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Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Saturday, Aug 3, 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 - 3: 00 PM: SA1 San Pedro River

​In 1995 the American Bird Conservancy named the San Pedro the first Globally Important Bird Area in the US and it is listed as one of The Nature Conservancy’s “Last Great Places”. The lush cottonwood/willow habitat the river supports is the largest and best example of riparian forest remaining in the Southwest. Flowing north from Mexico the un-dammed river is a critical oasis for hundreds of species of birds. This trip will visit Gray Hawk Nature Center and the San Pedro House feeders. The nature center is a reservation only facility so this is an opportunity to bird a portion of the San Pedro that boasts a property list of 251 species. Driving times will be short and the walking flat. Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Vermilion Flycatcher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Crissal Thrasher, Lucy’s Warbler await us under the dense shade of the towering trees. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Richard Bansberg

​6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: SA2 Ash and Miller Canyon

​Join professional guide, Matt Brown on an exploration of Miller Canyon. We will begin in the grasslands below the canyons, where we will look for Botteri’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Bell’s Vireo, Hooded Oriole and other lower elevation species. Then we will drive up to the end of Miller Canyon Road and hike up the canyon. Be prepared for a two-mile slow walk with a 750 to 1,000ft elevation gain, uneven terrain with rocks and boulder hopping – a hiking stick is recommended. On our hike we will look for higher elevation species like Arizona Woodpecker, Buff-breasted and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, Greater Pewee, Hepatic Tanager, Painted Redstart, Red-faced Warbler and 'Mexican' Spotted Owl. After lunch we will visit Ash Canyon B&B for up to 10 species of hummingbirds, including a chance of seeing the rare Lucifer Hummingbird, and other foothills birds. Hiking Difficulty: 4 difficult. Lunch is provided. Guide Matt Brown.

​6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: SA3 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. Guide Bob Behrstock

6:00 AM - 3: 00 PM: SA4 Garden Canyon

​Enjoy a "birdy" day with professional guide Jennie MacFarland on Arizona’s largest military base, famous for over a century for its Arizona specialties. We will cover a wide range of habitats from grasslands to pine-oak woodlands. At higher elevations, we will hope to encounter Elegant Trogon, Arizona Woodpecker, and Dusky-capped and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers. Along the much gentler trails of Sawmill Canyon, we will try for Greater Pewee, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Grace’s Warbler, and Hepatic Tanager. The elusive Montezuma Quail is possible anywhere on this trip. This is one of the few trips that access the highest elevations in the Huachucas. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Jennie MacFarland

​6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: SA5 Saint David Wilcox

​​The focus of this trip with professional bird guide Homer Hansen will be the Benedictine’s Holy Trinity Monastery, a 132-acre site on the east side of the San Pedro River in St. David, Arizona. A popular retreat center, the grounds include a 1.3-mile birding trail, several small ponds, a pecan orchard, mesquite woodland, a working farm, and magnificent cottonwoods. Nesting birds are numerous and include: Gray and Zone-tailed Hawks, Mississippi Kite (at one of its only nesting sites in Arizona), Bell’s Vireo, Vermilion Flycatcher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Curve-billed Thrasher, Lucy’s Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak. Tropical Kingbird, another local breeder, can usually be found here. Time and weather permitting, we will make a trip to Twin Lakes in Wilcox, where we can add a number of shore birds such as Wilson’s Phalarope, Least and Baird’s Sandpipers, Long-billed Curlew, and Horned Lark. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 2 easy. Guide Homer Hansen.

6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: SA6 Big Day with Rick Wright

​​Join professional guide, Richard Fray, on a mini Big Day. The object on this trip will be to see as many different species as possible, covering the different habitats.

SE Arizona is a region where bird species from Mexico, the Rockies, and both Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts can be found. Specialties like Gray Hawk, Montezuma Quail, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied and Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Painted Redstart and Olive Warbler can be found, plus lower elevation species such as Lucy's Warbler, and Cassin's, Botteri's and Rufous-winged Sparrows. Then there are all of the hummingbirds! This trip begins at the San Pedro River and goes on to the high elevations in the Huachucas. Lunch is provided. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Richard Fray

6:00 AM - 4: 00 PM: SA7 Naturalist Saunter

​​Join naturalist, bird guide, and wilderness survival instructor Vincent Pinto for an exciting full-day trip focused in part on the incredible array of birds found in and near Sonoita Creek State Natural Area (SCSNA). Your day begins at Raven's Nest, a private, 42-acre Nature Sanctuary near Patagonia. There, Vincent will guide you through nature trails in a dense mesquite woodland abounding in birds. You'll have an excellent opportunity to see and/or hear: Black Vulture, Gray Hawk, Montezuma Quail, Common Ground Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Broad-billed and other hummingbird species, Ladder-backed and Gila Woodpeckers, Vermillion Flycatcher, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, other migrating flycatchers, Bell's Vireo, Pyrrhuloxia, Varied Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Rufous-winged, Botteri's and Cassin's Sparrows, Scott's Oriole, and more! Golden Eagle and other raptors are also a possibility. We will also keep a keen eye out for wildflowers and other local flora.

We next venture to the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, a 9,000 acre wild park. We'll have an opportunity to see: Great Blue Heron, Neotropic Cormorant, migrant ducks, Common Black, Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks, Osprey, a variety of hummingbirds, Belted and Green Kingfishers, Red-naped Sapsucker, migrating Empidonax and other flycatchers, migrating vireos and warblers, Bridled Titmouse, a number of wrens, a wide range of sparrows, and several oriole species. Additionally, we have a great chance to encounter Antelope Jackrabbit, White-nosed Coati, Mountain Lion tracks and signs, and will enjoy the beauty of perennial Sonoita Creek as well as the outflow end of Patagonia Lake. The walk through the Natural Area will cover approximately 3 miles roundtrip on varying terrain. Additionally, Vincent is an excellent Ethnobotanist and will teach you about some of the uses of native plants between wildlife sightings and as the day progresses. All levels of birders and Nature enthusiasts are welcome! Lunch is provided – bring a daypack to carry it along with a water bottle. Hiking Difficulty: 3 moderate. Guide Vincent Pinto.

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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