2019 Arizona – Southeastern Arizona in the Spring

from $3,250
  • Reviews 0 Reviews
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Bird Watching
  • Activity Level Challenging
  • Group Size Medium Group
All about the 2019 Arizona – Southeastern Arizona in the Spring Tour.

We will spend ten glorious days amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. We go from the Green Valley Inn near Madera Canyon to Portal Peak Lodge in Cave Creek Canyon, with visits to California Gulch, Patagonia, Ramsey Canyon, Rustler Park, and the San Pedro River Valley. Local specialties include Elegant Trogon, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee, Tropical Kingbird, Olive and Red-faced Warblers, and Gray Hawk. May is an excellent time for nightjars and owls; we will try to find as many as possible including the elusive Flammulated Owl and, the smallest owl in the world, Elf Owl.

Migrant warblers may include Hermit and MacGillivray’s, while Lazuli Bunting and a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl can also be expected.

We have an incredibly good record of finding Montezuma Quail and Five-striped Sparrow, and hopefully the Buff-collared Nightjars will return to one of their favorite haunts–they have been fairly reliable for the past several years. Ten or more species of hummingbirds are possible now that White-eared has become regular in the Huachucas. And the Twin Lakes at Willcox will round out our tour with a fine variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and other aquatic species.

We will take a maximum of seven participants. On rare occasions we may extend the maximum to ten participants.

Duration: 10 days
Group Size Limit: 3 – 7
Date: 04 May – 12 May 2019
Start: Tucson, AZ
End: Tucson, AZ

US$3250 per person sharing assuming 4 – 7 participants
Deposit: US$700
Single supplement: US$595

We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail for details.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • Guiding fees
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport while on tour
  • Tolls
Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Domestic and International flights
  • Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Personal insurance
  • Laundry Service
  • Gratuities
  1. Day 1 Tucson to Green Valley

    Plan to arrive in Tucson as close to noon as possible. A visit to Green Valley often yields Yellow-headed Blackbird, Lark Sparrow, Gambel’s Quail, and our first Greater Roadrunner. We’ll settle into the Green Valley Inn, then prepare for Elf Owl, Whiskered Screech-Owl, and Mexican Whip-poor-will after dinner.

    Overnight: Green Valley

  2. Day 2 Madera Canyon and California Gulch

    We have a full day of birding in the varied habitats of Madera Canyon. In the bottomlands there are Bell’s Vireo, Varied Bunting, Lucy’s Warbler, and several interesting sparrows. A climb into the oak belt will give us our first chance for Elegant Trogon, Greater Pewee, and Arizona Woodpecker. Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher will be just arriving from its wintering grounds.

    Our most likely afternoon destination is California Gulch to search for the rare and local Five-striped Sparrow and hopefully Buff-collared Nightjar at the Oro Blanco Mine. On the trip home our spotlight may reveal Lesser Nighthawk, Common Poorwill, Bobcat, or Kangaroo Rat.

    Overnight: Green Valley

  3. Day 3 Arivaca Cienega and Patagonia Lake State Park

    Our first stop is Arivaca Cienega for Vermilion Flycatcher, Common Ground-Dove, and Gray Hawk. We’ll search for Montezuma Quail and other exciting finds along the wilds of Ruby Road. Patagonia Lake State Park is reliable for Neotropic Cormorant, Sora, perhaps a Western or Clark’s Grebe, and possibly nesting Black-capped Gnatcatchers.

    We’ll do some late day birding along Sonoita Creek and spend a relaxing hour in Paton’s Backyard Preserve in Patagonia amidst Violet-crowned, Broad-billed, and several other hummingbirds. Overnight at the Stagestop Hotel in the Old West town of Patagonia.

    Overnight: Patagonia

  4. Day 4 Patagonia Rest Stop and Sonoita Creek Sanctuary

    We’ll begin our day at the famous Patagonia Rest Stop to look for Thick-billed Kingbird, Gray Hawk, and Canyon Wren. In past years the Rest Stop has also given us a male Yellow Grosbeak and a female Violet-crowned Hummingbird, on its nest! There will be plenty of time to explore Sonoita Creek Sanctuary for Gila Woodpecker, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet.

    And more time in Paton’s Preserve is always welcome, perhaps for Lesser Goldfinch, Zone-tailed Hawk, Lazuli Bunting, and another hummingbird or two. After looking for Western Screech-Owl and Barn Owl, we’ll settle down for a second night in Patagonia.

    Overnight: Patagonia

  5. Day 5 Sycamore, Ramsey, and Miller Canyons

    Our first stop may be Sycamore Canyon, assuming that the Rufous-capped Warblers are still in residence. Or perhaps they will have already shown themselves in Florida Canyon. The rest of the day will be spent at Ramsey and Miller Canyons looking for Golden Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Coati.

    A careful watch of the feeders should produce Rivoli’s, Blue-throated, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, with a chance for rarities such as White-eared and Berylline. After dinner we’ll visit the San Pedro House and look for Bendire’s Thrasher, Abert’s Towhee, and the late day Lesser Nighthawks and Great Horned Owl along the San Pedro River.

    Overnight: Sierra Vista.

  6. Day 6 Huachuca Canyon and Garden Canyon

    At Fort Huachuca we’ll visit Huachuca Canyon to look for Elegant Trogon, Red-faced Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, SINALOA WREN, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Northern Pygmy-Owl. Garden Canyon has somewhat reliable Buff-breasted Flycatchers, and offers excellent habitat for many additional highland species.

    Nighttime owling in this area may yield Whiskered and Western Screech-Owls, or we may choose to search for Common Poorwill and Gila Monster in the flatlands.

    Overnight: Sierra Vista.

  7. Day 7 Miller Canyon Trail

    We have a third full day in the Huachuca Mountains. This will allow ample time for a hike up the Miller Canyon Trail in search of Spotted Owl, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and a nice variety of warblers that may include some migrants such as Hermit and Townsend’s. Later in the day we’ll search some of the higher elevations for Northern Pygmy-Owl, Hepatic Tanager, Band-tailed Pigeon, Olive Warbler, and Prairie Falcon.

    Overnight: Sierra Vista.

  8. Day 8 San Pedro River, Rodeo, and Cave Creek Canyon

    An early morning visit to the San Pedro River is likely to produce Canyon Towhee, Scott’s Oriole, and Vermilion Flycatcher. Sora is possible at the local sewage ponds, where we may also observe Cinnamon Teal. We’ll watch for Horned Lark, Swainson’s Hawk, and a herd of Pronghorn on the road to Rodeo, where we’ll look for Barn Owl, Scaled Quail, Greater Roadrunner, and Lark Sparrow. There is sometimes a Lucifer Hummingbird at a local feeder. Overnight in Portal, at the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon, where we’ll watch and listen for Elf Owl and Javelina (Collared Peccary).

    Overnight: Portal

  9. Day 9 South Fork Trail

    Our goal in the morning is Bendire’s and Crissal Thrashers in the lowlands, then a walk along South Fork Trail for Elegant Trogon, Virginia’s Warbler, and Painted Redstart. At the 8000-foot level there may be Steller’s Jay, Mexican Chickadee, Red-faced Warbler, and Olive Warbler. We could even be lucky enough to find one of the Shorttailed Hawks that has been nesting in this area in recent years.

    Overnight: Portal

  10. Day 10 Paradise Road to Tucson

    Paradise Road is excellent for Black-chinned Sparrow, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, and Juniper Titmouse. Then it will be time to load the van and head to Willcox for shorebirds and waterfowl. Our final stop is Tucson for our late afternoon flights home, the end of ten days of adventure in glorious Southeast Arizona!


Your Guide: Jacob Roalef

Tours: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Birding Ecotours (Worldwide)


Your Guide: Chris Collins

Tours: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Texas, Wyoming, Birding Ecotours (Worldwide)


5-14 May 2012

Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.

1 – Elegant Trogon – we did very well with trogons: a pair in Madera Canyon, 4 males and a female in Huachuca Canyon, and a female perched on the ground along Cave Creek near Portal.
2 – Greater Roadrunner – the prolonged courtship display by the pair at Continental was most impressive. The male carried a dead Chuckwalla (large lizard) in his beak and followed the female around a cactus patch, which also contained their nest.
3 – Red-faced Warbler – Huachuca Canyon produced an adult at close range for a long period of time. Very impressive!
4 – Lazuli Bunting – males and females were common at many of the spots that we birded, especially feeding stations.
5 – Western Screech-Owl – it took a long time, but we had great looks at a male and female that were calling near Sonoita Creek Sanctuary.
6 – Western Tanager – a colorful migrant.
7 – Vermilion Flycatcher – a showy bird of the lowlands and grasslands, many of which had young.
8 – Western Grebe – a nice surprise at Patagonia Lake.
9 – Gambel’s Quail – pairs, coveys, family groups. Always a crowd pleaser.
10 – Black-chinned Hummer – we found a female on a nest, a nice surprise.
11 – Hepatic Tanager – never common, but we managed to find our share.
12 – Scott’s Oriole – seen at several locations, but our best views were at the Ash Canyon B&B feeders, pecking at orange halves.

Saguaro National ParkHome to a very unique cactus, and many bird species

  1. Will we do any birding the first day?

    YES! – This tour will depart Tucson at noon. One of our first targets is only a few minutes from from the airport.

    Most participants choose to arrive in Tucson one day prior to the beginning of the tour. This helps to eliminate any possible conflict with a delayed or cancelled flight. This night is not included in the tour fee. Please consult about the full details of this arrangement when you begin the tour registration process.

  2. How should I dress for the tour?

    Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.

  3. Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?

    There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.

  4. What language are tours conducted in?

    Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.

  5. Can you help me book flights?

    Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!

  6. Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?

    While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.

    NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.

  7. Do you provide trip insurance?

    No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.

  8. Are meals included?

    For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.