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California Gulch - Birding Hotspot - US, Arizona - Aviatlas


California Gulch

US, Arizona

Lon. -111.23960, Lat. 31.43030, Alt. 3,819 ft


California Gulch is located just a few miles from the Mexican border and provides good opportunity to bird several different habitats. The main attraction for birds and birders is the Gulch proper, which includes a creek bed which usually has some water, several small pools and thick vegetation.


Mesquite-scrub leading into dense riparian habitat.

Target Birds:

In recent years California Gulch has become the spot in southeastern Arizona to see Five-striped Sparrows, mainly during the monsoon season. Nearby Oro Blanco Mine has also become the most reliable area to observe Buff-collared Nightjars in Arizona, although thus far in 2009 none have been detected here.

When To Go:

The sparrows are probably year-round residents but become much more conspicuous during the monsoon rains in July and August. The Nightjar has usually showed up in late April/early May and becomes silent shortly after breeding. Spring and Fall migration can also be good along the riparian areas.



Getting There:

From Tucson take I-19 south to Arivaca Junction. Take Arivaca Road to the small town of Arivaca where you will reach Ruby Road. (You cannot currently hit Ruby Road from its I-19 exit).From here, FR217 is used, though clearer directions can be found in A Birder's Guide to Southeastern Arizona.


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