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2023 sPRING FLING field trips

TUE. MAY 2 | Wed. MAY 3 | thu. MAY. 4 | Fri. MAY 5 | Sat. MAY 6

 
 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE

Spring Fling 2023 festival will be mainly Group Van Field Trips (marked GROUP VAN) with a few small-group, car-caravan style guided field trips in participants' own vehicles (marked CAR CARAVAN). Van trips go to more remote or distant locations and car-caravan trips will require less driving.

 

All group van trips will leave from Cochise College, Sierra Vista while each car caravan will have a set meeting point and time, where you will meet your guide. 

Bag lunch is provided on Group Van trips consisting of a sandwich of your choice on Wheatberry bread, whole fruit (based on availability), chips, cookies and water. Please select your choice of sandwich from the menu below Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. 

Download spreadsheet of birds seen during Spring Fling 2022 here

See eBird trip report for Spring Fling 2022 here

Tue May 2, 2023

Tuesday, MAY 2, 2023
 

4:30 - 5:30 PM

Free Welcome Jamboree 

Festival participants are cordially invited to join us as our guest for our pre-festival FREE Welcome Jamboree festivities at Cochise College, Sierra Vista.

 

Enjoy a chance to meet your fellow Southwest Wings participants, guides, and the faces behind “The Greatest Little Birding Festival in the United States”, along with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages (non-alcoholic, due to licensing restrictions).

All attendees must register for the Jamboree. 

 

The Jamboree will take place at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus, in Building 1000. See map.

 

 

Wed May 3 2023

 

Wednesday, MAY 3, 2023

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

WF1 Overnight Chiricahua Mountains/Cave Creek (two nights)    GROUP VAN

(Return Friday, May 5)

Join author and bird guide, Rick Taylor, on an exploration of the Chiricahua Mountains. We will start in the prairies at the base with a chance to find the newly split Chihuahuan Meadowlark, then climb into the pine-oak woodlands to search for Arizona Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Bridled Titmouse. Entering the coniferous forest we'll look for Virginia's, Grace's, and Olive Warblers along with Greater Pewees, Red-faced Warblers, Pygmy Nuthatch and Steller's Jay. A Chiricahua specialty is the Mexican Chickadee, not found anywhere else on public lands within the entire United States.

We have two nights at the Southwestern Research Station. There we will explore sycamore-laced South Fork for Elegant Trogon, Painted Redstart, and Hepatic Tanager. The many hummingbird feeders in the area host colorful Rivoli's, Blue-throated and Broad-billed Hummingbirds. On a pre-breakfast excursion into the desert below Portal we'll try for Bendire's and Crissal Thrashers and adjacent foothills harbor Juniper Titmouse and Black-chinned Sparrow.  A night run up Cave Creek may net us Whiskered Screech-Owl and Elf Owl, along with calling Mexican Whip-poor-will.

This trip includes all meals and two night's accommodation at the Southwestern Research Station set in the Chiricahua Mountains. This trip is best suited for intermediate birding skills. Bring hat and sunscreen, camera, pocket flashlight, and wear sturdy hiking boots. With birding stops en route, this trip may get back after 4 pm. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide: Rick Taylor

Price is for double occupancy, however, if you are interested in single occupancy, please contact SWWings at admin@swwings.org.

 

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

WF2 Overnight California Gulch/Santa Cruz Valley (two nights)    GROUP VAN

(Return Friday, May 5)

The rugged canyons of the Atascosa Mountains and Pajarito Wilderness are some of the most celebrated birding spots on the Arizona/Sonora border. This double-overnight tour, with professional guide Richard Fray, will focus on the search for the area’s most famous specialty birds, among them Rose-throated Becard, Montezuma Quail, Buff-collared Nightjar, and Five-striped Sparrow. This tour also provides excellent opportunities for seeing a good cross-section of southeast Arizona’s many specialties, including Elf Owl, Gray Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Tropical Kingbird, Painted Redstart, Botteri’s, Rufous-winged and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and Scott’s Oriole. We begin in Patagonia, where we will hit prime locations for Violet-crowned Hummingbird, and other exciting possibilities. After lunch our route takes us directly to California Gulch, where we will look for the rare Five-striped Sparrow, Black-capped Gnatcatcher and other species. We will remain in the area until the end of the day to look for Buff-collared Nightjar, which breeds there, as well as the chance of other night birds. We will have a 'picnic' dinner and be late back to our accommodation.

 

The next morning, after a little sleep in and a home-cooked breakfast, we will explore the “birdy” Santa Cruz Valley, where we hope to spot Rose-throated Becard, Thick-billed Kingbird and others. Sites around Rio Rico and Nogales could produce Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Elegant Trogon. The final day, we'll head back to Sierra Vista via Box Canyon, which could produce Five-striped Sparrow and Lucifer Hummingbird, and the grasslands of Las Cienegas. Most of our birding will be from the vehicle or on level, sometimes rocky paths. This trip includes all meals and lodging at the Rancho Santa Cruz B&B. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. This trip is best suited for intermediate birding skills. Bring binoculars, camera, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Guide Richard Fray.

Price is for double occupancy, however, if you are interested in single occupancy please contact admin@swwings.org.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

W1 Huachuca and Garden Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Chris Chappell on a full day within Fort Huachuca where destinations will include Huachuca and Garden Canyons. We will explore a variety of habitats including foothill grasslands, sycamore-lined canyon woodland, and pine forest. We will search for regional and mountain specialties such as Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Buff-breasted and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireo, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager. In the grassland areas, we may encounter Loggerhead Shrike, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Chihuahuan Meadowlark, and raptors. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in a shady spot. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3, moderate. Guide: Chris Chappell.

PLEASE NOTE: This trip enters Fort Huachuca and a visitor's pass is required. If you are eligible, please obtain your pass before the trip as there may not be time to get one on the day. See Visitor access

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

W2 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Kristy Gallo, on this tour of Carr Canyon, beginning in the lower canyon, where we will look for Gambel's Quail, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. We may stop at the Carr House Nature Center to check the hummingbird feeders. Venturing to the top of Carr Canyon, we may see up to six species of hummingbirds, as well as Arizona, Gila and Acorn Woodpeckers, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace's and Olive Warblers, Painted Redstart, Yellow-eyed Junco, Hepatic Tanager, Scott's Oriole and other mountain and canyon specialties. Be prepared for a slow walk covering a mile or two with a 200ft elevation gain and uneven terrain. This trip is best suited for intermediate birders. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear comfortable, sturdy trail shoes.  Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate with elevation. Guide Kristy Gallo.

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6.00 AM - 3:00 PM

W3 Miller Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join local birding expert, Dan Hoobler, on an exploration of one of the finest Huachuca Mountain Canyons. Miller Canyon is known to local birders as a reliable place to find Red-faced Warblers and there may even be a chance of a Mexican Spotted Owl. Other SE Arizona specialties including Arizona Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager are all found here. This trip includes a visit to the famous hummingbird feeders at Beatty's B&B where up to 10 species of hummingbirds can be found, including a chance of the rare White-eared Hummingbird. Bring hat, sun protection and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide to be Dan Hoobler

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

W4 Coronado National Memorial   GROUP VAN

Enjoy a scenic exploration of the south side of the Huachuca Mountains with professional guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson. The tour begins with a drive through the grasslands which carpet the foothills on the way to the entrance to the Coronado National Monument. Here we may find the newly split Chihuahuan Meadowlark and Botteri's Sparrow as well as Western and Cassin's Kingbirds, and Loggerhead Shrike. The visitor centre, has a large observation window at the back and a trail runs from the centre through to a picnic area and this is good for Arizona Woodpecker. Driving upwards the road becomes a track, and there is a chance anywhere along here of encountering Montezuma Quail. The area is good for mid-elevation species, such as Painted Redstart and Black-throated Gray Warbler. The trip reaches its highest point at Montezuma Pass, with its incredible views over to Mexico. Here we will stop and hike up the Coronado Peak Trail, an easy walk with a 300ft elevation gain. Venturing over the other side, we will explore along the trail to Copper Canyon, where a small stream crosses the road. Always good for butterflies, this area also hosts Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Hepatic Tanager. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking difficulty 2-3 easy to moderate. Guide Jeff Babson.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

W5 Madera and Box Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Felipe Guerrero on a trip which will take you to Madera Canyon via Box Canyon and the Santa Rita grasslands and explore this famous birding site. The grasslands on the way are good for Grasshopper Sparrow and the newly split Chihuahuan Meadowlark. For the last couple of years Box Canyon has hosted breeding Five-striped Sparrow and we will stop to look for this rare species, also hoping to see Varied Bunting and Scott's Oriole. Moving on to Madera Canyon we will bird the many habitats it has to offer - grassland, riparian, and woodland. We will also enjoy a picnic lunch and watch feeding stations. Target species would include Rivoli's Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Painted Redstart, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Botteri’s Sparrow, Yellow-eyed Junco and Scott’s Oriole. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Felipe Guerrero.  

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

W6 San Pedro River Trails  CAR CARAVAN 

The San Pedro River in May is a vibrant green ribbon of life, an avian super highway through the desert for millions of migrants. The dense cottonwood/willow forest is alive with bird song as those species that stay to breed set up territories and get down to business. Join naturalist guide Robert Weissler in an exploration of the lush cottonwood/willow forest which in May is home to Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, low elevation warblers including Lucy's Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, and many more. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 2 Easy. Guide Robert Weissler.

Meeting place: San Pedro House parking lot. Follow Hwy 90 to the east of Sierra Vista and turn right just before the San Pedro River. Map link.

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

WN1 Owl Prowl   CAR CARAVAN

The Huachuca Mountains are home to several sought-after nocturnal birds, including Whiskered and Western Screech-Owls, Common Poorwill, and Mexican Whip-poor-will. On this trip, professional bird guide to be confirmed will target these birds with the possibility of seeing many other nocturnal creatures. Please wear darker or khaki clothing and a soft material fleece or jacket; avoid light and bright clothing hats and anything that makes a lot of rustling noises, such as crinkly nylon windbreakers.'

Owl trips are conducted only at the spring event and, like all birding, there are no guarantees except that we will have a good time. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy, Darkness. Bring a flashlight or headlamp and field guide. Cameras are okay. Best suited for intermediate to advanced birders. Guide to be confirmed.

Thurs May 4 2023
thursday, MAY 4, 2023

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T1 Ash and Miller Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Kristy Gallo on this trip to explore parts of Ash and Miller Canyons. On this canyon tour, we will begin in the grasslands below Miller Canyon, where we will look for Rufous-crowned and Botteri’s Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak, and other lowland species. Upper Miller Canyon is known to local birders as a reliable place to find nesting pairs of Red-faced Warblers and there may be a chance of a Mexican Spotted Owl as well as other SE Arizona specialties including Arizona Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager. A visit to Beatty’s hummingbird site is also possible. There will be a lunch break followed by a stop at the famous Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary for up to 10 species of hummingbirds, including a chance of seeing the rare Lucifer Hummingbird, plus other foothills birds. Be prepared for a two-mile slow walk with a 300-foot elevation gain and uneven terrain. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Kristy Gallo.

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

 

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

T2 Las Cienegas NCA   GROUP VAN

​Join professional guide Jeff Babson on a visit to what was formerly one of the Southwest’s largest cattle ranches. This expansive BLM National Conservation Area is home to Pronghorn Antelope, Prairie Dogs and a wide variety of birds. We will visit rolling grasslands, mesquite thickets and cottonwood-lined Cienega Creek, one of the area’s only sources of permanent water, looking for Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks, Burrowing Owl, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Abert’s Towhee, and Cassin’s, Botteri’s, Song, Lark, and Grasshopper Sparrows. If time permits, it may be possible to visit Patagonia for a short look at hummingbirds and some riparian species. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Jeff Babson.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

T3 Patagonia/Sonoita Specialties   GROUP VAN

Join professional tour leader Felipe Guerrero on a search for the best birds of the Sonoita and Patagonia area. The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is one of southeastern Arizona’s best-known destinations for riparian birds. Stops will be made at the Preserve, Las Cienegas NCA, Patagonia Lake State Park, Patagonia roadside rest stop, and Paton’s Hummingbird Center in search of a wide range of riparian and brushy grassland specialty species, hummingbirds, and possible Mexican vagrants. Search birds include Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Thick-billed Kingbird, Chihuahuan Meadowlark, Varied Bunting and Rufous-winged Sparrow. Our exact itinerary may vary based on where the target birds are being seen. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade somewhere along the way. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. This trip is best suited for beginner to intermediate birders. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Felipe Guerrero

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

T4 Chasing Rarities   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Chris Chappell, on a day long excursion to see what's new or unusual in Southeastern Arizona. This trip's destinations will be based on recent bird reports in the area and the group's desires. With no pre-planned destination your guide will be free to chase after what's available in any direction or location. The trip may include any of the areas covered by our regular trips or may try a new location to see what is available. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 to 4 moderate to difficult. Guide Chris Chappell.

PLEASE NOTE: This trip may enter Fort Huachuca and a visitor's pass is required. If you are eligible, please obtain your pass before the trip as there may not be time to get one on the day. See Visitor access

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

T5 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional bird guide, Robert Weissler on a visit to the world famous Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, this area has been a hot spot for birding for decades. The lower canyon is good for Montezuma and Gambel's Quails, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. Ramsey Canyon is a reliable location to find Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Hepatic Tanager, Grace's and Red-faced Warblers and Painted Redstart as well as hummingbirds around the information centre. Be prepared for a slow hike covering two miles with a steep 200-foot elevation gain. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Robert Weissler.

Meeting place: Ramsey Canyon Preserve parking lot, at the top of Ramsey Canyon Road. Map link

 

7:00 AM - 12:00 PM

T6 San Pedro River Riparian Specialties   CAR CARAVAN

Flowing north from Mexico the San Pedro is the last major undammed river remaining in Arizona and was the first Globally Important Bird Area to be designated in the US.  This green ribbon of life supports 100 species of breeding birds and provides a critical corridor for millions of migrants. The lush cottonwood/willow forest provides habitat for Gray Hawk, many species of flycatchers (Vermilion, empids, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, kingbirds, 3 species of Myiarchus), Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler and possibly Green Kingfisher.  Join Sandy Anderson for a half-day at the Gray Hawk Nature Center, a private section of the river with great trails and a yard list of 251 species. Flat walking, plenty of shade, varied habitats and a naturalist guide guarantee a fun and comfortable morning for birders of any age or experience level, beginner to advanced. Bring your own water. Hiking Difficulty: 2 Easy. Guide Sandy Anderson.

Meeting place:  Gray Hawk Nature Center, N Gray Hawk Lane. Turn right off E Charleston Road, along E Escapule Road, and then left along N Gray Hawk Lane. Map link

 

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T7 Sierra Vista Area Butterflies and Dragonflies   GROUP VAN

Join leader Rich Bailowitz (co-author of several butterfly books as well as Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Arizona and Sonora) as we search for some of the butterflies and dragonflies of the Sierra Vista area. The day will include stops in Escapule Wash (near the San Pedro River) and in Huachuca Canyon, at various elevations between 4,500 and 6,500ft. A net will be used to catch and release insects for up-close species identification. This trip is best suited for butterfly and dragonfly enthusiasts of all skill levels. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes.  Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Rich Bailowitz.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This trip enters Fort Huachuca and a visitor's pass is required. If you are eligible, please obtain your pass before the trip as there may not be time to get one on the day. See Visitor access

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

TN1 Blacklight Adventure   CAR CARAVAN

After the sun sets, a whole new world awakens, largely unseen by most. Join Jeff Babson to explore the Huachuca Mountains at night and step into the nighttime world of moths and other insects. At historic Carr House, set at the entrance to Carr Canyon, we will set up a black (or UV) light to see what we can draw out of the darkness. Southern Arizona is as famous for insects as it is for birds, and is home to over a thousand species of moth as well as a great variety of beetles. This is an easy, casual way to get acquainted with nature after dark and we may even be serenaded by owls. Bring a camera, flashlight, light jacket, and hat. Guide Jeff Babson.

Meeting place:  Carr House, about 2.3 miles up Carr Canyon Road, off Highway 92. Drive through gate to park. Map link.

 

Fri May 5 2023
friday, MAY 5, 2023

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

F1 Guindani Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Accessed from Kartchner Caverns State Park, this area is good for typical desert and canyon species, as well as for spring migrants. Join professional bird guide Chris Chappell who will take you on a half-day trip to explore the wildlife of this fascinating area. The Guindani Canyon drainage has a diverse hackberry-mesquite-oak riparian woodland. We will begin in the lower canyon near the visitor center where there are native plant gardens that attract hummingbirds and migrants. A five-minute drive will take us to the Guindani Canyon trailhead, from where we will hike up into the canyon where it exits the Whetstone Mountains and the lower edge of the oak woodland vegetation zone appears. Birds we are likely to encounter include Costa’s and Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Vermilion and Ash-throated Flycatchers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Cactus, Canyon and Rock Wrens, Black-throated and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Bell’s Vireo, and Lucy’s Warbler. There is a chance we could see 3 species each of orioles and tanagers. If we are lucky, we might see Lucifer Hummingbird, Gray Vireo, or Black-chinned Sparrow. There is a day use fee for entry. Bring hat, sun protection, walking shoes and water. Hiking Difficulty: 3 Moderate. Guide Chris Chappell

 

Meeting place: Take the Kartchner Caverns State Park turn off Hwy 90 and follow the main park road to the Visitor Center parking lot. Map link.

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

F2 Garden and Huachuca Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Jeff Babson on a full day within Fort Huachuca where destinations will include Huachuca and Garden Canyons. We will explore a variety of habitats including foothill grasslands, sycamore-lined canyon woodland, and pine forest. We will search for regional and mountain specialties such as Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Buff-breasted and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireo, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager. In the grassland areas, we may encounter Loggerhead Shrike, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, Black-throated Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Chihuahuan Meadowlark, and raptors. Bring hat, sun protection and walking shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3, moderate. Guide Jeff Babson.

PLEASE NOTE: This trip enters Fort Huachuca and a visitor's pass is required. If you are eligible, please obtain your pass before the trip as there may not be time to get one on the day. See Visitor Access 

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link 

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

F3 Ramsey and Brown Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Kristy Gallo, on a trip around Brown Canyon Ranch, ponds, and grasslands early, then heading up to Ramsey Canyon Preserve. From there we will hike two miles up into upper Ramsey Canyon onto Forest Service land where Flame-colored Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher have been seen in recent years. The lower canyon yields Gambel's Quail, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. The canyons are home to Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Hepatic Tanager, Scott’s Oriole, Painted Redstart, and Red-faced Warbler. Be prepared for a slow steep hike up the stairs on the Hamberg trail in Ramsey Canyon. There are nine rest benches along the trail in Ramsey. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Guide Kristy Gallo

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

F4 Las Cienegas NCA   GROUP VAN

​Join guide (to be confirmed) on a visit to what was formerly one of the Southwest’s largest cattle ranches. This expansive BLM National Conservation Area is home to Pronghorn Antelope, Prairie Dogs and a wide variety of birds. We will visit rolling grasslands, mesquite thickets and cottonwood-lined Cienega Creek, one of the area’s only sources of permanent water, looking for Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks, Burrowing Owl, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, Abert’s Towhee, and Cassin’s, Botteri’s, Song, Lark, and Grasshopper Sparrows. If time permits, it may be possible to visit Patagonia for a short look at hummingbirds and some riparian species. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide to be confirmed.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

F5 Whitewater Draw/Sulphur Springs Valley   GROUP VAN

Whitewater Draw is a fabulous oasis for birds in the surrounding desert. Join local expert Steve Tracey on a tour of this wonderful wetland area. Birds seen will depend on water levels at the time and may include wildfowl such as Mexican Duck and others, Common Ground Dove, Swainson’s Hawk, Vermilion Flycatcher, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, Chihuahuan Raven, Bendire’s Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow and Chihuahuan Meadowlark. Also explore the surrounding area in Sulphur Springs Valley looking for various desert species. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Steve Tracey

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

F6 San Pedro River Trails  CAR CARAVAN 

The San Pedro River in May is a vibrant green ribbon of life, an avian super highway through the desert for millions of migrants. The dense cottonwood/willow forest is alive with bird song as those species that stay to breed set up territories and get down to business. Join naturalist guide Robert Weissler in an exploration of the lush cottonwood/willow forest which in May is home to Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, low elevation warblers including Lucy's Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, and many more. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 2 Easy. Guide Robert Weissler.

Meeting place: San Pedro House parking lot. Follow Hwy 90 to the east of Sierra Vista and turn right just before the San Pedro River. Map link.

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

F7 Hunter Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional guide Jennie MacFarland on a hike up Hunter Canyon where the 2011 Miller Peak Wilderness fire left its mark, with the result being a unique combination of habitats that are home to a nice diversity of bird species. The initial hike is dominated by successional oak-scrub with birds like Crissal Thrasher, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Black-chinned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, and Scott’s Oriole. Higher up, the trail enters a stand of soaring conifers that were spared when the fire “jumped” the canyon; here we hope to find Band-tailed Pigeon, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace’s and Virginia’s Warblers, “Mountain” Pygmy-Owl and more. The pine forest wasn’t completely spared, however, and the scrubby disturbed habitat has been home to a resident pair of Rufous-capped Warblers, which we hope to search for. Bring hat, sun protection, water and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Jennie MacFarland.

 

Meeting place: Parking lot next to Ricardo's restaurant just north of the junction of Highway 92 and Hereford Road at 6.30am. Map link

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

FN1 Owl Prowl   CAR CARAVAN

The Huachuca Mountains are home to several sought-after nocturnal birds, including Whiskered and Western Screech-Owls, Common Poorwill, and Mexican Whip-poor-will. On this trip, professional bird guide Jennie MacFarland will target these birds with the possibility of seeing many other nocturnal creatures. Please wear darker or khaki clothing and a soft material fleece or jacket; avoid light and bright clothing hats and anything that makes a lot of rustling noises, such as crinkly nylon windbreakers.'

Owl trips are conducted only at the spring event and, like all birding, there are no guarantees except that we will have a good time. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy, Darkness. Bring a flashlight or headlamp and field guide. Cameras are okay. Best suited for intermediate to advanced birders. Guide Jennie MacFarland.

 

Meeting place: Ramsey Canyon Preserve parking lot, at the top of Ramsey Canyon Road. Map link

Sat May 6 2023
saturday, MAY 6, 2023

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

S1 Ash and Miller Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Kristy Gallo on this trip to explore parts of Ash and Miller Canyons. On this canyon tour, we will begin in the grasslands below Miller Canyon, where we will look for Rufous-crowned and Botteri’s Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak, and other lowland species. Upper Miller Canyon is known to local birders as a reliable place to find nesting pairs of Red-faced Warblers and there may be a chance of a Mexican Spotted Owl as well as other SE Arizona specialties including Arizona Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager. A visit to Beatty’s hummingbird site is also possible. There will be a lunch break followed by a stop at the famous Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary for up to 10 species of hummingbirds, including a chance of seeing the rare Lucifer Hummingbird, plus other foothills birds. Be prepared for a two-mile slow walk with a 300-foot elevation gain and uneven terrain. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Kristy Gallo.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

S2 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Jeff Babson, on this tour of Carr Canyon, beginning in the lower canyon, where we will look for Gambel's Quail, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. We may stop at the Carr House Nature Center to check the hummingbird feeders with up to six species of hummingbirds. Venturing to the top of Carr Canyon, we may see Zone-tailed Hawk, as well as Arizona, Gila and Acorn Woodpeckers, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace's and Olive Warblers, Painted Redstart, Yellow-eyed Junco, Hepatic Tanager, Scott's Oriole and other mountain and canyon specialties. We will also be on the lookout for some of the characteristic plants, mammals, and reptiles of the Huachuca Mountains. Be prepared for a slow walk covering a mile or two with a 200ft elevation gain and uneven terrain. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Jeff Babson.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

S3 Madera and Box Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Jennie MacFarland on a trip which will take you to Madera Canyon via Box Canyon and the Santa Rita grasslands and explore this famous birding site. For the last couple of years Box Canyon has hosted breeding Five-striped Sparrow and we will stop to look for this rare species, also hoping to see Varied Bunting and Scott's Oriole. Moving on to Madera Canyon we will bird the many habitats it has to offer - grassland, riparian, and woodland. We will also enjoy a picnic lunch and watch feeding stations. Target species would include Rivoli's Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Painted Redstart, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Botteri’s Sparrow, Yellow-eyed Junco and Scott’s Oriole. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Jennie MacFarland.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

S4 Saint David/Wilcox   GROUP VAN

​The focus of this trip with professional bird guide Chris Chappell will be the Benedictine’s Holy Trinity Monastery, a 132-acre site on the east side of the San Pedro River in St. David, Arizona. A popular retreat center, the grounds include a 1.3-mile birding trail, several small ponds, a pecan orchard, mesquite woodland, a working farm, and magnificent cottonwoods. Nesting birds are numerous and include: Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Mississippi Kite (at one of its only nesting sites in Arizona), Bell’s Vireo, Vermilion Flycatcher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Curve-billed Thrasher, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak. Tropical Kingbird, another local breeder, can usually be found here. Time and weather permitting, we will make a trip to Twin Lakes in Willcox, where we could add a number of shorebirds such as Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes, Least and Baird’s Sandpipers, Long-billed Curlew, and Horned Lark. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide: Chris Chappell.

 

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

S5 Patagonia/Sonoita   GROUP VAN

Join professional tour leader Scott Olmstead for a trip to the Patagonia area. Patagonia is one of south-eastern Arizona’s best-known destinations for riparian birds. Specialties that can be found here include Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Thick-billed Kingbirds, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet and Rufous-winged Sparrow. Good birding sites in Patagonia are numerous and our probable itinerary will include Harshaw Canyon, Patagonia Lake State Park and the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Our exact itinerary will be at the discretion of the leader, and may vary based on where the target birds are most readily being seen. A short visit (about an hour) to the open grasslands around Sonoita will complement the riparian habitats of Patagonia, and we should see a wide variety of species. We will enjoy a lunch break in the shade somewhere along the way. Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Scott Olmstead.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

S6 Santa Cruz Valley   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Richard Fray, on this tour of the Santa Cruz Valley. There will be chances to see some of the area’s most famous specialty birds, among them Rose-throated Becard, Green Kingfisher and Five-striped Sparrow. This tour also provides excellent opportunities for seeing a good cross-section of southeast Arizona’s many specialties, including Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Tropical Kingbird, Rufous-winged and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and Scott’s Oriole.

Bring hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Richard Fray.

Meeting place: Cochise College, Sierra Vista. Follow Campus Drive to east of Colombo Avenue and park in parking lot on the left. Map link

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

S7 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional bird guide, Robert Weissler on a visit to the world famous Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, this area has been a hot spot for birding for decades. The lower canyon is good for Montezuma and Gambel's Quails, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. Ramsey Canyon is a reliable location to find Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Hepatic Tanager, Grace's and Red-faced Warblers and Painted Redstart as well as hummingbirds around the information centre. Be prepared for a slow hike covering two miles with a steep 200-foot elevation gain. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Robert Weissler.

Meeting place: Ramsey Canyon Preserve parking lot, at the top of Ramsey Canyon Road. Map link

 

7:00 AM - 12:00 PM

S8 San Pedro River Riparian Specialties   CAR CARAVAN

Flowing north from Mexico the San Pedro is the last major undammed river remaining in Arizona and was the first Globally Important Bird Area to be designated in the US.  This green ribbon of life supports 100 species of breeding birds and provides a critical corridor for millions of migrants. The lush cottonwood/willow forest provides habitat for Gray Hawk, many species of flycatchers (Vermilion, empids, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, kingbirds, 3 species of Myiarchus), Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler and possibly Green Kingfisher.  Join Sandy Anderson for a half-day at the Gray Hawk Nature Center, a private section of the river with great trails and a yard list of 251 species. Flat walking, plenty of shade, varied habitats and a naturalist guide guarantee a fun and comfortable morning for birders of any age or experience level, beginner to advanced. Bring your own water. Hiking Difficulty: 2 Easy. Guide Sandy Anderson.

Meeting place:  Gray Hawk Nature Center, N Gray Hawk Lane. Turn right off E Charleston Road, along E Escapule Road, and then left along N Gray Hawk Lane. Map link

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