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Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona Nightbirds & More II 2017
May 4, 2017 to May 8, 2017
Dave Stejskal

The wonderful and confiding pair of "Mexican" Spotted Owls that we found in Miller Canyon were an experience we will not soon forget! Although it was hot, these owls were so comfortable with our presence, it was well worth the hike. Participant Ed Eder got this intimate portrait of the pair allopreening.

Weather is always the 'wild card' when doing a spring tour to S.E. Arizona, but I'd say that we were dealt a pretty good hand this year on the second of our two Arizona Nightbirds & More tours! Wind is often an issue at this season, but wind wasn't really in play at all until the final afternoon of the tour in Willcox. We did have to deal with a bit of heat on our first full day of the trip, but it really helped being up in the cooler mountain air of the Huachucas that day. After that, we had some unseasonably cool temperatures in the Chiricahuas, which made for some fantastic spring birding there!

The focus of this short tour is, of course, the many species of nightbirds that call this part of Arizona home. Other than striking out with Lesser Nighthawk this year, I'm not sure how we could have done any better with the rest of the expected species this year! The first afternoon and evening of the trip held some high expectations, but our birds came through for us with our first owl – a stake out Barn Owl roost – seen reasonably well as it flew off into the dense mesquite. Next, it was on to remote California Gulch just north of the Mexican border. Before our owl and nightjars would show themselves after the sun went down, we had some other business to take care of in the form of the rare and local Five-striped Sparrow. After a great look at this handsome sparrow by all, and after a delicious picnic dinner, we tracked down our first 'real' nightbirds. First, it was a knock-your-socks-off look at a perched male Buff-collared Nightjar, a rare and irregular visitor from Mexico to the borderland canyons in S.E. Arizona, followed by exceptionally close views of both the tiny Elf Owl and the Western Screech-Owl (huge by comparison!).

The next morning started with a quick trip to the west of our airport hotel to see a reliable Burrowing Owl along a dry river bed before we drove east to the lofty Huachuca Mts. near Sierra Vista. A birding detour to Carr Canyon produced a 'mega' rarity for us – an attractive Tufted Flycatcher – along with a good sampling of our first mountain specialties. Then it was on to famous Miller Canyon to the south of Carr where a hike up the canyon produced a pair of very confiding Spotted Owls roosting in an Arizona Madrone right next to the trail! A sight none of us will soon forget!

The Chiricahuas held the rest of our nightbird species and our two nights there were very productive indeed. Our first night out produced excellent views flyby views of a Common Poorwill along the Paradise Road near Portal and of a very close Whiskered Screech-Owl before we started our attempt to see the difficult Flammulated Owl. After putting in some time along the road, we finally tracked down a calling male in an oak tree just off of the road for unparalleled looks in the beam of my light! Woo Hoo!!! The next day, during daylight hours, we enjoyed scope views of a calling Northern Pygmy-Owl and a day-roosting Great Horned Owl watching over a fluffy chick still in the nest in a nearby Arizona Sycamore right outside of our rooms! That left only the local Mexican Whip-poor-will to track down that second evening, and we ended up with fantastic views of a male bird on the ground just above the road at last light. Nine species of owls and three nightjars in all – not a bad haul for this short four day tour!

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and good cheer throughout this short trip – it sure makes my job a lot easier when I have a great group like all of you along for the ride! I really had a fantastic time sharing my 'back yard' with all of you and hope that we can travel together again sometime soon! Cheers and 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

One of our first 'scores' was this very cooperative Buff-collared Nightjar. These are rare birds for the US. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
MALLARD (NORTHERN) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos) [b]
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) – Most of our 'Mallards' were this distinctive race, which sometimes interbreeds with the familiar 'Northern' Mallard. There is some thought out there that these 'Mexican' Mallards might actually be more closely related to the Mottled Duck of the s.e. US than they are to the familiar 'Northern' Mallard.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors) – This, along with all of our other ducks on this short tour, were seen at Willcox on our return to Tucson on our final day together (except for the few individuals that we saw at Willow Tank near State Line Rd.). [b]
CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera) [b]
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata) [b]
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – Great looks at this handsome quail on our final day at both State Line Rd and Willcox.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – Our looks at this one couldn't be improved upon after our experience with them at Bob Rodrigues' feeders.
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – Close a couple of times - but no cigar. [*]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – Reintroduced here in the '80's after being hunted out. [I*]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – A couple of lingering migrants at Willcox on our final day. [b]
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – A single bird trying its best to blend in with the numerous White-faced Ibis at Willcox. [b]
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – Still some good numbers at Willcox. [b]
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – A single adult was spotted from the van in a grove of tall Emory Oak on our way to California Gulch that first afternoon. In recent years, this species has expanded its breeding range from the major riparian corridors of s.e. Arizona into the oak woodlands of the mountains here.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – It took us a surprisingly long time before we found our first Swainson's Hawks along State Line Rd. east of Portal on Day 4.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – That look that we had next to the van on the way down from Carr Canyon in the Huachucas was remarkable!
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

The Greater Roadrunner is an icon of the American West. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) – Including lots of cute babies at Willow Tank s.e. of Portal. [N]
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – We had about a dozen dapper adults lingering at Willcox. This species breeds here most years in small numbers.
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – Quite a few birds at Willcox, including a few adults that appeared to be sitting on eggs. [N]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – A basic-plumaged bird at Willcox was a vagrant there and gave us good looks. [b]
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) [N]
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – Except for the Killdeer and the Avocets, all of our shorebirds at Willcox were migrants headed north to the breeding grounds. Most of these would be gone in a little more than a week's time. [b]
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) [b]
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – Including one adult at Willow Tank near Portal. We probably had a couple of Short-billed Dowitchers among the 60+ birds that we saw at Willcox, but we didn't have the time to try to get them to call to be sure. [b]
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – A few gorgeous females among the dozens present at Willcox. [b]
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) – Somewhat of a rarity here in the spring, but it's pretty regular here at this season. [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – The first half of May seems to be the peak of spring migration for this species in the region. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) – Gulls in this part of Arizona are always a little bit of a surprise, but Ring-billed is the most expected species. [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – Small numbers around the town of Portal, which is normal at this season.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

The dark bill with a pale tip identifies this little owl as a Western Screech-Owl. Photograph by guide Dave Stejskal.

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – A rather recent invader to the Portal area, but it's a species that has declined precipitously elsewhere in the state.
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina) – Michael got a look at this one that first afternoon at California Gulch.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – The common large dove of the region at this season.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – A few good looks at this charismatic species.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Our stake-out bird flushed from its roost, unfortunately, but everyone did get a 'tickable' look at it. Not uncommon in the state, but it's always a challenge to try to track one down for a group!
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) – As usual, this tiny owl took a lot of work and patience, but our efforts eventually paid off with absolutely stellar looks of this coveted little owl in the Chiricahuas! It stayed put on its eventual song perch, giving us great looks of those dark eyes, which distinguish it from all other small owls in the region. Since the devastating fire in the Chiricahuas in 2011, finding this little guy has become even more difficult since the number of available spots to look for them have been greatly reduced.
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – This one was our last of the trio of nightbirds, and the most widespread of those species, that we got great looks at on our first evening together in California Gulch near the Mexican border. Birds in this part of the world have distinctly black bills with pale tips, which help to identify this one when comparing it with the very similar Whiskered Screech-Owl (which has a greenish-yellow bill). Voice, as one can imagine, is also critical in identifying all nightbirds, and the 'bouncing ball' call of this species also helps to distinguish it from the Whiskered Screech-Owl.
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – We called this one up in the Chiricahuas for some fabulous views along the roadside just before we went on our pursuit of the calling Flammulated Owl that first night in the mountains. This screech-owl has a very restricted range within the U.S., occurring in only a handful of mountain ranges along and just north of the border in s.e. Arizona - barely spilling across the eastern border of the state into New Mexico. As mentioned above, in this part of the world, bill color is key in identifying this species when comparing it to the more widespread Western Screech-Owl. Voice is also a critical field character, which also clinches the i.d.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – North America's most widespread owl species was enjoyed daily at Portal, with views of day-roosting adults and a fluffy chick still occupying the nest site in a big Arizona Sycamore just outside the Portal Store. [N]
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma) – An early morning try for this one at the 'Bunkhouse' at the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon paid off handsomely with great scope views of a calling bird in the top of an Arizona Cypress. This tiny diurnal owl always gets the business from the other birds in the area, since it's a regular predator of small birds. These double-note call birds (subspecies G.g. gnoma of s.e. Arizona southwards) might prove one day to be specifically distinct from the single-note call birds to the north and west.
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – We had smashing views of a bird sticking its head out of a nest hole right after we wrapped up our great viewing of the Buff-collared Nightjar perched above our van in California Gulch! The world's smallest species of owl, the altitudinal range of this one in Arizona is really impressive: from a low of about 450' near the Colorado River delta to nearly 6000' in the mountains of s.e. Arizona. This huge range within the state (and its relatively small territory size) surely makes this one Arizona's most common owl species. [N]
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – Our stake-out bird on Tucson's west side was fun to see through the scope in the Circle K parking lot, but I really did like seeing that lone bird perched on the low wall out in the grassland s.e. of the Chiricahuas! That's an area where this species occurred historically, but I haven't seen it in that area for about twenty years or more.
SPOTTED OWL (Strix occidentalis) – Our hike up Miller Canyon to search for the known day-roosting pair of 'Mexican' Spotted Owls here coincided, unfortunately, with the hottest day of the year – and we started our hike up later than normal after giving the vagrant Tufted Flycatcher in nearby Carr Canyon a try. Despite the late start and the subsequent heat, we soon forgot any hardships endured when we came across this pair of lovely owls perched in the open right next to the trail! Surely, the experience we enjoyed with these confiding nightbirds made all of the effort worthwhile!
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – We enjoyed some excellent flyby looks in the beam of my light near Portal, noting the bright white throat patch of the male, the short tail, lack of white in the primaries, and obvious white, square tail corners on the outer tail feathers. More of an open country nightjar than the Mexican Whip-poor-will higher up the mountain, the dry pinyon pine-juniper woodland seems to be the ideal habitat for this one in the area.
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – What a way to start off the nightbirding on this tour! We made our way down to the Mexican border in remote California Gulch that first afternoon of the tour, with hopes of getting a look – of some kind – at this rarely encountered Mexican nightjar. After a little bit of frustration early on, our flighty male bird decided to stay put on a feeding perch – which happened to be right next to our parked van! Our looks were exceptional and couldn't have been improved upon. There are probably fewer than twenty or so of these birds in any given summer in Arizona (and the U.S.).
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – Since the split several years ago of this one from the familiar Eastern Whip-poor-will, seeing this one in the mountains of s.e. Arizona has become a priority for visiting birders. Thanks to a hot tip from one of the local resident birders, we tracked down a singing male in Cave Creek Canyon early one evening – while it was still somewhat light – and got good views of it perched on the ground in the beam of my light. Those who were willing to scramble a short ways up the hill got even better views of this cryptic species.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – The birds coming down to drink at Willow Tank near Portal were really something!

We enjoyed seeing this Great Horned Owl nestling in downtown Portal. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Nicely at the feeders in Portal. Watch for a split of this one from the birds in the highlands of Costa Rica & w. Panama.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – We had a close, brilliant male defending a feeder in Portal. This one is the largest of the breeding hummers in the U.S.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – One of the most common hummers in the mountain canyons here.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – The males' whirring wings were a pleasant, common sound throughout the mountains on this tour.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – Quite common and expanding throughout the region.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – One of the most distinctive of all the woodpeckers in N. America.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides scalaris) – A single bird at our picnic dinner spot in California Gulch.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – These s. Rockies birds are much darker above with little to no white spotting in the wings, which is very unlike eastern N. American birds.
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae) – We all caught up with this one along the South Fork road in the Chiricahuas. Formerly called the Strickland's Woodpecker (and Brown-backed Woodpecker – and Arizona Woodpecker – before that!).
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer) – This is the expected form here in the mountains of s.e. Arizona.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We had to do a quick u-turn on the highway, but we ended up with pretty good looks at this one from the van at Willcox. [b]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – WOWW!!! It took quite a while to get everyone on this extreme rarity from Mexico (almost an hour!), but it sure was worth it! As of the first week of June, at least one of the birds of a presumed pair was still in Carr Canyon.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – A couple of migrants high in the Chiricahuas. [b]
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – We could hear this one sing its 'Jose Maria' song as we searched for the above Tufted Flycatcher in the Huachucas.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – This one was starting to move through the region in big numbers; many will stay to breed locally.
HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) – We still had some decent numbers coming through in the Chiricahuas and in Miller Canyon. The call sounds quite like the single note of a Pygmy Nuthatch. [b]
DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri) – A few of these were heard up in the lower pine/fir zone in the Chiricahuas. [b*]
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – The many individuals in Carr Canyon proved to be a bit of a distraction while we searched for the vagrant Tufted Flycatcher (we ended up with great looks of the Buff-breasted, though).
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans) – Along the South Fork road only this trip.
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – One of the most common open country flycatchers along our route.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – A couple of pairs of these stunning birds entertained us during our afternoon in California Gulch.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) [*]
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens) [*]
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – This one is found from the Saguaro desert near Tucson up into the well-wooded canyons of the mountains.

Bendire's Thrasher can be a skulker, but we got some good looks at them on our last day. Photograph by guide Dave Stejskal.

CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) – The most common kingbird along our route.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – Much paler than the above Cassin's Kingbird, without the dark head and chest and contrasting white chin.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – Still doing well as a breeder in Arizona.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii) [*]
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni) – Very kinglet-like in appearance and actions.
CASSIN'S VIREO (Vireo cassinii) – I find these migrants regularly high in the Chiricahuas at this season. [b]
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) – This is a common breeder in the pine/oak forests of the Arizona mountains.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) – On this tour, only in the highest mountains.
WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) – We had some close looks at this one at the feeders in and around Portal. Now split from California Scrub-Jay to the west.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – We used to call this one the Gray-breasted Jay a while back - and called it the Mexican Jay before that!
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – This one perched along the side of the road to Sierra Vista long enough for us all to get a good look before it flew off.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – Easily the most common species of raven in this part of the world, and the only one that occurs in the mountains.
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris) – A few of these along the shoreline at Willcox.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – A couple of these were mixed in with the other swallows that were perched on the ground at Willcox, trying to get out of the wind. [b]
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – This is one of only two swallow species that nest in the forested mountains of s.e. Arizona (the other is Purple Martin, which is quite rare in the mountains here).
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – We still had some decent numbers of these headed north with the numerous Barn Swallows at Willcox. [b]
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Most of the birds were saw were still headed northward to breed, but many will stay to nest locally.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – A real specialty of the Chiricahuas, we had some great looks at this one on our final morning there. The inaccessible Animas Mountains in s.w. New Mexico is the only other place in the U.S. where one can see this primarily Mexican species.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – Plenty cute!
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – Not really a surprise find along the Paradise road in the Chiricahuas, but I was surprised to see as many as we did. I still want to call this one the Plain Titmouse (that one was split into this one and the Oak Titmouse to the west)!
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – For some at our Burrowing Owl spot in west Tucson.

The common White-winged Dove is surprisingly colorful when you take the time to really look at them. This one is posing with the state flower of Arizona, the Giant Saguaro blossom. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (Psaltriparus minimus) – This inland form looks different enough from the coastal birds to the west that a split may be in order down the line.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis) – High in the Chiricahuas only on this tour.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis nelsoni) – Watch for a split of this one this summer...
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea) – Only in the high Ponderosa Pine forest remnants of the Chiricahuas on this tour.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (ALBESCENS/ALTICOLA) (Certhia americana albescens) – Another species that has the potential to be split this summer - but what a can of worms that will open up!
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Nicely on the rock face at the South Fork road bridge!
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii) – The birds of the Southwest are quite large and pale compared to other races, especially those in the East.
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – Arizona's State Bird serenaded us each morning at Portal.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura) – Great views of a very responsive male at our first overlook above California Gulch.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – Heard by a couple of us on our mornings at Portal. A vagrant here. [b*]
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – A 'regular' in the parking lot of the Portal Peak Lodge.
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – We ended up seeing three or four pairs of this uncommon thrasher along State Line Rd. s.e. of Portal on our final morning together.

Our group birding along a roadside. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – Quite a few of these were seen feeding on the abundant Condalia fruit in California Gulch.
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – We spotted a lovely male in upper Carr Canyon as we searched for the Tufted Flycatcher.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata) – A single late-ish bird in the Chiricahuas on the last morning. [b]
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) [*]
VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis virginiae) – I was surprised to see these mountain warblers still moving through the desert east of the Chiricahuas.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) – This might be the year where the Yellow-rumped Warbler gets re-split into Myrtle and Audubon's warblers.
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Good looks at this pine obligate in the Chiricahuas.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – It doesn't look it, but the closest relative of this one is the Black-throated Green Warbler!
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – Still plenty of these Western migrants coming through the conifer forests in the mountains on this short trip. [b]
HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis) – This one was outnumbered by the above Townsend's - as it always seems to be. [b]
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – One of the more common and widespread migrants that we encountered this year. [b]
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – I suspect that most of these birds hadn't yet arrived in the state, so I think we were fortunate to get the good looks of that bird in Barfoot Park on the last day.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – A real gem of a bird!
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) [*]
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – Great, close views at Bob Rodrigues' feeders.
FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – YESSSS!!!!! We found a very responsive bird in California Gulch this year and it posed very nicely for all to see! In the U.S., this is found in just a handful of desert canyons along the Mexican border.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus) – We saw this bird every day on this tour - but I missed it entirely on my longer tour a few days later!
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – Once we got up into the pines in the Chiricahuas, these birds were seemingly everywhere. When I started birding, this one was called the Mexican Junco (that's before there was a 'Dark-eyed' Junco).
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha) – Most of the White-crowned Sparrows that we saw were this dark-lored race from the Rockies. [b]
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (GAMBEL'S) (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) – I think only one of the birds that we saw at Bob Rodrigues' feeders was this pale-lored race from the far north. This one migrates north through the state before the dark-lored birds come through. [b]

Whiskered Screech-Owl has a greenish bill, and a much more restricted range than the similar Western Screeh-Owl. Photograph by participant Ed Eder.

CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca) – Great looks at the feeders near Portal. I remember when this one was called the Brown Towhee – before that one was split into three.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) – Quite a few birds flew across the road on our way into California Gulch along the Ruby Rd. that first afternoon.
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) – Our best look was at Bob Rodrigues' feeders. [b]
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) – Common in the scrubby oak growth on the mountain slopes of the Huachucas and Chiricahuas.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – I think our only looks at this one were had in upper Carr Canyon while we looked for the Tufted Flycatcher.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – There's some overlap in the ranges of this one and the above Hepatic Tanager, but this one is generally lower in wetter riparian situations.
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – Several stunning males, especially at the feeding stations.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Definitely a fancier Northern Cardinal race than what folks see in the East!
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – It was again at the feeders where we enjoyed our best looks.
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) – The Western replacement species of the familiar Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the East.
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – Including a few brilliant males at the feeders. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – Strange as it sounds, the common breeding meadowlark in s.e. Arizona is this one, not Western (almost unheard of at this season here). The pale race here, the 'Lilian's' Meadowlark, has been rumored for years to be ripe for a split, but nothing's ever come of it.
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – A few males were seen by some feeding in the grass above the shoreline at Willcox. [b]
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Unknown in the state before the 1930's.
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – This seemed to be the scarcest of the three orioles here this year.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii) – Most of the birds were saw were still migrating northward, but a few will remain to nest.
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – A familiar voice in the pinyon pine/juniper woodland.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – A few lingering birds at the Portal feeders. [b]
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – Quite common at all of the feeding stations.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – All of the cottontails that we saw in the low desert habitat were this one.

In addition to the marvelous owls and other birds, we found some interesting mammals, such as this Pronghorn that gave us close views. Photograph by guide Dave Stejskal.

BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – The most common and widespread of our two species of hare.
ANTELOPE JACKRABBIT (Lepus alleni) – Fantastic looks at night along the road on our way out of California Gulch that first night.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – The only real chipmunk species of the region.
HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii) – This one is very chipmunk-like, but it's in a different genus entirely. Nice looks at the Portal feeders.
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) – Very common in a variety of habitats, this one looks like it ought to be a Sciurus, but it makes, and lives in, burrows (unlike Sciurus).
ROUND-TAILED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus tereticaudus) – We saw a few of these out at the edge of the dirt lot near the west Tucson Burrowing Owl.
BOBCAT (Lynx rufus) – I completely missed this one when it came in, but the folks sitting to my left at Bob Rodrigues' feeders had some pretty good looks!
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – In this part of Arizona, this one generally occurs at lower elevations than the White-tailed Deer.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – The small race that we saw in the mountains is referred to as the Coues' White-tailed Deer – the second smallest race in N. America.
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana) – Great views of a close individual in the grassland next to the road s.e. of the Chiricahuas. The only living member of this North American endemic family.
CHIRICAHUA LEOPARD FROG (Rana chiricahuensis) – Many in the artificial pond at the Beatty's in Miller Canyon.
STRIPED PLATEAU LIZARD (Sceloporus virgatus) – We saw one of these little striped Sceloporus lizards along the roadside in the Chiricahuas on our final day.
SONORAN SPOTTED WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis sonorae) – This one is a better fit for the whiptails that we saw in the Chiricahuas and Huachucas.
SONORAN MOUNTAIN KINGSNAKE (Lampropeltis pyromelana) – A big surprise find on the final drive over the mountain in the Chiricahuas was this gorgeous snake crossing the road in front of our van.
WESTERN DIAMOND-BACKED RATTLESNAKE (Crotalus atrox) – We saw not one, but two of these beautiful venomous snakes in the Portal area this year.


Totals for the tour: 158 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa