USA - Arizona ........ 3rd to 15th May 2018
Arizona is startling in its contrasts of both wildlife and scenery. Greater Roadrunner, Cactus Wren and Gila Woodpecker inhabit the Sonoran Desert where the bizarre forms of Saguaro Cacti are silhouetted against the sky; but snow can still be lying at 8,000 feet in the Santa Catalina’s, where White-throated Swifts and Zone-tailed Hawks soar above beautiful canyons. Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Painted Redstarts, Red-faced Warblers and Vermilion Flycatchers flash brilliant colours, and at night the calls of Elf Owls and Whip-poor-wills join in an enchanting chorus. The mountains and deserts of Arizona are simply stunning in their beauty and birdlife. Many species occur here that are on the northern edge of their range and can be difficult to find anywhere else in the USA. They included Rufous-winged Sparrow, Tufted Flycatcher, Rufous-capped Warbler, Violet-crowned & Lucifer Hummingbirds, Northern Bearded Tyrannulet, Olive Warbler, Thick-billed Kingbird, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, Mexican Chickadee and Black-capped Gnatcatcher.
Days 1-3: We fly from UK to Tucson, arriving in the late afternoon and then transfer to our hotel for the first three nights. We explore a variety of habitats close to Tucson, ranging from the Sonoran Desert, to the summit of Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains and including Sweetwater wetlands.
We may also visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. The species we can expect will fully reflect the diversity of the habitats and include: Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, Greater Roadrunner, Rock Wren, Pyrrhuloxia, Pygmy Nuthatch, Verdin, Western Bluebird, Steller’s Jay, Plumbeous Vireo, Olive & Red-faced Warblers, Lesser Goldfinch and Black-headed Grosbeak.
Overnights - Tucson.
Days 4 - 6: On Day 4 we travel to Portal, for a 3 Night stay, stopping en route at Willcox Twin Lakes where Wilson’s Phalaropes and other shorebirds congregate on their way north. The following two days will be spent in the stunning scenery of the very impressive Chiricahua Mountains, with their beautiful landforms. Travelling from desert, through oak and pine-clad canyons to mountain summit, we should encounter a great diversity of birdlife which may include: Zone-tailed Hawk, Common Poorwill, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Crissal Thrasher, Hutton’s Vireo, Grace’s Warbler and Pine Siskin. Here there are several species on the northern edge of their range, including Elegant Trogon and Mexican Chickadee. We may also go on an ‘Owl Prowl’ looking for Elf, Great Horned, Northern Pygmy, Whiskered & Western Screech Owls.
Overnights - Portal.
Days 7 - 9: On the morning of Day 7 we make a leisurely journey to Sierra Vista, an ideal base from which to explore the beautiful Garden and Ramsey Canyons of the Huachuca Mountains. We will also visit the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, a lush green ribbon through the desert. Amongst the wonderful avian treasure chest are Montezuma & Scaled Quails, Magnificent & Anna’s Hummingbirds, Acorn & Arizona Woodpeckers, Abert’s Towhee, Western Bluebird, Vermilion Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, the rare Spotted Owl and Buff-breasted Flycatcher.
Overnights - Sierra Vista.
Days 10 & 11: On Day 10 we transfer to Green Valley. Stopping at Patagonia, we will look for: White-throated Swift, Thick-billed Kingbird and Violet-crowned Hummingbird. Green Valley is ideally located to visit Madera Canyon renowned for Elf Owl, Elegant Trogon, Lesser Nighthawk, Say’s Phoebe, Phainopepla, Painted Redstart and Black-throated Sparrow.
Overnights - Green Valley.
Days 12-13: Transfer to Tucson Airport to catch our return flight to the UK, arriving on Day 13.
Tour ref: AA1842
Single Room Supplement: £490
Leader: Peter Dedicoat as Principal Leader
Max. Group: 12 plus 2 Leaders
Economy class scheduled return flights (UK-Tucson-UK), accommodation based on twin occupancy, all meals, all ground transportation in USA and services of leaders.
Travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.