Arizona

Bill Clark’s Arizona Raptor Tour


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When you have been standing on the Navajo Bridge watching for condors for a long time and then they just suddenly appear in the distance and get closer, it is just magical and so special. The accommodations were great as were the selections of Mexican restaurants! I recommend this trip to anyone who has a passion for raptors.”

Andrea Warner, USA. 2017 Edition.

Common Black Hawk Migration in Southeastern Arizona

Many Neotropical species reach the northern extent of their breeding range in southeastern Arizona, plus there are many widespread western raptors breeding, wintering, or migrating there. This tour has been designed to see most of these raptors, with much time devoted to watching raptor migration at the newly discovered Tubac count site south of Tucson, perhaps the best place to see Common Black Hawk (up to 68 in a day!), and where some 20 species of raptors have been recorded. Also seen there regularly are Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks.

Tubac Hawkwatch, Arizona by S. Seipke
Recently discovered hawkwatch at Tubac, AZ is arguably the best place in NA to watch Common Black Hawks.

We will go to the hawk count every morning until noon, as most of the visible flight is in the morning. But we will stay there on overcast or cloudy days, and return in late afternoon on some days to watch raptors settle in for their night roosts.

Hawkwatchers in the field
2016 Group. Meet other fellow hawk-watchers and enjoy the migration while learning about raptor identification.

Afternoon Trips to See Other Raptors

We will make afternoon trips to several other areas where raptors are common, including the Sulphur Spring valley, the San Rafael grasslands, the Santa Cruz flats, and urban Tucson, the latter to see urban-breeding raptors. Further, we will go looking for a partial albino Red-tailed Hawk, and visit a few hummingbird feeding stations.

San Rafael grasslands, Arizona by S. Seipke.
San Rafael Grasslands: productive Northern Harrier country.
  • SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY. (Could be an all-day trip.) Wintering raptors, including Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Harriers, Merlin, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, both Bald, and Golden Eagles, and others.
  • SAN RAFAEL GRASSLANDS and HARSHAW CANYON. Raptors include White‑tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Gray and Zone‑tailed Hawks, and Prairie Falcon.
  • SANTA CRUZ FLATS. Wintering raptors, including Harlan’s Hawk, dark- & rufous‑morph Red‑tailed Hawks, Crested Caracaras, Golden Eagles, and four species of falcons.
  • TUCSON for nesting raptors, especially Harris’s and Cooper’s Hawks, and a partial‑albino Red‑tailed Hawk. Also wintering ones, such as Merlin.

A Relaxing Escape

The tour will be conducted at a leisurely pace, with lots of time to observe each raptor (and other birds, too), yet leaving some time to relax at our hotel. We should see as many as 25 diurnal raptors and 150+ total bird species.

Marble Canyon Lodge, Arizona
Marble Canyon in northern Arizona is our base for the California Condor Extension.

Make a difference!

Raptours®, L.L.C. will make financial contributions to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and to the Tubac raptor count for every member that signs up for this tour. Join us and make a lasting contribution to raptor conservation.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1

10 March

Arrive in Tucson; transfer to local hotel.

Days 2–8

11–17 March

Early morning, either a short lecture or a short visit to raptors breeding in Tucson. Then to the Tubac hawk‑watch for the rest of the morning. The most common hawk passing is Common Black Hawk. Other migrants include Turkey Vultures, Sharp‑shinned, Red‑tailed and Swainson’s Hawks, Golden Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons. Also around are local breeding raptors such as Zone‑tailed, Gray, and Cooper’s Hawks, Black Vultures, and American Kestrels. Last year an adult Short‑tailed Hawk visited the count site on several occasions.

We will make afternoon trips to other areas, except for overcast days, which will be spent at the hawk watch. Lunches will vary, from sit‑down to picnics. We will go out for dinner at local restaurants. We will have three evening talks on raptor subjects.

Day 9

18 March

Catch flights home, or continue on the California Condor Extension.

 

Day-by-day Itinerary | California Condor Extension

Day 1

18 March

Leave Tucson after breakfast and head north towards Marble Canyon. Lunch en route. Arrive by mid-afternoon and check-in at the hotel. Visit Navajo Bridge to wait for California Condors to settle in for the night. Dinner and overnight in Marble Canyon.

Day 2

19 March

All day in Marble Canyon area looking for California Condors. We will visit Navajo Bridge and drive the Honey Moon Trail along the Colorado River valley—an area of stunning beauty.

Day 3

20 March

Breakfast and checkout. Stop at the Navajo Bridge for the last time to look at Condors, then start heading back to Tucson. Lunch en route. Optional drop off in Phoenix. Tour ends in Tucson.

Target SpeciesDownload as checklist in PDF format

common name

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Black Vulture
  3. California Condor*
  4. Osprey
  5. White-tailed Kite
  6. Golden Eagle
  7. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  8. Cooper’s Hawk
  9. Northern Harrier
  10. Bald Eagle
  11. Common Black Hawk
  12. Harris’s Hawk
  13. Gray Hawk
  14. Swainson’s Hawk
  15. Zone-tailed Hawk
  16. Red-tailed Hawk
  17. Ferruginous Hawk
  18. Crested Caracara
  19. American Kestrel
  20. Merlin
  21. Prairie Falcon
  22. Peregrine Falcon

*​Tour Extension only

Latin Name

  1.  Cathartes aura
  2.  Coragyps atratus
  3.  Gymnogyps californianus*
  4.  Pandion haliaetus
  5.  Elanus leucurus
  6.  Aquila chrysaetos
  7.  Accipiter striatus
  8.  Accipiter cooperii
  9.  Circus hudsonius
  10.  Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  11.  Buteogallus anthracinus
  12.  Parabuteo unicinctus
  13.  Buteo plagiatus
  14.  Buteo swainsoni
  15.  Buteo albonotatus
  16.  Buteo jamaicensis
  17.  Buteo regalis
  18.  Caracara plancus
  19.  Falco sparverius
  20.  Falco columbarius
  21.  Falco mexicanus
  22.  Falco peregrinus

​*Tour Extension only

Cathartes aura Coragyps atratus Gymnogyps californianus Pandion haliaetus Elanus leucurus Aquila chrysaetos Accipiter striatus Accipiter cooperii Circus hudsonius Haliaeetus leucocephalus Buteogallus anthracinus Parabuteo unicinctus Buteo plagiatus Buteo swainsoni Buteo albonotatus Buteo jamaicensis Buteo regalis Caracara plancus Falco sparverius Falco columbarius Falco mexicanus Falco peregrinus

Suggested Field Guides

Clark, W.S. and B.K. Wheeler. 2001. Field guide to Hawks of North America (2nd Edition). Peterson series no. 35. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Wheeler, B.K. and W.S. Clark. 1995. A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors. Academic Press, London.

Need to Know

Tour Reports

Arizona Raptor Tour, March 2017

Arizona Raptor Workshop, March 2016

Tour Dates & Availability

2018 Main Tour, 10 – 18 March | 8 Places Left

2018 Extension, 18 – 20 March | 10 Places

Booking Closes On

1 February 2018

Group Size

4 – 10 participants

Tour Price

Main Tour $2,350 per person

Extension $750 per person

Single Supplement

Main Tour $400

Extension $100

Raptor Species Expected

20

Difficulty

Easy

Comfort

Good

Weather & Clothing

Nice | Bring sunglasses, sunscreen and binoculars

Main Tour Map

Brazil Tour map
Click on the map to see more details

Tour Leader

William S. Clark

 

Bill Clark is an experienced tour leader who specializes in birds of prey and has been observing, studying, and photographing raptors for over 50 years. He coauthored Hawks, the raptor field guide in the Peterson series and the companion raptor photographic guide and has published numerous articles on ID, migration, and distribution of birds of prey. Bill has lived in Tucson and is familiar with the raptors and other birds in southeastern Arizona. (Click on photo for more info about Bill.)

Tour Showcase

Common Black Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus)
Common Black Hawk
© B. Clark
Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus), by Sergio Seipke
Zone-tailed Hawk, adult.
© S. Seipke
Merlin (Falco columbarius), by Bill Clark
Merlin
© B. Clark
Harlan's Hawk (Buteo harlani), by Bill Clark
Harlan’s Hawk, adult.
© B. Clark
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), by Bill Clark
Cooper’s Hawk
© B. Clark
Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo harrisi), by Bill Clark
Harris’s Hawk family
© B. Clark

Terms


Raptours, L.L.C. reserves the right to alter this itinerary as necessary, or to cancel the tour prior to departure, with full refund to participants.

Raptours, L.L.C. or its agents may decline to accept or retain any person as a member of this tour at any time.

No smoking will be permitted while with the group, either when indoors or in the field.

Travel medical insurance is strongly recommended.

All passengers will be required to sign a hard copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form upon meeting with the tour leader in Tucson.

No participants will be allowed in the group without a signed copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form.

Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk Form
(including Terms)
Download as PDF