Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Friday, Jul 31, 2020 at 6:00am

  520-266-0149
  Website

Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival is Arizona's oldest birding festival. This is the premiere nature festival in Arizona, consistently voted one of the top 5 birding and nature festivals in the country.

Schedule:
6:00am - 4:00pm: WT1 Double Overnight Santa Cruz Valley
The rugged canyons of the Atascosa Mountains and Pajarito Wilderness are some of the most celebrated birding spots on the Arizona/Sonora border. This double-overnight tour, with professional guide Richard Fray, will focus on the search for the area’s most famous specialty birds, among them Rose-throated Becard, Montezuma Quail, Buff-collared Nightjar, and Five-striped Sparrow. This tour also provides excellent opportunities for seeing a good cross-section of southeast Arizona’s many specialties, including Elf Owl, Gray Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Tropical Kingbird, Painted Redstart, Botteri’s, Rufous-winged and Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and Scott’s Oriole.

We begin in Patagonia, where we will hit prime locations for Violet-crowned Hummingbird, and other exciting possibilities. After lunch our route takes us directly to California Gulch, where we will look for the rare Five-striped Sparrow, Black-capped Gnatcatcher and other species. We will remain in the area until the end of the day to look for Buff-collared Nightjar, which breeds there, as well as the chance of other night birds. We will have a 'picnic' dinner and be late back to our accommodation. The next morning, after a little sleep in and a home-cooked breakfast, we will explore the “birdy” Santa Cruz Valley, where we hope to spot Rose-throated Becard, Thick-billed Kingbird and others. Sites around Rio Rico and Nogales could produce Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Elegant Trogon. The final day, we'll head back to Sierra Vista via Box Canyon, which could produce Five-striped Sparrow and Lucifer Hummingbird, and the grasslands of Las Cienegas. Most of our birding will be from the vehicle or on level, sometimes rocky paths.

This trip includes all meals and lodging at the Rancho Santa Cruz B&B. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. This trip is best suited for intermediate birding skills. Bring binoculars, camera, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Guide Richard Fray.

?6:00am - 12:00pm: F1 Miller Canyon
Join professional guide Ken Blankenship, on a half-day trip to the high country in the Huachuca Mountains with a walk up Miller Canyon. The trip will begin at Beatty's Guest Ranch, spending time at their famous feeders with the possibility of up to 10 species of hummingbirds (it holds the record of 14 species in one day), including a chance of seeing rare species like Lucifer or even White-eared. The trip will then continue up into Miller Canyon which is known to local birders as a reliable place to find Red-faced Warblers with the chance of a Mexican Spotted Owl. Other SE Arizona specialties including Scotts Oriole, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler and Hepatic Tanager are all found here. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Ken Blankenship.

6:00am - 4:00pm: F2 Chasing Rarities
Join professional guide Matt Brown on a day long excursion to see what's new or unusual in Southeast Arizona. This trip's destinations will be based on recent bird reports in the area as well as the needs and ability of the group. With no pre-planned destination Richard and you will be free to chase after what's available in any direction or location. The trip may include any of the areas covered by our regular trips or may try a new location to see what is available. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Matt Brown.

You will need Security Clearance in case the trip goes into Fort Huachuca. See the Field Trip General Info tab.

6:00am - 4:00pm: F3 Sonoita-Patagonia
Join professional tour leader Bob Behrstock for a trip to the Patagonia area. Patagonia is one of south-eastern Arizona’s best-known destinations for riparian birds. Specialties that can be found here include Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Thick-billed and Tropical Kingbirds, and Rufous-winged Sparrow. Good birding sites in Patagonia are numerous and our probable itinerary will include Harshaw Canyon, Patagonia Lake State Park, and the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Our exact itinerary will be at the discretion of the leader, and may vary based on where the target birds are most readily being seen. A short visit (about an hour) to the open grasslands around Sonoita will complement the riparian habitats of Patagonia, and we should see a wide variety of species. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade somewhere along the way. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Bob Behrstock.

6:00am - 3:00pm: F4 Ramsey and Brown Canyons
Join professional guide and Ravens Way Nature Center Owner, Vincent Pinto, on a trip around Brown Canyon Ranch, ponds, and grasslands early, then heading up to Ramsey Canyon Preserve. From there we will hike two miles up into upper Ramsey Canyon onto Forest Service land where Flame-colored Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher have been seen in recent years. The lower canyon yields Gambel's Quails, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. The canyons are home to Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Scott’s Oriole, Painted Redstart, and Red-faced Warbler. Be prepared for a slow steep hike up the stairs on the Hamberg trail in Ramsey Canyon. There are nine rest benches along the trail in Ramsey. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is provided. Guide Vincent Pinto

6:00am - 3:00pm: F5 Warblers and Flycatchers
?Professional guide Homer Hansen will focus on characteristics, behaviors, and other clues for the identification of the flycatchers of SE Arizona. It will be useful for the expert and beginner alike. The field trip will visit many habitats to study these birds in the wild. It will start in the lowlands seeking kingbirds, Myiarchus species and Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Lucy's Warbler and early warbler migrants, then move up into the mountains looking for pewees, phoebes, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Empidonax species. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Homer Hansen

You will need Security Clearance in case the trip goes into Fort Huachuca. See the Field Trip General Info tab.

6:00am - 3:00pm: F6 San Pedro River
Flowing north from Mexico through the Sky Island region of SE Arizona, the San Pedro is the last major undammed river remaining in the state. The San Pedro is a vibrant green ribbon of life, an avian super highway through the desert for millions of migrants, which also supports 100 breeding species. In 1995 the American Bird Conservancy named the San Pedro the first Globally Important Bird Area in the US. The dense cottonwood/willow forest supports a wide range of breeding species and the nearby grassland is also alive with birds. Join professional guide Bradlee Sulentic to explore Escapule Wash and the area around San Pedro House and search for Gray Hawk, low elevation warblers, Abert’s Towhee, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Zone-tailed Hawk and much more. The feeders at San Pedro House are good for Common Ground-Dove and Inca Dove. Lunch is provided. Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Bradlee Sulentic.

6:00am - 3:00pm: F7 Carr Canyon
Join professional guide, Rick Wright, on this tour of Carr Canyon, beginning in the lower canyon, where we will look for Gambel's Quail, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. We may stop at the Carr House Nature Center to check the hummingbird feeders. Venturing to the top of Carr Canyon, we may see up to six species of hummingbirds, as well as Arizona, Gila and Acorn Woodpeckers, Grace's and Olive Warblers, Painted Redstart, Yellow-eyed Junco, Hepatic Tanager, Scott's Oriole and other mountain and canyon specialties. We will also be on the lookout for some of the characteristic plants, mammals, and reptiles of the Huachuca Mountains. Be prepared for a slow walk covering a mile or two with a 200ft elevation gain and uneven terrain. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Rick Wright.

6:30am -  4:30pm: WT2 Double Overnight Chiricahua Mountains/Cave Creek
The Chiricahua Mountains are the largest and the highest of the border ranges that rise like islands out of the desert grasslands of SE Arizona. Predictably, they also host the most diversified community of birds. Exploring this ecological layer cake we will start with Cassin's and Botteri's Sparrows in the prairies at the base, climb into the Sierra Madrean pine-oak woodlands and search for Arizona Woodpecker, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, and Bridled Titmouse, and as we enter the coniferous forest in the highlands we'll flirt with the so-called "women warblers": Virginia's, Grace's, and Olive. Here, too, are Greater Pewees and cherry-headed Red-faced Warblers from the Sierra Madres living in conjunction with Rocky Mountain species like Pygmy Nuthatch and Steller's Jay. A Chiricahua specialty is the Mexican Chickadee, on public lands not found anywhere else within the entire United States.

Situated at the mouth of majestic Cave Creek Canyon, 3,000 feet below tiers of immense red cliffs, we have two nights in the village of Portal. There will be enough time to meander into sycamore-laced South Fork for Elegant Trogon, as well as for encounters with Zone-tailed Hawk, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, and Hepatic Tanager. Habitués of the breezeway feeders at Portal Peak Lodge, Rivoli's, Blue-throated, Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, and migrating male Rufous Hummingbirds are all expected, mixed with possible Calliope, Violet-crowned, and Lucifer Hummingbirds.

On a pre-breakfast excursion into the desert below Portal we'll try for Scaled Quail and Bendire's and Crissal Thrashers while the air is still cool. Adjacent foothills harbor Juniper Titmouse and Black-chinned Sparrow, Great Basin birds at their southern limits in the Chiricahuas. A night run up Cave Creek may net us Whiskered Screech-Owl and Elf Owl, the world's smallest member of the owl tribe, along with an advertising Mexican Whip-poor-will. This trip includes all meals and two nights accommodation at the Portal Peak Lodge. Single participants will be paired in double occupancy. This trip is best suited for intermediate birding skills. Bring your binoculars, camera, pocket flashlight, wear sturdy hiking boots, and do not forget your hat and sunscreen. With birding stops en route, this trip may get back after 4pm. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide: Rick Taylor

5:45pm - 9:30pm: FP1 Bats
Join bat aficionado Karen Krebbs as we visit the semi-desert grassland to see agave food plants of bats up close. After sunset we’ll watch hummingbird feeders and/or agaves for Lesser Long-nosed Bats and Mexican Long-tongued Bats flying in for dinner. Attendees on this field trip will benefit from Karen's lecture (not a necessity). Because this is a night trip (sunset is 7:17pm) so bring a flashlight or headlamp (a red light is best). Bring your binoculars and a small chair or stool to increase your comfort. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Karen Krebbs

?6:00am Friday - 4:00pm Saturday: FS1 Overnight Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz River
Join professional bird guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson, on an extended trip to Madera Canyon and the Santa Cruz River Valley. The Santa Rita Mountains with Madera Canyon at its heart, is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. The area has had fifteen species of hummingbirds, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, many species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented. The Santa Cruz River has a wide variety of birds including nesting Gray Hawks, and many lower altitude Arizona Specialties. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. All meals, transportation and lodging at the Amado Inn are provided. Guide Jeff Babson

Price is for double occupancy, please contact admin@swwings.org to see if single occupancy is available.

5:45pm - 9:30pm: FP1 Bats
Join bat aficionado Karen Krebbs  as we visit the semi-desert grassland to see agave food plants of bats up close.  After sunset we’ll watch hummingbird feeders and/or agaves for Lesser Long-nosed Bats and Mexican Long-tongued Bats flying in for dinner.  Attendees on this field trip will benefit from Karens  lecture (but not a necessity).  Because this is a night trip (sunset is 7:14pm) so bring a flashlight or headlamp (a red light is best).  Bring your binoculars and a small chair or stool to increase your comfort. Difficulty: 2. Guide Karen Krebbs