Winter Southern Arizona: Jan 18—24, 2016

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Price: $2,095
Departs: Tucson
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (84.6 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Barry Zimmer

Barry Zimmer has been birding since the age of eight. His main areas of expertise lie in Nor...


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Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mi...


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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Painted Redstart

Painted Redstart— Photo: Barry Zimmer

Fantastic winter birding in famous Southeastern Arizona. Generally pleasant weather combined with southwestern specialties, an abundance of raptors and sparrows, and a great potential for Mexican vagrants. Can be taken in combination with Winter Southern California.

Winter is an excellent time to bird Southeastern Arizona. Many of the Arizona specialty birds such as Whiskered Screech-Owl, Arizona Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Vermilion Flycatcher, Bridled Titmouse, Mexican Jay, Crissal and Bendire’s thrashers, Painted Redstart, Abert’s Towhee, Yellow-eyed Junco, and Rufous-winged Sparrow are residents and are readily found at this season. In addition, winter brings an influx of raptors to the deserts and grasslands with a dozen species possible including such highly sought species as Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, and Golden Eagle. Other possible wintering species include the declining Mountain Plover, Costa’s Hummingbird, Gray and Hammond’s flycatchers, Sage Thrasher, all three species of bluebirds, and Yellow-headed Blackbird. The newly countable Rosy-faced Lovebird is a possibility as well. Additionally, huge numbers of Sandhill Cranes winter in the Sulphur Springs Valley each year creating a memorable spectacle.

VIDEO: Sandhill Cranes, Whitewater Draw, Arizona, January 2015, by Barry Zimmer

Sparrows are likewise abundant at this season with Green-tailed Towhee, Lark Bunting, and Brewer’s, Sagebrush, and Black-chinned sparrows all likely. As an added bonus, winter has proven to be the best time for finding Mexican vagrants. Black-capped Gnatcatcher and Rufous-capped Warbler have become rare but annual residents, while Ruddy Ground-Dove and Rufous-backed Robin have become nearly annual visitors in recent years. Other even rarer strays such as Nutting’s Flycatcher, Aztec Thrush, Blue Mockingbird, and Streak-backed Oriole have been recorded on occasion as well. All this in combination with generally pleasant winter weather and one hotel for the entire trip!

Good accommodations with no hotel changes; easy to moderate terrain; short hikes and roadside birding; generally pleasant weather conditions.