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2023 summer festival field trips

TUE. AUG. 1 | Wed. Aug. 2 | thu. Aug. 3 | Fri. aug. 4 | Sat. AUG. 5

 
 

PLEASE NOTE

SUMMER FESTIVAL 2023 will be mainly small, group van field trips (marked GROUP VAN) with a few car-caravan style guided field trips in participants' own vehicles (marked CAR CARAVAN) to nearby, easily accessible, locations.

 

Group Van Field Trips will leave from Cochise College, Sierra Vista while Car Caravans will have a set meeting point and time, where you will meet your guide.

 

​Bag lunch is provided on Group Van Field 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. 

See map of Cochise College here.

TUEsday, AUGUST 1, 2023   
pre-festival

 

3:00 - 4:00 PM

EARLY BIRD CHECK IN

Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus, Library Building

Our Welcome Desk will be open in the Library Building, adjacent to the Student Center, on Tuesday August 1, 2023 from 3:00-4:00 PM to Check In to the festival and pick up your Name Badge plus some free goodies. 

4:00 - 5:30 PM

FREE WELCOME JAMBOREE 

Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus, Building 1000

Registered Festival Participants are cordially invited to join us as our guest for the pre-festival FREE Welcome Jamboree social festivities at Cochise College,  Bldg 1000, 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). 

Access to the pre-festival Jamboree is open to registered attendees only. Kindly RSVP for the Jamboree in the Field Trip Section when registering. Early Birds, let’s get this party started!

Tue Aug 2
Wed Aug 3 2022

 

Wednesday, AUGUST 2, 2023

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

WF1 Chiricahua Mountains/Cave Creek   GROUP VAN

(Three days, two nights, return Friday, August 4)

Join expert bird guide, David Simpson, on an exploration of the Chiricahua Mountains. We will start with Cassin's and Botteri's Sparrows in the prairies at the base, 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 Portal Peak Lodge at the mouth of majestic Cave Creek Canyon. There we will explore sycamore-laced South Fork for Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, 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 nights accommodation at the Portal Peak Lodge. 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. David Simpson

Price is for double occupancy, however, if you are interested in single occupancy, please contact us at 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 - 4:00 PM

WF2 California Gulch and Santa Cruz Valley   GROUP VAN

(Three days, two nights, return Friday, August 4)

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 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 us at 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 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional birding guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson, on this full-day 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. Bring water, hat, sun protection, and wear trail shoes.  Lunch is included. 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 - 3:00 PM

W3 Ash and Miller Canyons   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, Sulphur-bellied 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. 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

W4 Patagonia/Sonoita   GROUP VAN

Join professional bird guide, Eric Hough, 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 Kingbird, 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 water, 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 Eric Hough.

 

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 naturalist guide Matt Brown 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  lunch break while watching 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 water, 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 Matt Brown.

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

W6 Whitewater Draw/Sulphur Springs Valley   GROUP VAN

Whitewater Draw is a fabulous oasis for birds in the surrounding desert. Join local bird 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 noon

W7 San Pedro River Trails   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional guide Ken Blankenship on a half-day exploration of the San Pedro River which starts at the renowned Casa San Pedro. After a look at the feeders which attract many hummingbirds and other species, the tour will take you along the riverine habitat of the San Pedro River. The shady cottonwoods and lush riverside vegetation are home to a wide range of species including Gray Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Vermilion Flycatcher, Abert's Towhee, and Blue Grosbeak while in nearby grassland there is Botteri's Sparrow. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Ken Blankenship.

 

Meeting place: Car park at Casa San Pedro, 8933 S Yell Lane, Hereford. Map link.  

7:00 AM - 12 noon

W8 Gray Hawk Nature Center   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

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

WN1 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.

Thurs Aug 4 2022
thursday, AUGUST 3, 2023

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T1 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join international birding guide and special guest, Greg Homel, 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. Bring water, 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 Greg Homel.

 

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

T2 Miller Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Ken Blankenship, 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, Sulphur-bellied and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, 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 Ken Blankenship.

 

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

T3 Hummingbird Hunt   GROUP VAN

Sierra Vista is the Hummingbird Capital of the United States, so what better place can there be to hunt for hummingbirds. This exciting trip is led by professional bird guide Kristy Gallo, and will visit all of the best locations for hummingbirds in the Huachuca Mountains. As well as the regulars such as Rivoli’s, Broad-billed and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds there will be opportunities to look for Violet-crowned and Lucifer and maybe rarer ones like White-eared and Berylline. Visit locations like Ash Canyon Sanctuary, Beatty’s feeders in Miller Canyon, Ramsey Canyon, Casa San Pedro and wherever other interesting hummers have been seen. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. 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

T4 Coronado National Memorial   GROUP VAN

Join 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 there are both Botteri's and Cassin's Sparrows as well as familiar 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 water, 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

T5 Las Cienegas NCA and area   GROUP VAN

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. Professional guide Matt Brown 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, 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 water, 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: 1-2 easy. Guide Matt Brown

 

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 noon

T6 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join local bird expert Dan Hoobler 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 Dan Hoobler.

 

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

6:30 AM - 12 noon

T7 San Pedro House & River Walk   CAR CARAVAN

The San Pedro River is a vibrant green ribbon of life, its riparian vegetation forming an avian super highway through the desert for millions of migrants. Join naturalist guide Robert Weissler in an exploration of the lush cottonwood/willow forest which is home to Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, low elevation warblers including Lucy's Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, and many more. Also look at the garden with feeders around San Pedro House. Bring hat, sun protection, walking shoes and water. 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.

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T8 Butterflies and Dragonflies of the Sierra Vista Area  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 Canyon (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. 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 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

TP1 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.

PLEASE NOTE: This trip conflicts with the Keynote Dinner

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

Fri Aug 5 2022
friday, AUGUST 4, 2023

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

F1 Fort Huachuca Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional bird guide, Jennie MacFarland, 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, Sulphur-bellied 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 Jennie MacFarland.

 

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

F2 Warblers and Flycatchers   GROUP VAN

Professional guide Homer Hansen will focus on characteristics, behaviors, and other clues for the identification of the flycatchers of SE Arizona. This field trip will visit many habitats to study these birds in the wild and will be useful for both the expert and beginner alike. It will start in the lowlands seeking kingbirds, Myiarchus flycatchers and Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet plus Lucy's Warbler and early warbler migrants. Then move up into the mountains looking for pewees, phoebes, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and those tricky Empidonax species. Homer will be running a grassland bird workshop at Cochise College after this trip at 4.30, as part of the free programs. Lunch is included – please select your sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Homer Hansen

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

 

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

F3 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, Sulphur-bellied 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

F4 Ramsey and Brown Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join international birding guide and author Rick Wright for an exciting exploration of two canyons in the Huachuca Mountains. We will hit Ramsey Canyon early, before the official opening time and enter the Preserve to walk some of their many trails. After a short drive to the nearby Brown Canyon Ranch and ponds, which are always worth checking out, we will hike up a way into Brown Canyon to see what we can find. The lower canyon is good for Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Phainopepla, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. Brown and Ramsey Canyons are reliable locations to find typical montane riparian birds, plus specialties of south-eastern Arizona, including Arizona Woodpecker, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Scott’s Oriole, Painted Redstart, and Red-faced Warbler. Be prepared for a slow hike covering two miles with a 500-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: moderate to difficult, 3 or 4. Guide Rick Wright.

 

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 Chasing Rarities   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Matt Brown on an exciting day-long excursion to see what's new or unusual in SE Arizona. This trip's destinations will be based on recent bird reports in the area as well as the needs of the group. With no pre-planned destination, Richard 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 and may try a new location to see what is available. Bring water, 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 Matt Brown.

 

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 - 4:00 PM

F6 Patagonia/Sonoita   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson, 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 Kingbird, 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 water, 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 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

6:30 AM - 12 noon

F7 San Pedro River Trails   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional guide Ken Blankenship on a half-day exploration of the San Pedro River which starts at the renowned Casa San Pedro. After a look at the feeders which attract many hummingbirds and other species, the tour will take you along the riverine habitat of the San Pedro River. The shady cottonwoods and lush riverside vegetation are home to a wide range of species including Gray Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Vermilion Flycatcher, Abert's Towhee, and Blue Grosbeak while in nearby grassland there is Botteri's Sparrow. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide: Ken Blankenship.

Meeting place: Car park at Casa San Pedro, 8933 S Yell Lane, Hereford. Map link.

 

6:30 AM - 12:00 noon

F8 Hunter Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join local bird expert Steve Tracey 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 and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Grace’s and Virginia’s Warblers, “Mountain” Pygmy-Owl and more. The pine forest wasn’t completely spared, however, and the scrubby disturbed habitat here is home to a resident pair of Rufous-capped Warblers, which we hope will be a well-earned highlight of our hike. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Steve Tracey.

 

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

6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

FP1 Bats   CAR CARAVAN

Join bat aficionado Karen Krebbs as we visit the semi-desert grassland to see agave food plants of bats up close. After sunset we’ll watch hummingbird feeders and/or agaves for Lesser Long-nosed Bats and Mexican Long-tongued Bats flying in for dinner. Attendees on this field trip will benefit from Karen's free lecture on Friday 1:30 PM (not a necessity). Because this is a night trip (sunset is 7:17 pm) so bring a flashlight or headlamp (a red light is best). Bring your binoculars and a small chair or stool to increase your comfort. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Karen Krebbs.

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

Sat Aug 6 2022
saturday, august 5, 2022

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

S1 Fort Huachuca Canyons   GROUP VAN

​​Enjoy a full day birding with professional guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson, on Arizona’s largest military base, famous for over a century for its Arizona specialties. We will cover a wide range of habitats from grasslands to pine-oak woodlands. At higher elevations, we will hope to encounter Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, and Dusky-capped and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers in Huachuca Canyon. Along the much gentler trails of Sawmill Canyon, at the top of Garden Canyon, we will try for Greater Pewee, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace’s Warbler, and Hepatic Tanager. The elusive Montezuma Quail is possible anywhere on this trip. This is one of the few trips that access the highest elevations in the Huachucas. 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 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

S2 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional birding guide, Matt Brown, 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. Bring water, 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 Matt Brown.

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 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 Kingbird, 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 water, 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

S4 Saint David/Wilcox   GROUP VAN

​The focus of this trip with professional bird guide Homer Hansen 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 Wilcox, where we can add a number of shore birds such as Wilson’s Phalarope, Least and Baird’s Sandpipers, Long-billed Curlew, and Horned Lark. 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 Homer Hansen.

 

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 Las Cienegas and Box Canyon   GROUP VAN

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. Professional guide Jennie MacFarland 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, 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. After a break for lunch, head through the oaky foothills of the Santa Rita Mountains to Box Canyon. In this lush succulent-thornscrub habitat, we hope to find Five-striped Sparrow, Varied Bunting, Costa’s Hummingbird, Scott’s and Hooded Oriole, and more. Bring water, 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: 1-2 easy. 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

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

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

S7 Big Day with Rick Wright   GROUP VAN

Join author and international bird guide, Rick Wright, on a mini Big Day. The object on this trip will be to see as many different species as possible, covering the different habitats. SE Arizona is a region where bird species from Mexico, the Rockies, and both Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts can be found. Specialties like Gray Hawk, Montezuma Quail, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied and Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Painted Redstart and Olive Warbler can be found, plus lower elevation species such as Lucy's Warbler, and Cassin's, Botteri's and Rufous-winged Sparrows. Then there are all of the hummingbirds! This trip begins at the San Pedro River, goes to the high elevations in the Huachucas. Bring water, 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 Rick Wright

 

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 - 4:00 PM

S8 Madera and Box Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Jake Thompson 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  lunch break while watching feeding stations. Target species would include Rivoli's Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Botteri’s Sparrow, Yellow-eyed Junco and Scott’s Oriole. Bring water, 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 Jake Thompson.

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 noon

S9 San Pedro House & River Walk   CAR CARAVAN

The San Pedro River is a vibrant green ribbon of life, its riparian vegetation forming an avian super highway through the desert for millions of migrants. Join naturalist guide Robert Weissler in an exploration of the lush cottonwood/willow forest which is home to Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, low elevation warblers including Lucy's Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, and many more. Also look at the garden with feeders around San Pedro House. Bring hat, sun protection, walking shoes and water. 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 noon

S10 Hunter Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional guide Kristy Gallo on a half-day 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 and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Grace’s and Virginia’s Warblers, “Mountain” Pygmy-Owl and more. The pine forest wasn’t completely spared, however, and the scrubby disturbed habitat here is home to a resident pair of Rufous-capped Warblers, which we hope will be a well-earned highlight of our hike.  Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Kristy Gallo.

 

Meeting place: Car park next to Sierra Grill restaurant (formerly Ricardo's) just north of the junction of Highway 92 and Hereford Road at 6.30am.

Map link

 

6:30 AM - 12 noon

S11 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join local bird expert, Dan Hoobler, 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 Dan Hoobler.

 

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

 

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