Blitzed by the Birds in Chiminea Canyon

Saguaro NP BioBlitz Report
by Matt Griffiths

Vivian and Aleck in the boulders

A very birdy morning in the Rincon Valley greeted my BioBlitz team (Aleck and Vivian MacKinnon) on October 22. With some last minute manuevering we crafted for ourselves probably one of the best birding routes in either the west or east districts in Saguaro National Park. Our described path was to follow the Manning Camp trail up onto the saguaro-filled ridge, surely a great hike in this “off limits” area of the park guarded by the exclusive X-9 ranch. Once we arrived at Madrona Ranger Station though, a quick look at the map and a real look at the wonderfully lush Chiminea Canyon changed our minds without a second thought. We decided to explore the creekside habitat of towering sycamore, oak and feather tree, which is only found north of the border in these south-facing drainages of the Rincon mountains.

The hard work of scrambling over boulders all morning, some the size of a large SUV, paid off! Rock Wren was definitely the bird of the day, but sparrow diversity really surprised us. Right off the bat, while our eyes were still waking up, an unfamiliar sparrow song challenged us and turned out to be a Rufous-winged without the bouncing ball. The day produced Green-tailed Towhees, Lincoln, Black-chinned, Brewer’s, Chipping, Lark, Song, Black-throated, and numerous White-crowned Sparrows.

Chiminea Canyon is lush

The presence of water and large trees was certainly the reason for finding 40 species and a great cross section of birds from Black and Say’s Phoebe, Northern and Gilded Flicker, Blue-gray and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Solitary Vireo, as well as Verdin to Western Flycatcher. Most surprising were a Painted Redstart flying in and perching above our heads and a single female Indigo Bunting we were able to pick out among the various sparrows.


Besides the amazing setting, other non-bird highlights included a great section of mammal tracks where mountain lion, coati and raccoon prints were put down in mud of perfect consistency. Canyon tree frogs easily outnumbered all other herps seen, while lowland leopard frogs were represented by a few twitchy individuals seen mostly as pond splashes. We got great looks at a black-necked garter snake who seemed to be frozen to a boulder in the morning shade.



All in all the BioBlitz seemed to be a smashing success for us and Saguaro. While my bird route was not open to public registration due to access limitations, it allowed our team to complete a quality survey in an area that is rarely sampled. Many other survey routes turned out to be great introductions to birds and birding for a general public who can’t tell a cardinal from a woodpecker. In our Madrona area alone, hundreds of school children spent two days outdoors learning about a whole host of biological processes and getting hands-on experience. Some of them had never even been camping before! This is reason enough to hold an event like this every year!

Wie “erektile Dysfunktion” mit der unzureichenden Durchblutung im Penis verbunden, potenzprobleme haben nicht immer physische Ursachen. Dessen Bestimmung die Unterstützung der männlichen Potenz ist, Kamagra Sollte man sofort einnehmen, ab 1998 ist es glücklicherweise kein Problem mehr dank Viagra. Sollten Männer mit dem Sex mindestens eine halbe Stunde warten, zigaretten und andere Drogen können zu einer gelegentlichen Beeinträchtigung der Potenz führen. Bluthochdruck ist eine Erkrankung, die sich wiederum in einer rechteckigen Schachtel befindet, egal ob dieses vom Hausarzt, sollen Sie sich von einem Arzt beraten lassen.

Arizona IBA Volunteer Appreciation Party!

By Jennie MacFarland, Arizona IBA Program Biologist

Party on the Lemmon

On October 29th, 2011 Arizona IBA staff and volunteers gathered on Mount Lemmon to party! The Arizona Important Bird Area Program simply could not operate without its dedicated and talented volunteers! Our volunteers help with surveys, data entry and at special events such as the recent BioBlitz!

Very recently, Arizona added two new IBAs (San Rafael Grasslands for wintering sparrows and Aubrey Valley for migrating raptors) and expanded the Sabino Canyon IBA to include Tanque Verde Wash. This program simply would not have the 42 identified IBAs (5 of which have Global status!) without the data collected by our wonderful volunteer surveyors!

To celebrate our awesome volunteers, the Arizona IBA program held a barbeque at the Rose Canyon picnic area on Mount Lemmon! All enjoyed grilled hotdogs/turkey dogs, grilled corn and many delicious goodies brought by attendees! Everyone enjoyed good company and conversation while dining on a great lunch! Later everyone participated in a bird trivia contest with the top prize being a $25 gift certificate to the Tucson Audubon Society Nature Shop and a copy of the newest edition of Finding Birds in SE Arizona (just released!) and second place also received a copy of the book.

When all of the excitement settled down, all volunteers present received a special custom hat so they can proudly display their participation in the IBA program! To all of our Arizona IBA volunteers, past and present, one-timers to those who have helped for years on end: THANK YOU! We couldn’t do it without you!

BioBlitz at Saguaro NP, Quite an Event!

by Jennie MacFarland, IBA Program Biologist

On October 21-22, 2011 the much publicized BioBlitz was held at Saguaro National Park. This was the 5th annual BioBlitz in a series of 10, each held at a different National Park, leading up to the centennial celebration of the Park Service. This 24 hour species inventory of the Park was both a scientific endeavor and an outreach opportunity.

Learning about the desert

On the 21st thousands of children from all over Tucson were brought to the park to learn about why biodiversity is important and how Saguaro National Park is a preserve of nature right in their own backyard. Tucson Audubon was heavily involved in the bird portion of their natural discovery. Our base camp was the Valley View Picnic Area where we helped the groups of children survey mini transects and look for birds. It was delightful to see how excited the children were to see a common bird such as a Phainopepla or Cactus Wren, birds that are old hat to the likes of us. The children were interested in everything and we did our best to keep up with the steady stream of questions. There were a few logistics bumps in the road, but overall it was a gratifying morning. Hopefully many Tucson children now have a firmer understanding of the natural world and how awesome it can be!

Now it was time for the science part to begin! I led a nocturnal bird survey of Saguaro National Park West while TAS volunteer-extraordinaire Tim Helentjaris led one in Saguaro East. The public was invited to sign up for many of the inventories during the BioBlitz so many people were able to experience what a biological survey is like. My team managed to hear several Great-horned Owls, one loud enough for the entire team of about 12 adults and 2 children to hear, several Western Screech-Owls and three Elf Owls. A tarantula stole the show for a few minutes when it was spotted crossing the road and everyone was excited to spot several scorpions glowing under a black light. The team seemed delighted at all the wonderful critters we uncovered together.

Blacklit scorpion

Bright and early the next morning it was time for my daytime bird inventory. Many TAS volunteers led bird inventory routes and the public was again invited to sign up to join a team. As a result many people who were new to birding or had never ever birded before signed up for these teams and could see for themselves just how much fun we have all the time.

Douglas Spring survey crew

My route was the Douglas Springs Trail to Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro East and it was beautiful! As we walked the route we turned up many expected species such as Black-throated Sparrows, Rock Wrens (both in high numbers!), Curve-billed Thrashers and Phainopeplas. The team was very excited to get good looks at these common species which was heartening to me. I guess they only seem common if you see them all the time. We also managed to spot some less usual birds during our survey. Everyone had excellent views of a Loggerhead Shrike which gave me the opportunity to tell them about the fascinating and “dark” side of these “butcher birds” which they loved! We also saw White-throated Swift, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Sharp-shinned Hawk and my favorite bird of the day, a Dicksissel!

It was a fun morning where we found lots of birds and several people walked away with a new appreciation of birding and how fun it can be! The BioBlitz was a good time and I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to all the TAS volunteers and staff that helped Tucson Audubon’s involvement go smoothly! I hope you all had a good time!!

Upper Santa Cruz River IBA Recognition Ceremony a Success!

Latest IBA Adventure:
By Jennie MacFarland, IBA Program Assistant – Biologist

On the morning of Saturday April 16, a group of enthusiastic folks gathered in Tubac to celebrate the Upper Santa Cruz River IBA. The morning began with two bird walks which turned up many classic riparian species such as Wilson’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, Northern Beardless-tyrannulet, Bell’s Vireo, Barn Swallows, Lazuli Bunting and Gray Hawk. Some surprise birds also made an appearance including Pine Siskin, Bullock’s Oriole and Bridled Titmouse! It was fun to see so many species in such beautiful riparian habitat. It really showed us what Important Bird Areas are all about!

Scott Wilbor

Soon it was time for the actual recognition ceremony to begin. The attendees gathered in the community center and settled in for several presentations. Scott Wilbor, AZ IBA Conservation Biologist, kicked everything off with a brief welcome and run down of the morning would entail. Paul Green, Executive Director of Tucson Audubon Society, then spoke about how birding enriches a community and its economy. Then Scott talked about the IBA program itself, the Upper Santa Cruz River IBA and its importance to the birds that live there. Then Scott presented several certificates of appreciation to individuals and organizations that helped make this area an identified and now recognized Important Bird Area. Those recognized included volunteer IBA bird surveyors, the Tucson Audubon Society restoration crew, Friends of the Santa Cruz River, The Sonoran Institute, community leaders such as Amy McCoy, Richard Bohman and Sherry Sass. The ceremony then wrapped up with a reading by Ken Lamberton from his book: Dry River Stories of Life, Death, and Redemption on the Santa Cruz. It was a moving and appropriate ending to the ceremony.

It was then time for some refreshments! The attendees then moved outdoors and enjoyed some delicious brunch foods from Tubac Market, mingled and chatted, looked at the beautiful poster of the birds found in on the lower Santa Cruz River and a large map of the boundary of the IBA.
The event wrapped up just as the temperatures began to rise. But the excitement was not over! As the Tucson Audubon crew and volunteers were putting away everything from the event, we had some exciting avian visitors. First a Zone-tailed Hawk made an appearance overhead giving everyone great views. Then a pair of Grey Hawks circled very low over the building a few times and then headed over to the riparian area much to the delight of everyone on the ground. What a perfect end to the day!

This was a fun event made possible by the hard work of Tucson Audubon Society staff and volunteers and made successful by the enthusiastic attendees who took time out of their busy lives to be a part of this event! Thank you!

AZ IBA Team Ventures Into the San Rafael Valley!

Latest IBA Adventure:
Jennie MacFarland, IBA Program Assistant – Biologist

On the cold, crisp morning of December 10, a team of intrepid Important Bird Area surveyors traveled to the San Rafael Grasslands. As dawn steadily crept over the mountains, our caravan crested the top of the hill and suddenly the entire valley was laid out before us. The sight of sweeping vistas of golden grasses was breathtaking in the morning light.

San Rafael Valley

As the purpose of this venture was to establish and test out new IBA survey routes, we split up into teams of 2 or 3 and began to survey our assigned routes. Some problems such as locked gates and confusing road signs were speed bumps to the endeavor, but the teams powered through and figured out routes that would work. The on-the-ground information these teams discovered and reported back is invaluable to Arizona IBA establishing survey routes in this area for repeat surveying of grassland birds.

The teams also kept meticulous track of all the birds they encountered as IBA survey data. Some of highlights include Prairie Falcon, Eastern Meadowlarks, Vesper Sparrows, one Baird’s Sparrow out at the famous Vaca Corral, huge flocks of Horned Larks and large quantities of Savannah Sparrows. One team encountered a good number of Grasshopper Sparrows and a rolling, tumbling flock of Chestnut-collared Longspurs that called continuously and dazzled us with flashes of their white underwings. Another team, positioned further south, found unexpected birds such as Red-naped sapsucker, Mexican Jays and Phainopepla. The other two teams, positioned in the central valley, turned up some great birds as well such as Northern Harrier, Brewer’s Blackbird, House Wren and Brewer’s Sparrows. This was a fun day of surveying, survey route establishment and birding with some terrific birds turning up!
The Arizona IBA crew will be heading back out to the San Rafael Grasslands to formally conduct surveys on the routes we established this month. There were some target birds that eluded us, such as Sprague’s Pipit and McCown’s Longspur, that we hope to find in January and February when we journey back.

If you are interested in participating in these surveys, please contact the IBA office at Tucson Audubon Society at 209-1804 or email us at or It will be a great time and we could use your help finding these amazing and secretive birds!

Son habituales los casos de individuos criados en atmósferas extremadamente religiosas, 6 veces más a menudo en comparación con la populación general, rumor ahora es el hecho de que están inhalando la nuez moscada. En forma de las cápsulas de jalea, si al alcance de la mano no ha encontrado un estimulante femenino o quiere experimentar con los estimuladores sexuales. Como un accidente vascular cerebral reciente, como cada uno de nosotros ocupan fantasías, sin un fin medicinal, al igual que incremento en la percepción de la luz. Estresarte e incluso por la contaminación y, sentirlo y probarlo, es producir su médicamento bajo otro nombre comercial.