Mark Pretti Nature Tours, L.L.C.

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Birding and Natural History in Southeast Arizona

May 1 - 7, 2018

Southeast Arizona is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the United States.  Habitats include the Sonoran Desert with its dramatic columnar cacti, the Chihuahuan desert with its grasslands and desert scrub, and the dramatic “Sky Islands” where species from the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre come together.  During our journey, we’ll explore most of these habitats, encounter a great diversity of plants and animals, and enjoy fine weather at one of the richest times of year.  We’ll visit many of the birding and wildlife hotspots – Madera Canyon, the Patagonia area, Huachuca and Carr Canyons, and the San Pedro River.  Species we’re likely to see include elegant trogon, vermilion flycatcher, painted redstart, Grace’s, Lucy’s, olive, red-faced and other warblers, three species of Myiarchus flycatcher (ash-throated, brown-crested, and dusky-capped), thick-billed kingbird, up to ten species of hummingbirds, and many others.  We’ll also spend time learning about the general ecology of the area and explore the fascinating relationships among southeast Arizona’s birds, plants, mammals, reptiles, insects, geology, and regional climate.

The 2018 cost will be about $1900 per person, double occupancy, and includes all lodging, meals, tips, admission fees, and ground transportation from Tucson, AZ.  Limited to 8 participants.  Please contact me for a detailed itinerary.

Daytrips in Southeast Arizona

Whether you are a beginner seeking to develop your skills (and your life list), an experienced birder looking for that elusive specialty, or a general nature enthusiast desiring to learn about the biological diversity of southeastern Arizona, I offer;

Bird guiding for individuals and small groups with half-day and full-day tours, and evening trips for owls and nightjars

General nature excursions focusing on the interesting ecology of the many plants and animals of the area

I've led many week-long birding and natural history trips for Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and private groups.  If you have a group and are interested in putting together a trip, perhaps with a fundraising component, please let me know.   

My primary goal is for you to have a great time seeing, enjoying, and learning about the birds and natural history of this amazing area at your pace.  My field style combines basic identification with knowledge of avian ecology and general natural history. In addition to field marks, I use behaviors, calls and songs, habitat, and general life history to help with bird identification. I find that this approach helps reinforce the identification and also teaches us something about species "fit in" to their environment.

Depending on your interests, my extensive experience in natural history and conservation in southeast Arizona can provide you with as much (or as little) general natural history interpretation as you like, including plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and regional conservation issues and actions.

With a busy international travel schedule, my availability for day trips is very limited, and I limit my southeast Arizona travel to the birding and wildlife hotspots close to home.  If you're looking to bird in areas closer to Tucson, Patagonia, or in the Chiricahua Mountains, I'd be happy to recommend guides that work in those areas.  Locations I visit, and a few sample birds, include;

San Pedro River - yellow-billed cuckoo, Abert's towhee, yellow-breasted chat, Swainson's hawk, summer tanager, blue grosbeak, Botteri's sparrow, Lucy's warbler, Bell's vireo 

Huachuca Mountains / Sky Islands (Huachuca, Garden, Scheelite, Sawmill, Ramsey, Carr, and Miller Canyons) - elegant trogon, owls including Mexican spotted, whiskered screech, western screech, and elf, buff-breasted and dusky-capped flycatchers, greater pewee, Arizona woodpecker, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, Montezuma quail, rufous-crowned sparrow, hepatic and western tanagers, Grace's, Virginia's, olive, and red-faced warblers, painted redstart 

Photo - Mexican spotted owl by Judy Lin
            Montezuma quail by John Dicus

Last updated: May 10, 2017.