To join Greg on one of these tours visit or call 888-875-9453

In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!

Southeast Arizona – Days 2 and 3

Chiricahua Mountains - view near Rustler Park
Chiricahua Mountains – view near Rustler Park – photo by Greg Miller


Last night’s internet was spotty. Of course, we are in a wonderfully wild area with hardly any people. Tonight’s connection is better. I am doing updates for days 2 & 3. Wow. Just wow. So many birds already. And the scenery is stunning. I have to say that I am in my favorite part of Arizona in the Chiricahua Mountains.

First, the numbers. I had hoped to add 40 species to the Big Year Tours total by the end of this week. It is the end of day 3. And we have added…<drumroll>…52 species to the Big Year Tours total. Yep. We’ve gone from 422 species for the year to 474 species. And after 2 full days of birding plus about 3 hours of birding on day 1 we have a trip total of 145 species. Yay! Rockin’ it!

Yesterday we left Tucson early and headed towards Ramsey Canyon. We birded Box Canyon on the way and added some grassland species. At Ramsey Canyon we split up into 2 groups. The aggressively fit group made the tough hike to see the Tufted Flycatchers. They were successful. The less aggressive hikers went for the Flame-colored Tanager, but dipped on it. Both groups did well, picking up quite a list of Arizona specialties.

Then we drove to Willcox  and Cochise Lake where we picked up a few species of waterfowl and shorebirds. We made it to Portal in the Chiricahua Mountains by sundown. We broke 100 species for the day.

Day 3 we drove to Paradise Cemetery and birded our way back to Portal for breakfast. After breakfast we headed up to South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon. From there we headed to the upper elevations of the Chiricahua Mountains visiting Onion Saddle, Barfoot Park, and Rustler Park. The scenery was just fabulous! And the birds. Wow. Elegant Trogon, Painted Redstart, Red-faced Warbler, Olive Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Zone-tailed Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, and so many more. Be sure and check out our species list here.

Tomorrow is another big day. Sleep is calling…


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