A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Arizona Nightbirds & More I 2021

April 29-May 3, 2021 with Dave Stejskal guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
This gorgeous Swainson's Hawk posed for us in the grasslands near Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

After a fourteen-month unplanned break, thanks to COVID-19, I got back into the field with a great group of folks, eager to see some of Southeast Arizona's most sought-after birds! Besides having to contend with the ongoing pandemic, we were also dealt the continuing epic drought in the Southwest – with its lack of surface water and subsequent lack of insects – and we also had to deal with some very windy conditions. Still, despite all of those obstacles, we pulled off a nice tour with this short itinerary.

We started off our four days of birding with a visit to the lower reaches of California Gulch west of Nogales on our first afternoon and evening. Although it was pretty quiet down there, we did have some great, close audio of our big target species, the Buff-collared Nightjar, as well as rather distant views of a tiny Elf Owl peering out of its nest hole in a giant Saguaro cactus. Another Elf was heard close by, but we never could lay eyes on it, despite some searching.

Our next day found us ascending Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mts. to the southeast of Tucson. Careful scrutiny of the known roost sites yielded a fantastic look through the scope of a daytime Spotted Owl! Later that same day in the Chiricahuas, we ventured out into the darkness to try our luck with the various nightbirds known to inhabit the area. Again, it was awfully quiet out there with very few flying insects detected (the primary food source for many of our small species of owls and the nightjars). We did manage some good looks at a responsive Whiskered Screech-Owl and a very cooperative Mexican Whip-poor-will, finishing up the night with some good audio of a close Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owl. Our next night in the Chiricahuas, we were treated to a hard-won Western Screech-Owl singing in a riparian stand near Portal. And on our final night of the tour, we happened onto a small group of Lesser Nighthawks foraging for what few flying insects there were in the bright lights near our Tucson hotel.

Our diurnal bird haul was predictably excellent, with great encounters with such prizes as Montezuma Quail, Rivoli's Hummingbird and Blue-throated Mountain-gem, a close flyby Zone-tailed Hawk, cooperative Arizona Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet and Greater Pewee, the local Mexican Chickadee, both Bendire's and Crissal thrashers, Yellow-eyed Junco, Grace's and Red-faced warblers, gaudy Painted Redstart, plus loads of others.

It was great fun to be able to share this tour with all of you, after we all endured so much over the past year without the chance to really travel much for our shared love of birding. Thanks for your continued support of Field Guides and I hope to run into all of you during my imminent retirement years!


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)

BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Spatula discors) [b]

CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) [b]

This was the only duck that we didn't see at Willcox exclusively – a single drake was at Willow Tank near Portal.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]

A single male at Willcox.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera) [b]

AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana) [b]

More of these at Willcox than I would expect at this season. A flock of 1000+ birds winters here on the golf course.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)

MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi)

We found a pair of these on the golf course pond that had no visible signs of hybridization with Mallard. 50%+ of the birds that birders in AZ call 'Mexican Duck' are actually hybrids.

GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis) [b]

A single female at Willcox.

RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris) [b]

A single female at Willcox.

RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata)

Willcox is usually a reliable spot for this one.

GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii)

Lots of these charismatic birds at the various Portal feeders.

MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae)

We worked hard to see this calling male in the Chiricahuas and came away with looks for most on the tour (I never saw him!).

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo)

Quite a number of these were heard in the Chiricahuas, but only one was seen by the group. All of the birds here are thought to be the progeny of re-introduced birds.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

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We found three species of thrashers on the tour, including this Curve-billed Thrasher. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata)

A single at the feeders in Portal.

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]

INCA DOVE (Columbina inca)

Much more common a couple of decades ago in Arizona, this species has since crashed – but a few are still hanging on in Portal.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)

MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)

A single bird along the road into New Mexico on our final morning was our only one of the trip!

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

The last bird of the tour, literally, was this recently arrived migrant feeding at the bright lights near our hotel in Tucson on the final evening.

COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) [*]

We heard this one well on the first evening of the tour, but our attention at the time was correctly focused on the calling Buff-collared Nightjar nearby.

BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) [*]

We came away with some great audio of this local Mexican specialty, but it just wouldn't cooperate for us that first night of the tour. Drat!!

MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae)

We all had fabulous views of a perched adult male on a low horizontal Douglas Fir branch in the Chiricahuas one night. It really doesn't get much better than that! A recent split from the Eastern Whip-poor-will of eastern North America, whose voice is similar, but different enough.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)

A few of these were spotted overhead at our picnic dinner spot on the first evening of the tour. Strangely, we didn't have these anywhere in the Chiricahuas.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens)

The last time I did an Arizona tour, we were calling this one the Magnificent Hummingbird. Now split from the very similar Talamanca Hummingbird in Costa Rica & Panama. Great views of a feeding adult male in Portal.

BLUE-THROATED MOUNTAIN-GEM (Lampornis clemenciae)

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)

Probably the most common species of hummingbird at the Portal feeders.

BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)

We heard the shrill wing-whistle of a few adult males as they flew overhead, plus a couple of birds at the feeding stations.

BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris)

Present in both the Huachucas and the Chiricahuas, where it has greatly increased in numbers in recent years.

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A bright male Hooded Oriole perched up on an old yucca stalk at Dave Jasper's, and provided us with a good look. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)

Only at Willow Tank near Portal and at Willcox on our final day.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

This and the Am. Avocets will probably stay to breed at Willcox if the conditions remain favorable.

AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii) [b]

A rare spring migrant in Arizona.

LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) [b]

WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) [b]

Most of these migrants had already moved through the area earlier in the month.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) [b]

Most of these were in full alternate (breeding) plumage at Willcox. A couple of birds even sang!

WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) [b]

Including a few fancy alternate-plumaged females at Willcox.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) [b]

WILLET (WESTERN) (Tringa semipalmata inornata) [b]

We found a couple of small migrant flocks at Willow Tank and at Willcox.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) [b]

Gulls in SE Arizona are generally pretty difficult to come by, and this is, by far, the most likely species to be encountered at any season.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

A single bird at Willcox was our only heron of the trip.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) [b]

Great looks at a migrant flock at Willow Tank on our last morning. All were scrutinized to assure that there wasn't a rare (in Arizona) Glossy Ibis hiding amongst them.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) [b]

A couple of late migrant individuals were spotted during this short tour.

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Gambel's Quail are common at the feeders in Portal. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni)

All, or nearly all, of our nesting Swainson's in s. Arizona are these beautiful light-morph birds.

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

We had two close encounters with this one: the first in 'downtown' Portal on Day 3, and the final close flyby in Rodeo, N.M. on the final morning.

RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

Strigidae (Owls)

WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis)

This is one of the most common owls – maybe the most common – in the pine-oak woodland that we birded in so much on this tour, and we had a fantastic, leisurely view of a singing bird in the Chiricahuas on our first night there, hearing several more along the way. It replaces the very similar Western Screech-Owl roughly above about 4500'-5000' and occupies more dense woodland than the Western does (but there are, of course, exceptions to this). Voice, like in so many nightbirds, is key to the i.d. of this one. This one is restricted within the U.S. to the mountains of s.e. Arizona and adjacent extreme s.w. New Mexico.

WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii)

It took a bit to track down this singing bird in Portal with the light, but we eventually got some super views of this slightly larger screech-owl. Voice, and that black bill with a pale tip (vs. greenish in Whiskered S.-O.) are the keys to identifying this one. A widespread species in w. North America, it can be found from c. Mexico north to extreme s. Alaska

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (MOUNTAIN) (Glaucidium gnoma gnoma) [*]

I was absolutely certain initially that this calling bird on our first night in the Chiricahuas would prove to be a Northern Saw-whet Owl, but once we got closer to this singing bird, it was clear that it was this species. Unfortunately, it wouldn't oblige us with a look. The form here (nominate G.g. gnoma) is the form that occurs throughout Mexico. It usually has paired notes in the daytime song, unlike the birds of the Rocky Mountains (G.g. pinicola) or the birds of the West Coast (G.g. californicum). There's more taxonomic work to be done to sort out the true species limits in this one.

ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi)

We gave the Buff-collared Nightjar a pause on our first night - after it had gone silent - to try to track down this tiny owl. We narrowed down the location of a consistently singing bird there to a big Saguaro cactus on the hill above us. Sure enough, once we got to the other side of the Saguaro, we found the nest cavity with a tiny owl head sticking out! This species hasn't been detected in its usual numbers this spring (it's usually quite common in a huge elevational range) due to the exceptional drought and the subsequent lack of invertebrates - its primary food source. We heard others along the way during the tour, but none were responsive.

SPOTTED OWL (MEXICAN) (Strix occidentalis lucida)

A steady hike up the Miller Canyon trail brought us nice looks of this special bird, which has called this stretch of the canyon home for many decades. This is the larger of the two races that occur within the U.S. and it's doing much better than the West Coast birds, which really do need good primary forest, of which only a fraction remains. The 'Mexican' Spotted Owls seem to tolerate some habitat disturbance much better, but they do seem to need at least a few 'old growth' trees in their nesting/hunting territories.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)

This was easily our most common woodpecker of the trip.

GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis) [*]

Undoubtedly seen by some folks at our Tucson hotel, where it's common.


A couple of brief looks.

HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)

ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Dryobates arizonae)

I haven't had many better looks than the looks we got along the Miller Canyon trail!

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

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

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A beautiful male Rivoli's Hummingbird posed at just the right angle to get both the green and purple reflections on its feathers. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)


We found a very cooperative singing individual along the main road in Portal.

GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax)

Great scope views of this one as we descended Miller Canyon on our first morning of birding.

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

A single bird at Willcox on the last day.

HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER (Empidonax hammondii) [b]

Call, that short bill, and the long primaries help to distinguish this migrant species from the other Empidonax.

DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax oberholseri) [b]

We found a few calling birds along the Miller Canyon trail.

PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis) [b]

This was one of the few migrant birds that we recorded that first afternoon of the tour. The very similar Cordilleran Flycatcher isn't thought to be a lowland migrant like this one.

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Very entertaining on our first afternoon of birding.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

This is the smallest of our breeding Myiarchus flycatchers and it's a common summering bird in the pine-oak woodland here in s. Arizona.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)

The dullest of our three breeding Myiarchus and the one that prefers the driest of habitats.

BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

This big Myiarchus had just arrived in s. Arizona from the wintering grounds and our birds were mostly silent.

CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)

Much darker-headed than the similar Western Kingbird.

WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BELL'S VIREO (ARIZONA) (Vireo bellii arizonae) [*]

HUTTON'S VIREO (INTERIOR) (Vireo huttoni stephensi)

Quite kinglet-like.

PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)

This is the only breeding member of the 'Solitary' Vireo complex in the state.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Only at the highest elevations on this tour.

MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

The default 'blue jay' in the pine-oak woodland of the mountains of s. Arizona.

CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus)

Noticeably smaller desert-grassland relative of the widespread Common Raven.

COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri)

Despite the windy conditions, we managed to get a look at a responsive bird on our final day high in the Chiricahuas. A very local species within the U.S., occurring only here and in the Animas Mts. of s.w. New Mexico.

BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi)

Maybe the cutest bird of the tour!

JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi)

One of these surprised us in Portal when we saw it coming to the peanut butter at one of the feeding stations.

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)

VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)

The best was at Dave Jasper's feeders in Portal.

Alaudidae (Larks)

HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)

The common species nesting in the mountains throughout Arizona.

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White-winged Doves are very common, and they might be overlooked, but when seen up close, they have some amazing colors. How about the blue eye-shadow with that red eye? Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) [b]

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus)

A potential split from the birds of the West Coast, which have brown crowns and gray ears, vs. gray crowns and brown ears here.

Regulidae (Kinglets)

RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) [b]

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (INTERIOR WEST) (Sitta carolinensis nelsoni)

Another potential split, but I'm sure that it's not imminent.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)

One of the most common flocking species that we found high in the Chiricahuas on our final day.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

BROWN CREEPER (ALBESCENS/ALTICOLA) (Certhia americana albescens)

A resident race here in the mountains of s.e. Arizona.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)

This one came in to check us out as we waited for the Buff-collared Nightjar that first evening.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus) [*]

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) [*]

BEWICK'S WREN (MEXICANUS GROUP) (Thryomanes bewickii eremophilus)

CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus)

Excellent looks on our final morning near Portal.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)

CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)

The bird that we saw along State Line Rd. looked a little funny, being a bit more richly-colored than I expect for the species.

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The Black-throated Sparrow is a very handsome western specialty that we saw well. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei)

A brief look at a bird with food in its mouth in someone's yard in Rodeo, NM. We scored again at the golf course in Willcox a little later in the day.

CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale)

Seeing one of these at the golf course in Willcox on our final day was a bit of a surprise, but I'd seen it there earlier this year a couple of times.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana)

A few birds in the burn scar high in the Chiricahuas on our final day.

AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)

CASSIN'S FINCH (Haemorhous cassinii) [b]

This winter and spring were particularly good for this species in s. Arizona, so it was good to see that a few were still hanging on at the feeders in Portal this year.

PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) [b]

Lots and lots of these still in the Portal area at the various feeding stations.

LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

The default goldfinch here at all seasons.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)

BREWER'S SPARROW (Spizella breweri) [b]

Pretty good numbers were still present near Willow Tank on our final morning. They'll soon depart for their Great Basin desert haunts for the summer.

BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata)

Surely one of the loveliest of all the sparrows.

LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)

LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys) [b]

It was a nice surprise to find a few of these - including a few breeding-plumaged males! – still persisting along State Line Rd. near Portal on our final morning.

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We saw a number of Green-tailed Towhees coming to feeders along the tour route. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

DARK-EYED JUNCO (PINK-SIDED) (Junco hyemalis mearnsi) [b]

Very late for this wintering race in the Chiricahuas.

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

There were more of these birds, which nest in the s. Rocky Mts., lingering in the Chiricahuas this year.

YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus)

Common in all of the high mountains of s.e. Arizona.

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

A couple of these birds, with black lores and pink bills, lingered at the Portal feeders.

WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (GAMBEL'S) (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) [b]

This race, which breeds in Canada and Alaska, outnumbered the Rocky Mountain race, Z.l. oriantha, at the feeders.

VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus) [b]

A few late migrants at Willcox on the final day.

CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)

We had a good comparison between this one and the similar Abert's Towhee at Bob Rodrigues' feeders in Portal.

ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti)

A surprise at the Portal feeders.

GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE (Pipilo chlorurus) [b]

This is a good time of year to see these northbound migrants at the various feeding stations.

SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)

Mostly heard, but seen by a few folks.

Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)


At the Portal feeders – these had just recently arrived from the wintering grounds.

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

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

A very good paper just came out and it recommends that this distinctive pale subspecies should be split from the Eastern Meadowlark, so stay tuned...

HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)

A lovely male at Dave Jasper's was nice. This one is the preferred host species of the Bronzed Cowbird.

BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)

A couple of vibrant males.

SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum)

The best singer of the oriole group here in Arizona.

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It was a little odd seeing this lone Band-tailed Pigeon in Portal, but the bird gave us a good view. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)

BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)

A female or imm. male at Jasper's in Portal.


GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata) [b]

LUCY'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis luciae) [*]

The most common breeding warbler here, but a little tough to see at times.

VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Leiothlypis virginiae)

Confoundingly difficult to see up at Barfoot Park.

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata) [b]

Much scarcer than the breeding Audubon's.

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

GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae)

A pine-loving species.

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

Despite its lack of bright colors, this a gorgeous little warbler.

TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) [b]

Only a couple of birds still moving through the Chiricahuas. Not the best of springs for this one.

WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) [b]

Typically one of the most common and widespread of the migrant warblers in the Spring in this region of the state.

RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons)

These had arrived in pretty good numbers in Miller Canyon by the time we hiked up there to look for the Spotted Owl.

PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus)

I think that you can see why this is one of my all-time favorite Arizona birds!

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Near Portal, we got a great view of this Cactus Wren on our last day. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)

This one prefers the higher elevation pine/oak woodland in the mountains here. The single, loud 'chuck' note usually gives it away.

SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)

We have the large-billed Western race cooperi here.

WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana)

The large numbers of northbound migrants came through the state a couple of weeks later than our tour.

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The long-tailed, long-crested race superbus here.

PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus)

Great looks at the feeding stations around Portal!

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

The Western counterpart of the familiar Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the East.

LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) [b]

Good numbers at the Portal feeders, including some lovely males.


EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)

Occurs above the Desert Cottontail of the dry lowlands in the 'wetter' habitats (hardly 'wetter' this year!).

DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)

BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus)

These Lepus jackrabbits, or 'hares' as they're collectively known, are much longer-legged and longer-eared than the Sylvilagus cottontails.

CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis)

The only species of chipmunk in the region.

ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) [*]

It looks quite a bit like a 'tree' squirrel at first glance, but it is indeed a ground-squirrel.

MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis)

Restricted to the Chiricahua Mts. within the US, but widespread south of the border in the Sierra Madre Occidental.

ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis)

Another range-restricted species, being found primarily in central and s.c. Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico.

GRAY FOX (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

We saw more of these in the Chiricahuas than I normally see (I normally see zero).

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Pyrrhuloxia is sometimes called the "Desert Cardinal" and this photo shows the resemblance well. Photo by guide Dave Stejskal.

COYOTE (Canis latrans) [*]

NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor)

Another mammal that I don't typically see on this tour.

STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis)

HOODED SKUNK (Mephitis macroura)

This was the one with the entirely white upperparts and tail.

COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)

The general lack of water in the region is making this, and other mammals, much more visible

MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus)

In the lowland desert southwest of Tucson on the first afternoon.

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)

The common deer of the 'sky island' mountains of SE Arizona.

PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana)

The grasslands south of Portal are a great place to look for this one.


MOHAVE RATTLESNAKE (Crotalus scutulatus)

You don't want to mess around with any of the rattlesnakes, but this one is particularly bad! It's got both a potent neurotoxin and a hemotoxin, unlike other rattlesnakes in the US.

ORNATE TREE LIZARD (Urosaurus ornatus)

Surprisingly, this was the only lizard that we encountered on this trip. Still a little early in the season, I guess.

Totals for the tour: 155 bird taxa and 16 mammal taxa