Overview

Arizona boasts the third highest total of bird species by state in the United States, pretty impressive for being completely landlocked. In particular, the southeast corner holds the highest diversity due to the confluence of eastern and western species and many southern species that just spill over the international border here. Southeast Arizona is a land of contrasts, where rugged, forested mountains form “sky islands” within the Sonoran Desert. Rivers, like the Santa Cruz and San Pedro, flow slowly across arid valleys, creating ribbons of greenery along their banks by supporting cottonwoods and willows. Middle elevations are covered by rich grasslands and juniper-oak woodland while the highest elevations harbor mixed coniferous forests. In between, one finds desert areas dominated by impressive saguaro cacti, dense mesquite thickets, man-made wetlands that are magnets for water birds, and ancient stands of sycamores along creeks and canyons. This variety of habitats packed into a relatively small area is home to the greatest diversity of breeding birds in the United States.

Many species from further south reach their range limits in southeastern Arizona and occur nowhere else in the country. This tour will focus on these southeast Arizona specialties, southwest desert birds, and the spectacular variety of nocturnal birds that can be found here, including up to eight species of owls and four species of nightjars. Some of the specialty species we seek include Montezuma Quail, Grey and Zone-tailed Hawks, Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, Greater Pewee, Buff-breasted, Dusky-capped and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Tropical and Thick-billed Kingbirds, Bendire’s and Crissal Thrashers, Olive, Virginia’s, Lucy’s, Grace’s and Red-faced Warblers, Painted Redstart, Hepatic Tanager, Abert’s Towhee, Rufous-winged, Five-striped, Cassin’s and Botteri’s Sparrows, Yellow-eyed Junco, and Varied Bunting. Some rarer possibilities include Short-tailed Hawk, Rose-throated Becard, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Flame-colored Tanager.

Southeast Arizona is also the hummingbird capital of the United States and we will search for Broad-billed, Violet-crowned, Blue-throated Mountain-Gem, Rivoli's, Black-chinned, Anna’s, Broad-tailed and Lucifer Hummingbirds. The canyons and mountains here also offer some of the most productive night birding anywhere and we will conduct several evening outings or search for species on day roosts. Possibilities include Whiskered and Western Screech-owls, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Flammulated, and the impressive Spotted Owls. Among nightjars, we will look for Mexican Whip-poor-will, Common Poorwill, Lesser Nighthawk, and the exceedingly rare Buff-collared Nightjar. These nocturnal outings can also be productive for mammals, including Collared Peccary, Black Bear, several species of skunks, Ringtail, Bobcat, and even Mountain Lions still roam these wilderness areas. Our itinerary will take us from the desert around Tucson to the famous sky islands of the Santa Rita, Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains through the Patagonia and Sonoita Creek areas and the unique California Gulch.

This tour is operated by High Lonesome BirdTours in partnership with Rockjumper Birding Tours.

These are large group tours (up to 16 guests with multiple leaders), and will have guests from both Highlonesome and Rockjumper.

For any queries not related to a tour booking, please fee free to contact High Lonesome BirdTours directly Stephan Lorenz (Tour Director)

Tour Facts Top Birds
Montezuma Quail; Grey & Zone-tailed Hawks; Elegant Trogon; Arizona Woodpecker; Gilded Flicker; Greater Pewee; Buff-breasted & Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers; Thick-billed Kingbird; LeConte’s, Bendire’s, & Crissal Thrashers; Olive, Lucy’s, and Red-faced Warblers; Abert’s Towhee; Rufous-winged, Five-striped, & Botteri’s Sparrows; Yellow-eyed Junco; Varied Bunting; Violet-crowned, Blue-throated Mountain-Gem, Rivoli's, Broad-billed & Lucifer Hummingbirds; Whiskered Screech-owl; Flammulated, Elf & Spotted Owls.
Top Mammals
Collared Peccary; Black Bear; Ringtail; Bobcat; Mountain Lion (very rare).
Habitats Covered
Desert flats and scrub, mesquite thickets, grassland, riparian forest, and mountain coniferous forests.
Expected Climate
Spring is an ideal time for warm to mild temperatures in the mountains 20℃ (70℉), low lying desert areas can become hot during the day with temperatures exceeding 32℃ (90℉). Mornings could be cool at higher elevations, carry at least one warm layer. Throughout the tour, sunny and dry conditions prevail.
Max Group Size
12 with 2 Tour Leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
easy, but some early mornings and later evenings, one moderate hike (optional), few long drives
Accommodation
very comfortable hotels; some fine local restaurants
Ease of Birding
mostly easy with a few difficult species
Number of Species Expected
140 - 150
Other Attractions
wonderful scenery, mountain views, wild west landscapes, historical towns, Spanish missions and historical parks
Photographic Opportunities
good to excellent
Tour Route Map Client Testimonials

Stephan and Claudia are a great team: Stephan is simply amazing hearing, spotting and helping all get on the relevant bird(s). As the only non-master birder and the oldest person on the trip, I thought that they both were helpful, careful and mindful of the needs of me and each of the group. Claudia often got on the bird as quickly as Stephan spotted it. The group worked for the best interest of the group. .... During a pandemic, the group acted responsibly and carefully.

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!

This tour exceeded our expectations. Forrest Rowland is an exceptional guide. His intimate knowledge of Yellowstone Park and the general area and the species of animals and birds that inhabit the area are invaluable to the experience, but more than that his unbridled enthusiasm, superior patience, and ability to adjust to circumstances ensured the success of this trip. The area was hit with a very unusual early snowstorm that closed large parts of the park and many roads, but Forrest was able to pivot and ensure that we got to see animals, birds, and geothermal sites despite the difficult conditions. He organized excellent field lunches and great dinners in town and always had several backup plans in mind in case the weather turned either worse or better. The accommodation was located perfectly for easy and quick access to the park, and we found the hotel very comfortable with friendly staff. Forrest also organized a talk for our group with a wolf and bird expert from the Yellowstone Park staff, and this was certainly a highlight of the trip as it provided even more context and background for what we saw every day. I would travel with Forrest again regardless of the destination because he is a guide who will make sure that no matter where we travel the experience will be superior.

I would rate my experience on the Texas Coast trip with Stephan and Claudia as excellent. They are both superb at what they do.

This was my first birding tour, not only with Rockjumper, but any tour company. Being a first for me, I was a bit anxious, but am happy to say the tour met and exceeded my expectations. The lodging, meals and other tour participants were all great. Best of all was our tour guide, Stephan Lorenz. His knowledge, kindness and willingness to accommodate each member of the tour were phenomenal. I am also happy to say I picked up 94 life birds!

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2023 DEPARTURES
2024 DEPARTURES
Tour Enquiry
  • Your details

  • Contact permission

    We would love to send you Newsletters, Promotions, Discounts, Blog Articles, and other content that we think you would find interesting. If you are happy with this then please select your preferences below. If you would like to unsubscribe from previous subscriptions, or leave our mailing list entirely, then please do so by visiting the Preference Centre link at the bottom of these emails.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.