The first day we trekked to the San Rafael Valley, and spotted Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Eastern Lillian's and Western Meadowlarks along with Rock Wren.
The next morning we awoke to 8" snow and sub freezing temps.
Overwintering sparrows were abundant in the Sulpher Springs Valley including: White crowned, White throated, Savannah, Brewer's, Chipping, Black throated, Eastern race and Saltonis Song Sparrows, Swamp, Fox, Rufous crowned, and it was a four Towhee day.
Our outing to the Sulpher Springs Valley gave us views of thousands of Sandhill Cranes returning to the ponds at Whitewater Draw. We also had Prairie Falcon, Ferruginous Hawk and a Rough Legged Hawk which hadn't been seen in a few years.
Unfortunately, the road into Garden Canyon was impassable due to military training and the Mexican Spotted Owl was not viewed this trip. Our disappointment from lack of access to Ft. Huachuca was alleviated when we stopped at the EOP Water Treatment Facility in Sierra Vista and spotted a female Long Tailed Duck. We had great views of this bird and it was a lifer for several participants.
Following our fun New Year's Eve with lovely dinner at the Cafe Roka, on New Year's Day we hiked up Ramsey Canyon. A flock of Bridled Titmice carried along with them a first year female Olive Warbler, much to our surprise.
Overall despite the unseasonably cold weather, all participants enjoyed their trips. One participant, was a newcomer to the birding tour realm, and said this first organized trip would prompt her to take more.
©Kirk Stitt 2013Next week I will be taking two of my favorite clients to Sandia Peak to see all three Rosy Finches. My wife and two friends saw them last weekend. I just hope that the feeders are still being filled!
After that, I head back down to Southeast Arizona for a couple of private tours, out of Casa de San Pedro. In Feb. I lead a Winter Weekend trip for High Lonesome Birding Tours. It will be similar to the New Year's Trip but with even more birds! Check out the link below for more info.