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

Rio Rico, Patagonia Lake, Paton’s

Eight birders from Tucson, Green Valley, Nogales, Vancouver WA and Clemson SC, joined me for a Tucson Audubon field trip. We began at Rio Rico, where about 40 BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING DUCKS continue in the flooded fields along Rio Rico Drive, a welcome life bird for most participants. Also here, and by the pond west of the railroad, TROPICAL KINGBIRD, BRONZED COWBIRD, GREEN HERON, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, GRAY HAWK, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE and lots more.

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Black-crowned Night-Heron

At the entrance to Patagonia Lake we had close views of BOTTERI’S SPARROW. Two participants that met us at the lake had already seen a Varied Bunting along the entrance road close to the pay booth, but we couldn’t relocate it. The highlight at the lake itself was a prolonged view of a close, singing NORTHERN BEARDLESS TYRANNULET where the creek flows into the lake, a life bird for everyone (except me). An immature DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was on the water, a SORA was out in the open and popular, a WHITE-THROATED SWIFT made a quick swoop by, and others included COMMON GROUND-DOVE, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, BRONZED COWBIRD, a latish LINCOLN’S SPARROW, several BLACK VULTURES, lots of WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES and CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS and still hordes of SWAINSON’S THRUSHES. I’ve genuinely seen more Swainson’s Thrushes in the past few weeks than the rest of my life put together!

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Black Vulture

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Botteri’s Sparrow

We couldn’t find Thick-billed Kingbird in a quick stop at Patagonia Roadside Rest, but compensation came in the form of RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, HOODED ORIOLE and a flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS.

At Paton’s in Patagonia, a lengthy visit produced a host of splendid birds, including GRAY HAWK, INCA DOVE, COMMON GROUND-DOVE, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, CHIPPING, LARK and a latish WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, BLUE GROSBEAK, BRONZED COWBIRD, BROAD-BILLED, BROAD-TAILED, BLACK-CHINNED and several different VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRDS. As usual, it was a chore to drag ourselves away.

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Blue Grosbeak

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Acorn Woodpecker

On the way back to Tucson we saw a BLACK VULTURE over I-19 at Green Valley.

My thanks to Kelly, Danielle, Pat, Krista, Yunghi, Nancy, Laurie, Jason and Paul for making it a great day!