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Hire an expert SE Arizona Birding Guide

Richard Fray

Richard Fray, Birding Guide in SE Arizona

Based an hour to the south of Tucson in Rio Rico in Santa Cruz County, I offer birding guide services anywhere in southeast Arizona. You can hire me for a half day (Rio Rico area only), full day, or multiple days at a time.

• Please check my calendar for availability.

See my prices page for fees, terms and lots of additional info.

• Please contact me with any questions or to make a booking.

More about Fun Birding Tours      • More About Richard      • Testimonials


Berylline HummingbirdIf you hire me as your birding guide, you get to set the pace and tone, and I’ll advise you on getting the best from your day. Each day will be customized just for you, whether you want to bird from before dawn till after dark, or you want a late start, a long lunch and a siesta. I cater to birders who want to hike miles, and to birders who can’t get far from the car. I’m entirely flexible – it’s your day, and I want to help you make it as comfortable, enjoyable and productive as possible.


If you’re interested in a multiple day or longer visit, but would rather leave all the hassle of organizing transport, hotels, meals, etc. to someone else, please consider one of my Fun Birding Tours in southeast Arizona, or contact me to discuss a custom Arizona birding tour.


Is it for me?

As a professional bird watching guide in southeastern Arizona, I aim to be the right choice for ALL birders, and make your day memorable, whoever you are:

Black-throated Gray Warbler

  • Complete beginners
  • Intermediate birders
  • Expert birders
  • Local birders
  • Out-of-state birders
  • Overseas birders
  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Small groups
  • Large groups

I aim to make your day productive as well as fun, whatever you want to do. Perfect for birders who want to:

  • Vesper SparrowSee a specific species, eg: Elegant Trogon
  • See a list of target species, time permitting
  • Have a great day of birding in general, with no specific goals
  • Combine birding with beautiful backdrops and hikes
  • Improve your birding skills in a particular habitat, eg: desert, grassland
  • Improve your ID prowess with certain bird groups, eg: sparrows, shorebirds
  • Experience SE Arizona’s great birding spectacles, eg: summer hummingbirds, winter cranes, raptors
  • Explore new birding sites in Southeast Arizona
  • Combine birding with other wildlife interests, eg: butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals
  • Undertake specific wildlife photography projects or enjoy casual birding with cameras

What could we see?

Birding in Arizona can be quite complicated, knowing what to expect in which seasons and where. I’ve compiled info on Arizona’s 100 most wanted birds to help you see what species are here at which times of the year, and where we might go to find them.

For a more detailed overview, my free, ready-to-print checklists of birds in SE Arizona by month will tell you precisely what to expect, and when.


Where can we go?

We can visit any of SE Arizona’s famous birding locations.


Here in Santa Cruz County:

  • Santa Rita Mtns: Madera Canyon (Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Kubo Cabins, Chuparosa Inn, Carrie Nation Trail), Montosa Canyon
  • Patagonia: Patagonia Lake, Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, Paton Center, Patagonia Roadside Rest, Patagonia Mountains, Sonoita, San Rafael Valley
  • I-19 corridor: Tubac, Tumacacori, Rio Rico, Nogales, Rock Corral Canyon, Kino Springs, De Anza Trail
  • Atascosa Highlands / Pajarito Wilderness: Sycamore Canyon, California Gulch, Oro Blanco Mine, Peña Blanca Canyon & Lake, Ruby

Ruby Lakes, near California Gulch, Santa Cruz County


In Pima County:

  • Santa Catalina Mtns: Mt. Lemmon, Summerhaven, Bear Canyon, Incinerator Ridge, Molino Basin, Marshall Gulch
  • Tucson: Sweetwater Wetlands, Saguaro National Park (East & West), Catalina State Park, Agua Caliente Park, Reid Park, Desert Museum, Avra Valley
  • Santa Rita Mountains: Florida Canyon, lower Madera Canyon (Proctor Rd)
  • Arivaca Lake & Cienega, Buenos Aires, Organ Pipe (distant)

Lakeside Park, Tucson, Pima County


In Pinal County:

  • Pinal Air Park, Red Rock, Santa Cruz Flats

Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal County


And in Cochise County:

  • Huachuca Mtns *: Ash Canyon B&B, Battiste’s B&B, Ramsey Canyon, Carr Canyon, Hunter Canyon
  • San Pedro River: San Pedro House, Kingfisher Pond, St. David, Benson WTP
  • Sulphur Springs Valley: Whitewater Draw, Willcox Twin Lakes, Elfrida, Kansas Settlement, Cochise Stronghold
  • Chiricahua Mtns (distant) **: Cave Creek, Portal, Paradise, Barfoot Park, Chiricahua National Monument

* I’m not (yet) a US citizen, so I’m unable to enter the army base of Fort Huachuca to visit Huachuca Canyon, Garden Canyon or Sawmill Canyon. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to visit Beatty’s Guest Ranch or Miller Canyon (more here).

** While I enjoy guiding in the Portal area and the Chiricahua Mountains, it’s so far from where I live that it’s not really practical. It’s a seven-hour round trip for me and an early start is unrealistic in terms of me having to leave home three-and-a-half hours before we meet. In almost all circumstances, you’ll be better off seeking a guide in that area, rather than having to pay me to drive halfway across the state and arrive an hour or two after sunrise. Please see my list of alternative guides, some in the Portal area or much closer than I am (eg: Sierra Vista).

Middlemarch Pass, Dragoon Mountains, Cochise County

Please see my rates and contact me with any questions or to make a booking.


Latest SE Arizona Birding Guide Trips

A highly enjoyable day with my good friends, Jim and Pauline, with an emotional end to a long quest for a certain sparrow…

Five-striped Sparrow

Summer Tanager

Another windy but productive and fun day of birding in Santa Cruz County, from the Peña Blanca area to Patagonia.

White-throated Sparrow

Despite more strong winds, it was a very pleasant morning exploring the excellent Rock Corral Canyon near Tubac.

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Night birding in Madera Canyon, with good results.

Whiskered Screech-Owl

A windy but fabulous day of birding in Santa Cruz County, with some of our most wanted species.

Elegant Trogon

Black-capped Gnatcatcher

A morning of target birding in Madera Canyon and Green Valley, which was productive despite strong winds.

Gilded Flicker

A pleasant morning of birding and photography in the Peña Blanca area.

Hooded Oriole

A classic birding and photography trip ‘up the mountain’, starting at Agua Caliente Park in east Tucson and heading to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

Olive Warbler

An excellent day of target birding with a major surprise in the afternoon!

Flammulated Owl

A really nice day of birding in Santa Cruz County, with migration in full swing and a number of great highlights.

Common Black Hawk

More Recent Guiding Trips »