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2024 sPRING FLING field trips

TUE. APRIL 30 | Wed. MAY 1 | thu. MAY. 2 | Fri. MAY 3 | Sat. MAY 4

 
 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE

Spring Fling 2024 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. 

See a map of Cochise College here.

 

Download spreadsheet of birds seen during Spring Fling 2022 here

See eBird trip report for Spring Fling 2023 here

Find current Field Trip availability on our registration site here


Tuesday, APRIL 30, 2024
 

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Early Bird Check-in and Free Welcome Jamboree 

Early Bird check-in starts at 3pm.

 

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 Check-in and Jamboree will take place at the Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus Library, in Building 900. See map.

 

 

Anchor 1

 

Wednesday, MAY 1, 2024

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

WF1 Chiricahua Mountains/Cave Creek (three days, two nights)    GROUP VAN

(Return Friday, May 3)

Join expert bird guide, to be confirmed, 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.  Guide: to be confirmed

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 California Gulch/Santa Cruz Valley (three days, two nights)    GROUP VAN

(Return Friday, May 3)

The rugged canyons of the Atascosa Mountains and Pajarito Wilderness are some of the most celebrated birding spots on the Arizona/Sonora border. This 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. Please select your first day's lunch sandwich filling from menu below the Field Trip descriptions on the registration page. 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 Carr Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Steve Tracey, 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 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

6.00 AM - 3:00 PM

W2 Miller Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join birding expert Jennie MacFarland, 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 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

W3 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

W4 Madera and Box Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide David Simpson 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 David Simpson.  

 

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

W5 San Pedro River Specialties   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: Parking lot at Casa San Pedro, 8933 S Yell Lane, Hereford. 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, local birding 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

Anchor 2
Anchor 3
thursday, MAY 2, 2024

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T1 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

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 David Simpson 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 David Simpson

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 Garden and Huachuca Canyons   GROUP VAN

Join professional 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 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 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 

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

T5 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

T6 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join bird guide, 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

 

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

T7 Butterflies and Dragonflies of the Sierra Vista Area CAR CARAVAN

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. Bring your own lunch, as well as 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.

 

Anchor 4
friday, MAY 3, 2024

6:00 AM - 4:00 PM

F1 Chickadee Chase   GROUP VAN

Join professional bird guide David Simpson for a trip to the Chiricahua Mountains to search for the Mexican Chickadee. The trips starts with a drive across the Sulphur Spring Valley and chance to see grassland species before ascending into the Sierra Madrean pine-oak woodlands along past Pinery Canyon where we will look for Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Painted Redstart and Bridled Titmouse, and as we get higher and enter the coniferous forest there are Virginia's, Grace's, and Olive Warblers. Up at Rustler and Barfoot Parks there is Greater Pewee, Red-faced Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch and Steller's Jay. The most special bird up here is the Mexican Chickadee - this is the only public land on which it occurs in the entire United States. 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 David Simpson.

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 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 - 4:00 PM

F3 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

F4 Lake Cochise and Pinery Canyon   GROUP VAN

Lake Cochise, near Willcox, is a magnet for waterbirds. Shorebirds, like Black-necked Stilt and Wilson's Phalarope, wildfowl like Cinnamon Teal, and others like White-faced Ibis, are drawn to the water here. Join guide Steve Tracey to spend a few hours checking the lake and the area around it before heading for the nearby Chiricahua Mountains. Explore up to Pinery Canyon, a beautiful area on the east side of the Chiricahuas, where typical canyon species can be found, including Western and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, Yellow-eyed Junco, Red-faced Warbler and Painted Redstart, and the sought-after Mexican Chickadee is often seen here. 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

F5 Hunter Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join professional guide Kristy Gallo 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 Kristy Gallo.

 

Meeting place: Parking lot next to La Sierra Grill Steakhouse 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

Anchor 5
saturday, MAY 4, 2024

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM

S1 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 - 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 Chasing Rarities   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide Richard Fray, 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 Richard Fray.

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 - 4:00 PM

S4 Saint David/Wilcox   GROUP VAN

​The focus of this trip with professional bird guide David Simpson 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: David Simpson.

 

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 Scotia Canyon   GROUP VAN

Join professional guide, Ken Blankenship, on an exploration of Scotia Canyon, a lesser-known 'hotspot' on the west side of the Huachuca Mountains. The rich Madrean woodlands and sycamore-lined riparian habitat hosts breeding birds like Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Elegant Trogon, Plumbeous Vireo, Painted Redstart, Red-faced and Grace's Warblers and much, much more. The area will be accessed along the road past Parker Lake, with a quick stop there to look for any interesting birds. Hiking will be along a rough gravel road, with moderate elevation gain. 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 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

6:30 AM - 12:00 PM

S7 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

S8 Ramsey Canyon   CAR CARAVAN

Join bird guide, 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 - 12:00 PM

S9 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 La Sierra Grill Steakhouse just north of the junction of Highway 92 and Hereford Road at 6.30am. Map link

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