Operation PhotoTrogon Stop #2 – Tucson’s Sweetwater Wetlands

By Jim Gain


The name Operation PhotoTrogon came about weeks ago as Rich Brown and I started planning our trip. We discussed the potential top target birds for the adventure and it didn’t take long for us to settle on Elegant Trogon as the clear winner of the #1 bird we wanted to photograph.


According to the Tucson Water website, “The Sweetwater Wetlands is one of the most important functional, environmental, and educational components of the City of Tucson’s reclaimed water system. The facility was originally constructed in 1996 to handle backwash filter water from the reclaimed water plant. The wetlands now uses reclaimed water exclusively. The Sweetwater Wetlands has more than 2.5 miles of pathways accessible to visitors. Almost 1,000 feet of pathway is concrete surfaced and ADA-approved for wheelchair access.”

“Concrete surfacing allows easy access from the parking area to the main ramada, where visitors can overlook areas of both deep, open water and shallow water with emergent (bulrush/cattail) vegetation.”

Download the Sweetwater Wetlands Location Map 

We took our time leaving Buckeye because Google Maps ERRONEOUSLY listed the opening hours for Sweetwater Wetlands as 9:00 am EVERY DAY. To our dismay we discovered they actually are open from DAWN to DUSK every day EXCEPT MONDAY!.

Below are some of the image highlights from this stop. Overall we observed 32 species here with the highlights being Rich’s lifer Bell’s Vireo and Lucy’s Warbler. Ebird Checklist Link

Female Vermilion Flycatcher
Gambel’s Quail
Bell’s Vireo
Abert’s Towhee
Lucy’s Warbler
Common Gallinule

Next Stop: Paton Center for Hummingbirds

4 thoughts on “Operation PhotoTrogon Stop #2 – Tucson’s Sweetwater Wetlands”

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