Birding Trip, Southeastern Arizona


April 27th - 30th


Southeastern Arizona


Chuck H

Brian Jones


Coronado National Forest

Chiricahua National Monument

San Pedro National Conservation Area

Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory Hotspots



I met my good friend from Tucson, Brian Jones, for a quick weekend trip through the Chiricahua Mountains. Me, Brian, his wife, and my friend Dave,

are doing a 2+ week trip to Brazil in June. We wanted to have a get together for some equipment testing before the big trip in six weeks.

For me personally, the goals of this trip were three-fold.

First: Brian and I have a lot of new equipment we have purchased for our Brazil trip, so we really wanted to have a dry-run to see how everything is

going to work. I wanted to make sure I could easily carry my new D-SLR, lenses, binos, and hiking gear, etc.

Second: I really wanted to find an Elegant Trogon! Their range extends north into just the southern part of AZ, right in the Chiricahua mountains. Cave

Creek Canyon is famous for the trogon.

Third: I really needed a weekend to try and clear my head. Issues in my personal life, from my Dad’s cancer coming back, ex friends being stupid, Fozzy’s

back problems, several things in my life seem to have been going really bad lately. These things have been weighing heavily on me and I needed to get to

some remote places to center myself.

On to the trip details and pictures!

I arrived in Portal AZ late Thursday evening and then made my way to the nearby Sunny Flat Campground in Cave Creek Canyon. The weather was great

and the campground was about half full. Every site had a birder camped there. One couple I met from Canada had driven 3 days to spend a week in the

Chiricahuas. Southeastern AZ is well-known to the birding world.

Brian arrived Friday before lunch and by then I already had quite the bird list going. Just walking around the campground I got some great looks

at birds I've not seen in years. Here are a few pictures I got that morning. The pictures are clickable to a larger image.

My comfy home away from home!



MacGillivray's Warbler

Yellow-eyed Junco and a Bewick's wren

Pine siskins and a black-headed grosbeak

The area was made up of sycamores, oak, pines, junipers, Arizona cypress, cottonwoods, and willows. Saw some deer near camp too.

On Friday, Brian and I moved camp up to Herb Martyr Campground, a little higher. We hiked up the creek above the

camp until late in the day Friday. On Saturday morning we hiked up South Fork canyon, then went to John Hands Campground

because the trogon was sighted there. Never did see the trogon, but lots of other critters. Here are a few more pictures

from that morning.



A Mexican jay and some spiny lizards sunning on the rocks

We then headed over the Chiricahuas on Forest Road 42, which comes out on the western side near the Chiricahua National Monument. It's known as the land

of standing rocks, so named by the Chiricahua Apache Indians.


We left there later in the day and drove west an hour and a half to the San Pedro River National Conservation Area. The San Pedro river is a vital

link for many migrant birds (as well as illegal immigrants!!) to work their way north through the desert. We camped in the BLM land east of the river and

hiked the conservation area Sunday morning. Had a comical encounter with some folks that thought we were from the MinuteMen group. Nope, sorry

not us! ;-)


Couple of more pictures from there.

A Vermilion Flycatcher, the prettiest bird in the southwest, IMHO. Also a shot of a male summer tanager taking flight, another spectacular bird.



A Gila woodpecker, slightly out of focus and a Wilson's warbler.



A few shots of what I think is a song sparrow.


The Wilson's warblers were everywhere, we saw hundreds of them. The complete birdlist for this trip is listed next. This list looks long, but really

it isn't even half of the birds in the area.


I'm looking forward to getting better with this camera and taking some more professional wildlife images. It's a matter of patience

and perseverance. I'm going to start hosting a page of just my wildlife photography when I get enough of a library going.



Overall Birdlist For the Trip


These are in the order I saw them.



Yellow-rumped warbler

Pine siskin

Dark-eyed junco

Yellow-eyed junco (*This was a new lifer bird for me!) (**My friend Tiffany Shepherd emailed me and said I saw them with her in BIO-410 class, sorry, don't

remember, so it's still a lifer! :-p) (Having a bad memory is good for finding new life-list birds!)

Mourning dove

Spotted towhee

American robin

Acorn woodpecker

Wilson's warbler

Northern flicker

MacGillivray's warbler

Black-headed grosbeak

Painted redstart

Hermit thrush

Mexican jay

Green-tailed towhee

White-breasted nuthatch

House finch

Chipping sparrow

Turkey vulture

Scott's oriole

Bridled titmouse

Lazuli bunting

Lesser goldfinch

Blue-throated hummingbird (*Another lifer for me)

Bewick's wren

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Canyon wren (only heard this guy)

Swainson's thrush (I think, it may have been a Hermit)

Black-throated gray warbler

Hepatic tanager

Brown creeper

Plumbeous vireo

Cassin's vireo (maybe)

Townsend's warbler

Western tanager

Cooper's hawk

Black phoebe

Common raven

Lincoln's sparrow

Dusky-capped flycatcher

Poorwill of some kind, flew into camp and landed, but never called, too dark to see any plumages



San Pedro River National Conservation Area:

In addition to several of the same species above...

White-crowned sparrow

red-winged blackbird

Barn swallow

Great blue heron

Common yellowthroat

Song sparrow

Abert's towhee

Gila woodpecker

Summer tanager


Gambel's quail

Vermillion flycatcher

Yellow-breasted chat (Only heard this bird)

Brown-headed cowbird

American kestrel

Lucy's warbler (*Another lifer for me)

Yellow warbler

Peregrine falcon



Lastly, several empidonax flycatchers I couldn't ID w/o help from someone more experienced.





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