AZFO/NMOS FIELD EXPEDITION
Big Lue Mountains in Arizona and the lower Gila River in New Mexico
April 28-30, 2017
Joint NMOS and AZFO Field Expeditions:
Leaders: Felipe Guerrero (AZ:fpguerreroATgmail.com); Matt Baumann (NM: mbaumann22ATgmail.com)
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The New Mexico Ornithological Society and Arizona Field Ornithologists are conducting field expeditions to the Gila River in southwestern New Mexico and the Big Lue Mountains in southeastern Arizona on the same weekend. We will explore the avifauna at both sites from two main locations, Blackjack Campground in AZ and Fishermen’s Point in NM. Participants are encouraged to visit both areas during the weekend but state specific trips are available. Arizona: Saturday-Sunday and New Mexico: Saturday-Sunday. Felipe and Matt will be in their respective states Friday through Sunday. Be sure to coordinate with them if you wish to cross state lines.
In Arizona, Yellow-eyed Juncos inhabit mountain forests in virtually every sky island range, north to the Pinal Mountains. In New Mexico these sparrows are found in the Animas Mountains in the extreme southwest, as well as the Big Burro Mountains in what is thought to be their current northeastern extent. Recently, a Yellow-eyed Junco was sighted along Chase Creek north of Morenci, AZ, not far from the Big Lue Mountains along the AZ-NM border, where they have yet to be documented. Several other Madrean species are possible in these mountains.
In New Mexico, Song Sparrows have recently established breeding populations along this stretch of the Gila. The goal of the field expedition will be to establish how many territories there are by noting singing males over two mornings of surveys. There are other species of interest that have recently been found in the area including: Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Thick-billed Kingbird, Botteri’s Sparrow, and Varied Bunting. These species should specifically be looked for as well.
Things to know and bring
Hiking and Camping: There will be lots of hiking and stream crossing. Sturdy hiking boots, sunscreen, appropriate clothing (check forecast ahead of time), standard camping gear are all recommended. Camping will be required by participants. Two way radios are also recommended due to the large area and multiple parties that will be coordinated to cover different areas. Note: no cell phone service in this area.
Food and Water: participants will be responsible to bring their own food and water for the duration of the expedition, ~2-3 days. Several camp grills and extra cooler space will be available but be sure to coordinate with Matt or Felipe if you require either of these.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are not available. Participants should expect to use Leave No Trace practices during the trip.
Weather: late April will likely be warm and dry but can be unseasonably cool. Be sure to pay attention to the forecast before the trip.