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Cool bird spots to check out?

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Old Tuesday 14th July 2015, 22:22   #1
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Cool bird spots to check out?

I'm very new to Arizona and wanted to check out some cool spots for birding.

So far I checked out:
Sweetwater Preserve
Catalina State Park

I only saw like 1/4 of Sweetwater Preserve and a small trail in Catalina State Park. I want to check out the Sweetwater Wetlands Park. I need to be better prepared if I hike in the heat, but I want to go explore those areas further.

Are there any other wetland/water areas in the Tucson area? Anywhere up towards Phoenix? I saw an Ostrich farm up north I want to visit. Any must-go places for birding? Thanks!
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Old Friday 17th July 2015, 01:37   #2
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Well I did end up checking out Sweetwater Wetland Park! Cool area, lots of fun birds to see.

I saw the following (bolded ones are ones I hadn't seen before):
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Ruddy Duck
Mallard Duck (these guys are everywhere)
Double-Crested Cormorant
an un-identified Cormorant (might be a juvenile Double-Creseted) (it was camera shy)
Verdin (one got really close to me)
Red-winged Blackbird
an un-identified yellow bird (thinking it's some Goldfinch)
various Doves
Gambel Quail

On top of that, I saw a round-tailed ground squirrel, a couple lizards, a bobcat, and a dead mouse (I'm guessing it was the bobcat's dinner). It was an enjoyable trip! I saw some other people out there too which I assume were other birders.

Anyways, I'd still love more suggestions on places to visit!

Last edited by ShyGuyPal : Friday 17th July 2015 at 01:44.
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Old Friday 17th July 2015, 17:41   #3
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Welcome to Arizona!

Sweatwater would be my first recommendation for Tucson, so I am glad you found it.

Another area to the south, just east of Green Valley, is Medera Canyon. It is higher than Tucson so it will be slightly cooler. Stop at the gift shop. There are feeders there which attract a good selection of birds and there are benches for great viewing. You can also hike some of the trails that follow the creek.

There was an article a while back that the Ostrich Farm was having financial issues and may be closing down. However it was still open about a month ago when I drove by. I would go there sooner rather than later, just in case.

Another area close to Tucson is various spots on the drive up Mount Lemmon that borders the north side of Tucson. You start out in the desert and end up in pine country so there are many varieties to see.

TheSanta Cruz Flats sod farms to the north between Picacho Peak and Arizona City off I-10 is popular when things cool down. There are shore birds by the sod farms and one highlight is the Crested Caracara found west of Pciacho Peak.

If you do not mind driving a little more, then check out the Gilbert Water Ranch southeast of Phoenix. It is the best spot I know of to see a lot of birds with little effort.

Another similar site, but not as mature, is the Veterans Oasis Park a few miles south of Gilbert Water Ranch, in south Chandler.

A great spot during the winter is Whitewater Draw near Tombstone, AZ. It is home to thousands of Sand Hill Cranes and geese, along with more water fowl.

There are some good parks in Tucson for birding and check out the cemeteries with older trees.

A must if you are a Tucson area birder is to get the Tucson Audubon Society book called Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona. It will have details on some of what was mentioned above plus a lot more.

As an FYI, the Tucson Audubon Society is having it's annual festival in August. Parts of it are free to the public and is worthwhile to visit, especially being new to the area.

Here is a great blog from a knowledgeable Tucson area birder. Browse though some of the older posts to find some great locations and details on what can be found. He birds many areas outside of southeast AZ so you will have to look around.
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Old Friday 17th July 2015, 19:09   #4
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Some of the spots in Arizona - off the top of my head:
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Madera Canyon
Paton's in Patogonia
Patagonia State park
Ramsey Canyon (Sierra Vista)
Beatty's Orchard at the top of Miller Peak (Sierra Vista)
Ash Canyon B&B (Sierra Vista)
San Pedro House (Sierra Vista)
Chiricuaha Mountains

Most of these are in Southern/Southeast AZ
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Old Friday 17th July 2015, 19:44   #5
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Take a look at the first two links on this ebird page - they are intended to help you gain knowledge of an area:

Support bird conservation in the Caribbean: BirdCaribbean

Just moved to Barbados
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Old Saturday 18th July 2015, 21:17   #6
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Oh wow thank you all for your wonderful insight! I'll be sure to save these replies when I go scouting for new bird places.

Also, I've had a few encounters with Pyrrhuloxia before. I've never been able to get close enough to get a good picture of them though. Are they cautious birds by nature? They seemed frightened by me even though I was like 20 feet away. I'd love to get closer or go somewhere in SE Arizona that has ones that aren't as scared of humans. Beautiful birds with a great call. Thanks!
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