USFS announces reopening of campgrounds in Chiricahua Mountains

An important access update from the Coronado National Forest Douglas Ranger District:

Rustler Park, Stewart and Sunny Flat campgrounds reopen
Cave Creek Visitor Center expands hours

Tucson, AZ (March 26, 2015) – For Immediate Release.  The Coronado National Forest, Douglas Ranger District, will reopen Rustler Park Campground and Forest Road 42D from the campground to its terminus at Long Park.  The campground and road are expected to open Friday, March 27, 2015, following seasonal winter closure. Vehicles up to 22 feet in length can be accommodated.

Stewart (maximum vehicle length 16 feet) and Sunny Flat (maximum vehicle length 28 feet) campgrounds will also reopen March 27. The campgrounds were temporarily closed due to flooding in 2014.  They may be subject to future closures depending on forecasted large precipitation events in the vicinity.  Recreationists are advised to plan accordingly by following updated weather forecasts.

Overnight campground fees are $10.00 per night.  Fees for picnicking or other day use in the campgrounds are $10.00 per day.  Hook-ups are not available at the sites.  Visitors are asked to bring drinking water to Rustler Park since it is not available at the campground.  Drinking water is available at Stewart and Sunny Flat campgrounds.

Idlewilde Campground and National Forest System Road 42E, South Fork Road remain closed due to storm-related damage.  The closed areas will be gated and advisory signs posted.

Copies of Special Closure Orders and maps will be posted at closed areas, available at the Douglas Ranger District Office, and posted on the Coronado National Forest website ( ).

The Cave Creek Visitor Information Center, located in Portal, Arizona, has increased the hours it is open for business to Friday through Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitation hours will be expanded further into the season.

For more information please contact the Douglas Ranger District located at 1192 W. Saddleview Road in Douglas, Arizona.  The office can be reached by phone by calling (520) 364-3468.  Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.



Registration now open for the 2015 Hummingbirds of Arizona Tour

White-eared Hummingbird

White-eared Hummingbird

It’s shaping up to be another exciting hummingbird season in southeastern Arizona! Last year, birders spotted 15 of the 18 hummingbird species recorded in the state, including White-eared and Plain-capped Starthroat in multiple locations as well as Lucifer, Violet-crowned, Allen’s, Calliope, and the occasional hybrid. What will the monsoon of 2015 bring? Join us August 9-15 for SABO’s Hummingbirds of Arizona Tour and find out!

The 7-day, 6-night tour will begin and end in Tucson and cover a wide range of habitats, from classic Sonoran Desert to the lush streamside forests of the San Pedro River and the cool, shady canyons of the “sky islands.” Our destinations will include the world-famous Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Madera Canyon, the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia, Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Ash Canyon Bed & Breakfast, and Beatty’s Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Your guides will be SABO’s founders and internationally known hummingbird researchers, Sheri L. Williamson and Tom Wood. Tom has over four decades of experience as a wildlife biologist, naturalist, and educator, and Sheri is the author of A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America in the Peterson Field Guide Series.

This is a small-group tour, so reserve your space now!

Trinidad & Tobago update!


Tufted Coquette

On the advice of Peg Abbott of Caligo Ventures, we’ve added a night to our Trinidad & Tobago tour (now June 18-27) to visit the top hummingbird hot spot on the island of Tobago. We’ll also be joined by local experts who will help us identify, understand, and appreciate the kaleidoscopic hummingbird wonders of the islands.

There’s still time to make your reservations for this exciting tropical adventure! To reserve, contact Caligo Ventures at toll-free (800) 426-7781, (520) 558-1146, or

Spring activities now online

ELTR-HuachucaSABO’s spring activities are now on the calendar and ready for registrations! New this year are Thursday walks in lower Carr Canyon, scheduled during the peak of spring migration from mid-April through mid-May. We will also offer a special field trip to Huachuca Canyon on Saturday, May 2 as part of our annual Fiesta de las Aves Spring Migration Celebration.

Personalized field trip options are also available, including walks on the San Pedro River and in the Huachuca Mountains, driving tours of the Sulphur Springs Valley, and grassland explorations at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Please contact SABO for availability.

EOP Walk 12/28

SABO volunteer Erika Wilson submits this report from this morning’s public bird walk at the Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park, co-sponsored by SABO, the Friends of the San Pedro River, and Huachuca Audubon Society:

Half a dozen of us, including visitors from FL, NM, and WA, walked the Sierra Vista EOP dikes this morning. Pretty cold to start, but it warmed nicely, ending on a sunny clear note. The group tally was 48 species.

Best birds were a single adult Tree Swallow foraging over the Moson Road impoundments, a single female Canvasback, and excellent close views of a Virgina Rail foraging in the open, backed by cattails into which it disappeared in due course.

Ducks have settled in, with big mixed flocks favoring the open waters of the Moson Road impoundments. 100+ birds for Gadwall, Mallard, N. Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal, with lesser numbers of Am. Wigeon, N. Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, and Ruddy Duck. Shorebirds were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, and a flock of 21 Least Sandpipers.

Good mix of sparrows, although no big counts, plus a dozen or so Am. Pipits, along with 14 Horned Larks, a Rock Wren, and two Loggerhead Shrikes added to the list.

Thanks as always to Erika for her expert leadership on these walks.

Winter activities now online

Watching cranes in the Sulphur Springs Valley.

Watching cranes in the Sulphur Springs Valley.

SABO’s winter calendar is beginning to fill up with Whitewater Wetlands Walks and Sandhill Crane Watches on most Sundays, holiday week tours co-sponsored by Casa de San Pedro Bed & Breakfast, and a streamlined version of our popular Sparrow-phobics Anonymous workshop. We’re still working out details for a Sandhill Crane workshop the last weekend in January, co-sponsored by the Arizona Game & Fish Department, so please stay tuned!

Personalized field trip options are also available, including walks at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, along the San Pedro River, or in the Huachuca Mountains, “Hawk Stalk” driving tours of the Sulphur Springs Valley, and grassland explorations at Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

EOP Walk 11/2

SABO volunteer Erika Wilson submits this report from this morning’s bird walk at the Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park:

Just four people enjoyed windy conditions on the Sierra Vista EOP dikes this morning. Group tally was 51 species by the end of the morning.

Best birds were:
1. a single male Redhead, FOS and a fairly uncommon bird at the EOP.
2. two Wilson’s Snipe flushed from short flooded grasses at Moson Road.
3. More long-legged waders than usual, with a single Great Blue Heron, a single Great Egret, a single Snowy Egret, and a single Green Heron. This last an immature bird of the year who was quite calm about our two photographers getting terrific shots as it perched on a railing in the cattails.

At Moson Road we flushed our first really big flock of ducks–200 Mallards and about 30 N. Pintail–from tall flooded grasses. Am. Wigeon numbers are building, too, with 75+ making a whistling racket in one of the main cattail ponds.

Both a Merlin and a Peregrine Falcon were actively hunting over the impoundments, with the Peregrine making a dash and stoop at a couple of slow ducks.

EOP Walks are jointly sponsored by SABO, the Friends of the San Pedro River, and the Huachuca Audubon Society, in cooperation with the City of Sierra Vista. The walks start at the wildlife viewing platform on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis and free of charge, though donations are gratefully accepted.

Cranes arriving in the Sulphur Springs Valley

04-Three sandhills

Sandhill Cranes in the Sulphur Springs Valley

Local birder Arlene Ripley reported several hundred Sandhill Cranes this week at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, along with thousands of swallows, a pair of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, and a Western Grebe. Crane numbers will increase over the next month, and we expect to begin SABO’s winter programs at Whitewater on Thanksgiving weekend, as usual.

In the meantime, Tom Wood is available for personalized guiding for small groups, with transportation available for one to three birders. To arrange a guided outing, contact Tom at or 520-432-1388.

We’re working on some exciting possibilities for this winter, so stay tuned and check our Calendar of Events!