- 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.


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!


Black Vulture


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.


Blue Grosbeak


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!