[Tweeters] RFI: birding is SE Arizona near Sierra Vista and Willcox

kelsberg at u.washington.edu kelsberg at u.washington.edu
Mon Jul 12 14:23:01 PDT 2010

I agree that the book "Finding Birds in SE Arizona" is very helpful. the new edition is readily available in Tucson and at Audubon spots near Sierra Vista.

Wonderful birding at Ramsey Canyon, very close and easy from Sierra Vista with cool clear stream, great friendly visitor center, hummingbird feeders with convenient benches and ID info.

Also very close and easy from Sierra Vista: San Pedro House on San Pedro "river" with reliable Gray Hawk and Vermillion Flycatchers (I've seen them on 4 of 5 birding by bike visits, even walking in my cleats pushing my bike along). Again a great visitor center, well-stocked, with friendly and knowledgeable staff.

>From Willcox it is very nice to drive up to the Chiricagua Monument, with cooler temps and wonderful scenery and great birds. Smooth road with almost no traffic (a spectacular climb on a bicycle) and some nice other fauna (I caught a "horned toad" - very cute).

The same turnoff from the highway towards the Chiricagua Monument also leads up to Portal by a not-very-smooth gravel road up to Rustler's Park. I had a great sighting of Monezuma's Quail along this road. It is passable with courage (or foolhardiness) in a passenger car, but a high-clearance vehicle would be more sensible.

>From the east side, a smooth-paved road leads from the New Mexico border up to Portal and is ride-able on a road bicycle or any regular car. Very good spot for unusual birds.

Around Tucson itself there are lots of easy places to bird: the sewage ponds have a family of Harris' Hawks that are fun to watch (cooperative hunters with about 85% success rate, either thrilling or chilling, depending on how closely you identify with raptor or prey).

Gary Kelsberg
Seattle, WA
kelsberg at u.washington.edu

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