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by Walter Thurber
Birders and ornithologists from across the state headed to Show Low on 18-20 September 2015 for our annual meeting. The weekend kicked off with field expeditions to Alchesay National Fish Hatchery and the North Fork of the White River; Lyman Lake State Park and St. Johns; White Mountain Grasslands Wildlife Area and the South Fork of the Little Colorado River; and White Mountain Lake and Bill’s Lake. The most noteworthy sighting was a Blackburnian Warbler discovered at Alchesay.
The Saturday sessions were held at the Hampton Inn. The morning presentations focused on raptor migration in the Bradshaw Mountains, Gray Hawk expansion on the San Pedro River, Yellow-billed Cuckoo nesting in the Coronado National Forest, Crested Caracara nesting in Saguaro National Park, and Red Crossbill and Evening Grosbeak call types.
The afternoon session addressed Elegant Trogons in Southeast Arizona, a decade’s change in the Phoenix urban riparian bird community, using eBird data, and scientific collecting permits in Arizona. A poster highlighted the findings of 10 years of the Santa Cruz Flats Raptor Count. New additions elected to the AZFO board of directors were Carol Beardmore of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Andy Bridges of the National Park Service, and Kurt Licence of AZ Game & Fish. Photo and audio bird identification quizzes rounded out the program.
The keynote speaker was Chris Benesh, a Field Guides, Inc. birding guide and member of the Arizona Bird Committee. Benesh described how birding has evolved over the past 20 years, and how the changes have affected our understanding of bird identification and distribution.
Sunday morning expeditions took place at Big Lake and Crescent Lake; East Fork of the White River; Greer reservoirs and creeks; Sheep Crossing and the West Baldy Trail; and Wenima Wildlife Area and Becker Lake. A full report on the meeting is available at
by Lauren Harter
AZFO is proud to encourage and support young people with an interest in Arizona’s birds. As part of our goal to involve a younger generation in AZFO’s activities, we began in 2014 to offer scholarships to middle school through undergraduate students to attend our annual meeting. The goals of our scholarship program are to assist with the financial burden of traveling to the meeting, as well as reaching out to students who may benefit from attendance. These benefits include opportunities for networking, learning, and getting involved with AZFO and other organizations.
The AZFO scholarship program was generously supported by Maricopa Audubon Society, allowing AZFO to grant a scholarship to Karina Cocks. Karina is a high school student from southern California and avid western Arizona birder who will be pursuing a Biology degree at Northern Arizona University in 2016. Be sure to visit us online to read Karina’s essay about her experiences at the meeting, and for more information on our scholarship program, at
Tufted Flycatchers photographed at Ramsey Canyon by Charles W. Melton.
by Eric Hough
Arizona birders encountered exciting Mexican vagrants this summer, the most noteworthy being the first nesting attempt in the U.S. by a pair of TUFTED FLYCATCHERS at Ramsey Canyon (Cochise County). A CLAY-COLORED THRUSH photographed at Portal (Cochise) will be a first state record if accepted. Equally surprising was a CRESCENT-CHESTED WARBLER that showed up at Granite Basin Lake near Prescott (Yavapai). Other highlights included the continuing SINALOA WREN at Huachuca Canyon (Cochise), BLUE MOCKINGBIRDS at Ramsey Canyon (Cochise) and the upper San Pedro River (Cochise), at least seven continuing NUTTING’S FLYCATCHERS at the Bill Williams River NWR (La Paz/Mohave), BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJARS at Aravaipa Canyon (Pinal), Arivaca Creek (Pima), lower Madera Canyon (Pima), and California Gulch (Pima), a FAN-TAILED WARBLER at Ramsey Canyon (Cochise), RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS at Hunter Canyon (Cochise), Florida Canyon (Pima), and Peña Blanca Canyon (Santa Cruz), a SLATE-THROATED REDSTART at Hunter Canyon (Cochise), FLAME-COLORED TANAGERS at Ramsey Canyon (Cochise), and a STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE at Dudleyville (Pinal).
Eastern vagrants always spice up birding outings, with highlights from late spring through fall including RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS at Whitetail Canyon (Cochise) and Bisbee (Cochise), RED-EYED VIREOS at Cameron (Coconino), Flagstaff (Coconino), Box Bar (Maricopa), and Prescott (Yavapai), a LAPLAND LONGSPUR at the Glendale Recharge Ponds (Maricopa), a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Sheep’s Crossing (Apache), a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER at Prescott (Yavapai), TENNESSEE WARBLERS at Tubac (Santa Cruz) and Prescott (Yavapai), KENTUCKY WARBLERS at Tappan Spring (Coconino), Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Pinal), and Holbrook (Navajo), a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER near the Alchesay Fish Hatchery (Navajo), a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at St. David (Cochise), a BOBOLINK at Gilbert Water Ranch (Maricopa), and a BALTIMORE ORIOLE at Ash Canyon (Cochise).
Each migration period yields rare aquatic birds, with notable finds including a BRANT at Amado (Pima), a BLACK SCOTER at Upper Lake Mary (Coconino), a RED-THROATED LOON at Glen Canyon (Coconino), a PURPLE GALLINULE at Granite Basin Lake (Yavapai), a RED KNOT at Willcox (Cochise), a LAUGHING GULL at Parker Valley (La Paz), and ELEGANT TERNS at Tucson (Pima) and Parker (La Paz).
An irruption of PURPLE FINCHES has been detected this fall into the Southwest, with at least four found at Lake Havasu City (Mohave), one at Ajo (Pima), and another at Morgan City Wash (Maricopa). Other irruptions being noticed include CASSIN’S FINCHES, RED CROSSBILLS, and EVENING GROSBEAKS across multiple counties. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES continue to occur in the state only in the far northeastern corner at Teec Nos Pos (Apache) and with one sighting as far south as Canyon de Chelly NM (Apache).
Details about these and other noteworthy observations are available in our seasonal reports at

Dear AZFO Member,
We would like to thank you for your past support of AZFO. Without the efforts and contributions of members like you, we would not be able to continue and expand our mission and many activities.
With the New Year approaching, we encourage you to renew your membership that expires 31 December 2015.  Membership dues will remain at $25/Regular, $35/Family, $15/Student, and $500 for a Lifetime Membership. The renewal form can easily be completed online, or by printing and filling out the membership form and sending it with a check to our treasurer, Doug Jenness (his address is on the form). We are a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, which means that all payments to AZFO are tax-deductible.
Kurt Licence
Membership Director
by Eric Hough

9-10 January 2016—Agua Fria Winter Grasslands Survey
Leader: Micah Riegner (
16 January 2016—Greater Phoenix Area Waterbird Survey
Leader: Troy Corman (
16 January 2016—Santa Cruz Flats Raptor Survey
Leader: Doug Jenness (
March 25-27 2016—Petrified Forest National Park AZFO field expedition (details to be announced)
Leader: Andy Bridges (
1-3 April 2016—Bendire’s Thrasher Survey near Wenden-Alamo Lake
Leader: Chrissy Kondrat-Smith (
29 Apr-1 May 2016—Bendire’s Thrasher Survey near Wikieup
Leader: Chrissy Kondrat-Smith (
May 2016
Sky Islands Elegant Trogon Census
dates and details to be announced)

May 2016
Galiuro Mountains AZFO field expedition (including Elegant Trogon Census)
(dates and details to be announced)

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