really been hard on many birds, and especially on species like this male Montezuma Quail, which we saw well in the Chiricahuas. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) [b]

Most of these had already passed through the state earlier in the month.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

Very local in Southeast Arizona.

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) [b]

A very late migrant at the mouth of Miller Canyon.

COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis)

Nice looks in flight of an adult as we descended from the high elevation habitats in the Chiricahuas.

HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus)

A careful search in Sierra Vista yielded some decent views of a couple of perched adult birds – our only ones of the tour.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus)

We had our first high in the Freemont's Cottonwoods along the San Pedro River.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

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The red on both the throat and the crown help to separate this male Anna's Hummingbird from the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Photo by participant Lois Wood.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

We had more than our fair share of sightings of this uncommon species.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (Tyto alba)

Right where I left him on the last tour!

Strigidae (Owls)

FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) [*]

WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis)

Great looks on our first evening together.

WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii)

This and the above Whiskered look very similar – they're separated by habitat and by voice.

GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) [*]

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma)

Phyllis spotted this silent bird being mobbed by a bunch of small birds high in the Chiricahuas. Great looks! The race here is nominate G.g. gnoma, which some split out as the Mountain Pygmy-Owl.

ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi)

Lois spotted this tiny owl for us on our first evening together. What a look!

SPOTTED OWL (Strix occidentalis)

I was just about to start loading the van to leave when this one flew across the road in front of me. Whew! Len even got a pic!

Trogonidae (Trogons)

ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans)

We had to walk quite a ways in on the South Fork trail before we found this one – a silent male again – and we ended up with some good quality time with him.

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Our only Botteri's Sparrow was this one near the town of Hereford south of Sierra Vista. The ongoing drought made Botteri's nearly undetectable for birders throughout the spring this year. Photo by participant Jan Wood.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Our most common and widespread woodpecker on this tour.

GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis)

A close relative of the Red-bellied Woodpecker of the East.


Our smallest woodpecker in this region of the state.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Dark and small, compared to other races of this one.

ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Dryobates arizonae)

This local specialty was once called Brown-backed Woodpecker and Strickland's Woodpecker before Arizona Woodpecker was settled on – again.

NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

I think that we only recorded two birds on the entire trip.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

This one is probably nesting again somewhere in Cave Creek Canyon.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae)

That continuing female near Tubac was still at it building her huge nest high in the cottonwoods.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)


Great looks at this tiny flycatcher along the trail at Patagonia Lake.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) [b]

All of our birds were late migrants heading north.

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This male Mexican Duck (recently split from Mallard) showed us all that we needed to see to separate him from the very similar Mexican Duck X Mallards hybrids in the region. Photo by participant Len Sander.

GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)

Fantastic studies of a responsive bird high in the Huachucas.

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) [b]

I was really impressed with the numbers that were still going through in the Chiricahuas.

GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii) [b]

A very late bird along the South Fork trail showed well for us.

DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri) [b*]

PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis) [b]

I think that Kendall and I were the only ones to see this one in Box Canyon at the end of the tour.

CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis)

I sure wish that someone would re-lump this one and the Pacific-slope Flycatcher...

BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons)

Great views of this local specialty in Carr Canyon.

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) [N]

SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

With so many confusing flycatchers out there, it's nice to have one that's dead-easy to identify! And beautiful to boot!

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The distinctive Gambel's Quail was a hallmark species at every feeding station in the Chiricahuas. Photo by participant Lois Wood.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

The voice is the real give-away for this one. Nothing else here sounds like it.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

The largest of the N. American Myiarchus flycatchers.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Great looks at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson on our first full morning of the tour.

CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)

The most widespread kingbird on this tour, though the Western may have been slightly more common.

THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris)

Nice scope looks at this local specialty kingbird near Patagonia.

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii)

Easy to hear, not so easy to see.

HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)

Mostly in the oaks at this season.

CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) [b]

A couple of late birds in Tucson and the Chiricahuas.

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)

The breeding form of the old 'Solitary' Vireo in the state.

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One of the target birds that has gained some renewed interest in the mountains of Arizona since it was elevated to its own monotypic family is this Olive Warbler in the Chiricahuas. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

It's likely that Warbling Vireo will be split soon (there was a pretty convincing paper published recently suggesting a split), with Western Warbling-Vireo (V. swainsoni) being the breeding form here.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)

A couple of sightings only.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

On this tour, only in the conifer forests patches high in the Chiricahuas.

WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (WOODHOUSE'S) (Aphelocoma woodhouseii woodhouseii)

Found in drier, more open habitats than the similar Mexican Jay.

MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

Almost daily.

CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)

Definitely smaller and more crow-like in appearance – but it's still one of the most frequently misidentified birds in s. Arizona.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri)

We found a couple of cooperative birds on our way up to Rustler Park in the Chiricahuas. This is the only mountain range where you have a shot of seeing it in the U.S.

BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi)

Delightfully common and widespread.

JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi)

The Chiricahuas are near the southern end of this species' range – it barely ranges into extreme n. Mexico.

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) [N]

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Our walk around Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson on that first morning had a little added excitement when we spotted a small herd of Collared Peccaries, locally known as Javalinas. Photo by participant Lois Wood.
Alaudidae (Larks)

HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

The Purple Martins here are one of the latest breeding birds to arrive, unlike other populations to the east of Arizona. And – they nest in Saguaros here!

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

Very reduced numbers this year, but we did see quite a few in Madera Canyon that first afternoon.

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]

A single bird at Willcox was getting late.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

If you looked at the birds nesting on the side of the hotel in Nogales, you probably saw that most had dark foreheads, but there were definitely a few that had lighter foreheads – not white, but definitely paler. These were the race P.p. melanogaster.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus)

These interior birds have indistinct brownish ear patches and gray crowns, whereas the birds on the Pacific coast have gray ear patches and brown crowns. As far as I know, there's no contact between the two forms on the breeding grounds.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

All of our birds are of the race S.c. nelsoni.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)

We had these tiny nuthatches only in the Ponderosa Pine groves high in the Chiricahuas.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)

The breeding races here in Southeast Arizona are much darker below than races to the north.

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The beautiful Black-headed Grosbeak is common throughout the various upland habitats on this tour. Photo by participant Jan Wood.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) [*]

BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)

Our only bird was in the Tucson Mountains west of town that first full morning of the tour.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)

We had this one only at the end of the tour.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)

A giant among the other wrens here.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) [N]

The birds over in the Chiricahua area have much more spotting below and more white in the wings and tail than birds farther west.

BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei)

I think that we had our best looks at this confusing thrasher species at Willcox on our way to Sierra Vista.

CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale)

We squeaked in a couple of these shy thrashers right next to the van!

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

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This very quiet Five-striped Sparrow came in to investigate us alongside the road through Box Canyon near Madera Canyon on our final afternoon. Photo by participant Len Sander.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis)

The race here, S.s. fulva, is much duller than the birds of eastern N. America. This race is also primarily found in the mountains of Mexico.

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

A few birds up high in the Chiricahuas.

SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) [b]

Still coming through s. Arizona in decent numbers in late May.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)

Our breeding race is larger and paler than most others.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Bombycillidae (Waxwings)

CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) [b]

A few birds still hanging in there at Portal on our last morning there.

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)

PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens)

Common and seen every day once we got to Patagonia.

Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)

OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus)

Excellent, close views of a subadult male near Rustler Park. This one is now, appropriately, in its own family.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii) [b]

A single female on ur first afternoon was a late holdover from a very good spring for this species in Southeast Arizona.

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Verdins, along with a number of other birds at the feeding stations along our route, are suckers for grape jelly. Photo by participant Lois Wood.

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

We found a quiet pair of these (Type 2, in case you're keeping track) in the tall conifers near Rustler Park. These had been very scarce this winter and spring.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)

Still good numbers of these at all of the feeders.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis)

The bird at San Pedro house near Sierra Vista performed again.

BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii)

We coaxed one of these into view near the town of Hereford before lunch.

BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata)


FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata)

After dipping on the 'guaranteed' bird in Montosa Canyon, we were able to find one of these in Box Canyon on our final day of birding. Whew!

LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

DARK-EYED JUNCO (GRAY-HEADED) (Junco hyemalis caniceps) [b]

Surprisingly late in the Chiricahuas.

YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus)

The only breeding junco in the region.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha) [b]

A couple of late birds at feeders in Portal.

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Lucky for us Arizonans, the gorgeous Broad-billed Hummingbird is one of the most common hummers in southern Arizona. Photo by participant Len Sander.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)

ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti)

A very restricted range overall.

RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) [*]

GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)

Several late birds at the feeding stations on the tour.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


Fairly conspicuous, at least by voice, once we got to Patagonia.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) [b]

Len spotted a nice adult male on the Willcox golf course on our way to Sierra Vista.

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae)

Watch for a split of this form from the true Eastern Meadowlark sometime soon.

HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)

Probably our most common nesting oriole in the region.

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)

Field Guides Birding Tours
We never did hear a single Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owl vocalize during this entire trip, but Phyllis was able to find one for our group high in the Chiricahuas as it was being mobbed by several small birds. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum)

Both plumage and voice are beautiful on this one - which isn't true of all orioles.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

This brood parasite specializes on Hooded Oriole nests.


GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata) [b]

Two birds at the water on the South Fork road were quite late.

LUCY'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis luciae)

The most common nesting warbler in the region.

VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis virginiae)

The bird in Carr Canyon really made us work for it!

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Very often heard, but seldom seen, is this Spotted Towhee photographed by participant Jan Wood in Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains.

GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae)

Throughout the pine zone in the mountains here.

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

Even this normally very common species was a little scarce this year.

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) [b]

A couple of late spring migrants in Madera Canyon and the Chiricahuas.

HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis) [b]

Finding one of these late migrants was a surprise, but finding two birds at Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson on that late date was pretty astonishing!

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) [b]

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

Nice looks up high in the Chiricahuas and in Carr Canyon in the Huachucas.

PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus)

In a normal year, I would have expected many more of these.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

This one prefers oaks or a pine/oak mix in the mountains of Arizona.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

Still plenty of these migrating through the lowlands through the final day of the tour.

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
A couple of Pronghorns tried to get out of the intense midday sun near Sonoita. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus)

Great looks at this one at the feeding stations.

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

These had arrived in numbers right before the start of our tour.

LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena)

Common in Southeast Arizona in the first half of May, but nearly absent by the time our tour started.

INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea)

That singing male at Patagonia was in terrible light, but there was no doubt about his i.d. This primarily Eastern bird is a scarce breeder throughout the state in appropriate habitat.

VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor)

Super, close views at Patagonia Lake. A real beauty!


EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)

This and the next are nearly identical in appearance, but they separate out by habitat preference. This one occurs in denser, higher elevation habitats, while the next inhabits the dry, sparsely-vegetated lowlands.

DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)

BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus)

Bigger and lankier than the cottontails, with long limbs and long, black-tipped ears.


Even bigger than the above Black-tailed Jackrabbit and lacking the black ear tips and the black tail of that one. Very local in s.c. Arizona.

CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis)

The only chipmunk in the region.

HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii)

Chipmunk-like in appearance - but not a chipmunk.

Field Guides Birding Tours
It took a bit of patience before this continuing male White-eared Hummingbird showed up at the Miller Canyon feeders, but he put on a nice show for us when he did return. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

SPOTTED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus spilosoma)

Now a regular visitor to Dave Jasper's feeders in Portal.

ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)

Often mistaken for one of the Sciurus 'tree squirrels', but this one makes its home in the ground.

MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis)

A very attractive 'tree squirrel' that reaches its northern range limit here in the Chiricahuas (found nowhere else within the U.S.)

ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis)

An Arizona near-endemic in the uplands of central and s.c. Arizona.

ARIZONA COTTON RAT (Sigmodon arizonae)

Spotted on our first morning at Sweetwater Wetlands.

NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)

This one is very common and widespread across the state, but I rarely see it on this tour! We found ours walking down the middle of the road in Madera Canyon on our first evening together.

WHITE-NOSED COATI (Nasua narica)

It was great to see one in the wild as we ascended the Carr Canyon road. Our first one at the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon was entirely acclimated to humans.

STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis)

The only skunk that we saw that I was sure of was this one in the Chiricahuas.

COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)

Not related to true pigs (Suidae). The peccaries are strictly a new World family (Tayassuidae).

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

These southern Arizona White-tailed Deer are quite small and are actually the 2nd-smallest form of White-tailed in N. America ('Key' Deer is the smallest).

PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)

A few hanging out in the scarce shade of Las Cienegas near Sonoita.


AMERICAN BULLFROG (Lithobates catesbeianus) [I]

POND SLIDER (Trachemys scripta) [I]

ORNATE TREE LIZARD (Urosaurus ornatus)

One of the most commonly-encountered herps on this tour.

STRIPED PLATEAU LIZARD (Sceloporus virgatus)

DESERT SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus magister)

CLARK'S SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus clarkii)

SONORAN SPOTTED WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis sonorae)

DESERT GRASSLAND WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis uniparens)

TIGER WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis tigris)

Totals for the tour: 205 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa