Southeast Arizona Birding Hotspots – Express

Spring Migration Edition

(May 4-8, 2019)

Southeast Arizona offers some of the best birding in the world. The region’s diversity of landscapes, elevational range, and plant communities provide habitat for more than 400 species throughout the year. Montane vegetation extending from the Rockies meets southern flora from the Sierra Madre Occidental. On the east, the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts meet. Cool coniferous forests, oak and pine woodlands, deserts, and grasslands separate the mountain ranges. Birds associated with all of these habitats are easily accessible within a half-day drive from Tucson.

Join us as we explore Southeast Arizona’s birding hotspots during spring migration.  This is Arizona birding at its best!


Day 1 (Sat, May 4) ~ Morning arrival to Tucson International Airport (TUS). We’ll spend the rest of the day birding in the Willcox Playa/ Cochise Lakes IBA hotspots before ending in Portal.

Accommodations: Portal Peak Lodge

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Willcox Playa/ Cochise Lakes ~ The heart of this IBA is the massive Willcox Playa, a broad alkaline lakebed fringed with semi-desert grassland (primarily saltgrass and sacaton) and mesquite.  The playa is seasonally flooded to a shallow depth.  Outlying this playa are the satellite lakes/wetlands of Cochise Lakes (aka Lake Cochise), alkali flats, and Willcox Playa Wildlife Area containing Crane Lake.

Day 2 (Sun, May 5): Full day of birding the Chiricahuas from Portal with our local guide.  Includes owling this evening.

Accommodations: Portal Peak Lodge

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Chiricahua Mountains~ rise as one of several “sky islands” in southeastern Arizona: isolated mountain ranges surrounded by lowland desert or grassland. They rank on every top ten list of birding destinations in the United States.

Day 3 (Mon, May 6): There’s still time this morning for birding in the area with our local guide before heading to Sierra Vista where we’ll spend the next two nights.

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Sierra Vista or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 (Tues, May 7): Full day at Huachuca Mountain and Canyon hotspots.

Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express Sierra Vista or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Huachuca Mountains ~ home to some of the best birding in Arizona. The quantity and diversity of hummingbirds are probably unmatched anywhere else in the US. Nowhere else north of Mexico are Buff-Breasted Flycatchers more common. Other possible highlights include Spotted Owl and Elegant Trogon.

Day 5 (Wed, May 8): We’ll make our way back to Tucson in time for an afternoon flight home. Birding en route.

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch


Price: $1250* per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement: $250*.

Inclusions: accommodations, all meals starting with lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 5, ground transportation, full-time driver/guide, local guide for Days 2 & 3, gratuities for meals, and entrance fees/sugar funds.

Exclusions: airfare, travel insurance, alcohol, optional activities, additional gratuities, and items of a personal nature.

Group size: 6-9 participants

Trip Leader: Chip Clouse (Front Range Birding Company)

Plan to arrive to Tucson International Airport (TUS) by 9:30 am on May 4 and depart from TUS after 4 pm on May 8, 2019.