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Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona's Second Spring I 2017
Jul 22, 2017 to Jul 31, 2017
John Coons & Cory Gregory


The view to the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon is one of the great vistas of SE Arizona, and the site where we saw our pair of Thick-billed Kingbirds. Photo by guide John Coons.

We had a wonderful ten days of birding in southeast Arizona. The monsoon season was well underway and we had to be flexible as we dodged the isolated thunderstorms. We had more heavy rain than any Arizona trip that I remember, but it is really cool to see this desert phenomenon. We sat out a heavy rain during lunch in Arivaca, then had to wait nearly two hours for the flooded washes to recede so we could carry on. We used this time to get our best look at Lucy's Warbler. In the desert below Portal one evening we were treated to an impressive lightning display on the surrounding mountains. A good aspect of the summer rains is they keep the temperatures much lower, and bird activity lasts much longer during the day.

Highlights were many, and included those great looks at five different groups of Montezuma Quail within a two-hour period in the Chiricahuas, three Mississippi Kites at a nest site, a Zone-tailed Hawk soaring right over us at a pit stop, and many sightings of Greater Roadrunner. Other highlights included both Western and Whiskered screech-owls, our chase for the Northern Pygmy-Owl, a surprising look at a tiny Elf Owl, a perched Mexican Whip-poor-will, lengthy views of Lucifer Hummingbirds, a great pair of Elegant Trogons overhead, and wonderful looks at Tufted Flycatcher -- a mega-rarity! We had fine looks at the rose throat of a male Rose-throated Becard, several Mexican Chickadees, and two Black-capped Gnatcatchers that gave us close looks. We had an exciting dash to see a Red-faced Warbler, good views of singing Botteri's and Cassin's sparrows, a Five-striped Sparrow very near to us, and a brightly colored male Painted Bunting. We also had some great mammal sightings, starting with the free-tailed bats emerging from under the bridge, and continuing with the Coyote grabbing the cottontail, and a Hooded Skunk carrying a baby in its mouth, plus a few sightings of Collared Peccaries, and nice looks at Pronghorn.

It was a joy to bird with all of you. We had a great group of spotters that found many of our birds. Cory and I really enjoyed it, and we hope to see you all again soon.

John


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
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


BIRDS
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis) – We ended up seeing a handful, including the pair with ducklings at the pond at Amado, but the best experience was the one Bob spotted perched in a tree top on the drive to California Gulch.
MALLARD (NORTHERN) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)
MALLARD (MEXICAN) (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) – Although we saw a few hybrids between the two forms of Mallards, we also saw a handful of rather distinct individuals of this race.
CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera) – A few were seen at the rain swollen ponds at Willcox.
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis)


Although Montezuma Quail is usually a very difficult bird to locate, we were very fortunate to have five sightings one morning in the Chiricahuas, including this male right along the roadside. Photo by participant Jeanette Shores.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – On our final morning in the Chiricahua Mountains, we drove to the desert and had nice looks at a few individuals.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – We saw lots of these widespread quail, including a few with chicks.
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – Usually a quite difficult species to find, but we had wonderful luck in the Chiricahuas where we had five different sightings involving nine individuals right along the roadside. We had great looks at the wonderfully ornate plumage of the males and the subtle colors of the females.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – After our first one at Sweetwater Wetlands, we saw or heard a couple more during our trip.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A single individual was on the Amado pond both times we stopped.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – One was on the pond at Amado and swam over and perched right next to the Neotropic Cormorant for a great comparison.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – A single bird was at the Amado pond on both days that we stopped. It wasn't looking too healthy on either visit.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – Lindsey spotted one at Arivaca Lake that was hiding in the reeds.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – We saw a few on our first evening while waiting for the bats to appear along the Santa Cruz River.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – There were four birds at the edge of the marshy pond at Whitewater Draw.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – We saw a few around Patagonia where they are expected, but it seemed unusual to see a soaring individual near Tucson on our first afternoon.
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – One bird was perched while surveying the water at Patagonia Lake.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) – After a bit of looking, we saw three birds near a nest site at the town of St. David near the San Pedro River. This is a quite local species in Arizona, nesting only in a few spots.
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii) – This is a rather common species in riparian areas and treed parks of the desert.
HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – We had nice views of an adult perched on a power pole near Willcox.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – Our first was a streaked immature bird but we ended up seeing a few adults, mostly in the southern Santa Cruz River area.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – A fair number were seen in flight and perched.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – Bob spotted one soaring quite close to us as we were completing a pit stop at a convenience store near Hereford at the base of the Huachuca Mountains. Although widespread in overall range in Arizona, it is not a common species and is always a good day when you spot one. Later, we had another at the ponds at Willcox.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)


Always one of the most anticipated birds of southern Arizona, the colorful Elegant Trogon nests in sycamore-lined canyons of a few mountain ranges, and performed well for us. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SORA (Porzana carolina) – We heard a couple calling from the dense reeds at Whitewater Draw. [*]
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – A couple of individuals were on one of the smaller ponds at Willcox.
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – Also seen at Willcox, where the rain had created some new ponds in the desert around the rather dry Lake Cochise.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – We saw two individuals at the lake at Willcox.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – Usually in bigger numbers than what we saw, we had them at Whitewater Draw and at Willcox.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – About 20 birds were at Whitewater Draw and another 15 at Willcox.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – A group of three individuals was whiling away the time at the lake at Whitewater Draw.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – A single bird was with the peeps on a sandbar at Willcox.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – We had a few good views of this species in the Chiricahuas.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – A species that is declining in much of its range around Tucson, it has, seemingly, become more common around Portal.
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina)


One of the rarest nesting birds in North America, this Black-capped Gnatcatcher showed quite well in Montosa Canyon on our final morning. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica) – Daily.
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – Ditto.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – After our first in the parking lot of a church in Sierra Vista, we ended up seeing five more that day, then a handful on subsequent days. Always a great bird to watch for awhile, it is an iconic species of the Arizona deserts.
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – We had a nice scope view of a perched and calling individual at Patagonia Lake.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – Just before the big storm blew in, we saw one perched in the top of an old building. The next day, near Willcox, we just happened to spot one flying over a field, almost certainly just flushed out of a nearby hay barn.
Strigidae (Owls)
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – We enjoyed wonderful looks at close range of a calling bird perched in an oak tree outside of Portal.
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – A quite cooperative individual showed well in the Huachuca Mountains. This is a southeast Arizona specialty with a quite restricted range in the U.S.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – During our night drive, Cory spotted one perched on a power line right at the edge of Portal. We flushed another during the day near Rustler Park but it got away before most could get on it.
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma) – This one took some chasing, as we heard it calling down the slope on the way to Rustler Park. We ended up driving back down the road and followed the calls until it, surprisingly, flew up the hill and perched for a nice scope view.
ELF OWL (Micrathene whitneyi) – This tiny owl gets pretty difficult this late in the summer, but we were fortunate to find a calling bird near Portal. We enjoyed quite close views.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – We had nice views of a group of three on the outskirts of Tucson on our first morning in the field. We also saw one flush from the roadside as we drove along State Line Road on the New Mexico border.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – We saw a few at dusk near the Santa Cruz River just before the bats emerged.
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – We could hear a couple of these very local nesters as we left Fort Huachuca after getting our entrance permits. [*]
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – We heard several but never got one close enough to see. [*]
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – We had a nice view of an individual perched on a pine limb in the Chiricahuas where it also started to vocalize.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – Soon to be renamed Rivoli's Hummingbird, we saw several of these large hummers at a few of the feeding stations as well as in the wild.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – Most of our sightings were at the feeders at the Southwest Research Station in the Chiricahuas. Walking the roads and trails we heard a fair number of them calling in the forest.
LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – We had great long views of at least two males and a female at the Ash Canyon B&B in the Huachuca Mountains. As dusk approached they stayed longer and longer at the feeders. This is a quite uncommon species in SE Arizona.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) – We saw many at the feeding stations we visited.
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna) – A few were coming to the Ash Canyon feeders and we also saw them at the Paton's feeders.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) – Mostly a mountain species, we had nice looks at Beatty's feeders and often heard the whir of the wings as we explored the higher elevations.
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus) – We had views of brilliantly colored males at a couple of places in the Huachuca Mountains.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – A desert and foothill species we saw many at the various feeding stations.
VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia violiceps) – We estimated at least three individuals were coming to the feeders at the Paton Center in Patagonia. For decades, this has been the best place in the U.S. to see this species.


One of the most range-restricted hummingbirds in Arizona, this Lucifer Hummingbird showed all his colors for us. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Trogonidae (Trogons)
ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – One of the trip highlights was finding a pair of these beautiful birds in Huachuca Canyon. We heard them calling nearby and went after them only to return to our original spot where Bob spotted a female then a male in a large sycamore overhead. Further up the canyon we saw another individual.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus) – An entertaining species, we saw several in the oak habitats we visited.
GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis) – A rather common bird of the saguaro desert and lowland riparian habitat.
LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER (Picoides scalaris)
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – Strictly a mountain bird here, it was somewhat surprising to see one at the relatively low altitude of the Southwest Research Station in the Chiricahuas.
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Picoides arizonae) – Nice views were obtained of this local specialty in the Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains.
NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)
GILDED FLICKER (Colaptes chrysoides) – On our first afternoon we had wonderful views of about 3-4 birds in the saguaro desert west of Tucson. This species is pretty much endemic to the Sonoran Desert.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – Ww saw a surprising number along our travels.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Cory spotted a soaring bird over the canyon rim in South Fork of Cave Creek in the Chiricahuas. The habitat looks like a great nesting locale.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – Our first was a surprise as it appeared near the hummingbird feeders at the Paton Center. We had another along the Santa Cruz River south of Tucson. This is the smallest North American flycatcher.
TUFTED FLYCATCHER (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) – We had great looks at this mega-rarity in Carr Canyon on the Huachuca Mountains. We walked in through the forest and heard its distinct call almost immediately and soon had it in the scopes. A beautiful tropical flycatcher, this individual has been seen off and on since May. Yip! Yip! Yip!
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – While chasing the Northern Pygmy-Owl, we heard one singing its distinct song and soon had it in the scopes.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) – Quite common in its mountain habitat and we saw a few migrants as well.
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis) – We had nice looks at calling birds at a few places in the mountains.
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – Another quite local specialty, we had a nice look in Sawmill Canyon and again at Carr Canyon where there seemed to be several calling.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – A quite colorful flycatcher, we had a few brilliant males and a couple of females.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – We heard several, but had a scope view of one near the Tufted Flycatcher in Carr Canyon.


This Whiskered Screech-Owl, trying to hide in an oak, afforded great views during our time in the Huachuca Mountains. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens)
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – We saw a surprising number of these during the week, but the most unusual sighting was one coming to bathe at the water feature at Bob Rodriguez's house outside of Portal.
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – Our first sighting of this interesting tropical flycatcher was in Miller Canyon but we improved on those looks the following day in Huachuca Canyon.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – On our first afternoon, we had a rather close look at a calling bird at Sweetwater Wetlands. We heard a few more later in the trip south of Tucson.
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) – This was a a species we saw nearly everyday.
THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris) – On our last morning in the Portal area, we stopped for a photo of the canyon and were surprised to find two birds out in the mesquite habitat above Portal. Later that day we had a nice look at another at the famed Patagonia Roadside Rest. This is a very local species in Arizona.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis)
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae) – After working our way along the muddy trail to the Santa Cruz River, we waited for a spell and eventually had great looks at a male Rose-throated Becard over our heads while we had a few glimpses of the female as well. The pair nested in this locale earlier in the summer but other folks were having mixed-luck in finding the birds now. This is a species that formerly regularly nested in low numbers along the San Pedro River but they have not been dependable in many years. It was a great find.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) – Most of our sightings were along roadside where they were perching on wires or on yucca stalks.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii) – A quite common voice in riparian habitats, we had nice looks on our first afternoon.
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni) – Not exactly one of the most dazzling species we saw during the week but we had good looks at a few, mostly in mixed-species flocks.
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – We saw a couple of migrants during the trip. Migration seemed to be running a bit late this year so these were just a few of lowland migrants that we encountered.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) – We had good views of this western species in the higher elevations of the Chiricahuas.
WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) – We saw these in the Huachuca Mountains and again at the Rodriguez feeders where one came in for a peanut.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi) – In the pine-oak habitat we had a good number of small flocks of these.
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – Essentially a grassland species here, we saw a few as we drove between Willcox and Patagonia.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – We had some perched on the wires at the Amado ponds.
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – We saw these flying about and perching in the saguaros west of Tucson on our first day and saw a few more in California Gulch. This is a subspecies of the southwest that is only known to nest in natural cavities.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – In the Double Adobe area we saw hundreds and hundreds on the wires.
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – This is the common mountain breeding swallow of the Arizona Mountains.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – Perhaps the least common of the swallows here, we had scope views of a couple perched on the wires at the Amado pond.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – These were widespread.
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – We saw them in several places and they were nesting on the sides of our motel in Nogales.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli) – We saw a singing bird on Mt. Lemmon on our unscheduled dash to find a few birds on our last afternoon. This is as far south as this species gets in Arizona.
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – A specialty of the Chiricahua Mountains, we had about five individuals on our way up the mountain. The following day we saw a few more in mixed-species flocks.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – We had good views of this handsome species in a few places, including one that came to the feeder at the Ash Canyon B&B.
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – Unfortunately, the calling bird we had nearby clammed up as the high winds and storm came rolling in near Paradise. [*]


A species with a very restricted range in the U.S., the Mexican Chickadee can reliably be found in the higher elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps) – A true desert species, we saw a few in the lowland areas we visited.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus) – We had good numbers of these acrobatic birds in the pinyon-juniper habitat.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis) – We had a few individuals respond to tooting in the Chiricahuas.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)
PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea) – We saw a handful in the Rustler Park area of the Chiricahuas and a few more on our last full day on Mt. Lemmon.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana) – This subspecies may be a future split and might be called Mexican Creeper.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – A wonderful songster, we had a couple of nice looks with our first on the cliffside in Cave Creek Canyon.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – We had lots of these flitting about and singing at the higher elevations of all the mountain ranges.
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – This quite large wren showed well several times.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – We mostly saw these in the juniper habitat of the mountain foothills where we heard them whining away.
BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura) – Another desert species, this was one of our first birds in the hills just outside of Tucson.
BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila nigriceps) – Another quite rare Mexican species that breeds in a few places in Arizona, we had a great view of a male in the Patagonia Lake area, then another on our last morning in Montosa Canyon.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – We saw this species in the Huachuca, Chiricahua, and Santa Catalina mountains.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – A wonderful voice in the coniferous forest, we had a few views, including a couple of young birds.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)


Afternoon fog is a rare occurrence in Arizona, so our hike into Hunter Canyon appeared more like a tropical rainforest than a desert mountain. Photo by participant Jeanette Shores.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre) – The most widespread of the thrashers. We saw these on several days of the trip.
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – A quite local species, we had a nice scope view along State Line Road near Portal. We could see the bill was straighter and shorter than on a Curve-billed Thrasher.
CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) – Always a tough bird when you are looking for them, in about any month except February and March. We were fortunate to hear and track them down twice for scope views. The bill was obviously much longer and more curved than on the other thrashers.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Though we did not see many, I think we recorded this species just about every day.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens) – An interesting species from a tropical family that just gets to the U.S. We found these to be fairly common in the Patagonia and Nogales areas.
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – These were really tough. We heard a couple singing and had one come way up a slope to a fir tree where we should have seen it, but it next started singing from way down the hill again and we lost it. [*]
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) – We had a pretty good view of a singing bird at the refuge near Arivaca while we were waiting for the road to clear.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – We had a few individuals in the tall cottonwoods along the streams.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata) [*]
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – In the mixed-species flocks of the higher elevations in the Chiricahuas we saw a couple or three of these handsome warblers.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens) – We worked to see our first, then they seemed to be just about everywhere we saw a mixed-species flock.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi) – On our dash to Mt. Lemmon we saw an early migrant at about 7500 ft in elevation. These mostly begin turning up around the end of the first week of August.
HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis) – We saw a few early migrants in the Chiricahua Mountains and on Mt. Lemmon.
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – After not seeing this great warbler on our first trip up the mountain in the Chiricahuas, and with the road closure the next day due to the heavy rains, we decided we could not miss this specialty so we made the long drive up in the afternoon to Mt. Lemmon, where we waited out a heavy downpour and ended up with great looks at this species.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Another special Arizona warbler, we saw our first ones in the Huachucas and then a few more in the Chiricahuas.
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – Often a difficult to see skulker, we spotted our first singing from high in a deciduous tree and had it in the scope for a spell. We heard and saw a few more over the next few days.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) – On our first afternoon, we targeted this species and ended up with great views of a singing bird in the desert near Tucson. Over the rest of the trip we heard many and saw a few more.
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii) – There were certainly a lot of them singing after the rains started. We had a few nice looks at close individuals perched in mesquite bushes.
CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii) – A great voice of the grasslands of southern Arizona, this is a species you would not even know was there until the summer monsoon rains start. The rains prompted many to start singing and we had nice looks near Portal and heard many more the rest of the trip.
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – We couldn't quite get it to land on the fence but we had nice scope views of a singing bird near Sonoita.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina)
BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW (Spizella atrogularis) – Our hike up Hunter Canyon found a good amount of rain but after it stopped we had a nice look at this quite local species.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – One of the best looking sparrows, we saw many during our time in the lower elevations.


A rather common bird in the mesquite deserts of the southwest, Black-throated Sparrow is one of the most sharply marked of any sparrow. Photo by participant Jeanette Shores.

FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – Another highlight was going into California Gulch, where we were treated to close views of this extremely local specialty. A denizen of rocky desert slopes with a mixture of vegetation including ocotillo, this is a Mexican species that just gets into Arizona.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus) – We saw a few small flocks which indicate they are migrants already heading south.
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – This was the dominate passerine in the higher elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains. We saw a fair number of adults but many more recently fledged juveniles.
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia) – A few were about Sweetwater Wetlands on our first afternoon.
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)
ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti) – After hearing a few early in the trip, we had a scope view of one singing from a high perch at Arivaca Lake. I don't remember ever seeing one this high in a tree before.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps) – It took some coaxing before we saw our first in the Chiricahuas, then we saw a few on our way into California Gulch.
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) – A quite common voice in the chaparral habitat.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava) – We had good views of both singing males and females in the Huachuca and Chiricahua mountains.
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – We saw a couple of males and a female or two in the San Pedro and Santa Cruz river areas that we birded.
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – Brendan saw one early, but we didn't get another until our last morning in Montosa Canyon.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – We saw a surprising number of these at feeders and thickets throughout the trip.
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – We had several nice looks at this desert version of the cardinal.
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) – Mostly seen in the mountains where they are breeders, we also saw a few in lower elevations indicating they were migrants on the move.
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea)
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – We had some good views of a small group on an island in one of the ponds at Whitewater Draw.
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) – We scoped a singing male in the orchard at the Beatty's feeders in Miller Canyon.
VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor) – We had good views of this desert dweller on a couple of occasions.
PAINTED BUNTING (Passerina ciris) – Cory spotted a female plumaged individual in the yard of the Paton Birding Center, then a very colorful male was seen the following day at Arivaca Lake. This is a rare but regular migrant in late-July and August in SE Arizona.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)


After a tough day of seeing Elegant Trogons, Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, and Painted Redstarts, we had a chance to relax at the feeders at the Ash Canyon B & B, famed for its Lucifer Hummingbirds. Photo by participant Jeanette Shores.

EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – This rather distinct race was seen a few times in the grasslands and open areas we visited.
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) – A couple of us saw an adult male flying with a group of Red-winged Blackbirds at the marshy channel near Tucson on our last morning.
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus) – We found a male and a few females along the vegetated shoreline at Arivaca Lake.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater)
HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus) – We saw a few during our travels.
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – After a couple of males flew past on our first afternoon in the Sonoran Desert, we had a nice look at a singing male near Paradise.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – We heard several in the higher elevations of the Chiricahuas and had a scope view of a male. This is not a regularly seen species in southern Arizona.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – A few were seen at a feeder in Portal. As in many other places, this is an irruptive species here.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria) – This was one of the species we saw everyday.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

MAMMALS
BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis) – On our first evening we saw 1000+ individuals emerge along the Santa Cruz. I think the nearby bridge construction and rainy weather reduced the numbers we often see.
EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus) – A couple were spotted in the higher elevation mountains.
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii) – This was the smaller rabbit we saw in the desert.
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – A few were seen here and there.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – These were common in the Chiricahuas.
HARRIS'S ANTELOPE SQUIRREL (Ammospermophilus harrisii) – A couple scurried here and there but we saw them at the Rodriguez feeders near Portal.
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) – These were quite common in some places.
ROUND-TAILED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus tereticaudus) – These were the small upright rodents we saw around Sweetwater Wetlands on our first afternoon.
MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – Essentially only found in the U.S. in the Chiricahua Mountains, we saw a few of these reddish-orange squirrels there.
ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis) – A strictly riparian species, we saw a few in the Huachuca Mountain area.
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – We heard these howling early on in the trip, then saw two walk right past our motel in Sierra Vista as we were heading out in the morning. But, the most memorable sighting was watching one in a Sierra Vista neighborhood strolling along then suddenly lunge into a bush and emerge with one of the many local cottontails in its mouth.
STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis) – We saw one walking about at our breakfast spot one morning in Portal.
HOODED SKUNK (Mephitis macroura) – During a night drive we had a good view of this somewhat uncommon species crossing the road in front of us while carrying a young skunk in its mouth.
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu) – We had a few encounters with these usually nocturnal creatures. We saw a few large males as well as a couple of small ones with mothers.
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – We saw a couple of these desert dwellers the morning after the heavy rain in the Portal area. [E]
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – These were seen regularly when in the mountains and foothills.
PRONGHORN (Antilocapra americana) – We had a great view of two lolling in the grass along the roadside at Fort Huachuca. Later, we saw about four individuals in the Sonoita grasslands.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS


Totals for the tour: 190 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa