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Birding Bonanza

Program Number: 7414RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/2/2014 - 3/7/2014; 12/7/2014 - 12/12/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/16/2015; 1/25/2015 - 1/30/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/22/2015 - 2/27/2015; 3/8/2015 - 3/13/2015; 12/6/2015 - 12/11/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Price starting at: $1,049.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Three of the Top 10 birding destinations in the U.S. are within a close radius of Sierra Vista. The region is a seasonal home to many migrating species, including Green-tailed Towhee, Belted Kingfishers and Western Tanager. In the company of professional birding leaders — one for every eight participants — visit the Huachuca Mountains, San Pedro Riparian area and other sites known throughout the world as premier viewing sites. An average of 100-125 species of birds may be spotted during this birding adventure!




Highlights

• View the migration of Sandhill Cranes during an exploration of the Sulphur Springs Valley.
• Enjoy opportunities to spot key species inside the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, encompassing 57,000 acres teeming with birds.
• Experience premier birding amid the peaks and canyons of the Huachuca Mountains and observe the many water bird species living on and around Patagonia Lake.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile and standing up to one hour.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.




Date Specific Information

3-2-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



12-7-2014

The Sandhill Cranes have begun their winter migration and arrive daily by the thousands.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



1-11-2015

By now, the winter migrating birds have all arrived, including more than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes wintering on White Water Draw in the Sulphur Springs Valley.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



1-25-2015

More than 20,000 migrating Sandhill Cranes are still in the area at this time. The San Pedro River is also teeming with migrating winter birds and year-round residents.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



2-8-2015

Migrating winter birds are still abundant at this time.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



2-22-2015

A perfect time to see all the winter migrating birds and year-round residents.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



3-8-2015

Now is the time to catch the end of the winter migration. Soon the spring birds will arrive.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



12-6-2015

The Sandhill Cranes will be arriving for their winter migration.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.




Sierra Vista

Located 70 miles southeast of Tucson at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista is a history- and bird-lover’s paradise. Nearby Ramsey Canyon shelters 170 species of birds and Fort Huachuca's museum highlights the Civil War-era Buffalo Soldiers.



Accommodations
Comfortable, modern Southwest hotel with a view of the majestic Huachuca Mountains.
Meals and Lodgings
   Sierra Suites
  Sierra Vista AZ 5 nights
 Sierra Suites
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Strategically located to nearby services and minutes from Fort Huachuca's Army Base, this Southwestern Style hotel offers lots of outdoor recreation space.
  Contact info: 391 East Fry Boulevard
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 USA
phone: 520-459-4221
web: www.sierravistasuites.com
  Room amenities: Cable Television, Hair Dryer, Iron & Ironing Board, In-Room Coffee Maker, Refrigerator & Microwave and hair blower.
  Facility amenities: Fitness Room; Outdoor heated pool; Spa & Patio Area; Business Center with printing capabilities, Free USA Today M - F, Laundry Facility on-site, safe-deposit boxes.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $110.00 Participants must make own arrangements for before or after stays. Inform hotel reservationist you are with the Road Scholar group. In winter months availability is limited as this is the height of the tourist season.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $110.00 Participants must make own arrangements for before or after stays. Inform hotel reservationist you are with the Road Scholar group. In winter months availability is limited as this is the height of the tourist season.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in after 3 PM. You will be staying at Sierra Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Check out by noon. You will be staying at Sierra Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
No covered parking. Parking on well lighted, paved lot. No fee for parking.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sierra Vista AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Sierra Vista
  Nearest highway: State Hwy 90 & 92 and Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  Tucson International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Sierra Vista AZ
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Tucson

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Geronimo Educational Travel Studies LLC
phone: 520-432-5534
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 Hours 

 

Distance:

 

80 miles

   

Geronimo Educational Travel Studies will offer one 2:00 pm MST pick-up on the first day of the program. Return to Airport by 3:00 pm MST on the last day of program. Advance reservations required. Cost of round trip is $150 per person or $75 one way.

 

Tucson AZ

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
3 Canyon Tours aka AZ Sunshine Tours
phone: 520-803-6713
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$88
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 hours 

 

Distance:

 

80 miles

   

Pick up at Airport by Appointment. No regular schedule.

 
Driving Directions
  New Mexico Enter AZ by I-10 from New Mexico, you can reach Sierra Vista by driving west past Benson to Exit 302. Exit 302 is Hwy 90. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp to Sierra Vista. About 28 miles south on Hwy 90 you will come to a traffic light intersection (the east gate at Fort Huachuca); turn left (you will still be on Hwy 90). Turn Right onto 7th Street. Turn Right onto Fry Blvd. Sierra Suites will be on the Right Hand side at 391 East Fry Boulevard.
  Tucson, AZ Sierra Vista is approximately 70 miles SE of Tucson. Take I-10 east toward Benson and get off at Exit 302 which is Hwy 90. Turn right at the bottom of exit ramp to Sierra Vista. About 28 miles south on Hwy 90 you will come to a traffic light intersection (the east gate at Fort Huachuca); turn left (you will still be on Hwy 90). Turn Right onto 7th Street. Turn Right onto Fry Blvd. Sierra Suites will be on the Right Hand side at 391 East Fry Boulevard..
Elevation Note: Birding in elevations up to 5000 feet.

Equipment Requirements: May bring spotting scope or binoculars.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: The program begins! Enjoy a hearty group meal at a local restaurant. Program Orientation follows dinner. Learn about the week's schedule and the 100-125 birding species you will see during this Birding Bonanza
(Sunday, March 2)
   
 Afternoon: Program check-in by 5:00 PM on first day of program. After Hotel check-in, look for the Road Scholar registration site located in the Hotel Lobby. You will have time to get acquainted with your home for the week. This property offers a number of amenities such as exercise room, hot tub and pool. At 6:PM program participants will assemble in the Lobby to travel as a group to a local restaurant.
 Dinner: The group will enjoy their first meal together at one of the local restaurants. You will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the company of fellow participants while enjoying a hearty meal.
 Evening: Program Orientation follows dinner. The adventure begins! Time for introductions and a brief outline of the week's activities. The Group Leader will give some detail information about 100 - 125 birding species that you will witness during this week. Participants may expect to spot some of the local wildlife and enjoy the beauty of high desert vegetation. This will be a relaxing week of good birding, making new friends and enjoying the beauty of nature
   
Accommodations: Sierra Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Bird the Sulphur Springs Valley White Water Draw seasonal wetland (playa lake) that attracts up to 21,000 Sandhill Cranes in winter and numerous other water-loving species from late summer through spring.
(Monday, March 3)

Note: Observe the Sandhill Crane migration.



   
 Breakfast: The day begins early with Breakfast served at the Hotel. Participants will have a selection of a number of healty breakfast food items to create the breakfast of your choice.
 Morning: Today's destination is the Sulphur Springs Valley and White Water Draw to view the thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes and Hawks. Mexican ducks commonly nest in ponds created by farmers for the reuse of irrigation tail-water. The number of wintering sandhill cranes has increased dramatically since the 1950s, probably in response to the abundant food available in harvested grain fields; primarily corn. Numbers of both mourning, and white-winged doves have likely also increased since historic times as the result of agriculture. Participants will witness a large population of doves. Numbers of both mule deer and collared peccary have increased in recent years in response to increased food associated with agriculture. There will be birding stops and spottings along the way as the group travels about 40 miles (one way) to the Sulphur Springs Valley.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served at a local family restaurant located in the rural community of Elfrida. This will be an opportunity to experience the hospitality of a small farming town.
 Afternoon: The Sulphur Springs Valley is teeming with many birds to see. Following lunch the group will continue exploration of this area. The sandhill cranes darken the skies in flight formation as they come in to roost. These cranes appear sleek in flight but are very rugged when viewed on land.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served at a restaurant in Sierra Vista. As this has been a full day of traveling and birding, the dinner tonight will be served at a restaurant close to the Hotel.
 Evening: Review Birding List. We have seen many species of birds today and are off to a great start for a stellar birding week! Following a full day of birding and a satisfying meal, sleep will be welcomed tonight.
   
Accommodations: Sierra Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is home to over 100 species of breeding birds and provides invaluable habitat for over 250 species of migrant and wintering birds. The San Pedro River area is the afternoon destination.
(Tuesday, March 4)

Note: A mecca for birds and wildlife, today the group will walk along the banks of the San Pedro River flowning North from Mexico.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel. Participants will have the opportunity to select from an array of healthy breakfast foods before the day long field trip begins.
 Morning: This morning the group will depart for the San Pedro National Conservation Riparian Area. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is a 56,000 acre preserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is located along the upper San Pedro River. A narrow ribbon of Fremont Cottonwoods, some over 100 years old, supports forty percent of the nesting Gray Hawks in the U.S. and creates a migratory corridor for an estimated 4 million migrating birds each year. Many additions will be added to today's birding list.
 Lunch: Lunch served at a local Sierra Vista restaurant. Following a relaxing lunch the group will be birding the banks of the well-known San Pedro River
 Afternoon: A trip to the San Pedro River is worthwhile any time of year. Spring and fall bring thousands of migrants, including Lazuli Bunting, Green-tailed Towhee, MacGillivray's Warbler and Western Tanager. Year-round residents such as Abert’s Towhee, "Lillian's" Eastern Meadowlark, Gambel’s Quail and the elusive Green Kingfisher and Crissal Thrasher are joined in winter by large flocks of sparrows and finches and the raptors who hunt them. Along the banks of the San Pedro River ponds attract various species of waterfowl (including Wood Duck, a rare species in Arizona) and Belted Kingfishers from fall through spring and many songbirds from spring through fall. This afternoon will be a birding haven!
 Dinner: Enjoy the cuisine of a Sierra Vista restaurant. After a full day of birding it is time to relax and enjoy a meal with friends. Following dinner the group will go over the birding list and then return to the Hotel for some well-deserved relaxation
   
Accommodations: Sierra Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Patagonia Lake State Park is an ideal place to find whitetail deer roaming the hills and great blue herons walking the shoreline. This will be an opportunity to see several species of hummingbirds
(Wednesday, March 5)

Note: Patatonia Lake State Park is a perfect viewing location for water fowl and hummingbirds.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. After breakfast today's birding will be in the Patagonia area about 30 miles south of Sierra Vista.
 Morning: Today the group's birding destination will be The Patagonia Lake State Park. The Park was established in 1975 as a state park. The tracks of the New Mexico/Arizona railroad lie beneath the lake and remnants of the old historic line may be found at the Nature Conservancy in Patagonia. Participants will stroll along the beautiful creek trail and see a variety of birds such as the canyon towhee, Inca dove, vermilion flycatcher, black vulture, and several species of hummingbirds.
 Lunch: Today the group will have lunch in Patagonia. Following lunch the group will continue birding in the area
 Afternoon: Field trip continues to Patagonia Sonoita Nature Conservancy. The preserve protects a magnificent example of the rare Fremont cottonwood-Goodding willow riparian forest. Some of the trees are among the largest (more than 100 feet tall) and oldest (130 years old) Fremont cottonwood trees in this country. This is one of the few remaining sites in Arizona where this once-common forest type still persists. Arizona black walnut, velvet mesquite, velvet ash, netleaf hackberry, and various willows are found in slightly different habitats throughout the preserve
 Dinner: Participants will enjoy a nutritious meal at a local Sierra Vista restaurant.
 Evening: Review Birding List. Following dinner participants will review the birding list before returning to the Hotel for some well deserved rest.
   
Accommodations: Sierra Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Bird the Huachuca Mountains and Canyons. This small sky island mountain range is one of the most famous of all locations in southeastern Arizona. Many rare species of animals and plants have been recorded here.
(Thursday, March 6)

Note: Travel into the Huachuca Mountain Canyons for premier birding opportunities.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. The day begins anew with an early morning breakfast
 Morning: Today participants will experience premier birding in the Huachuca Mountains and Canyons. Birders delight in regular occurrences of "rarities" such as Elegant Trogon, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Blue-throated and White-eared hummingbirds, Sulphur-bellied and Buff-breasted flycatchers, and Red-faced Warbler. Like all higher elevations in southeastern Arizona, the Huachucas are quiet bird-wise between October and April. Among the most productive and accessible locations in the Huachucas are the east slope canyons within the Coronado National Forest: Miller, Carr, and Ramsey. Until recently these Canyons had been overlooked by birders. These lovely Canyons host a fair number of bird rarities, including Flame-colored Tanager, Eared Trogon, Crescent-Chested Warbler, and Aztec Thrush.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local Sierra Vista restaurant. Following lunch the group will continue birding the Huachuca Mountains and Canyons. This afternoon the group will visit local bird feeders
 Afternoon: Birdwatching field trip continues. 15 species of hummingbirds (up to 13 at one time) plus an astonishing variety of naturally occurring hybrids may be viewed at some of the bird feeder sites.
 Dinner: Dinner tonight will be a special occasion. The group will experience the authentic Mexican cuisine at a long established Sierra Vista favorite restaurant. Diners will enjoy the festive Mexican decor of the restaurant.
 Evening: Review birding list. Following dinner participants will review the birding list. After a full day of activities, return to the Hotel for a welcome rest.
   
Accommodations: Sierra Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Visit The Nature Conservancy's 300-acre Ramsey Canyon Preserve, an excellent birding and wildlife sanctuary.
(Friday, March 7)

Note: An early morning visit to Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy promises to be a rewarding adventure..



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. Following an early morning breakfast the group will visit scenic Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy. The Conservancy is about five miles from our Hotel.
 Morning: This morning our destination is Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy. Visitors from all over the world come to see the more than 170 species of birds found in the preserve and surrounding national forest. Southwestern specialties such as painted redstarts and magnificent hummingbirds share the canyon with many other animals, including mountain lions, canyon treefrogs, rattlesnakes, and dozens of species of butterflies. The canyon is also home to more than 400 species of plants, from tiny mosses to towering firs.
 Lunch: Lunch served at local restaurant. The group's farewell lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Sierra Vista. This week you have experienced the diversity of southeastern AZ. The valley floor offers a variety of cacti, the mountain timber offered habitat to fowl and wildlife and the banks of the San Pedro River were lined with cottonwoods. Each life zone introduced a variety birds, wildlife and unique beauty. The birding bonanza week will conclude following lunch (about 1:PM). We hope you will join Geronimo Educational Foundation again for a dynamic learning adventure.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Birder's Guide to Southeastern Arizona


Author: Lane, James A.


Birding Arizona


Author: McMillon, Bill


Davis and Russell's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona


Author: Davis, William A. and Stephen M. Russell


Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Third Edition.


Author: National Geographic Society


Flowers of the Southwest Deserts


Author: Dodge, Natt


Mountain Islands and Desert Seas: A Natural History of the U.S. Mexican Borderlands.


Author: Gehlbach, Frederick R.


Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands


Author: Elmore, Francis H.


Trogons of the Arizona Borderlands


Author: Taylor, Richard Cachor




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