Explore the Sky Islands on our winter Southeast Arizona Birding Tour

Look no further than the breathtaking mountains on this Southeast Arizona birding tour for a New Year getaway—so good we have two trips in January with popular guide, Bob Meinke.

A January Southeast Arizona birding tour is a fascinating experience. Enjoy warmer weather (fingers crossed!) and the fascinating birds and wildlife of the Arizona Sky Islands.

Highlights from our Southeast Arizona Birding Tour

We enjoy plenty of opportunities to marvel at many wintering species of warblers, raptors, and sparrows, as well as tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes that call Southeast Arizona home for the winter. See Vesper, Grasshopper, and Baird’s Sparrows, as well as Horned Lark, and possibly Longspurs as they enjoy these productive wintering grounds. Raptors are also a highlight in the Sulphur Springs Valley.

There are an abundance of trails for exploring paired with gazing views of the sky islands in the sea of desert. Popular hotspots like Ramsey and Miller Canyons, Ash Canyon, and the San Pedro River are on the agenda for those keen. Choose to do as much or as little as you like—simple!

5 of Our Favorite Birds on this Southeast Arizona Birding Tour

Montezuma Quail

  • The Montezuma Quail is super interesting in its behavior! It will wait till the very last minute when it feels threatened, and bursts into flight if danger comes too close for comfort! It can leap around 2 meters straight up, even with clipped wings!

Vermilion FlycatcherSoutheast Arizona Birding Tour

  • A unique flycatcher in the sense that it spends most of the time (around 90%) perching conspicuously, making moves mostly to catch its prey! A must-see bird in the Southwest area of the United States!

Broad-billed HummingbirdSoutheast Arizona Birding Tour

  • The  Broad-billed Hummingbird cannot walk or hop just like other hummingbirds, but can definitely dance! It shows a courtship display by hovering in repeated arcs, roughly 12 inches above the female!

Olive WarblerSoutheast Arizona Birding Tour

  • The Olive Warbler loves open pine forests and the mountains – perfect for this tour! Male Olive Warblers take around 2 years to establish the orange hood of an adult!

Painted RedstartSoutheast Arizona Birding Tour

  • An interesting tactic that the Redstart uses to gather its meal – flashing its white wing patches and outer tail feathers as an element of surprise!

Read more about Arizona’s signature birds on a past blog post.

Southeast Arizona Birding Tour Bonus Bird: Sandhill Crane

The Sandhill Cranes that winter here number in the tens of thousands. We watch them as they feed in ponds and fields during the day.  We make special time to see them fly into roost for the night—a real spectacle! 

Hotel Highlight

Our tour is based out of the lovely Casa de San Pedro, our favorite, most comfy place to stay for a Southeast Arizona birding tour. Grab yourself a slice (or 2!) of the famous homemade pie.

Ready to Join Our Southeast Arizona birding tour?

Naturalist Journeys’ 2020 Southeast Arizona birding tours run January 4 – 10 and January 11 – 17. The guide for both tours is Bob Meinke. Prices start from $2590; airport is Tucson International (TUS). Email us today at travel@naturalistjourneys.com to reserve your space on one of these Southeast Arizona birding tours.

Photo Credits:

Sandhill Cranes, Hugh Simmons (HUSI); Montezuma Quail, Mary Mcsparen (MAMC); Vermilion Flycatcher, Woody Wheeler (WOWE); Broad-billed Hummingbird, HUSI; Olive Warbler, Peg Abbott (PEAB); Painted Redstart, HUSI.

‘River of Raptors’ makes Veracruz raptor migration tour unmissable!

Naturalist Journeys is heading to Veracruz, Mexico this fall for a raptor migration tour: a bamboozling bird count!

By Dave Mehlman,

I was recently at a meeting and heard my good friend and colleague, Dr. Ernesto Ruelas, recount the history behind the establishment of the Veracruz River of Raptors hawk migration project many years ago. Ernesto, now on the faculty of the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico, first became interested in the hawk migration there many years ago when he was a young boy, and he became inspired by the sheer number of migrating birds. His talk got me very excited about our upcoming raptor migration tour to Veracruz from September 25 to October 5, 2019—you will not want to miss it!

Raptor Migration Tour
Birders in action at the Dr. Mario A. Ramos Migratory Bird Observatory in Chichicaxtle, in 2016.

The talk also reminded me to look up the data on the fall 2018 hawk count in Veracruz, and as usual, the numbers were outstanding! A total of 2,122,814 raptors were counted in the town of Cardel, and 2,270,056 in the nearby town of Chichicaxtle! Even though I’ve been there before, it’s still hard to imagine that many hawks passing through a single site – the perfect destination for our raptor migration tour.

Raptor Migration Tour
Here’s what the “River of Raptors” looks like from below—a mixed group of vultures and buteos from October last year.

As has generally been the case, the most popular species in 2018 were Turkey Vulture (1,081,774 in Cardel), Broad-winged Hawk (844,258 in Chichi), Swainson’s Hawk (321,064 in Chichi), and Mississippi Kite (131,813 in Chichi). However, a total of 16 other raptor species were counted during last year’s fall season, illustrating the diversity. Plus, certain species that were not known to be very migratory have regularly been recorded there, such as Hook-billed Kite (101 in Chichi).

Raptor Migration Tour
An intriguing neotropical raptor during the fall 2016 migration.

The thing is, there’s so much more to this trip than migrating raptors! Pelicans, storks, flycatchers, subtropical and tropical birds, archaeology, museums, good food—this trip has it all!

Raptor Migration Tour
Group of folks birding AND learning in 2017, about pre-European civilizations along the coast of Mexico.

 

To book our September/October Veracruz Raptor Migration Tour, please contact Naturalist Journeys at travel@naturalistjourneys.com

Why a Southern Belize Nature Tour?

Naturalist Journeys’ upcoming Southern Belize: Pristine & Wild tour is a gem! Our group enjoys birding with top Belize birding guide Estevan (Steve) Choco in 2019. Here’s why you should sign on to this exciting Southern Belize nature tour.

By Bob Meinke, Guide with Naturalist Journeys


Southern Belize Nature Tour
Mountain Pine Ridge Habitat by Kelly Amsberry | Old Growth Tropical Forest by Bob Meinke
Intact Ecosystems & Sought-After Species

Belize retains the highest percentageof its original old growth tropical forest of any Central American country, much of it in southern districts. Exploring on this Southern Belize nature tour is an impressive experince, but it’s not all about birds: Charismatic land mammals such as Black Howler Monkey, Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey, Tayra, Kinkajou, and Baird’s Tapir are not unexpected during treks here along wooded trails. (We even crossed paths with a Jaguar on a recent trip.) But did you know that Belize also has extensive Honduran Pine forests at the cooler, higher elevations, with a completely different set of species? We explore both ecosystems during this intriguing trip. Continue reading Why a Southern Belize Nature Tour?

8 Reasons to Take a Guyana Nature Tour

Find out why YOU should take a Guyana Nature Tour with Naturalist Journeys. One of our favorite trips, Guyana is a country that is off the radar for many travelers, but oh so rich in biodiversity.

Discover “South America’s hidden gem.”

Continue reading 8 Reasons to Take a Guyana Nature Tour

Finding Iconic Alaskan Mammals

We asked guide Greg Smith about his photos of iconic Alaskan mammals, how he finds them, and how they fit into the stunning Denali landscape. Here are his responses.

Alaskan Mammals
Grizzly Bear by Greg Smith
Naturalist Journeys’ guide, Greg Smith, is not only a fantastic guide, but also an incredible photographer; we are lucky to have him on our team. 

Continue reading Finding Iconic Alaskan Mammals

Birding Belize … Why We Love It!

At Naturalist Journeys we are thrilled to offer a grand array of Neotropical birding tours. Our expert guides vie for the chance to lead groups in Belize. For many reasons, we love birding Belize! Find out ….

Deciding where to bird in the Neotropics, which includes both Central and South America, can seem like a daunting task, and rightfully so. There are many lodges to choose from, and each country has its own draw. We suggest a stair-step approach in which you gain skills and knowledge with each visit, making the most of your time and budget.

Birding Belize
Violaceous Trogon by Peg Abbott

Continue reading Birding Belize … Why We Love It!

Highlights from Our Belize Birding Tour

Every winter, Naturalist Journeys heads to Belize for a number of fun-filled trips. Here are highlights from a 2016 Belize birding tour.

Belize Birding Tour
Group at Pook’s Hill Ruins, Naturalist Journeys Stock

The highlights detailed in this blog post were from a February 2016 Belize birding tour …  and this trip was extra special: Naturalist Journeys‘ owner Peg Abbott celebrated her 60th birthday on the trip; it was a bit of a reunion with long-time travel companions, which made for a whole lot of fun. You can read the full trip report here.

Without further ado, here are the highlights, day by day. Continue reading Highlights from Our Belize Birding Tour

Best Memories from our Tanzania Safari

Tanzania Safari
Elephant Line Up by Greg Smith

In February of 2017, a Naturalist Journeys group embarked on a spectacular 13-day Tanzania safari. Here are the highlights.

Naturalist Journeys‘ owner, Peg Abbott, is just wrapping up her trip in Botswana, and it got us thinking about this past February’s Tanzania safari … what a treat! East Africa is the ULTIMATE wildlife watching destination, and Peg is known to say that if she had just one more trip left in her lifetime, it would be to East Africa. What follows are the highlights, by location, from our 2017 Tanzania safari. Enjoy! Continue reading Best Memories from our Tanzania Safari

Highlights from our Pantanal Wildlife Tour

The Top 5 Highlights from Naturalist Journeys’ July Pantanal Wildlife Tour

Pantanal Wildlife Tour
Gate to the Pantanal Transpantaniera by Peg Abbott

There are few places in the world that offer wildlife like Brazil’s famed Pantanal. On Naturalist Journeys‘ July 2017 Pantanal wildlife tour, our group of 10, accompanied by guides Greg Smith and Xavier Muñoz, had an incredible adventure down the Transpantaneira Road that bisects the incredible Pantanal.

Continue reading Highlights from our Pantanal Wildlife Tour

Naturalist Journeys’ Alaska Wildlife Tour

Highlights from Naturalist Journeys’ June 2017 Alaska Wildlife Tour

Naturalist Journeys‘ guide Greg Smith shares his adventures with Muskox, Grizzlies, Caribou, Humpback Whales, and more from this past June’s Alaska wildlife tour with Naturalist Journeys. Click here to read the trip report from our clients’ fun experience in Nome, Anchorage, Seward, and Denali National Park.

Alaska Wildlife Tour
Nesting Black-legged Kittiwake by Greg Smith

Continue reading Naturalist Journeys’ Alaska Wildlife Tour