Arizon: April 2022

Arizona's wild southeast is a land of contrasts, where forested uplands rise high above the Sonoran Desert plains, whilst rugged canyons ring the mountain ranges, carrying cool streams to the dry expanses below. This remarkable geographic diversity results in a tremendous wealth of plants and animals and southeast Arizona possesses a greater variety of breeding birds than any other area of comparable size in the United States.

 

Many species occur only here, their ranges barely extending North from Mexico and on this fabulously scenic birdwatching tour, we have good chances of seeing most of the specialities.

 

Late April and early May is the ideal time to visit as the birds are at their most conspicuous and the timing of visit should also enhance our chances of finding any late arriving visitors.

 

Amongst many possible highlights we will seek are the fancy but elusive Montezuma Quail, the accipiter-like Grey Hawk, Zone-tailed and Common Black Hawks, Arizona Woodpecker, seven or more species of hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Thick-billed and Tropical Kingbirds, Bendire’s Thrasher and Yellow-eyed Junco, as well as the gorgeous Red-faced Warbler and Painted Redstart. In Spring, the odd Mexican rarity may be about to add a little extra spice to our birding and the likes of Eared Trogon, Aztec Thrush and Rufous-capped Warbler have previously all occurred at this time of year.

 

Remarkably, no fewer than 11 species of owls breed in southeast Arizona and we will venture out after dark to look for at least some of them. Previous groups have been treated to exceptional views of Whiskered Screech Owl, Elf Owl, Spotted Owl and Great Horned Owl and we will also search for Mexican Whip-poor-will and Common Poorwill, although the more numerous Lesser Nighthawks are generally easier to spot. Such outings also offer the best chance of seeing mammals with Collared Peccary, Bobcat, Hognose Skunk and White-nosed Coati among species to watch for.

 

Our tour to Arizona travels in a loop, beginning and ending in Phoenix, with stops along the way to explore the ‘Sky Islands’ of the Chiricahua, Huachuca and Santa Rita mountains, and the Patagonia area. In 2022, our improved tour itinerary includes overnight stops in Green Valley and Patagonia (or Nogales) on the Mexican border, allowing easier access to several key sites and less time spent driving.

 

Our highly rated guide Chris Charlesworth lives in the Canadian Rockies and leads the majority of Limosa’s tours in North America. He devised and has led this Arizona tour for us since 2011 and our trip in 2022 will be his twelfth visit.

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