Wednesday July 25th, 2012: Brian Rapoza and I arrived at Tucson slightly ahead of schedule and found the entire group was already there. One person was still waiting for his luggage, which arrived at about the same time as ours. Then we went off to get the cars before returning to baggage claim to pick up the group.

The first order of business was lunch. Some people saw House Sparrow at the airport, I caught up at lunch. My van saw Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, and Rock Pigeon on the way to lunch. At lunch, we decided to try Sabino Canyon rather than the Desert Museum due to time constraints (the Desert Museum closes early). I think we picked Gila Woodpecker afterward. In any event, we saw several later at Sabino Canyon. A Eurasian Collared-Dove flew over the road near a shopping center as we headed to Sabino Canyon.

Sabino Canyon

We found Black-tailed Gnatcatcher immediately upon stepping out of the van. This was quickly followed by Greater Roadrunner and Verdin. Then two families of Gambel's Quail showed up. Before we could make any progress toward the visitor's center we added White-winged Dove, House Finch, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Cactus Wren.

Brian went to get tickets for the tram ride while I stayed with the group. Someone saw an American Kestrel before we headed to the tram boarding area. A couple of Common Ravens flew over while we sat in the tram. We didn't see many birds on the tram, but it gave us a good feel for the canyon. Afterward, we found Brown-crested Flycatcher and Purple Martin near the tram circle.

Saguaro Forest
Saguaro Forest
Ocotillo Hillside Saguaro Cacti
Ocotillo Hillside Saguaro Cacti

We walked over to Sabino Dam. A Cooper's Hawk flew by as we walked. A little later a Phainopepla flew overhead. Then I spotted a nice Harris's Hawk on top of a telephone pole. Some of the group saw Northern Cardinal and Black-throated Sparrow as we approached the dam area. At the dam, we found Lesser Goldfinch and Broad-billed Hummingbird. Then we returned to the car.

Sabino Canyon also had Round-tailed Ground Squirrel, Rock Squirrel, Antelope Jackrabbit, and a variety of lizards.

We checked in to the hotel and were pleased to find all of our rooms had been upgraded to suites. Then we went to eat at Pinnacle Peak/Trail Dust Town. Pinnacle Peak is a steakhouse located within the tourist attraction Trail Dust Town. Finally, we returned to the hotel after a very long day which started at 4am Miami time, 1 am Tucson time.

I saw 22 species today. The group saw a total of 25. We also saw 3 mammal species.

Ramada Foothills Inn and Suites, Tucson, AZ