Mountain Plovers are an endangered species. Estimates suggest only 15 to 20,000 worldwide population. To put in perspective, there are over 20 million deer in the United States alone. Mountain Plovers are sporadically found in the US from Montana through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. The only place they have been found in Arizona is Santa Cruz Flats -- what Christine calls "the alternate universe." They like the turf farms and Santa Cruz Flats has several square miles of turf farms.
Actually, Santa Cruz Flats is a great winter birding site with two very different terrains. In addition to the turf (and cotton fields) there are several miles of barren scrub desert. Lots of raptors including all five US species of Falcons (Peregrine, Prairie, Merlin, Kestrel, and Crested Caracara). I went a few weeks ago and found over 100 Crested Caracaras. This last trip I came across two Sprague's Pipits, a very rare bird to the US. Unfortunately neither photograph turned out well enough to post.
But, back to the Mountain Plovers. I did come across 30 or so Mountain Plovers. Here are a couple photos: