TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Arizona

20th May to 3rd June 2000


Leaders:
Peg Abbott , Montana
Graham Hearl, Mallorca

DIARY

Saturday 20th May Travel Day

We all met up at Gatwick airport on time and despite the holdup for take-off we arrived in Phoenix on time at 2-00 o'clock. It took us some time to get through immigration and get our caseS. However Peg Abbott, our leader for the tour, eventually found us having picked up a couple of the tour members and we departed for Tuscon and found the traffic comparatively easy - the weather was HOT.

We stopped an hour down the road at Picacho National Park for a bit of early birding to get us into desert birds as well as the Saguaro cactus. We saw Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, a Cactus Wren, a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and three of us saw a Curve-billed Thrasher, a very good start to Arizona birding as well as us getting used to the amazing desert scenery.

Another hour saw us in Tucson which is an enormous spreading town but very green. We arrived at the Hacienda Del Sol hotel, found our rooms with Peg's great help and ate an American small meal!!!. During the meal we were entertained by at least five Lesser Nighthawks hawking over the roof of the hotel being highlighted by the arc lamps.

Sunday 21st May Avra valley, Saguaro National Park

We decided against an early start so people could recover from jet lag - however I awoke at 5-15 am to be greeted by a pair of Gambel's Quail just outside the bedroom window, so I got up and spent an hour and a half of fantastic birding. We all met for breakfast at 7-00 am and dined on wonderful fruits and cakes. At about 7-45 am we left for birding around Tucson.

We eventually found the wet area at Tucson made into a park by treated waste water and enjoyed some splendid birding seeing Red-winged Blackbird, American Coot, Ruddy Duck plus other expected birds. A few of us saw a male Magnificent Hummingbird, obviously passing through, and the Harris Hawk sitting in its nesting tree. We finished at this spot with Yellowthroat and Black-necked Stilt.

We then continued by our bus up through the Saguaro National Park and found our way to the sewage treatment works in the Avra valley. It was now getting rather hot - over 100 degrees Fahrenheit - but we birded these pools with great success. We saw our first Roadrunner, American Avocet, Black-crowned Night Heron, Wilson's Phalarope, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, and sparrows including Lark, White-crowned and Clay-coloured.

We then returned to Saguaro National Park and visited the Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum where we started off in the hummingbird aviary and then had lunch in the restaurant. What a success at lunch we saw a pair of Northern Cardinal AND a fantastic male Costa's Hummingbird giving exemplary views just sitting and turning just outside the window where we were eating showing its fantastic head colour.

After lunch we continued round the museum, which is really a small zoo showing a lot of native species. We saw a few more genuine wild birds: a Canyon Wren and a pair of Wilson's Warbler.

It was now so hot we retired to the air-conditioned bus and travelled back to base via the spectacular Saguaro National Park.

WHAT A DAY - fantastic scenery, fantastic birding and to end the day we were invited by Jean, a friend of Peg's, to join her for dinner at a country golf club overlooking Tucson where we had a superb meal and watched the sun go down over the city.

Monday 22nd May Agua Caliente Park, Amerindian Museum, Willcox Playa

Just three of us started early with Peg and we went to Agua Caliente Park. We had a great start seeing lots of good birds commencing with a few warblers including Yellow and Lucy's. We also got into flycatchers including Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Cassin's Kingbird. When returning to the bus to get back to the hotel for breakfast we saw two Collared Peccaries (Javelina) crossing the road.

After breakfast we left at about 9-45 am and drove east to the Amerind Museum stopping first very close to the museum at a few large Cotton Trees. This area produced Hooded Oriole, Western Tanager, Vermilion, Ash-throated Flycatcher and Bridled Tit amongst other bird species.

We then visited the museum where some serious retail therapy was indulged in and lunching at the picnic site close-by seeing Say's Phoebe, more Vermilion Flycatchers, a Bewicks Wren and Common Bushtit but no rattlers.

After a superb picnic lunch prepared by Peg we carried on to Willcox Playa - a large wet area right by the golf course. Here we had some fantastic birding despite the incredible heat of the early afternoon was it 106 degrees Fahrenheit? We saw many wetland species including three species of grebe - Eared, Western and Clark's, a flock of White-faced Ibis and many species of duck. We had seen Eastern Meadowlark on the golf course and splendid views of Scaled Quail nearby - a difficult species to see. We also connected with good flight view of a Swainson's Hawk.

The heat was getting to us so we departed for our next port of call for three nights, Portal, wasn't the air-conditioned bus wonderful! Portal was just superb, a fantastic scenic area and excellent birds to come.

Tuesday 23rd May Portal, Cave Creek Canyon

We started early, very early at 5-30 am to get to the Portal Cave Creek Canyon as soon as possible. We breakfast picnicked at the picnic site at the start of the canyon having first heard an Elegant Trogon, which was not showing itself well to the group.

The breakfast was superb and afterwards we started up the canyon stopping frequently for forest birds. We did exceptionally well seeing various warblers including Lucy's and Virginia's, Black-headed Grosbeak, Acorn and at least four Strickland's Woodpeckers. We also saw a perched Swainson's Hawk spotted by Irene, way up on the ridge sunning itself. We worked hard for Elegant Trogon and succeeded with eventually excellent views of various birds.

We lunched at another picnic stop again feeding well - Peg was certainly looks after us. To finish the day Peg dropped most of us at the hummingbird feeders at Portal. We saw Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed and Blue-throated but the star was a male Lucifer's that came in at 2-48 pm when most of the group had gone. On our return walk to the Portal Peak Lodge, Angie, Keith and myself saw a splendid male Blue Grosbeak.

We met again at 4-30 pm to go to the South Western Research station to meet the researchers and have a meal with them. We were able to do a bit of birding before the meal and saw some more excellent hummers plus a Lincoln's Sparrow. During the meal we met up with an old colleague of Peg's who gave us some 'owl' info. We called the log our total now being in the region of 124 and birded till dusk seeing more hummers and flight views of a Spotted Towhee plus hearing a Whip-poor-will very close but only getting flight views.

We then headed out in the bus to try to find 'owls' but Peg said to me check the front nearside tyre and YES it was flat so we all helped to change the tyre in the middle of the track/road. The task eventually completed we then headed directly back to base to a great surprise when there were three/four Collared Peccaries snuffling around the car parking area. We did not disturb them as they have quite an attitude and are capable of charging, so we helped them on their way with waves and torches. What a superb way of finishing the day despite the problem with the tyre which of course would slightly change the plans for the morrow.

Wednesday 24th May Chiricahua mountains, Rustler's Park

Again hot and sunny but because of the flat tyre we birded on foot before breakfast. We saw a female Townsend's Warbler plus Gambel's Quail yet again and Western Kingbird - at least two nests.

We breakfasted at the Portal Peak Lodge all having traditional USA breakfasts - eggs over easy, biscuits and gravy etc.etc. - we were all stuffed.

However we departed fairly early as Peg had been able to have the puncture done in Portal instead of having to go some 30 miles to San Simon. We left at about 8-30 am and headed up into the Chiricahuas on a dirt road. In fact the road was not that bad but with some hairpin bends plus spectacular views and winding up through magnificent stands of pine. We arrived at some 8,000 feet at about 9-30 am. The birding was hard but we started with a superb male Red-fronted Warbler found by Don. The other specialities of the area gave us some real problems finding them but a few of us got to Mexican Chickadee and brief views of Yellow-eyed Junco before lunch.

We lunched at a superb picnic spot and soon after I talked with a couple coming off the trail who had just SEEN a Bobcat. I told the troops and most of us went up the trail in the hope of seeing this magnificent creature - we failed of course but we did SMELL it.

At the picnic site soon after our sojourn for the cat we came down and immediately saw Yellow-eyed Junco right next to the water tap drinking and giving us fantastic views just six feet away.

We finished the day by birding down the mountain.

Thursday 25th May Chiricahua mountains, Chiricahua National Monument and Tombstone

Guess what? Yet another hot and sunny day. We left early at about 5-45 am and went up the mountain again to have a picnic breakfast at Rustlers Park. We first stopped half way up and got Mexican Chickadee, just for Keith plus excellent flight views of two Red-tailed Hawk. It was even a bit chilly at breakfast so pullovers and fleeces were in evidence but just after we all had splendid views of Olive and Orange-crowned Warbler. Yellow-eyed Juncos were again present and very close plus Hermit Thrush. We continued on to Chiricahua National Monument which is a fantastic rock scenic area where Peg explained the volcanic origin and subsequent erosion giving the spectacular columns.

We lunched at a nearby picnic site being entertained by extremely close Acorn Woodpecker and Mexican Jays who finished our picnic meat.

We then headed for Tombstone where we had a beer or three, or was it a jar?... in a bar called Big Nose Kate's, all very evocative of the western scene and I think we were all singing Western songs - I particularly liked the Clint Eastwood music from his western films. We actually dined in Tombstone at the Longhorn Bar eating fantastic steaks and enormous chocolate/honey sweets, again WHAT a day.

We continued on to Sierra Vista to the very posh Windemere Hotel where we all crashed out after a long but very exciting day.

Friday 26th May Garden Canyon & Ramsey Canyon, Sierra Vista

Yet another very hot and sunny day and we actually had a comparatively late start at 6-30 am having had breakfast at 6-00 am - we were not the only ones at breakfast as everybody seems to get up early here to avoid the heat of the day. Jean joined us for the day as she had never seen an Elegant Trogon and we were all hoping for good sightings today

We visited Garden Canyon, an absolutely beautiful canyon where we birded the whole morning. We had fantastic views of Elegant Trogon right by the parking area plus views of Strickland's Woodpecker at its nest site.

We then drove up the canyon on a rocky track to a high meadowland of pines and grasses where we looked for some rare birds for Arizona. Yes, we succeeded after looking hard, with a Greater Peewee and eventually a Buff-breasted Flycatcher as well as the usual grosbeaks, Hepatic Tanager and other species we had got used to.

We picnicked in Garden Canyon having looked at some native American art on the rocks.

After lunch we drove past our hotel and dropped off half the party to relax, swim etc. whilst the rest of us drove up to Ramsey Canyon, one of the first parks in Arizona. We had a fabulous afternoon seeing a Berylline Hummingbird (this was only the second for Peg in Arizona), a Golden Eagle chick on the nest and an adult flying overhead - what a contrast in sizes. Later we saw a female genuine wild Turkey and a Leopard Frog, only known from this canyon - again what a contrast.

After close encounters with White-tailed Deer and Painted Redstart we returned to the very plush Windemere Hotel.

Saturday 27th May Patagonia

Yet another very hot and sunny day but at least we started a bit late having breakfast in the hotel at 6-00 am and leaving by 6-45 am. We were heading for Patagonia - in Arizona I hasten to add NOT Argentina!!! We drove a small diversion especially for Pronghorn Antelope and we actually saw nine plus one and four - Peg gave us a very interesting history and phenology of this species. We also did VERY well for birds seeing a couple of Botteri's Sparrow (very difficult to see) plus wonderful Eastern Meadowlark singing away.

We continued on to Patagonia and at the comfort stop at Patagonia town we saw Phainopepla and a new species for us, Bronze Cowbird. We continued through Patagonia town and stopped at the Kino Springs Golf Course on the way to Nogales where we connected with Black-bellied Whistling Duck, many Vermilion Flycatcher, two Common Ground Dove, Song Sparrow and for me the bird of the day Gray Hawk. However Peg was very happy to show us Tropical Kingbird having circumnavigated the golf course lake.

Before lunch we stopped at the Patagonia lake for Olivaceous Cormorant and yes we succeeded but not with Northern Beardless Tyranulet. It was getting VERY hot so we stopped at a roadside picnic area, in the shade I hasten to add and looked for another rare bird in Rose-throated Becard but again we missed which was not surprising as they were not breeding this year.

For the afternoon we stopped at the Patagonia/Sonoita Nature Reserve just to see what was around, the guide showed me a Thick-billed Kingbird so I beckoned the party and ALL saw this rare Arizona bird. As we were now all disembarked half the party went on a trail walk in search of the tyranulet. We got very close hearing it and seeing just a very brief flight view BUT we did see Violet-crowned Hummingbird - a male just above us. We returned to the visitors centre to pick up the rest of the party and our final visit in Patagonia town was to visit the hummingbird feeders at Paton's place. We succeeded well here seeing a good variety of hummers including the Violet-crowned again for those that had missed it in the reserve. We then returned to base to shower and cool down in time for our meal out which was superb with everybody enjoying themselves immensely despite being tired.

Sunday 28th May San Pedro river and travel day to Sedona

The usual few of us drove to the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area at Sierra Vista where we did our usual early morning birding. Angie picked up a Little Green Heron for us and we saw the usual birds such as Vermilion Flycatcher. However just by the river on our return to the bus we saw a Black-and -white Warbler, a very unusual bird for this area let alone at this time of year. It was in autumn plumage, obviously not going for breeding hence the late date as well as the unusual west location for this species.

We returned to the hotel, took breakfast and left for Sedona. On the way we stopped at San Xavier del Bac called 'the white dove of the desert', a wonderful church which was amazing inside and beautifully decorated. Some of us birded the area and saw Gilded Flicker as well as a Round-tailed Ground Squirrel.

We continued on towards Sedona, the day being the hottest yet approaching 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Peg found us a splendid lunch spot called Gila Indian arts and crafts plus a restaurant. We dined on a local Indian dish called Frybread some with chili and some with salad and meat plus we all drank iced tea - an absolutely splendid ethnic meal. The craft shop and museum was excellent also so of course some retail therapy was indulged in.

The heat was now intense so we were happy to get back in the air-conditioned bus and travel on to Montezuma Castle. This is rather a misnomer as Montezuma never reached this area but it was the home of Sinagua Indians. The buildings were high up on a cliff and the whole area was very spectacular. We also birded the castle area coming up with three wrens: Canyon, Bewick's and a new one for the trip, Rock Wren.

The heat had somewhat calmed down so we left at about 5-30 pm and travelled the rest of the distance to Sedona and our hotel, the Best Western Arroyo Roble. The views from our rooms were fantastic but we were a little concerned about the forest fire that had closed the road leading from our hotel.

We then dined at a Mexican restaurant which most people enjoyed, trying out chili, enchiladas etcetera.

Monday 29th May Page Spring Fish Hatchery, Peck's Lake, Tavasci marsh, Tuzigoot National Monument and Upper Red Rock Loop Drive

Another hot day but we breakfasted late at 7-00 am and left at 7-45 am. We first visited the fish hatchery where the facilities were excellent with good birding right next to the river. We were looking for Black Hawk with no success but we did see a good selection of other species and saw a Muskrat swimming across the pond.

We then continued on to Peck's lake whilst a few visited the remains of the Indian village of Tuzigoot. The birding here was hard and the temperature starting to rise but we had excellent views of Pied-billed Grebe and a flight view of a Crissal's Thrasher - a bird that is VERY secretive and keeps low under mesquite. We tried again by the river for Black Hawk but only saw a Roc Owl,Don's new species for science. We lunched at Bubba's BBQ and tried again after lunch along Sycamore Creek for the specialities with no real success - I think the very hot weather might have had something to do with it. We returned via the Red Rock State Park enjoying the absolutely stunning views arriving back at base at about 5-00 o'clock.

We dined out at an absolutely fabulous restaurant out on the patio with fantastic views of the red rock Sedona countryside watching the sun go down changing the colours in the rock. By the way the dinner itself was superb.

Tuesday 30th May Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona

Again a few of us started early at 5-30 am when the birding is at its best. We saw Gray Vireo, a difficult species to identify as it is very close to Hutton's and Bell's. Some breakfasted at Sedona and some at Peg's Diner again an excellent picnic breakfast. We then birded the area whilst Peg returned to Sedona with Don and Audrey to pick up Irene. Further on up the creek Don spotted two dark raptors from the van which turned out to be Black Hawk. We all had great views as they wheeled overhead and we were well pleased, having missed them the previous day. We birded the creekside for dipper and dipped but we did have excellent views of the Gray Vireo yet again plus other mountain specialities such as Juniper Titmouse.

When we all assembled the hardy amongst us embarked on a hike into Oak Creek visiting an offshoot canyon but spending most time by the creek where we saw a female Belted Kingfisher - a great excitement for us all. We also saw a female Hairy Woodpecker feeding young at a hole in a tree giving super views. We also identified a Warbling Vireo as well as getting excellent views of tanagers and orioles.

We lunched at Junipine restaurant, halfway up Oak Creek Canyon, outside on a patio deck - an idyllic location in this wonderful valley, creek or canyon. We returned after lunch for some shopping and did some more birding from 4-30 pm at the Red Rock State Park again a fantastic area for scenery with magnificent cliffs set off by the running creek.

Wednesday 31st May Travel from Sedona to the Grand Canyon

A long tiring day BUT when we got to the Grand Canyon looking out from Desert View viewpoint - WOW!!! an awesome, gobsmacking, awe-inspiring experience, far grander than imagined and certainly one of the wonders of the world.

Yes yet again hot and sunny but we started early at Beaver Creek when the temperature was reasonable. We saw our usual birds but including excellent views of a male Black-throated Sparrow - the usual birds being orioles and tanagers.

We then stopped for breakfast at a picnic stop near Montezuma Well, a lovely wet area where we had fantastic close-up views of a Valley Pocket Gopher cleaning and digging out his burrow as well as birds such as Vermilion Flycatcher. We then walked up to see Montezuma Well and the adobe Indian houses perched on the cliff face, again all very evocative, we even saw two Muskrats. We then walked down to the outlet for the spring and on the way back had a long flight view of a male Belted Kingfisher.

It was now time to travel so we headed north stopping for a subway - sandwich I mean and excellent. We ate this at the Museum of Northern Arizona and afterwards all the tour members visited this splendid museum whilst Peg and I checked out the higher elevation area for our final day.

We again headed north and stopped at the Cameron Trading Post for a final bit of retail therapy then headed along the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at the Desert View viewpoint, our first at the Grand Canyon, and everybody perked up after our long day - the views were spectacular, impressive etc, how can I express our views of the place. We stopped again at another viewpoint despite being late getting to the hotel but at this time of the day it is excellent for the colours of this PLACE.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon Village a tad late and had to search for our hotel but we did see a Mule Deer in the carpark - astonishing - where do you see genuine wildlife just walking around people?

Everybody was tired so we arranged dinner for any time, seeing sunsets or just crashing out.

Thursday 1st June Grand Canyon

Most of us got up early to see sunrise over the canyon, I thought not so impressive as the evening light. What was amazing was a herd of Mule Deer around the hotel eating the lush grass and taking no notice of the humans around. Three of us descended into the canyon a short was down the Bright Angel trail. The wildlife was amazingly tame with Least Chipmunk and Rock Squirrel just feet away totally unconcerned. We collected some nice close views of birds including Virginia's Warbler and Spotted Towhee and ascended back for breakfast.

Just after breakfast we all had the most amazing experience when a couple of California Condors floated past our bedroom windows. We certainly did not expect to see these birds, but a release scheme has obviously been going well, so much so that those that stayed near the hotel for lunch saw five birds by the hotel in the air and perched.

For the rest of the morning half the party went on the bus shuttle to the west rim, we stopped at the first viewpoint and then walked a good way along the rim seeing some fantastic birds including a Cooper's Hawk, Peregrine spotted by Irene, a stunning male Western Bluebird and a very evocative flight of another condor soaring over the Grand Canyon - what a way to see this bird.

Again half the party lunched past the Grandview point seeing Dark-eyed Junco and a Pine Siskin, both new for the trip. We returned to base and just about had time to shower before we went for our final dinner at El Tovar, a very smart place where the food was again excellent.

We all indulged in chats about our fantastic tour of south-eastern Arizona and the Grand Canyon. The weather had been very hot, somewhat hotter than most of the tour members had thought but the diverse scenery from Saguaro desert to mountain pinewoods to spectacular canyons and of course the Grand Canyon had stunned everybody. Our guide Peg was an absolute expert in the area knowing ALL the bird songs and calls which makes identifying so much easier.

Friday 2nd June Grand Canyon, San Francisco Peaks travel to Phoenix

I think everybody got up early for a last look at the Grand Canyon at dawn and of course birding when birds are active but not disturbed by the usual tourists.

After breakfast Peg was having trouble getting the bill which was an absolutely superb bonus for us as the California Condors had spent the night in the bushes on the cliffs close-by. One emerged about 8-00 o'clock and three others appeared soon after, flying, perched very close and giving fantastic views.

Peg eventually decided we had to depart so we travelled to the Snowbowl or better known as the San Francisco Peaks. Most of us went up the ski lift seeing about twenty Clark's Nutcracker feeding young and making a lot of noise. Due to restricted time we had to return after about fifteen minutes at the top - 11,500 feet. We quickly snacked at the bottom of the lift and spent five minutes with the colony of Prairie Dog close to the car park.

We left at 12-30 pm and sped to Phoenix so Peg could catch her plane to Bosman, Montana, this gave us plenty of time to check in, shop, rest, do the log, final count and anything else to use up the time from 3-30 pm to our flight at 9-30 pm

Our final total log was 190 bird species which included some real rarities such as Berylline Hummingbird and included three heards, Whip-poor-will, Pygmy Owl and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet.

We left Phoenix about an hour late but arrived at Gatwick North Terminal on time where we said our goodbyes.

Acknowledgements

To all the party for suffering the heat and long days and especially to Angie and Keith for their fantastic enthusiasm from dawn to well late. To Peg whose knowledge of the area in birds, geology, plants, mammals and reptiles was fantastic, she was also a mine of information about the Indian people and early settlers of the area AND she looked after us so well; driving, picnics and shopping!!

Graham Hearl RSPB/GOB Representative, Mallorca

The Travelling Naturalist Tour to Arizona from 20th May to 3rd June 2000

Bird Check List

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps

Ten plus seen at Peck's Lake on 29th

Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis

Three seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis

One seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii

One seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Olivaceous Cormorant Phalacrocorax olivaceus

Sixteen seen at Patagonia Lake on 27th

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias

Singles seen on six days with five seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Snowy Egret Egretta thula

One seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st

Green Heron Butorides virescens

Singles seen at San Pedro river on 28th and Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th

Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Ten plus seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st with singles on 22nd and 29th

White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi

A flock of ten at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis

Eight were seen at Kino Springs Golf Course on 27th

Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis

Six plus seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st, again on 22nd and 27th

Green-winged Teal Anas crecca

A male seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Recorded on six days with a pair of the 'Mexican' form on 28th at San Pedro river

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors

A male seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera

A pair seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

Four seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Redhead Aythya americana

Four seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

A pair seen at Agua Caliente Park on 22nd

Common Merganser Mergus merganser

A female seen at Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura

Recorded on all days

American Black Vulture Coragyps atratus

A pair seen on 21st at Picacho Peak N.P. and four in the Patagonia area on 27th

California Condor Gymnogyps californianus

Seen at Grand Canyon with three in the morning and five in the afternoon on 1st and four in the morning of 2nd - all part of a release scheme

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii

One seen in flight over the Grand Canyon on 1st

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis

One seen in flight at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th

Common Black-Hawk Buteogallus anthracinus

A pair seen in flight over Oak Creek Canyon on 30th with a single on a nest at Red Rock S.P. also on 30th

Harris' Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus

A pair in a nest tree at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and another on 22nd

Gray Hawk Asturnia plagiata

Only seen in the Patagonia area on 27th with four in the morning and three in the afternoon

Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni

Recorded in ones and twos on six days

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Recorded on ten days with a maxima of four on 21st

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

Only seen in Ramsey Canyon on 26th, a chick on a nest with an adult in flight

American Kestrel Falco sparverius

Recorded on seven days with a maxima of six on 27th

Peregrine Falco peregrinus

One seen in flight over the Grand Canyon on 1st

Scaled Quail Callipepla squamata

First four seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd, six plus at Garden Canyon on 26th, on 27th at Patagonia and on 28th

Gambel's Quail Lophortyx gambelli

Many seen from 21st to 31st on eight days

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

A female seen in Ramsey Canyon on 26th

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Two seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st

American Coot Fulica americana

Recorded on four days on 21st, 22nd, 27th and 29th

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus

Fifteen plus at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and four at Willcox Playa on 22nd

American Avocet Recurvirostra americana

Six plus at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and eight at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus

Seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia

Seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and at Willcox Playa on 22nd also at Patagonia on 27tth and on 29th

Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor

Five seen at Avra valley on 21st and five at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis

One seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia

Recorded on three days on 20th, 21st and 26th

Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata

Recorded in Portal area on 23rd, 24th and 25th, eleven plus in Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and Beaver Creek Canyon and Grand Canyon on 31st and 1st

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

Recorded on twelve days - the commonest dove

White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica

Recorded on the first nine days

Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina

Two seen at Kino Springs golf course and in the afternoon on 27th at Patagonia

Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus

Up to two recorded on six days even in front of the Windermere Hotel in Sierra Vista

Northern Pygmy-Owl Glaucidium gnoma

One heard in Garden Canyon on 26th

Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis

Five seen on the first evening in Tucson on 20th and one the following night at Tucson

Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus

One heard at the South Western Research Station at Portal on 23rd

White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatilis

Recorded on every day

Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris

Recorded on five days in the Portal area, Sierra Vista and Patagonia

Violet-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia violiceps

Two males seen at Patagonia on 27th

Berylline Hummingbird Amazilia beryllina

One seen at Ramsey Canyon on 26th

Blue-throated Hummingbird Lampornis clemenciae

Recorded on four days in the Portal area, Sierra Vista and Patagonia

Magnificent Hummingbird Eugenes fulgens

A male seen at the Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st on 23rd and 24th in the Portal area and again on 26th in Ramsey Canyon

Lucifer Hummingbird Calothorax lucifer

One seen in Portal on 23rd

Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri

Recorded on ten days

Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae

A superb male seen at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on 21st, another on 22nd and again on 31st at Beaver Creek Canyon

Broad-tailed Hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus

Recorded on nine days

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

Three plus seen in Cave Creek Canyon on 23rd and closer views by the picnic area at Garden Canyon on 26th

Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon

One female seen at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and a male at Montezuma Well on 31st

Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus

The commonest woodpecker seen on seven days from 23rd to 30th

Gila Woodpecker Melanerpes uropygialis

Recorded on seven days from 20th to 22nd and from 27th to 31st

Ladder-backed Woodpecker Picoides scalaris

One seen in the Chiricahua mountains on 24th, two on 27th at Patagonia and one on 28th and 29th at San Pedro river and Page Spring fish hatchery

Strickland's Woodpecker Picoides stricklandi

Four seen at Cave Creek Canyon on 23rd and again at Garden Canyon on 26th

Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus

Two seen at Rustlers Park on 24th, a female feeding young at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and one at San Francisco Peaks on 2nd

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

Recorded on seven days on 20th, 23rd to 27th and 31st

Gilded Flicker Colaptes chrysoides

Two seen at San Xavier del Bac on 28th

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma imberbe

Heard well and with a brief flight view on 27th at Patagonia

Greater Pewee Contopus pertinax

One seen at Garden Canyon on 26th

Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus

Recorded on eleven days from 22nd to 2nd

Hammond's Flycatcher Empidonax hammondii

One seen on 24th at Barfoot Park, one on 25th at Rustlers Park and two on 26th at Garden Canyon

Cordilleran Flycatcher Empidonax occidentalis

Seen from 23rd to 25th in the Portal area and one at Grand Canyon on 31st

Buff-breasted Flycatcher Empidonax fulvifrons

Two seen in Garden Canyon on 26th

Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans

Seen on seven days and always near water

Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya

Seen on eight days

Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus

This spectacular bird was seen with four on 22nd near the Amerind Museum, on 27th at Kino Springs golf course, on 28th at San Pedro river and on 31st at Beaver Creek Canyon

Dusky-capped Flycatcher Myiarchus tuberculifer

Seen on 23rd at Cave Creek Canyon, on 26th at Garden and Ramsey Canyons and at Patagonia on 27th

Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens

Recorded on six days on 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th, 30th and 31st

Brown-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus tyrannulus

Heard on 23rd but seen on 26th at Garden Canyon, on 27th in the Patagonia area and one in the morning on 29th

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher Myiodynastes luteiventris

Two seen at Cave Creek Canyon on 23rd, at Garden and Ramsey Canyons on 26th and one in the afternoon on 27th at Patagonia

Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans

Recorded on eight days from 20th to 22nd, from 25th to 28th and on 30th

Thick-billed Kingbird Tyrannus crassirostris

One seen at Patagonia on 27th

Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis

Recorded on ten days from 21st to 27th, 29th, 31st and 2nd

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus

Two seen at Kino Springs golf course on 27th

Horned (Shore) Lark Eremophila alpestris

Six at Willcox Playa on 22nd and singles Sulphur Springs valley on 25th, at Patagonia on 27th and at San Pedro river on 28th

Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina

Twelve seen at Portal on 23rd and 24th and on six days from 28th to 2nd

Purple Martin Progne subis

Only seen around Tucson from 20th to 22nd

Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Eight plus seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st

Bank Swallow Riparia riparia

Seen on three days at Kino Springs golf course on 27th, at San Pedro river on 28th and two at Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Recorded on nine days

Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota

Six plus seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st, at Kino Springs golf course on 27th, at Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th and at Montezuma Well on 31st

Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus

Recorded on six days with a maxima of six plus on 25th

Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens

Only two and one on 21st and 22nd but regularly seen from 27th to 31st in large numbers with a flock of eleven plus at Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th

Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Seen on six days from 20th to 26th and mainly in Saguaro cactus desert

American Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus

Two seen at Montezuma castle on 28th, on 31st at Montezuma Well and in the Grand Canyon on 1st

Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus

One seen at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on 21st, heard on 25th, two seen at Garden Canyon on 26th, two at Montezuma Castle on 28th and at Grand Canyon on 1st

Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii

Recorded on ten days from 22nd

House Wren Troglodytes aedon

One seen at Garden Canyon on 26th and at Montezuma Well on 31st

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

Recorded on six days from 25th to 31st

Bendire's Thrasher Toxostoma bendirei

One seen on 22nd at the Amerind Museum and another on 24th at Rustlers Park

Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre

Recorded on six days from 20th to 28th

Crissal Thrasher Toxostoma crissale

A flight view of one at Tavasci marsh on 29th

Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana

Only seen approaching and at the Grand Canyon from 31st to 2nd

Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus

Only one seen on 21st at Avra valley

Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus

One seen at Barfoot Park on 24th and a pair seen at Rustlers Park on 25th

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Recorded every day from 23rd

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea

Singles seen on five days, at Portal on 23rd and 25th, at Garden Canyon on 26th, at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and Grand Canyon on 1st

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura

Two seen at Patagonia on 27th and one at San Pedro river on 28th

Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa

One seen on 24th at Rustlers Park and another at Grand Canyon on 2nd

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula

One seen at Grand Canyon on 2nd

Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus

Recorded on eleven days from 22nd, sometimes in large groups of fifteen plus

Verdin Auriparus flaviceps

Recorded on eight days from 20th to 31st in singles

Mexican Chickadee Parus sclateri

One seen at Rustlers Park on 24th and twelve plus seen on 25th in the Chiricahua mountains

Mountain Chickadee Parus gambeli

Only recorded in the Grand Canyon from 31st to 2nd

Bridled Titmouse Parus wollweberi

Recorded on six days from 22nd to 28th

Juniper Titmouse Parus ridgwayi

Two seen in the Chiricahua mountains on 24th, at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and at the Grand Canyon from 30th to 2nd

Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea

Recorded in the Chiricahua mountains on 24th and 25th and at the Grand Canyon from 31st to 2nd

Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis

One seen at Barfoot Park on 24th and one at the Grand Canyon on 2nd

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Recorded on five days from 23rd to 27th, two at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and in the Grand Canyon feeding young on 1st and 2nd

Brown Creeper Certhia americana

Singles seen at Portal on 23rd, at Garden Canyon on 26th and at the Grand Canyon on 1st

Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri

This spectacular bird seen on six days in the Chiricahua mountains on 24th and 25th, Garden Canyon on 26th, Oak Creek Canyon on 30th and the Grand Canyon on 1st and 2nd

Western Scrub Jay Aphelocoma californica

Only seen at Oak Creek Canyon on 30th, Beaver Creek Canyon on 31st and the Grand Canyon on 1st

Mexican Jay Aphelocoma ultramarina

Numbers seen at Cave Creek Canyon on 23rd, Chiricahua mountains on 25th and at Garden and Ramsey Canyons on 26th

Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana

Twenty plus seen and certainly heard also feeding young from the ski lift at San Francisco Peaks on 2nd

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

One seen in Phoenix on 2nd

Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucos

Only seen in cultivated plains on 22nd and over thirty on 25th

Common Raven Corvus corax

Recorded on twelve days from 20th to 2nd

Common (European) Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Recorded on seven days from 20th to 29th

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Two seen at Avra valley on 21st, two plus on 27th at Kino Springs golf course also at San Pedro river on 28th and Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th

Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii

One seen on 23rd at Portal and another on 27th at Patagonia

White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys

One seen on 21st at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant

Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

Seen at the Grand Canyon on 1st and 2nd

Yellow-eyed Junco Junco phaeonotus

Only seen in the Chiricahua mountains with ten at Rustlers Park and Barfoot Park on 24th and again on 25th

Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina

One seen on 25th at Rustlers Park

Clay-coloured Sparrow Spizella pallida

One seen on 21st at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant

Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis

Seen on 30th at Oak Creek Canyon

Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus

A very smart sparrow, two seen on 21st at Avra valley, again one on 24th in the Chiricahua mountains, on 27th at Kino Springs golf course and on 28th at San Pedro river

Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata

Seen and heard on four days 22nd, 25th, 27th, heard on 30th with the best view at Beaver Creek Canyon on 31st

Botteri's Sparrow Aimophila botterii

At least two seen on 27th on the way to Patagonia whilst watching Pronghorn Antelope

Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps

Two plus seen on 26th at Garden Canyon and four on 27th in the Patagonia area

Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus

One seen on 23rd at Portal, heard on 24th, seen on 30th at Oak Creek Canyon and at the Grand Canyon on 1st and 2nd

Brown (Canyon) Towhee Pipilo fuscus

Seen on five days, 21st and from 25th to 28th

Abert's Towhee Pipilo aberti

Seen at Avra valley and Willcox Playa on 21st and 22nd and again on 28th and 29th at San Pedro river and Peck's Lake

Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus

Seen on seven days from 22nd to 26th and from 30th to 2nd

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Seen on seven days from 21st to 29th

Pyrrhuloxia Pyrrhuloxia sinuatus

Two seen on 21st at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant, one on 22nd near the Amerind Museum, again on 27th at Kino Springs golf course and one on 28th at San Pedro river

Blue Grosbeak Guiraca caerulea

This stunning bird seen on seven days from a male on 23rd at Portal to the Grand Canyon on 1st

Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava

Seen from 22nd to 26th from Portal to Garden and Ramsey Canyons in the mountains

Summer Tanager Piranga rubra

The first was on 27th at Patagonia to 31st from Montezuma Castle to Sedona

Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana

The commonest tanager seen on seven days from the first male on 22nd at Portal to the Grand Canyon on 1st

Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata

Two seen at Rustlers Park on 25th and again on 30th at Oak Creek Canyon

Virginia's Warbler Vermivora virginiae

One seen at Cave creek Canyon on 23rd and another at the Grand Canyon on 1st

Lucy's Warbler Vermivora luciae

Two seen at Agua Caliente Park on 22nd, one at Rustlers Park on 24th and two at Patagonia on 27th

Black-and-white Warbler Miniotilta varia

An 'autumn' plumage bird seen at San Pedro river on 28th - an interesting record as a very late migrant and well west of normal migration route

Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia

Seen on six days, 21st, 22nd, 27th to 29th and 31st

Grace's Warbler Dendroica graciae

Seen on five days from 23rd to 25th, heard on 27th and seen again on 31st and 1st days

Black-throated Grey Warbler Dendroica nigrescens

This smart warbler seen on six days on 23rd, 25th, 26th, 30th, 1st and 2nd

Townsend's Warbler Dendroica townsendi

Two seen on 24th at Rustlers Park with a hybrid Townsend's/Hermit seen on the same day

Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata

Five seen on 22nd at Willcox Playa area, on 23rd at Portal and 24th at Barfoot Park, with one at the Grand Canyon on 2nd

Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas

Two seen at the Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st, and on 27th and 28th at Kino Springs golf course and San Pedro river

Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla

The first male seen at Sweetwater Waste Treatment Plant on 21st and on 23rd to 25th at Portal and on 29th at Page Spring fish hatchery

Red-faced Warbler Cardellina rubifrons

Two seen on 24th and 25th at Rustlers Park

Painted Redstart Myioborus pictus

Two of this stunning bird seen on 23rd at Cave Creek Portal, and three on 26th at Garden Canyon

Olive Warbler Peucedramus taeniatus

Heard in the Chiricahua mountains and Garden Canyon from 24th to 26th but two pairs seen well at Rustlers Park on 25th

Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens

Another stunning bird seen on five days with two at Rustlers Park on 24th and seen on 27th to 29th and 31st

Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni

Singles seen in the Portal area from 23rd to 25th and one in Garden Canyon on 26th

Plumbeous Vireo Vireo plumbeus

Single seen at Portal on 23rd, four seen on 26th in Garden and Ramsey Canyons and one in the Patagonia area on 27th

Bell's Vireo Vireo bellii

Seen on four days on 22nd, 24th, 28th and 29th and heard on 27th

Gray Vireo Vireo vicinior

Only seen in Oak Creek Canyon

Western Warbling Vireo Vireo swainsoni

Singles seen on five days 23rd, 27th, 28th, 30th and 31st at Portal, Patagonia, San Pedro river and Sedona area

Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus

A female seen at the Grand Canyon on 1st

Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria

Recorded on eight days from 21st to 1st

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus

Recorded on everyday from 21st to 31st

Cassin's Finch Carpodacus cassinii

Replaced House Finch in the Grand Canyon and seen on 1st and 2nd

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Recorded on every day from 20th to 31st

Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna lilianae

Many seen at Willcox Playa on 22nd, at Garden Canyon and Kino Springs golf course on 26th and 27th and again at the San Pedro river on 28th

Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii

Recorded on six days on 21st, 26th and 27th, 29th to 31st

Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus

Three seen near Willcox Playa on 22nd, at Rustlers Park on 24th and in the Sedona area from 29th to 31st

Scott's Oriole Icterus parisorum

Only seen on 23rd at Portal

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

Seen on six days on 21st, 22nd, 27th to 29th and 31st and always near water

Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus

Recorded on eight days from 21st to 2nd

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula

Recorded on six days from 20th to 29th

Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus

Only seen in the Grand Canyon outside the hotel from 31st to 2nd

Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus

Only seen in Patagonia town on 27th

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

Recorded on six days from 21st to 28th

Mammal Check List

Coyote Canis latrans

We saw scat on 24th and Don saw one from the bus on 27th

Collared Peccary Dicotyles tajacu

Two were seen early morning at Agua Caliente Park on 22nd but four were seen scavenging in the car park at Portal Peak Hotel on the night of the 23rd

Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus

One was seen on 27th and a small flock outside the hotel at Grand Canyon early morning on 1st and 2nd

Whitetail Deer Odocoileus virginianus

Seen on 23rd and 25th to 27th in pine woods

Pronghorn Antilocapra americana

Nine plus one plus four were seen on the prairie grassland on 27th on the way to Patagonia

Cliff Chipmunk Eutamias dorsalis

Seen at Rustlers Park on 24th

Least Chipmunk Eutamias minimus

Seen at Rustlers Park on 24th and at the Grand Canyon 31st, 1st and 2nd

Rock Squirrel Spermophilus variegatus

Seen on eight days from 22nd to 28th

Arizona Grey Squirrel Sciurus arizonensis

Seen at Garden Canyon on 26th and Patagonia on 27th

Apache Fox Squirrel Sciurus apache

Seen at Cave Creek Canyon on 23rd

Antelope Ground Squirrel Ammospermophilus harrisii

Seen at Avra Valley on 21st

Roundtail Ground Squirrel Spermophilus tereticaudus

Seen at San Xavier del Bac on 28th

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel Spermophilus lateralis

Seen at the Grand Canyon on 2nd

Gunnison's (White-tailed) Prairie Dog Cynomys gunnisoni

A colony seen at the car park of San Francisco Peaks on 2nd

Valley Pocket Gopher Thomomys bottae

Holes seen on 24th at Rustlers Park and one digging it's burrow very close at Montezuma Well on 31st

Blacktail Jackrabbit Lepus californicus

Singles seen on 22nd at Willcox Playa and at Garden Canyon on 26th

Desert Cottontail Sylvilacus audubonii

Seen on five days from 21st to 28th

Muskrat Ondatra zibethica

One seen at Page Spring fish hatchery on 29th and two seen at Montezuma Well on 31st

Bobcat Felis rufus

We went looking for one seen very recently on 24th at Rustlers Park but only got a very strong scent

Reptile & Amphibian Check List

This list is certainly not exhaustive with no Latin names but we saw many lizards but no rattlers.

Banded Water Snake

Ramsey Canyon Leopard Frog Rana subaquavocalis

A frog known only from this canyon

Bullfrog

Western Skink

Clark's Spiny Lizard

Western Fence Lizard

Greater Earless Lizard

There were also many spectacular butterflies, we looked and admired but time did not allow for identification.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2000