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Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Friday, Aug 2, 2019 at 6:00am

Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus
901 N. Colombo Ave.
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

The Summer festival held in August is our big event with free programs, wildlife exhibits, vendors, guided trips and a keynote buffet. Southwest Wings is an educational celebration of the diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects, in their environment; the sky islands in southern Arizona.

Schedule of Events:

6:00 AM - 12: 00 PM: FA1 Hunter Canyon

Although the 2011 Miller Peak Wilderness fire certainly left its mark, the result is a unique combination of habitats that are home to a nice diversity of bird species. The initial hike is dominated by sun-drenched successional oak-scrub; birds that have moved in to fill this niche include: Crissal Thrasher, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Scott’s Oriole, Black-chinned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, and more. Higher up, the trail enters a stand of soaring conifers that were spared when the fire “jumped” the canyon; here we hope to find Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Band-tailed Pigeon, Grace’s and Virginia’s Warblers, “Mountain” Pygmy-Owl, Montezuma Quail, and more. The pine forest wasn’t spared completely, however, and the scrubby disturbance habitat here has also become home to a resident pair of Rufous-capped Warblers, which we hope will be a well-earned highlight of our hike.  Hiking Difficulty: 3, moderate. Guide Ken Blankenship.

6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: FA2 Chasing Rarities

​Join professional guide Richard Fray on a day long excursion to see what's new or unusual in Southeast Arizona. This trip's destinations will be based on recent bird reports in the area as well as the needs and ability of the group. With no pre-planned destination Richard and you will be free to chase after what's available in any direction or location. The trip may include any of the areas covered by our regular trips or may try a new location to see what is available. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Richard Fray

6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: FA3 Sonoita-Patagonia

Join professional tour leader Bob Behrstock for a trip to the Patagonia area. Patagonia is one of south-eastern Arizona’s best-known destinations for riparian birds. Specialties that can be found here include Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Thick-billed and Tropical Kingbirds, and Rufous-winged Sparrow. Good birding sites in Patagonia are numerous and our probable itinerary will include Harshaw Canyon, Patagonia Lake State Park, and the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. Our exact itinerary will be at the discretion of the leader, and may vary based on where the target birds are most readily being seen. A short visit (about an hour) to the open grasslands around Sonoita will complement the riparian habitats of Patagonia, and we should see a wide variety of species. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade somewhere along the way. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Bob Behrstock guide

6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: FA4 Ramsey and Brown Canyons

​Join professional guide and Ravens Way Nature Center Owner, Vincent Pinto, on a trip around Brown Canyon Ranch, ponds, and grasslands early, then heading up to Ramsey Canyon Preserve. From there we will hike two miles up into upper Ramsey Canyon onto Forest Service land where Flame-colored Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher have been seen in recent years. The lower canyon yields Gambel's Quails, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. The canyons are home to Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Scott’s Oriole, Painted Redstart, and Red-faced Warbler. Be prepared for a slow steep hike up the stairs on the Hamberg trail in Ramsey Canyon. There are nine rest benches along the trail in Ramsey. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is provided. Guide Vincent Pinto

6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: FA5 Warblers and Flycatchers

​​Professional guide Homer Hansen will focus on characteristics, behaviors, and other clues for the identification of the flycatchers of SE Arizona. It will be useful for the expert and beginner alike. The field trip will visit many habitats to study these birds in the wild. It will start in the lowlands seeking kingbirds, Myiarchus species and Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Lucy's Warbler and early warbler migrants, then move up into the mountains looking for pewees, phoebes, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and Empidonax species. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Guide Homer Hansen

6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: FA6 Ash and Miller Canyons

​Join professional guide Jennie MacFarland on this trip to explore Miller Canyon. On this Canyon tour, we will begin in the grasslands below the canyons, where we will look for Rufous-crowned and Botteri’s Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak, and other lowland species. Upper Miller Canyon is known to local birders as a reliable place to find nesting pairs of Red-faced Warblers and there may be a chance of a Mexican Spotted Owl. Other SE Arizona specialties including Arizona Woodpecker, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler, Hepatic Tanager and Scott's Oriole are all found here. This trip includes a stop at Ash Canyon B&B for up to 10 species of hummingbirds, including a chance of seeing the rare Lucifer Hummingbird, and other foothills birds. Be prepared for a two-mile slow walk with a 300-foot elevation gain and uneven terrain. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Lunch provided. Guide Jennie MacFarland.

8:00 - 4:00 PM: FA7 Butterflies and Birds

​Join leader Rich Bailowitz (co-author of several butterfly books as well as Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Arizona and Sonora) as we search for some of the butterflies and dragonflies of the Sierra Vista area. The day will include stops in Escapule Canyon (near the San Pedro River) and in Huachuca Canyon, at various elevations between 4,500 and 6,500ft. A net will be used to catch and release insects for up-close species identification. This trip is best suited for butterfly and dragonfly enthusiasts of all skill levels. Wear good walking shoes, a hat, and bring along water to insure a wonderful adventure. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Rich Bailowitz.

6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: FA8 Carr Canyon

​On this tour of Carr Canyon, with professional guide Matt Brown, we will begin in the lower canyon, where we will look for Gambel's Quail, Rufous-crowned, Chipping and Botteri's Sparrows, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and other canyon outlet species. At Carr House, we may see up to 6 species of hummingbirds, as well as Arizona, Gila and Acorn Woodpeckers, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Hepatic Tanager, Painted Redstart, Scott's Oriole, and other mountain canyon specialties. We will also be on the look-out for some of the characteristic plants, mammals, and reptiles of the Huachuca Mountains. Be prepared for a slow walk covering a mile or two with a 200-foot elevation gain and uneven terrain. Hiking Difficulty 3: moderate. Bring hat, water, sun protection, and wear trail shoes. Lunch is provided. Guide Matt Brown

5:45 PM  -  9:30 PM: FP1 Bats

​Join bat aficionado Karen Krebbs as we visit the semi-desert grassland to see agave food plants of bats up close. After sunset we’ll watch hummingbird feeders and/or agaves for Lesser Long-nosed Bats and Mexican Long-tongued Bats flying in for dinner. Attendees on this field trip will benefit from Karen's lecture (not a necessity). Because this is a night trip (sunset is 7:14 pm) so bring a flashlight or headlamp (a red light is best). Bring your binoculars and a small chair or stool to increase your comfort. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Karen Krebbs

​6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: FS1 Overnight Overnight Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz River

Join professional bird guide and environmental educator, Jeff Babson, on an extended trip to Madera Canyon and the Santa Cruz River Valley. The Santa Rita Mountains with Madera Canyon at its heart, is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. The area has had fifteen species of hummingbirds, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, many species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented. The Santa Cruz River has a wide variety of birds including nesting Gray Hawks, and many lower altitude Arizona Specialties. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. All meals, transportation and lodging at the Amado Inn are provided. Guide Jeff Babson

5:45 PM - 9:30 PM: FP1 Bats

Join bat aficionado Karen Krebbs  as we visit the semi-desert grassland to see agave food plants of bats up close.  After sunset we’ll watch hummingbird feeders and/or agaves for Lesser Long-nosed Bats and Mexican Long-tongued Bats flying in for dinner.  Attendees on this field trip will benefit from Karens  lecture (but not a necessity).  Because this is a night trip (sunset is 7:14 pm) so bring a flashlight or headlamp (a red light is best).  Bring your binoculars and a small chair or stool to increase your comfort. Difficulty: 2. Guide Karen Krebbs

All Field Trips begin and end at the Cochise College Library.

Field Trip prices per person are:
Full Day $90
Half Day $45
Night $45
Overnight $250
Trips include all transportation and meals.

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