Overview

August is a great time to visit the birding hotspots of southeast Arizona. The majority of specialty species are present with certain tricky species like Montezuma Quail and Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrows being easier to find as they become vocal during the onset of the monsoon breeding season. In addition, it is peak hummingbird season and the resident hummingbirds are augmented by migrants with up to a dozen species possible (10 are very likely). These jewels of the avian world can be studied in great detail at various feeder setups that range from the riparian areas to the foothills, making southeast Arizona the hummingbird capital of the United States.

It is also possible to see the vast majority of specialty species during August, including Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks, Mexican Jay, Arizona Woodpecker, Thick-billed and Tropical Kingbirds, Sulphur-bellied, Dusky-capped, and Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Greater Pewee, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Mexican Chickadee, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Bendire’s Thrasher, Olive Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Painted Redstart, Abert’s Towhee, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Yellow-eyed Junco, and the stunning Elegant Trogon. We will also venture forth at night to look for the various species of owls present in this corner of the Grand Canyon State. During August, the owls have finished nesting and tend to be less vocal (thus a bit trickier to find), but we still have excellent chances for Whiskered and Western Screech-Owls and Great Horned Owl. With great luck we might find Spotted Owl on a day roost and we will always keep our ears open for the call of the Northern Pygmy-Owl. We also have good chances to see a variety of mammals during our day and night excursions including Black-tailed Jackrabbit, Cliff Chipmunk, Rock Squirrel, Mexican Fox Squirrel, Coyote, Hog-nosed Skunk, and Collared Peccary.

August is also a great time to witness the onset of fall migration with flycatchers and warblers passing through plus a wide variety of species typical of the southwest desert region. Additionally, we will try to track down any Mexican rarities that may be present (August is a great time of year to locate post-breeding dispersers from Mexico), such as White-eared Hummingbird, Rufous-capped Warbler, Flame-colored Tanager, or Streak-backed Oriole, all of which are possible.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Montezuma Quail; Botteri’s, Rufous-winged & Cassin’s Sparrows; Zone-tailed & Grey Hawks; Mexican Jay; Arizona Woodpecker; Thick-billed & Tropical Kingbirds; Sulphur-bellied, Dusky-capped & Buff-breasted Flycatchers; Greater Pewee; Northern Beardless Tyrannulet; Mexican Chickadee; Black-capped Gnatcatcher; Bendire’s Thrasher; Olive & Red-faced Warblers; Painted Redstart; Abert’s Towhee; Yellow-eyed Junco; Elegant Trogon; Whiskered & Western Screech Owls, Northern Pygmy, Great Horned & Spotted Owls. Possible rarities: White-eared Hummingbird; Rufous-capped Warbler; Flame-colored Tanager; Streak-backed Oriole.
Top Mammals
Black-tailed Jackrabbit; Cliff Chipmunk; Rock & Mexican Fox Squirrels; Coyote; Hog-nosed Skunk; Collared Peccary; Coatimundi; White-tailed & Mule Deer; Black Bear; Mountain Lion (rare)
Habitats Covered
Chichuahan & Sonoran Desert; high desert; Sierra Madrean forest; mountain forest.
Expected Climate
mild to hot depending upon elevation. Monsoon rains will typically cool things off
Max Group Size
7 with 1 Rockjumper Leader and local leaders where necessary
Tour Pace & Walking
easy to moderate, with some early mornings and later evenings, a few long drives and 2 strenuous hikes
Accommodation
very comfortable B&B for all nights
Ease of Birding
mostly easy with a few difficult species
Other Attractions
along the way we enjoy wonderful scenery, mountain views, wild west landscapes, historical towns.
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic guide. I chose this tour for the itinerary and for the length of it. Stephan had designed the tour based on his extensive knowledge of the birds in the area, so we ended up seeing a variety of habitats and lots of birds. He is a superb naturalist with a solid academic background and knowledge of many taxa - herps, fish, mammals, plants - in addition to birds. He was good at dealing with the variety of participants, getting everyone on the birds and allowing photographers good opportunities for taking photos. He also handled the various emergencies of the trip with calm.

This was my 4th tour with Stephan, and he continues to be welcoming, caring, and on-point the entire trip. He always goes the extra mile to ensure everyone has a chance to see the birds and is very informative throughout the tour, always slipping in identification characteristics, sounds, or habitats that will help us in the future. He does all this with a very easy-going manner despite his high energy level and excellent people skills to ensure comraderie within the group. Despite the varied skill levels of the group’s participants, he is able to make each of us feel special, whether it is for me as a beginner birder with limited name associations to the species and a brain that doesn’t recall the information from day to day, all the way for those who are excellent at spotting birds and already knowing the species, perhaps due to a career in the field. This tour provided more challenges with some restaurants and toilets closed due to the pandemic or limited hours which did not mesh with the tour route, but Stephan and Claudia did an excellent job of rounding up food, supplies, meals, drinks, and toilet breaks. Because of the intense nature and number of miles/hours required each day to see the target species, they arranged for one vehicle to return to lodging each night at dinner time to provide an early night for those of us who needed a bit more sleep or for those whose abilities limited nighttime walking on uneven surfaces! I really appreciated that effort and concern, even though I love to see owls, etc. They are wonderful guides and friends!!!

I just wanted you to know that the trip to Texas with Stefan and Claudia went fantastic. The birding was unbelievable and the logistics to pull that all off in such a large state as Texas were near flawless. Stefan is an amazing birder and his persistence and patience made certain everyone got on the birds; the views were amazing. Claudia was a great help for him and was fantastic at quickly getting the scope on the birds as well. It was all wonderful Rockjumper birding until you drop at its finest! On side notes, the food was great.

This being my first Rockjumper tour, it far surpassed my expectations. Stephan was a fantastic guide, attentive to the entire group and making sure everyone had a good look at the bird in front of us (sometimes, several birds!) The depth of his knowledge along with his raport and friendly/kind demeanor made him feel more like a good friend on a bird walk - with tons of knowledge and ability on top of a love for birds. Thanks Stephan/Claudia and Rockjumper for providing an amazing experience!

I just wanted you to know that the trip to Texas with Stefan and Claudia went fantastic. The birding was unbelievable and the logistics to pull that all off in such a large state as Texas were near flawless. Stefan is an amazing birder and his persistence and patience made certain everyone got on the birds; the views were amazing. Claudia was a great help for him and was fantastic at quickly getting the scope on the birds as well. It was all wonderful Rockjumper birding until you drop at its finest! On side notes, the food was great.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2021 DEPARTURES
2022 DEPARTURES
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