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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Arizona: A Winter Week in the Southeast

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES: Non-U.S. citizens will need a valid passport and may need a tourist visa. Consult your nearest U.S. Consulate for details. 

Canadian citizens should carry proof of citizenship in the form of a passport. Please note that non-US citizens are required by law to carry passports/visas with them at all times. 

U.S. citizens should bring their driver’s license, birth certificate and/or passport.

PACE OF THE TOUR: Under normal circumstances no major hiking is required but on occasion, depending on what birds are visiting for the winter and the group’s abilities, we may attempt some brief rock scrambling. A hike of up to 3/4 mile into a mountain canyon with elevation gains upwards of 500 feet may be possible.  The longest walk on the tour would be 1-2 miles at an easy pace on level ground through the grasslands looking for various birds. 

HEALTH: Arizona presents no real hazards to the visiting bird-watcher but certain factors must be considered. 

Elevation:  In Tucson we will be staying at 2,600 feet and while in Sierra Vista our hotel is at an elevation of 4,250 feet. If there is no snow on the mountains we may go birding up to 8,000 feet. While at this elevation foot travel will be limited to walking less than ¼ mile from the vehicle. 

Sun: Winter sun is powerful and deserves respect. Please bring and use sunscreen as well as a broad-brimmed hat. 

 Spiny Plants: The most common injury results from spines penetrating light-weight canvas shoes though the sides and soles. Many desert plants are armed with thorns or spines, and native grass seeds can be a nuisance.We recommend tough canvas or leather shoes of at least ankle height and tough trousers as the best safeguards. 

Dehydration:  Dehydration is a constant concern in Arizona especially when birding at lower elevations in the desert.  Drinking a lot of water is highly encouraged throughout the tour. The leader will always have an ample supply of water in our vehicle and make frequent pit stops along the way to use the bathroom facilities. 

Smoking: We request that you do not smoke in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group. If any lodge, accommodation or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than WINGS’ policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.

CLIMATE: In winter (November to February), daytime highs are in the 60-70° range with nighttime lows in the 30s and 40s F. It can be colder at high elevations and it is always possible to experience days with maximum temperatures of 10°F above or below these figures. Be prepared for early morning temperatures below freezing, sometimes in the single digit temps. Rain is infrequent but periodic storms can produce precipitation throughout. Snow is regular above 6000 feet and as low as 3000 feet. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stay at a standard motel in Tucson near the Tucson Airport, but elsewhere our lodging is of an unusually high standard.  Casa de San Pedro Bed & Breakfast ( sits on ten acres adjacent to the San Pedro River and Riparian National Conservation Area on the eastern edge of the Huachuca Mountains. 

Wireless internet is available in all places we stay. 

FOOD:  Breakfasts and several catered dinners will be at Casa de San Pedro.  We may have some picnic lunches but winter weather is unpredictable.  Sit-down meals will be at local restaurants with standard American food.   

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.

TRANSPORTATION: We will be traveling by leader-driven 12 or 15 passenger window van or minivan, depending on the group size. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles. A daily seating rotation will be expected in the vehicles.

Updated: 26 February 2018