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 – Day 6

Chiricahua Mountains as seen from Mt Lemmon
Chiricahua Mountains (tallest & furtherest mountains) as seen from Mt Lemmon


Whoosh! Another week flies by. The last full day of birding was today. We started at Tubac on the De Anza Trail where we found Tropical Kingbird and 5 species of doves. Then we drove to Proctor Rd in Madera Canyon. There we found Varied Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Verdin, and Arizona Woodpecker. From there we headed up in elevation to the highest parking area and hiked to Mt Baldy Trail. The highlight there was definitely a dapper-looking male Elegant Trogon!

We ate out lunches (which we had purchased earlier in the day) while sitting at Santa Rita Lodge watching hummingbird feeders for the rare and elusive Plain-capped Starthroat–a large, vagrant hummingbird from Mexico. Unfortunately, we dipped on this rare bird.

We spent a little time in Florida Wash with little success. And we birded the area of Tanque Verde Wash near Catalina Road. We found a few Purple Martins there. Finally, we drove up the road to Mt. Lemmon. We made pit stops along the way to listen for Rock Wren, Black-chinned Sparrow, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay. We found none of those species.

We stopped briefly before reaching Sumerhaven atop Mt. Lemmon when we found a hawk flying around. It was a Zone-tailed Hawk! And that’s not all. we found a couple Virginia’s Warblers in the scrubby habitat near the road.

We finished the day walking some roads in Summerhaven. We found a warbler flock with a number of goodies like Olive Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Hermit Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler.

What a trip! We have 180 species for this tour now and 489 species for the Big Year Tours total. This was trip #7 of 11 one-week trips to see 500 species in North America in one calendar year…with participants.

Too bad this tour’s almost over. I love Arizona’s fabulous birds. And I love Arizona’s spectacular scenery.

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