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Jake Mohlman on his recently completed tour, Arizona: A Winter Week in the Southeast

February 04: Jake Mohlman on his recently completed tour, Arizona: A Winter Week in the Southeast

Our winter week in Southeastern Arizona covered just over 1,000 miles of mostly paved, scenic roads while searched for any wildlife that would allow viewing. Some highlights of the 143 species of birds seen included a very cooperative male Hepatic Tanager in Madera Canyon, a petite Western Screech-Owl catching the first rays of sun in its roost hole, and a family group of Mexican Chickadees at 8,000 feet in the stunning Chiricahua Mountains.


A male Hepatic Tanager showed nicely.

This Western Screech-Owl blended in perfectly.

Mexican Chickadee was the target on our day in Portal.

We always round out the trip with a run through the parks in and around Tucson where there are usually a few rare birds to be seen. This year a wintering Greater Pewee was found at Reid Park, and not too far away a Plumbeous Vireo came in for close looks.


Greater Pewee was a rare winter treat.

A Plumbeous Vireo came in for inspection.

Although temperatures weren’t too cold this year, birds were huddled close in the early mornings at our very comfortable Bed & Breakfast. Inca Doves sat two abreast in order to ward off the chill, and the emblematic Cactus Wren greeted us daily before we headed out on our adventures.


A pair of Inca Doves couldn’t get closer.

Cactus Wrens were seen daily.

There were many ID challenges that we worked on throughout the week. One such case is differentiating the Curve-billed and Bendire’s Thrashers. After looking at about a dozen Curve-billed, and much to our delight, we finally tracked down a much rarer Bendire’s. In this same valley we experienced the unbelievable experience of watching as many as 8,000 Sandhill Cranes come in to loaf mid-day in the famed Sulphur Springs Valley.

Curve-billed Thrasher, not to be confused with the much rarer...


…and harder to find Bendire’s Thrasher.

Just a few of the thousands of Sandhill Cranes seen in one day.


Our group excited to visit Cave Creek Canyon waiting in the distance.

Posted: February 04, 2020