A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Northern Arizona's Canyons and Condor II 2021

June 12-18, 2021 with John Coons guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had a cloudless sky for enjoying fantastic views of the Grand Canyon, where we scanned for California Condor and Zone-tailed Hawk. Photo by guide John Coons.

We had a nice time birding a variety of habitats in Northern Arizona. Our week coincided with a heat wave that engulfed much of the western US. The cool mountain climate of Northern Arizona was not so cool this year with four consecutive days of record highs for Flagstaff and most of Arizona. But this is relative. While the temperatures in Flagstaff maxed out in the low-90ºs, the Phoenix area, two hours south, was pushing 118-120º. Despite these temps and the continuing drought we found a bunch of great birds and specialties of the area. A Mountain Bluebird at the Flagstaff Airport was one of the first birds we saw before seeing a pair of uniquely colored Lewis's Woodpeckers at the edge of town.

Our first morning found us at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, the remnant of an extinct volcano and the highest mountain in Arizona at over 12,600 ft. Here, we birded the pine and mixed-conifer forest, as well as a (normally) moist meadow with a handful of local specialties for Arizona. We found a male Williamson's Sapsucker, an exquisite Red-faced Warbler, breeding Dusky Flycatchers, Green-tailed Towhees, MacGillivray's Warbler, Cordilleran Flycatcher, and Virginia's Warbler, among others, as we were dive-bombed by Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. An outside dinner that evening gave us good views of singing Bullock's Oriole, very close Pygmy Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees, and Western Kingbirds.

The next day we headed to the Grand Canyon and when we arrived five minutes before the pit stop/convenience store opened we took a drive down a side road and had nice looks at our only Pinyon Jays of the trip. The Grand Canyon was spectacular as ever, and we enjoyed vistas with the ever changing light as we viewed Juniper Titmice, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Ash-throated Flycatcher and a wonderful Zone-tailed Hawk that we saw near eye level and down in the canyon. Just outside of the park we found our first Gray Vireos and a singing Black-chinned Sparrow. Seeing California Condors at the South Rim of Grand Canyon takes a bit of luck and when we were not successful we made plans to take advantage of our success with several birds earlier than expected and drove north to Navajo Bridge and Marble Canyon which is usually reliable for condors. After a few minutes of anxiety when there were no birds in sight, a huge orange-headed adult California Condor flew out from under the bridge we were standing on and landed on the highway bridge right next to us for a great view. The drive home was quite enjoyable. The following morning a visit to a friend's property along beautiful Oak Creek, downstream from the Red Rocks of Sedona, brought us a lot of new birds in this desert riparian habitat. A Common Black Hawk greeted us along the creek and here we had views of Brown-crested Flycatcher, Gila Woodpecker, Vermilion Flycatcher, a family of Wood Ducks, Yellow-breasted Chat, Hooded Oriole, Abert's Towhee, and Bridled Titmice. A stop at a managed wetland found a surprise group of four Black Terns, a Clark's Grebe, Cinnamon Teal, and a lot of Phainopeplas. We stopped in picturesque Oak Creek Canyon and saw Painted Redstart, an out of place Yellow-throated Vireo, and a male Rivoli's Hummingbird.

We birded a road with ponderosa pine and oak forest the next morning and were successful in finding a couple of our target specialties. A male Olive Warbler gave us great looks, and after a bit of searching we ended up seeing two American Three-toed Woodpeckers, a much sought-after bird in Arizona, feeding on a snapped off pine quite close to us. An afternoon visit to the Kachina Wetlands turned up nice looks at a Virginia Rail, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a very unusual June sighting of Pectoral Sandpiper, and a Coyote successfully hunting a vole in broad daylight. Our last full day of birding found us heading about 50 miles south to more desert-like habitat where we had the best chance for new species. Another Common Black-Hawk showed well as did Gray Vireos, and we saw our first Rock Wrens and Verdin among some others. Heading up the Mogollon Rim, the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, we got back into cooler pine forests and found a singing male Hepatic Tanager, a closer view of another Red-faced Warbler, a few more ducks and some locally uncommon Purple Martins. After our last dinner together we finished up with a calling Common Nighthawk near our motel.

Much thanks to all of you for a quite fun trip, and I hope to see all of you again soon.


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)

CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)

We saw these everyday at the ponds or on the golf course.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This magnificent adult California Condor, with a full crop, flew in and landed on Navajo Bridge high above the Colorado River while we watched. From its tag number, we later learned this individual has been free-flying in the Grand Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs area for 15 years. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.

WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa)

We had a nice view of a female on a log with a few chicks in the water nearby along lower Oak Creek.

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)

We saw a few of these mostly western ducks during the week.

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)

We saw one at the Sedona Wetlands.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)


There was a male in the Picture Canyon pond.

REDHEAD (Aythya americana)

Rebecca spotted this one at Fulton Pond and we had a couple at the Kachina Wetlands.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)

COMMON GOLDENEYE (Bucephala clangula)

There was an oddly plumaged individual, probably a first year male, at the Sedona Wetlands, which had been here since last fall.

COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser)

David and Judy spotted two females from their motel window on the golf course pond on our last morning before heading to the airport.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

We only saw a few, with a nice brightly blue-billed male at the Sedona Wetlands.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii)

A group of three flushed from the desert as we were birding the side road near Montezuma Well but we never got on them.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

CLARK'S GREBE (Aechmophorus clarkii)

A single individual was seen at the Sedona Wetlands where it has been hanging out for a few weeks.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

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Lewis’s Woodpecker is one of the great woodpeckers of the western U.S. This oddly-colored species is often seen fly-catching for insects, and appears more like a small crow in flight than a woodpecker. Photo by participant Andy Steinmann.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

We saw these daily.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

On our last evening we saw a single bird flying between the pond and the lighted baseball fields near our motel.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

We had several nice views of those rocketing around us at Grand Canyon.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

A rather rare bird here that is reaching the northern limit of its range; we had a couple of nice views of a male visiting a feeder in Oak Creek Canyon. This species has had a recent name change from Magnificent Hummingbird.

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

We saw a couple or three individuals at feeders.


There was a nicely marked male at the feeder at John and Becky's house along Oak Creek.

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)

Males and females were a daily occurrence, with many good views on our first morning in Hart Prairie.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)

We had nice views of a bird in the open at Kachina Wetlands.

SORA (Porzana carolina) [*]

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

A few were around ponds here and there during the week.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)

It was a surprise to hear of, then see, this very early or very late (?) migrant at the Kachina Wetlands. This is the only eBird record in June for Arizona.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

We saw a few at the Kachina Wetlands.

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Yellow-breasted Chat, a species that is familiar to birders across the U.S., has gained more interest in recent years when it was reclassified taxonomically and is now the sole member of its family. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger)

It was another surprise to find four of these handsome terns flying about over the larger pond at the Sedona Wetlands. This is a rather rare bird in Northern Arizona. A handful of other local birders dashed out and saw these birds later in the day.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

We saw a few at the ponds near the motel and another at the Kachina Wetlands.

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)

This species is now the uncommon cormorant species in the area. There were two at the Walnut Canyon Road ponds.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)

There were several seen, including those at about five nests in Oak Creek Canyon.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

We saw one individual at the Kachina Wetlands; an uncommon bird in June in the area.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

CALIFORNIA CONDOR (Gymnogyps californianus)

After not seeing any at the South Rim of Grand Canyon, which was somewhat expected, we drove north to Navajo Bridge. After walking out on the bridge and not locating any we heard the whooshing of the wings as one flew out from under the bridge directly below us and landed on the adjacent car bridge for a fantastic view. Another individual then appeared out of the girders. The wing tags IDed these birds as #54 and T7. #54 is a hand-reared male that was released into the wild on 2 March 2006, while T7 is a male raised in San Diego and released on 23 Sept 2017. It is great to think #54 has been soaring the skies near Grand Canyon for 15 years.

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

We saw at least a handful each day.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

There were a few seen at various places during the week, with three at Kachina Wetlands.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

COMMON BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus anthracinus)

We had a great view of a perched individual at John and Becky's house along Oak Creek and another near Montezuma Well.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

A single bird sailed over and into the Grand Canyon for a wonderful view of this interesting species.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

We saw a handful.

Strigidae (Owls)

GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)

Walking under a large cottonwood along Oak Creek, we flushed one of these well known owls out of the tree. It flew downstream and we could not relocate it.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)

One was hanging out along lower Oak Creek where it may have been a rare breeder.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus thyroideus)

We had nice views of a nicely colored male during our first morning in Hart Prairie.

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Olive Warblers, like this male, have become more common in the Flagstaff area in the last two decades. Always an odd bird taxonomically, it was recently placed in its own family. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.

LEWIS'S WOODPECKER (Melanerpes lewis)

A dynamite looking bird! We saw two individuals at a probable nest site at the edge of Flagstaff.

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

We encountered a few in the areas of Oak Creek Canyon and in the open ponderosa pine forest near Flagstaff.

GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Another species that is getting to the northern limits of its range. We saw a pair at a nest hole in a large sycamore along Oak Creek.


it took some searching, but we ended up with great views of two birds in an old burn in the pine forest near Flagstaff. This is a species that is at the extreme southern edge of its range here.

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)

Somewhat uncommon in the area, we had a nice view of one feeding in small oaks and New Mexico locusts at the edge of the road at the top of Oak Creek Canyon.


We saw a couple amongst the larger trees of the riparian areas south of Flagstaff.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

Surprisingly, we only saw a few.

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

A few were seen daily; the red-shafted form is the common subspecies in Northern Arizona.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

We saw a male flying about near Valle, on our way to Grand Canyon.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

This is a species that was extremely quiet this year and may be affected strongly from the drought. We only saw a couple.

DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri)

We had nice views of at least four individuals in the Hart Prairie area, where this bird was described to science in 1939.

CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis)

We had a calling bird right above us in the mixed-conifer forest that sat still long enough for a scope view.

BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)

We saw this water-tied species about 3-4 times during the week.

SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)

We saw a nest that had tiny heads peaking over the edge, and ran into a couple of others.

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A male Rivoli’s Hummingbird that was infrequently visiting a feeder in Oak Creek Canyon showed well for us. This mostly southern Arizona mountain species is a rare breeding species this far north in the state. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Our first was a nice male near John and Becky's place south of Sedona, then we saw three more near Montezuma Well.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Our best view was at Grand Canyon in the pinyon-juniper habitat.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

This large flycatcher ended up showing well for us along Oak Creek south of Sedona.

CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)

This was also seen in the neighborhood.

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

We had nice views of a calling bird on the power line during dinner on the deck.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii)

The only one we heard and saw was at the Sedona Wetlands.

GRAY VIREO (Vireo vicinior)

A local specialty. We had great looks at a singing bird just outside of Grand Canyon and another couple near Montezuma Well.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons)

We had nice views of this singing individual in Oak Creek Canyon. A rarity in Arizona, this bird has returned to the same area six years in a row.

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)

We saw a few and heard several more in the ponderosa pine forests.

WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)

This is a species that, on the breeding grounds, is usually found near aspen trees and that is where we saw it in the Hart Prairie area and in Oak Creek Canyon.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

PINYON JAY (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus)

We were fortunate to find three individuals in the village of Valle on the way to Grand Canyon that showed well for us. This is another specialty of the pinyon pine habitat; they have gotten tough to find the last few years.

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

We saw a handful of these rather common local breeders.

WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii)

Andy spotted our first on the way to Grand Canyon, then we had a couple more south of Flagstaff.

AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

This species is common around Flagstaff, which is the only site where it is common in the whole state.

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A bird that is often associated with the Sky Island mountains of SE Arizona, Red-faced Warbler is also a denizen of the coniferous forests of Northern Arizona. Photo by participant Andy Steinmann.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

We saw a lot.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli)

Everyone likes chickadees, and we had some good views including some coming for a drink during dinner on the deck.

BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi)

We found a family group of about five individuals along Oak Creek near the fish hatchery.

JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi)

At Grand Canyon, we saw a few, with an adult feeding a recently fledged young.

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)

We had nice views near Montezuma Well of this desert species that also reaches the edge of its range here. They were particularly quiet this year.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

There were about 40 individuals flying about the Sedona Wetlands.

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

This species is not common around Northern Arizona. This western form only uses natural cavities for nesting and not martin houses. We saw a perched female at the Walnut Canyon ponds and then about four flying about near Mormon Lake.

TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)

Some of us saw one flying around with a bunch of Violet-greens at Fulton Pond but it was hard to pick up in the swirl of swallows.

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

These were quite common and seen in many areas, but the best views were at Grand Canyon where we saw them from every angle.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

We saw 'em daily.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

We saw a few gathering nesting mud at the small pond on the way to Hart Prairie.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)

These were quiet as well, with one of our only sightings near Snow Bowl on the San Francisco Peaks.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)

A calling bird was directly above us near the Snow Bowl Lodge.

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

We had frequent views.

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A species mostly associated with the Great Basin Desert, Virginia's Warblers are fairly common in the right habitat near Flagstaff. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)

This tiny nuthatch gave us several nice views, including those coming in to drink during dinner on the deck.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)

We saw our only one along Sinclair Wash in Flagstaff.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

A couple were seen near Grand Canyon.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)

We had nice views of a couple of individuals, one near Montezuma Well and another at Mormon Lake.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

These were quiet as well, with one of our only sightings near Snow Bowl on the San Francisco Peaks.

BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)

This was one of our first birds in the driveway at John and Becky's house south of Sedona.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

A handful were seen during the week.

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides)

Most of us had a nice view of a brilliant male as we waited at the Flagstaff Airport for Janet's flight to arrive. The bird flew all the way across the runways just before she got her luggage. Our other site for seeing this bird was thwarted by the highway being closed due to a forest fire.

HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)

A singing bird was quite close to us near Hart Prairie on our first morning.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)

PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens)

After seeing a few along Oak Creek, we had a lot at the Sedona Wetlands, with 16 perched in one tree.

Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)

OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus)

We scored great views of this odd bird with a nice adult male and a young male in the pine forest near Flagstaff. This species has bounced around in a few different families before finally landing as the sole member of its own family.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

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Dropping off the Mogollon Rim to much lower elevations just south of Flagstaff, we found a locally uncommon Hooded Oriole showing well in a mesquite. Photo by participant Andy Steinmann.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)

We saw four birds flying over at Hart Prairie. These were the Type 2 form which is found in ponderosa pine forests.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)

As in much of the country, this was a big winter and spring for Pine Siskins around Flagstaff.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

We saw many and had a female at a nest at the Flagstaff Airport.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis)

This handsome sparrow showed well right next to the road after we left Grand Canyon.

BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata)

This mostly desert sparrow showed well in the lowlands. It is one of more distinctly marked sparrows.

LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

This is one of the fanciest looking sparrows anywhere.

DARK-EYED JUNCO (RED-BACKED) (Junco hyemalis dorsalis)

This is the common nesting junco around Flagstaff.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

It was a bit of a surprise to see an adult in Hart Prairie on our first morning. This species is known to nest in small numbers in the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks and has recently been seen in this area as well but nesting has not been confirmed here.

VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus)

We had nice views of a singing bird on our first morning.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)

This is pretty much a riparian species in Arizona and we only saw them along lower Oak Creek.

ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti)

We had a good view along Oak Creek and a pair near Montezuma Well.

GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus)

This is a local breeder in Northern Arizona and we saw a few amongst the willows in Hart Prairie.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A species that is usually found along streams, where it hunts insects amidst the rocks and tree roots, the beautiful Painted Redstart is another species that is close to the northern limit of its range in Oak Creek Canyon. Photo by participants David & Judy Smith.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


This bird has also recently been placed in its own family after (and still) being an enigma for decades. We had wonderful looks at this former warbler at John and Becky's property along Oak Creek.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

This striking bird was seen at the Kachina Wetlands and again at Mormon Lake.

WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta)

Our only ones were seen and heard singing at Fulton Pond.

HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)

We had nice views of a male at the highway rest area south of Flagstaff.

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)

Another species that was exceptionally quiet this year; we had a nice view just before dinner on the deck.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)


BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

This species is most commonly seen on lawns and on the golf course in Flagstaff.

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

The only ones we saw were at the Sedona Wetlands.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata)

It took some looking, but we finally located a singing bird in Hart Prairie.

LUCY'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis luciae)

We heard several and saw a few in the lowlands but they never stayed in the open long.

VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis virginiae)

This species has become more common around Flagstaff in the last 15 years. We had a few nice looks.

MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)

Normally a skulker, we had some nice views of a singing individual in Hart Prairie where this species nests amongst the Bebb's Willows.

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It took a bit of searching, but we eventually had wonderful views of this American Three-toed Woodpecker in an old forest fire burn. This species is at the extreme southern edge of its breeding range near Flagstaff. Photo by participant Andy Steinmann.

COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)

A few were seen at the wetlands we visited.

AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla)

We saw a female plumaged bird in the willows in Hart Prairie. This is a rare but regular eastern warbler in Northern Arizona.

YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)

These were commonly heard and a couple were seen in the bigger trees along Oak Creek.

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

A rather common nesting bird in the mixed-conifer forests; we saw a female carrying food to a nest in the pine forest near Flagstaff.

GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae)

We had good looks at this warbler in the same tree as one of our Olive Warblers. This is pretty much exclusively a ponderosa pine forest species.

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

Our first ones showed well at Grand Canyon.

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

A great warbler of the southwest; we saw a few, with our best views south of Flagstaff on our last full day.

PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus)

A singing individual showed well for us in Oak Creek Canyon. This is another specialty of riparian areas of the southwest mountains.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

We had great views of a singing male near Stoneman Lake.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

Another lowland riparian species; we saw a few around lower Oak Creek.

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

A quite colorful species of the coniferous forest; we saw a handful during the week.

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)

We saw a nice male and a female plumaged bird at John and Becky's property along Oak Creek.

LAZULI X INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina amoena x cyanea)

We tracked down a singing bunting that turned out to be a near-certain hybrid of these two species that has been seen off and on this spring in Oak Creek Canyon. This bird looks mostly like a Lazuli Bunting with whitish underparts and wing bars, but shows no brownish coloration on the breast.

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Participant Andy Steinmann captured this Green-tailed Towhee on a Bebb’s willow in this unique habitat at the base of the San Francisco Peaks.


CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis)

A few were seen at the Grand Canyon.

GRAY-COLLARED CHIPMUNK (Tamias cinereicollis)

A chipmunk with a limited range in the US; one was seen by some folks at the Kachina Wetlands.

ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)

We saw these daily with a lot of them at Grand Canyon.


One was spotted atop a rock at the Kachina Wetlands.

GUNNISON PRAIRIE DOG (Cynomys gunnisoni)

A few were seen in open areas and usually near their burrows.

ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis)

We saw a few along Oak Creek. and near Montezuma Well. This riparian species is essentially endemic to the state of Arizona.

RED SQUIRREL (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)

One scampered off and scolded us in the mixed-conifer forest of the San Francisco Peaks.

COYOTE (Canis latrans)

A couple were encountered but we all had a nice view of one hunting at the Kachina Wetlands, where we saw it pounce on a vole and then gobble it down.

COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)

We saw two in the Sedona area.

ELK (Cervus canadensis)

We saw a few here and there before seeing over a hundred of them in the dry bed of Mormon Lake.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group enjoys a lengthy view of the American Three-toed Woodpecker at the edge of an old burn outside of Flagstaff. Photo by guide John Coons.

MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)

This is the common deer of the Flagstaff and surrounding mountainous area.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

We saw a couple of these in a riparian area south of Sedona.

Totals for the tour: 141 bird taxa and 12 mammal taxa