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.