Arizona Nightbirds & Beyond
A Bird Photography Workshop
South East Arizona
Instructors: Alan Murphy & Rick Bowers
May 15-19, 2010
This tour includes transportation, lodging, guide service and instruction, entrance & use fees, pre-scouting for owls and other birds, and all meals starting with lunch on 15 May to breakfast on Day 5. Your hotel on the night of 14 May as well a breakfast at the hotel on the morning of 15 May are also included. It does not include flights, alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone calls and other items of a personal nature. Return flights should be booked for 2pm or later on 19 May.
Single Supplement: $450.
Limited to 4 Participants
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Primary Species (Should get photos): Western & Whiskered screech-owls,
Elf Owl, Common Poorwill
Secondary Targets (possible but much less likely): Great Horned Owl,
Spotted Owl, Whip-poor-will, Common Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl, and
Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owl
Daytime species: Gambel’s Quail, Scaled Quail, White-winged Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Strickland’s Woodpecker, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Plumbeous Vireo, Verdin, Bewick’s Wren, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Bendire’s Thrasher, Grace’s Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, Black-headed Grosbeak, Hepatic Tanager, and Hooded Oriole.
Arrival: Plan to arrive at Tucson International Airport the afternoon or evening of the day before the tour starts. We will stay at Holiday Inn Express Tucson-Airport, which including a hot breakfast starting at 5:30am, and easy access from the airport (24 hour free shuttle). If you arrive early enough, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum offers many wonderful photo opportunities. The museum is about a 40 minutes cab ride from the airport, but worth the trip!
Participants will be picked up in front of the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express at 6:00am on the first day of the tour. Please have had breakfast and be waiting with you luggage and photo gear ready to go at 6:00am.
Day 1: 15 May
- Tucson to the Chiricahua Mountains. We will spend an hour or two
shooting birds in the desert near Tucson to take advantage of the early morning light before driving to the Chiricahua Mountains.
The fabled Chiricahua Mountains hold some of the most fascinating scenery and animals in all of Arizona. All of the nightbird species are in this range as well as a huge selection of diurnal birds.
Our mornings and afternoon will be spent photographing various
desert and mountain birds. Evening will find us photographing Western Screech-Owl, Elf
Owl or Poorwills.
Night in Portal, AZ.
Day 2: 16 May
- Chiricahua Mountains Today will be devoted to some of the most difficult owls and nightjars. Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owls are not common but are
widely distributed in the mountains of southeastern Arizona. We will spend much of today searching for these little gems while photographing Strickland’s Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Plumbeous Vireo, Grace’s Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Painted Redstart or Hepatic Tanager.
After dark we will try for Flammulated Owls and Whip-poorwills. Both these species are difficult, but with some luck we may get photos.
Night in Portal, AZ.
Day 3: 17 May - Travel to Green Valley with stops in the Huachuca Mountains We will be up early again this morning to start our journey to the Santa Rita Mountains. We will spend some time near Rodeo, NM to try for Common Barn Owl.
Our second stop will be Fort Huachuca. We will try again for Northern (Mountain) Pygmy-Owls while photographing Grace’s Warbler, Hepatic Tanagers and Elegant Trogons.
Then we will drive to the Santa Rita Mountains for more photos of Western Screech-Owls and Poorwills.
Night in Green Valley, AZ.
Days 4 : 18 May
- Santa Rita Mountains We will be up early today to take
advantage of the best light to photograph at The Pond at Elephant Head. Gambel’s
Quail, White-winged Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Gila Woodpecker, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher and Pyrrhuloxia are all likely photographic possibilities.
After a mid-day break to rest and review images, we will move higher up in elevation to photograph with the late afternoon light. Possible species will be Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Bridled Titmouse, Mexican Jay among others. As dark approaches we will switch into high gear as our principal targets start to stir. Elf Owls and Whiskered Screech-Owls are common here and with luck we should capture images of these elusive nocturnal gnomes. Depending on our luck with these two owls, we may also try for Common Poorwill.
Day 5: 19 May The Pond at Elephant Head This last morning we will return to the Pond at Elephant Head to try different setups to obtain a variety of images of the desert birds present at the pond. After the light gets too high to shoot we will have our final meal and return to the hotel to shower and pack our last few things before departing for the airport.
Return flights should be booked for 2pm or later on 19 May. We will arrive at the airport at noon.
Nights in Green Valley, AZ.
LEADERS: Alan Murphy and Rick Bowers
Rick Bowers is a nature photographer, naturalist and writer. He has been photographing wildlife and nature for more than 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona. Before turning to professional photography and writing, he led nature tours for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and his own tour company for 24 years. Rick led tours throughout the New World from Barrow, Alaska (the northernmost city in North America) and Churchill, Manitoba to Tierra del Fuego (an island at the southern tip of South America) and Antarctica. Rick is the originator of Nightbirding tours now conducted by most US bird tour companies. He lived in Europe for six years and has led tours to the Kamchatka Peninsula of Siberia. Rick’s photo credits span the gamut, from National Geographic and International Wildlife magazines to state and local fish and game publications. Rick has coauthored seven books with his wife Nora including Wildflowers of Arizona Field Guide, Cactus of Arizona Field Guide, Wildflowers of the Carolinas Field Guide and Kaufman Field Guides: Mammals of North America. Rick lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife Nora, Dreamer the horse, and their donkey, Buddy. They can be reached through their web page at www.BowersPhoto.com.
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