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Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona Nightbirds & More II 2018
May 10, 2018 to May 14, 2018
Dave Stejskal

Elf Owl is actually quite common throughout much of s. Arizona, but seeing it is always a thrill! This bird checked us out in California Gulch on our first night as we tried to get a look at the rare Buff-collared Nightjar singing nearby. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

This short trip lived up to the promise of immersing ourselves in the many nightbird species of Southeast Arizona. With good to great views of eight species of owls (and another heard) and four species of nightjars, I'd have to call this one a success!

Weather at this time of year can be great, and ours was mostly great, but, as is often the case in spring in southern Arizona, we had to deal with a little heat and some wind. These were both issues in the daytime hours on this tour and affected us very little to not at all during the nighttime hours as we stalked our quarry. Fire is also always a potential threat at this season, and we did have to contend with road closures due to a new fire in the Chiricahuas after we had arrived at the lovely Southwestern Research Station near Portal. More than anything, the road closures here affected our birding, both during the daylight hours and at night. Still, we did remarkably well!

We hit the ground running on that first afternoon of the tour, making a run to the border to try our luck at Five-striped Sparrow, Buff-collared Nightjar, and anything else that we happened to find. Though the nightjar could have certainly performed better than he did for us, we came away with decent flight views of this rare goatsucker, as well as our Five-striped, and some bonus owls in the forms of Elf Owl and Western Screech-Owl! Close Lesser Nighthawks on our return to Tucson gave us some super views as well.

Our first full day of this short tour gave us a close and confiding family of Burrowing Owls in an urban setting in Tucson, and then it was off to the Huachucas and the Chiricahuas. Our hike up Miller Canyon in the Huachucas gave us our only looks at Northern Pygmy-Owl, but we whiffed on the hoped for Spotted Owl farther up the canyon. Luckily for us, a drive up Pinery Canyon on the west side of the Chiricahuas – before the fire had started and closed the road – gave us our fortuitous encounter with a day-roosting Spotted Owl. In fact, it was perched right across the road from where we parked our van! Jean quietly alerted us to its presence and we moved the van a more comfortable distance up the road before we got out to look at this beauty.

Once we settled into our rooms at the Research Station and ate our first meal there at the cafeteria, we were off again to look for more as the sun set west of the mountains. We came away that first night with both Whiskered Screech-Owl and Mexican Whip-poor-will, but that pesky Flammulated Owl was a 'heard only' bird this time.

Day 3 on the tour had us looking for a lot of the "& More" birds that call the Chiricahuas home. Our morning along the South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon was productive, as was our time in the afternoon at the feeders in the Portal area. Our only new nightbird this day was our flyby Common Poorwill after dinner along the road to Paradise.

Our final day, Day 4, had us birding the desert east of the Chiricahuas, battling the wind while doing so, and coming away with a couple of new 'nightbirds' – Great Horned Owl and Barn Owl, both just across the state line in New Mexico! We then searched the the pinyon pine/juniper hills near Paradise for a few scarce gems, and then visiting the watery habitats of Willcox before we made one more attempt for the Flammulated Owl in the Santa Catalina Mts. near Tucson. For us, the Flammulated remained in the 'heard only' category, but we had a lot of fun trying to chase him down!

Thanks to all of you for joining me on this short and quick-paced tour that ended up being chock-full of birds – as usual! I really enjoyed our adventure together and hope we can all do it again sometime soon! 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

The feeders near Portal attracted a fine assortment of gorgeous birds, including this migrant male Western Tanager. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis) – A very late pair at the Willcox golf course. [b]
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) [b]
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]
GADWALL (Mareca strepera) – We saw more of these and the next species than we typically do at this late date at Willcox. [b]
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) [b]
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis) [b]
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) [b]
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

This tiny Northern Pygmy-Owl was the prize for those who made the long hike up Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mts. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – A last-ditch effort at Willcox on the final afternoon yielded our looks at this desert grassland species.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – Numerous at the Portal feeders this year.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – All of the birds in the southeast Arizona mountains are the result of re-introduction efforts in the '70's and '80's. [I]
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis) – Lingering at Willcox. [b]
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – We had some typical early May numbers at Willcox on both of our stops there. [b]
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius) – A rather late bird at Willcox on our final stop there. [b]
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Accipiter gentilis) – It took some patience & maneuvering on the hillside, but we all eventually got a look in the scope at a bird sitting tight on a nest on the Beatty's property in Miller Canyon. [N]

The canyon lands along the Mexican border are home to the beautiful and distinctive Five-striped Sparrow, which we saw well on our first afternoon of birding together. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – A flying bird on the roadside on our way to California Gulch on the first afternoon was our only sighting.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – As usual, all of our birds were light-morph individuals.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – An adult flying along the San Simon road on our way out of the Chiricahuas on the final day was our only sighting this year – but it was a pretty good one!
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) [N]
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – At least one bird appeared to be sitting on eggs at Willcox. [N]
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – This one typically breeds at Willcox, but I saw no evidence of that this year – likely due to the high water levels there.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii) – A single bird seen poorly at Willcox. [b]
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) [b]

This Western Screech-Owl made the rounds in the dense woodland near the Buff-collared Nightjar territory on our first evening west of Nogales. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – A few birds on our second Willcox visit. [b]
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) [b]
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – Numbers of this one had really tailed off at Willcox by the time we made our second visit on the last day. [b]
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – A late bird at Willcox on Day 2. [b]
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Like the above species, this one was a little late at Willcox on the first visit. [b]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – Mostly around Portal, where they frequent some of the feeders in town.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – A single bird at Dave Jasper's feeders near Portal.

The race of the Northern Cardinal here in s. Arizona is the very appropriate C. c. superbus! Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – Lori spotted our one bird in the desert east of the Chiricahuas on the final day.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (AMERICAN) (Tyto alba pratincola) – We had to deal with a bunch of yappy little dogs in order to see this one at a known roosting site near Portal, which made our viewing this one less than ideal.
Strigidae (Owls)
FLAMMULATED OWL (Psiloscops flammeolus) – The fire in the Chiricahuas, and the subsequent road closures, really hampered our ability to look for this difficult species, but we did manage some good audio of a calling bird near the Research Station – but it then promptly fell silent! A frustrating bird this year, for sure! [*]
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – While waiting on the Buff-collared Nightjar to perform for us at the bottom of California Gulch that first evening together, we managed to lure one of these widespread Western owls into view as it worked through the mesquite grove. The combination of the 'bouncing ball' call, the black bill with a small, pale tip (in Southwestern populations only?), and the yellow eyes clinched the i.d. of this one for us. This species typically inhabits more open habitats at lower elevations than the very similar Whiskered Screech-Owl.

Very similar in plumage to the closely related Eastern Whip-poor-will, the voice is the best feature to distinguish this Mexican Whip-poor-will from the look-alike Eastern. This recently split form was cooperative for our group near the Southwestern Research Station in the Chiricahuas. Photo by participant Duane Morse.

WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – Notice a trend here? We were waiting for the Mexican Whip-poor-will to reappear near the Southwestern Research Station when we whistled one of these into an oak tree over our heads. Unlike it's Western cousin, the Whiskered has a greenish bill here and has a more evenly-spaced call that doesn't accelerate at the end. The feet are smaller on this species (it eats more insects than the Western does) and it inhabits dense pine/oak/juniper forest at mid- to high elevations from s.e. Arizona south into Mexico. If you want to see this one in the U.S., you need to come to S.E. Arizona!
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – We had to look across the road from Arizona into New Mexico to see this one nesting in the hay bales just across the state line east of the Chiricahuas. The most widespread owl in the New World, ranging from arctic Alaska south to Tierra del Fuego. [N]
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (MOUNTAIN) (Glaucidium gnoma gnoma) – We found a cooperative bird along our hike up Miller Canyon on Day 2, providing our only encounter on the tour. This one is a high elevation diurnal species that eats mostly lizards, large insects, and small birds – that's why those little birds go crazy every time they hear it call! The taxonomy of this species has been studied and it looks like there may be more than one species of 'Northern' Pygmy-Owl involved, so look for a possible split in the future.
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – This little guy performed admirably for us while we waited for the Buff-collared Nightjar to commence singing at the bottom of California Gulch on our first evening together. This species, the smallest owl in the world, is quite widespread in s. Arizona and is not at all uncommon, occupying habitats with trees and old woodpecker holes from the lowest deserts in the state up to about 7000' in the high mountains. I just heard that the closest relative of this species is the rare and local Long-whiskered Owlet in the Andes of n. Peru!

Ladder-backed Woodpecker is the common small woodpecker throughout our route in the lowlands on this tour. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – Finding this one in the Tucson area this year has been a slam dunk, with a reliable family in front of the Chase Bank building in s.w. Tucson. This species has seriously declined throughout its N. American range in recent years. [N]
SPOTTED OWL (MEXICAN) (Strix occidentalis lucida) – I knew this one was roosting somewhere in the canyon, but I had no idea that we'd parked right next to the bird until Jean spotted it right outside the front door of the van! We ended up moving to a safer distance to view this beauty and came away with lots of memorable looks and photos. The race here in Arizona is doing much better than the birds along the West Coast, not being quite as picky with its habitat requirements here. This was a very welcome sighting after we had dipped earlier in the day at normally reliable Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mts. to the west.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – A quick stop at the Border Patrol checkpoint yielded some great looks at several birds foraging around the bright lights at the station on our first evening together. Not much of a high-flyer like the Common Nighthawk, this species forages low to the ground and is mostly silent, unlike the very vocal Common Nighthawk.
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – This one was a bit of a pain this year, with no bird giving us any sort of full-throated response. Still what we did see was that it was a very short-tailed bird, compared with the Mexican Whip-poor-will that we saw. The voice, of course, is also very different from that species and it tends to occupy more open terrain with fewer trees than the Whip.
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – This one gave us more trouble than it really should have. Although we did get some great audio from this one up the hill, and everyone did see the bird fly down the hillside toward our group, it never did perch in the open for us. This species has been known from this site for a few years now and it's typically better-behaved than what he showed us this year. A widespread and common species in Mexico, this one barely reaches s. Arizona in a few places in the lower foothills of the upper desert zone (the Upper Sonoran Zone to be technical about it) at about 2500'-4500' in elevation.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – Ah – if they could all perform this well for us! We ended up with incredible looks of a bird on the ground in the Chiricahuas after striking out the previous night. A recent split, this species is found throughout the mountains of Southwestern U.S., Mexico, and n. Central America, replacing the more easterly and familiar Eastern Whip-poor-will that is found in e. North America. These birds are nearly identical visually, but their voices are significantly different.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – A few around the cliffs in the Chiricahuas.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – I hadn't called this fancy hummer a Rivoli's since the 70's! That was the name that I grew up with, so I'm pleased to see that the rather unimaginative name 'Magnificent Hummingbird' is gone...
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – The largest regularly-occurring hummer in the U.S. – and SE Arizona is the best place to see it!
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – The most common and widespread breeding hummer in the state.

One of the most misidentified species in s. Arizona is the Bendire's Thrasher. It's very similar to the Curve-billed Thrasher, but its plumage has warmer tones to it than the Curve-billed, and that small pale area at the base of the bill is a feature not shared by the Curve-billed. This Bendire's was hanging on for dear life in the gusty winds during our visit to State Line Road near Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – I think most of ours were heard only as we heard the shrill wing-whistle of the males flying past us.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – Common, and increasing in range and in abundance.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – A common sight in the mountain forests wherever there were oaks (or hummingbird feeders!).
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides scalaris) – The common small woodpecker in s. Arizona.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) [*]
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae) – This SE Arizona specialty has increased notably in the wake of the recent fires in the major mountain ranges.
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer) – This is the expected form here at any season.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – A single bird on our final day. It does seem like numbers of this small falcon have dropped in recent years.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – A migrant atop a dead conifer on our way up toward East Turkey Creek in the Chiricahuas on the final morning. [b]
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

The Burrowing Owl is hanging on in the Tucson area in small numbers, but it seems to be declining throughout most of its N. American range. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) – This is typically the most common migrant Empidonax species that we encounter in the oak zone on this tour. [b]
DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri) – Very similar to the above Hammond's, but best told from that one by call. [b]
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – These breeding birds must have just arrived.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) – Nesting at the Research Station. [N]
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – A couple of stunning males on the first and last days.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – The most common Myiarchus flycatcher in the mountain canyon habitats here.
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens) – Usually in drier habitats than the other two Myiarchus flycatchers.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – This is the largest race of this widespread species, which occurs south to Argentina.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) – Much darker-headed than the next species, and usually occurring a little higher than that one.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – A couple of recently fledged juvies along the State Line Rd. east of Portal. [N]
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (ARIZONA) (Vireo bellii arizonae) [*]
HUTTON'S VIREO (INTERIOR) (Vireo huttoni stephensi) – Never out of earshot while we were in the mountains.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) – This is the breeding form that was split from the old Solitary Vireo.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) – Recently split from the birds of the West Coast (California Scrub-Jay), this dull jay responded well on our final morning.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – The common and conspicuous jay of the SE Arizona mountains.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – A couple of certain birds along the roadside on our way to the Chiricahuas.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – Every morning and evening around the clearing at the Research Station. Like the closely related Tree Swallow, this one nests in tree cavities.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]

Southeast Arizona boasts three breeding species of colorful orioles, including this vibrant male Bullock's near Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – An endearing little titmouse!
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – This one got the short straw when they were handing out field marks.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – A couple of birds working in the trees at the Burrowing Owl spot in Tucson.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus) – I was a little surprised that we saw this one every day of this short trip.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis nelsoni) – The splitting of the various forms of White-breasted Nuthatch into three distinct species is still up in the air.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (ALBESCENS/ALTICOLA) (Certhia americana albescens) – This is a species that is ripe for a little splitting in N. and C. America.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Mostly just heard only.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (MEXICANUS GROUP) (Thryomanes bewickii eremophilus)

A welcome splash of color in the desert was this male Lazuli Bunting, frequenting the feeders near Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – Arizona's State Bird.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura) – We had a male that was mildly responsive on our first afternoon in California Gulch.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) [b*]
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – The race breeding in the mountains here is larger and paler than what you are likely used to seeing at home.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – At the Portal feeding stations.
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – We found a very cooperative individual in the wind along State Line Rd. east of Portal, giving us all some great views of this confusing species.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) [*]
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – On our first afternoon into California Gulch.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata) – Rather late for a migrant. [b]
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) [*]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (AUDUBON'S) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) – A number of these were still passing through the lower elevations.
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Nicely in the Chiricahuas. This one is a pine specialist here.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – Sometimes confused with the rather similar Black-and-white Warbler, which is quite scarce here.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – A few still passing through the mountains. [b]

After 'dipping' on the coveted Spotted Owl in the Huachucas this year, we found another bird on a day roost on our way to the Southwestern Research Station near Portal later that same day. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) [b]
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – A single bird briefly for most folks along the South Fork road in the Chiricahuas, which is quite low for this species. The closure of the upper reaches of the mountains this year certainly didn't help in our quest to see this one!
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Common and conspicuous in the canyons. One of my all-time faves!
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) – The bird we saw at the feeders in Portal was quite unusual that far east in the state.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – Nicely at the Portal feeders.
FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – Our walk down to the bottom of California Gulch was fruitful, providing us with fabulous looks at this local specialty.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – This one replaces the familiar Dark-eyed Junco from the SE Arizona mountains southward.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (ORIANTHA) (Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha) – This is the southern Rocky Mts. breeding race and only a migrant here in SE Arizona. [b]

Don't call this one a chipmunk! The lack of striping on the face identifies this little guy as a Harris's Antelope Squirrel. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps)
GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) – This was getting on the late side for this migrant. [b]
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)
Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – A bird along South Fork in the Chiricahuas was unusual there.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – A pine/oak specialist here, unlike the similar Summer Tanager, which is closely associated with lush riparian growth.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) [*]
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – Lots of these were still moving through during the tour.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Brighter, longer-tailed, and with a longer crest than the birds of eastern N. America.
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – Often confused with the above Cardinal, but one look at that bill...
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) – Very common in the oak zone.
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – Some lovely added color at the feeders near Portal. [b]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – Much paler overall, and with much more white in the tail than other races of Eastern Meadowlark.
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – We had all three of these beautiful oriole species at the Portal feeders this year.
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – One distant perched bird just outside of Portal.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii) – A few of these were still present at the Portal feeders after a very good winter for these in SE Arizona. [b]

Lingering longer than usual in the area was this male Cassin's Finch at the feeders in Portal. Note that the crown is the brightest patch of plumage on this one, unlike the similar and ubiquitous House Finches. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) [b]
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus) – This was the cottontail of the mountain forests.
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – This cottontail species is found in the low, dry flats.
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – Extra-long limbs and ears separate this one from the similar cottontails.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – The only species of chipmunk in SE Arizona.
HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii) – Sort of like a chipmunk, but this one lacks the facial strips and is in an entirely different genus. We saw this little guy at Dave Jasper's feeders near Portal.
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) – Our most common and widespread sciurid.
MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – This beautiful squirrel can only be seen in the U.S. in the Chiricahuas.

Another lingering migrant during our visit to the Portal feeders was this colorful Green-tailed Towhee. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BOTTAE'S POCKET GOPHER (Thomomys bottae) – Many mounds were in the clearing at the Research Station.
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – Also called Black-tailed Deer, this one occurs at lower elevation than the similar White-tailed Deer in SE Arizona.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Our very small race here is called Coues's White-tailed Deer.
GOPHERSNAKE (Pituophis catenifer) – This one looks a bit like a rattlesnake in pattern, but that head is too narrow and it lacks the rattle.
COACHWHIP (Masticophis flagellum) – Lightening-fast and bright pink - how cool is that for a snake?
YARROW'S SPINY LIZARD (Sceloporus jarrovii) – Often the most common Sceloporus lizard in the mountain canyons here.
DESERT GRASSLAND WHIPTAIL (Aspidoscelis uniparens) – A few of us saw one of these as we were exiting Miller Canyon in the Huachucas on the second day of the tour.


Totals for the tour: 156 bird taxa and 10 mammal taxa