Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Arizona's Second Spring II 2019
Aug 3, 2019 to Aug 12, 2019
Chris Benesh

Three views of southeast Arizona taken during the Second Spring tour. First is a downpour over the Peloncillo Mountains; second is the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon, an inviting look into the Chiricahuas; and third, a thunderhead building over Montana Peak in the wonderful Atascosa Highlands. Photos by guide Chris Benesh.

While traditional thinking defines four seasons to a year, in fact, it is often a bit more complicated than that. Here in southeast Arizona, most climate scientists would say that there are five distinct ones. Winter, Spring, and Fall are pretty straightforward. Summer, however, is divided into a dry season and the wet or monsoon season. Localized storms fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico drench the southeast part of the state to varying degrees, and trigger what is in essence, a second Spring. Many bird species in Arizona delay the start of the breeding season until the arrival of the monsoon and still others raise a second brood during this time. Furthermore, some species that breed to the north make a protracted stopover in southern Arizona that is timed with the monsoon rains and the abundance of insect life that results, affording them nutrition to complete post breeding molts before continuing on to their wintering grounds. And this is how the Arizona Second Spring title came about.

2019 will not be known for the high quality of its summer monsoon. By the start of our tour, rainfall levels had been rather patchy. Areas around Sierra Vista had seen the greatest amount of rain while those near the Chiricahuas were well below average. But we did get a taste of what the monsoon was all about, with a few impressive thunderstorms witnessed, thankfully from safe distances. Some of us were making our first trip to the southwest, while others were returning with a few specific targets in mind. 2019 saw the continuing presence of multiple pairs of Rose-throated Becards along the Santa Cruz River drainage between Tubac and Tumacacori. While storms pelted the countryside to the east, we explored this area and saw several becards in the process. Five-striped Sparrows were a bit more widespread than normal, and we saw them in Box Canyon and in Montosa Canyon. Of course in Montosa, they took a back seat to the wonderful family group of Black-capped Gnatcatchers. Montezuma Quail were notable teases on this tour, and it wasn’t until our third encounter with them that they really showed well for all. Quite a relief as they are such an attractive species. Another species high up on want lists was the Buff-collared Nightjar. We made an evening jaunt out to the confluence of California Gulch and Warsaw Canyon, and with some patience had some flight views, eyeshine, and some good audio from this locally scarce species. While August is not the best month to observe owls, we did have some fun nightbirding in the Chiricahuas and Huachucas as well, and a sprinkling of tarantulas and a vinegaroon, as well as some black lighting for scorpions added to the adventure.

The tour also featured a few exciting reptile and mammal encounters as well, heavily weighted toward rabbits and squirrels. A couple of the more notable ones included the impressive Antelope Jackrabbit, a mostly Mexican species whose range extends up into south-central Arizona. Also, the Mexican Fox Squirrel, a mostly Mexican species with an endemic subspecies, chiricahuae, restricted to the Chiricahuas.

Other highlights worth mention are the Elegant Trogons and Red-faced Warblers that caused so much excitement, each building up the suspense before we finally encountered them! And finally, I loved the hybrid Abert’s x Canyon Towhee that showed so well for us in Nogales. And there must also be a hat-tip to the Zone-tailed Hawk that buzzed us as we were headed to the airport for our final farewells providing a much more satisfying experience than our previous sighting.

Thanks to all of you for making the tour a success and providing some great companionship, laughter, and enthusiasm. I look forward to birding with all of you again in the future. Safe travels! — Chris

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 group back from our first encounter with Rose-throated Becard, showing off our chiggar-proof clothing to good effect. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CINNAMON TEAL (Spatula cyanoptera) – A few of these were at the small golf course pond in Willcox.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos)
MEXICAN DUCK (Anas diazi) – A couple of the ducks seen at the Amado Pond looked like legitimate Mexican Ducks.
RUDDY DUCK (Oxyura jamaicensis) – A gorgeous male in full breeding plumage was in Willcox.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
SCALED QUAIL (Callipepla squamata) – Our first ones were along Stateline Road and Danielle spotted some more at the small pond in Willcox.
GAMBEL'S QUAIL (Callipepla gambelii) – We were charmed by this species on a few occasions, perhaps best at Dave Jasper's feeders.
MONTEZUMA QUAIL (Cyrtonyx montezumae) – A few quite and sometime unsatisfying encounters mostly remedied by the pair in California Gulch on the last full day.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – Several groups seen in the Chiricahuas including an impressive creche of many young ones.

We saw this male Montezuma Quail on our way into California Gulch late in the tour. This species is patterned to blend into its grassy and rock strewn habitat. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – A single one was one the pond at the Canoa Ranch.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
BAND-TAILED PIGEON (Patagioenas fasciata) – Well seen in the high country of the Chiricahuas.
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [I]
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – A few scattered ones around. We watched one displaying to a female at the Patons.
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina) – We encountered two of these, the first in Tubac and then heard along the Santa Gertrudis Lane.
WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)

One of the male Lucifer Hummingbirds seen at the late Mary Jo's place at the south end of the Huachucas. Lucifer Hummingbirds have recently become a bit more plentiful in southern Arizona. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GREATER ROADRUNNER (Geococcyx californianus) – It was a really good tour for this species with lots seen.
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – A few seen along the Foothills Road just outside of Portal.
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – There were five of these flying around the bright lights at Fort Huachuca on the evening we were getting our passes there, loudly giving their peent call notes.
COMMON POORWILL (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii) – Heard and seen briefly while out looking for the nightjar.
BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR (Antrostomus ridgwayi) – Well heard and seen in flight as well as eyeshine on a nearby hillside.
MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus arizonae arizonae) – A quick flight view of one in Cave Creek in the Chiricahuas.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) – Some wonderfully close views of this species on the road up into the high country of the Chiricahuas. A few seen in Sycamore Canyon too.

A couple of the interesting hummingbird species seen, with a male Calliope Hummingbird on the left that was at the George Walker House and a stunning Violet-crowned Hummingbird showing off at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Photos by participant Jen Wong.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RIVOLI'S HUMMINGBIRD (Eugenes fulgens) – An impressively large hummingbird seen at a few locations.
BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Lampornis clemenciae) – Now officially known as the Blue-throated Mountain-gem, we saw this species in Summerhaven and again in the Chiricahuas.
LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD (Calothorax lucifer) – A good year for this species in Arizona, we had our best looks at Mary Jo's place in Hereford and had an immature male at the George Walker House in Paradise.
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri)
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna) – Best seen at Mary Jo's and at the Patons.
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte costae) – We had our best looks at Box Canyon and it was seen again in Green Valley.
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus)
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus)

A couple of the raptors seen on the trip. The Golden Eagle on the right put on a wonderful show for us in Box Canyon on our first full day. The Zone-tailed Hawk on the left was elusive for much of the tour and it wasn't until the trip to the airport that one came close and gave us wonderful views. Photos by guide Chris Benesh.

CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus calliope) – A male was visiting the feeders at the George Walker House, providing a real treat for us.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD (Cynanthus latirostris) – Widespread at middle elevations, this species dominated at the Patons.
VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD (Amazilia violiceps) – We had one in Box Canyon where it was considered rare, and saw some nice examples at the Patons.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SORA (Porzana carolina) – Len spotted one moving behind some Cinnamon Teal at the pond in Willcox.
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus) – Lots of these were present at Cochise Lake.
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – Similarly, quite a few of these were present at Lake Cochise.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus)

Another species that has recently become much more common in southeast Arizona is Gray Hawk. Once somewhat limited to a few riparian areas, this species is now more widespread, breeding in most mountain canyons. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus) – We counted 91 of these at Lake Cochise in Willcox.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii) – Good numbers of these were present at Lake Cochise. Most were adults with a couple of really fresh juveniles evident.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – Three of these were present at Lake Cochise.
WILSON'S PHALAROPE (Phalaropus tricolor) – We marveled at the spinning of these active shorebirds.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – A few seen including three at the Canoa Ranch lake.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria) – One of these visited the Canoa Ranch, dropping in on a small flood pond in a parking lot.

This Whiskered Screech-Owl was the second screeh-owl species seen during our nighttime excursion in Miller Canyon. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes) – Three fresh juveniles were at Lake Cochise.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – A couple of these were at the golf course pond in Willcox.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – Two of these were present at Lake Cochise.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos) – We had a terrific view of this species in Box Canyon where we watched it get chased by kingbirds, mockingbird, and kestrel.
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) – Two of these were eventually spotted in St. David.
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)

This Northern Pygmy-Owl has a somewhat annoyed look to it. This species is made up of a complex of populations that may well be split some day. If that happens, this will likely become the Mountain Pygmy-Owl. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

HARRIS'S HAWK (Parabuteo unicinctus) – This species has become patchy in recent years, but we had a stakeout bird in Sierra Vista that showed well for us.
GRAY HAWK (Buteo plagiatus) – A great tour for this species with many seen and heard. It used to be a species that one really had to seek out, but that is no longer the case.
SWAINSON'S HAWK (Buteo swainsoni) – An elegant buteo seen well in more open situations.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus) – We had a poor backlit view of one in Paradise, and that was it until we were headed north to the airport and had to pull over to enjoy one that flew right over our van!
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)
Strigidae (Owls)
WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops trichopsis) – A nice look and listen to one at the upper end of the Miller Canyon road.
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL (Megascops kennicottii) – A pair of these were found in lower Miller Canyon during our nightbirding and black-lighting there.
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – A surprise find right in Green Valley hanging out in a large conifer.

A wonderful portrait of the flashy Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. This species is a cavity nester and is one of the latest birds to return in the Spring from its wintering grounds in South America. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium gnoma) – One we well seen up high in the Chiricahuas that Holly spotted for us.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – We spotted a couple of families of these in the prairie dog town at Las Cienegas.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
ELEGANT TROGON (Trogon elegans) – After an appropriate amount of buildup and tension, we spotted a pair along the road in the South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon. Another calling male was a highlight of our hike into Sycamore Canyon.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
ACORN WOODPECKER (Melanerpes formicivorus)
GILA WOODPECKER (Melanerpes uropygialis)
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)
ARIZONA WOODPECKER (Dryobates arizonae) – Mary spotted our first one in Huachuca Canyon.

This Thick-billed Kingbird on territory at Fort Huachuca was a bit of a surprise. This species is still considered a scarce breeder here, but is becoming more widespread. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

NORTHERN FLICKER (RED-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus cafer)
GILDED FLICKER (Colaptes chrysoides) – We connected with a pair of these in Green Valley that showed well.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We was seen flying over the Santa Gertrudis Lane on the final morning of the trip.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET (Camptostoma imberbe) – Our best study was of one in Box Canyon on the first morning of the tour.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – There was one foraging in Sycamore Canyon that we watched catching dragonflies.
GREATER PEWEE (Contopus pertinax) – We heard a few of these in Carr Canyon, but the only look we had at one was along the Butterfly Trail on Mt. Lemmon.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus)

We had pretty good luck with Mexican Chickadee up high in the Chiricahuas where it is a member of many of the mixed flocks there. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – A nice looking specimen was at the small golf course pond in Willcox.
GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii) – A couple of these tail dippers seen on the tour.
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER (Empidonax difficilis) [*]
CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax occidentalis)
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax fulvifrons) – Nice studies of a couple of these in Carr Canyon.
BLACK PHOEBE (Sayornis nigricans)
SAY'S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – Always a crowd pleaser, we also were well acquainted with drabber examples of this species.

Not long out of the nest, this juvenile Canyon Wren explores a woodpile in Portal. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) – Still of few of these around in scattered locations with oaks.
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus cinerascens) – We managed to see a juvenile in Box Canyon on our first morning which was the only one seen.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – Our best looks came late in the tour in Tumacacori and Tubac.
SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes luteiventris) – Most agreed that this was one sharp looking species, visually impressive and with quite the voice! First seen in Huachuca Canyon.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – Our first ones were at the trailhead in Tumacacori that provided great direct comparison with Western and Cassin's kingbirds!
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans)
THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus crassirostris) – Finding one just below Huachuca Canyon was an unexpected surprise. We saw another pair of these on the final morning at Santa Gertrudis Lane.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – Lots around at this time of year. most memorable was one lacking dark pigments on wings and upperparts, seen between Portal and Rodeo.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
ROSE-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus aglaiae) – One of the exciting events in Arizona ornithology in recent years has been the reestablishment of a small breeding population in Santa Cruz county. Several pairs of birds now breed along the Santa Cruz River and Sonoita Creek. We were lucky to see a female near Tumacacori and another three or so individuals near Tubac.

One of the Black-capped Gnatcatchers seen in Montosa Canyon. Once considered a rarity, this species is now found in most suitable canyons at the right elevation and habitat. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii) – It was a treat to see Ranjit finally catch up with this nemesis bird in Montosa Canyon.
HUTTON'S VIREO (Vireo huttoni)
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus)
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)
WOODHOUSE'S SCRUB-JAY (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) – A few seen up high in Carr Canyon were a bit surprising. More were seen in the Chiricahuas.
MEXICAN JAY (Aphelocoma wollweberi)

One somewhat haggard-looking Bendire's Thrasher seen on Stateline Road. This species is local in distribution on our tour route. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) – A few seen here and there. In the end, the best looks may have been those in St. David seen while looking for kites.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris)
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Five stripes or only four. Two attractive sparrows, the Five-striped Sparrow on the left and the Black-throated Sparrow on the right, defy the notion that sparrows are drab. The Five-striped is the rarer of the two, but has recently been found in several areas away from its traditional haunts. Photos by guide Chris Benesh.

CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – We noted that the birds nesting on our motel in Nogales were of the dark fore-headed form.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli) – Seen on Mt. Lemmon during our first afternoon of birding.
MEXICAN CHICKADEE (Poecile sclateri) – One of the more highly sought-after species, its range in the US is largely restricted to the Chiricahuas, though a few pair occur to the east in the Peloncillos.
BRIDLED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus wollweberi) – A common species in the oak and riparian zones, this handsome species is a crowd-pleaser.
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) – We tracked down a few of this species on the Paradise Road. This species becomes quite a bit more common in north-central Arizona.
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
VERDIN (Auriparus flaviceps)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BUSHTIT (INTERIOR) (Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis)

A nice portrait of a Rufous-crowned Sparrow. We heard many more than we saw, but a few, like this one, did show well. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

PYGMY NUTHATCH (Sitta pygmaea)
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus)
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) – Quite numerous. There was a banded pair with young hanging out at the Portal Peak Lodge.
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
BEWICK'S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii)
CACTUS WREN (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) – The state bird of Arizona.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea)

This Painted Redstart showed well as it crept along this thick limb seeking out insects in Huahuca Canyon. Photo by participant Jen Wong.

BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila melanura)
BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila nigriceps) – We connected with a family group of these shortly after arriving in Montosa Canyon. A relatively recent colonist in the state, this was one of Ken's real target birds.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – We had some nesting birds at Fort Huachuca near the entrance to Huachuca Canyon and we also had more quite high up in Carr Canyon.
WESTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia mexicana) – This species was up high in the Chiricahuas.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
CURVE-BILLED THRASHER (Toxostoma curvirostre)
BENDIRE'S THRASHER (Toxostoma bendirei) – Good encounter with this species along Stateline Road where they nest. Distinctly slimmer and shorter billed than a Curve-billed.

This male Lazuli Bunting was one of several seen. This species arrives in large numbers during the late summer to molt. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

CRISSAL THRASHER (Toxostoma crissale) – We had one sit up for us nicely that allowed everyone to enjoy a look before it descended back down to the ground.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
Ptiliogonatidae (Silky-flycatchers)
PHAINOPEPLA (Phainopepla nitens)
Peucedramidae (Olive Warbler)
OLIVE WARBLER (Peucedramus taeniatus) – The only one were really saw well was the one on Mt. Lemmon on our first afternoon.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus)
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – A fair number of these up high in the Chiricahuas. Not certain of the type but likely Type 6 birds (at least in part).
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – Seen at feeders on Mt. Lemmon.
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Spinus psaltria)

There is nothing quite like a good study of Varied Bunting. The lighting is crucial, as they can appear black in some lights, yet really pop in good light. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW (Peucaea carpalis) – We had the odd experience of seeing our first one in St. David where this species has only recently colonized. Quite common around the Nogales region.
BOTTERI'S SPARROW (Peucaea botterii)
CASSIN'S SPARROW (Peucaea cassinii) – Seen and heard in various grasslands. This species is one that times its breeding with the summer rains.
BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (Amphispiza bilineata) – While having one fewer stripe than a Five-striped Sparrow, the Black-throated is still quite an attractive species.
FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW (Amphispiza quinquestriata) – After a bit of looking we had really good views of this species in Box Canyon on our first full morning. We also saw another while birding in Montosa Canyon.
LARK SPARROW (Chondestes grammacus)
LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys) – We had a small flock of migrants along Stateline Road that were mostly adult males.
YELLOW-EYED JUNCO (Junco phaeonotus) – Very numerous in some of the open alpine situations.

This interesting bird is a hybrid Abert's x Canyon Towhee. In addition to having had an intermediate sounding voice, it has intermediate plumage features too. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)
CANYON TOWHEE (Melozone fusca)
ABERT'S TOWHEE (Melozone aberti) – It wasn't until the end of the tour that we finally had a really good look at this species. And while tracking down one for a view we also came across a wonderful example of a hybrid with Canyon Towhee, a rare but known combination.
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW (Aimophila ruficeps)
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus)
Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – It's hard to beat this charismatic bird, now rightly placed in its own family!
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (LILIAN'S) (Sturnella magna lilianae) – We had nice looks at the pale form of Eastern Meadowlark native to the grasslands in southern Arizona.

The largest of the North American hares and jackrabbits in this Antelope Jackrabbit. This one was seen near Nogales. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

HOODED ORIOLE (Icterus cucullatus)
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (Icterus bullockii)
SCOTT'S ORIOLE (Icterus parisorum) – One of the finest songsters of the southwest, we had a wonderful encounter right at the start in Box Canyon.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus)
BRONZED COWBIRD (Molothrus aeneus)
GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
LUCY'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis luciae) – Surprisingly scarce this year, we did connect with a family group at the Canoa Ranch.

A Mexican Fox Squirrel of the chiricahuae subspecies that is restricted to the Chiricahua Mountains. Other subspecies live in Mexico. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

NASHVILLE WARBLER (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) – Seen in Sycamore Canyon during the hike.
VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Oreothlypis virginiae) – Always scarce at this season, we had a couple of really nice encounters with this one, both in Carr Canyon and again in the Chiricahuas.
MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (Geothlypis tolmiei)
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) [*]
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Setophaga coronata)
GRACE'S WARBLER (Setophaga graciae) – Another southwestern specialty, we had several good studies of this species.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Setophaga nigrescens)

This young horned lizard turned out to be a Greater Short-horned Lizard, one of three species occuring in the Chiricahuas. Photo by guide Chris Benesh.

HERMIT WARBLER (Setophaga occidentalis) – A few moving through at this season.
RED-FACED WARBLER (Cardellina rubrifrons) – One of the scarcer species at this season, we found one in a mixed flock on the way to Rustler Park, and later a singing bird in Pinery Canyon.
PAINTED REDSTART (Myioborus pictus) – Looking a bit like a mini-trogon those colorful birds are always a treat to see.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (Piranga flava)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra)
WESTERN TANAGER (Piranga ludoviciana) – A fair number seen, many already finished with breeding.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Some are surprised when they see cardinals in Arizona for the first time, but they are a native species here.
PYRRHULOXIA (Cardinalis sinuatus) – Perhaps best seen in the Portal area where it was a frequent visitor to bird feeders.

And lastly, in the creepy-crawly category, we did come across some interesting invertebrates during our evening excursions. We saw two species of tarantulas, the Tucson Bronze (upper left) and the Desert Blond (upper right). We also saw a large specimen of the Tohono Vinegaroon (lower left), a harmless but scary looking critter. Finally, we did a bit of black-lighting on a couple of nights and came across a few scorpion species. The one pictured is Pseudouroctonus apacheanus, first described from the Chiricahuas and found in a few sky islands in oak-pine woodlands. Photos by guide Chris Benesh.

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) – A common part of the summer soundscape in southern Arizona.
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) – We started encountering small numbers of this species at various locations. At this season large numbers arrive from their breeding grounds in the north of molt before continuing on the their wintering grounds.
VARIED BUNTING (Passerina versicolor) – Well seen in Box Canyon and again in Montosa Canyon toward the end of the tour.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis)
EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus)
DESERT COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus audubonii)
BLACK-TAILED JACKRABBIT (Lepus californicus) – Most numerous east of Portal.
ANTELOPE JACKRABBIT (Lepus alleni) – We had a great study of this impressive hare west of Nogales. It is a species that is relatively range restricted.
CLIFF CHIPMUNK (Tamias dorsalis) – The only chipmunk found in southern Arizona.
ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus)
BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE DOG (Cynomys ludovicianus) – A thriving colony of these present at Las Cienegas. [I]
MEXICAN FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus nayaritensis) – This handsome species was seen in the Chiricahuas, the only range of mountains in which it occurs in the US.
ARIZONA GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus arizonensis) – Seen a few spots in the Huachucas and Patagonia.
ARIZONA COTTON RAT (Sigmodon arizonae)
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – One peering back at us on a side trail near Tumacacori.
HOODED SKUNK (Mephitis macroura)
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)
MULE DEER (Odocoileus hemionus) – A small herd of males were seen in the flats along Stateline Road.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – The small form found in southern Arizona is known as Coe's


Totals for the tour: 190 bird taxa and 16 mammal taxa