- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - http://arizonabirder.com -

SE Arizona Big Day

David Chapman wanted to experience a SE Arizona ‘Big Day’, so we went for it! Starting and ending in Patagonia, and without night birding, we found an impressive 144 species in a frantic dash across SE Arizona. Somehow we managed to miss European Starling!

Patagonia Lake:

A pair of BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS was in the thick mesquites and hackberries between the lake and the entrance to Nutting’s Wash, the very SE corner of the lake.

Black-capped Gnatcatcher [1]

Black-capped Gnatcatcher [2]

Also there, ‘MEXICAN’ MALLARD, BLUE-WINGED and CINNAMON TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, WHITE-FACED IBIS, GRAY HAWK, COMMON GROUND-DOVE, COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD, BELTED KINGFISHER, a minimum of ten NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULETS, including a pair building a nest near the gnatcatchers, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, CEDAR WAXWING, WILSON’S WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, ABERT’S TOWHEE, RUFOUS-CROWNED and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS, SUMMER TANAGER, and BLUE GROSBEAK.

Northern Beardless-Tyrranulet [3]

Northern Beardless-Tyrranulet [4]

Rufous-winged Sparrow [5]

Yellow-breasted Chat [6]

Eastern end of Patagonia Lake, from the start of the birding trail [7]

Patagonia Lake Rd:

BOTERRI’S SPARROW was easy to find along the road, at various points.

Botteri's Sparrow [8]

Black-throated Sparrow [9]

Patagonia Roadside Rest:

The THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD pair was found quickly, in the usual trees between the main road and the rest area.

Thick-billed Kingbird [10]

Salero Rd Crossing:

BLACK VULTURE, BLACK PHOEBE, and BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER were added to the list.

Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center:

The wonderful Paton Center gave us INCA DOVE, VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD, LARK SPARROW, WESTERN TANAGER, and PINE SISKIN. Thanks Larry!

Violet-crowned Hummingbird [11]

Las Cienegas:

A drive through, via Curly Horse Rd, to the northernmost Prairie-Dog site, and out the southern exit, produced SCALED QUAIL, GREATER ROADRUNNER, BURROWING OWL, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, HORNED LARK, BREWER’S, SAVANNAH and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, LARK BUNTING, and ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

Scaled Quail [12]

Sierra Vista:

SWAINSON’S HAWK and CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN were overhead. The GREAT HORNED OWL continues in the Lowe’s home improvement store, in the garden center.

Carr Canyon:

The Reef Townsite Campground was amazingly productive, probably the best I’ve ever seen it, which was surprising given the mid-afternoon timing. Highlights included ARIZONA WOODPECKER, several GREATER PEWEES, HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER, at least 20 BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS, the most I’ve ever seen in one place, PLUMBEOUS and HUTTON’S VIREOS, WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, BUSHTIT, a showy male OLIVE WARBLER, VIRGINIA’S, GRACE’S, BLACK-THROATED GRAY, TOWNSEND’S and HERMIT WARBLERS, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, HEPATIC TANAGER, and RED CROSSBILL. Wow!

Buff-breasted Flycatcher [13]

Olive Warbler [14]

Barn Swallow [15]

Miller Canyon:

MAGNIFICENT and WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD at the feeders, SCOTT’S ORIOLE along the road.

White-eared Hummingbird [16]

Willcox Twin Lakes:

We arrived just before dark, but with just enough time to add a whole slew of new birds to our day list: GADWALL, ‘MEXICAN’ MALLARD, CINNAMON TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, EARED GREBE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, WHITE-FACED IBIS, SORA, AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, BAIRD’S, WESTERN and LEAST SANDPIPERS, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, WILSON’S PHALAROPE, TREE SWALLOW, ‘MOUNTAIN’ WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, and YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD.

Near Whetstone:

Our final bird was a LESSER NIGHTHAWK feeding under the lights at the Border Patrol checkpoint.

What a great day!