Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Monday, November 22, 2010

Critters of Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located out of the desert town of Superior, Arizona. It contains numerous plants and trees from around the world, all of them adapted to arid habitats. They were planted about a century ago by Boyce himself. The whole place is set amid some very beautiful desert landscape. There is a small stream in a canyon surrounded by dramatic rock formations. The area abounds in wildlife, especially birds. There are trails to follow, and the various plants and trees have identifying markers.
The little piggys above are known locally as Javelina. Everyone else knows them as Collared Peccaries. If you call them by that name you will betray yourself as a tourist. They have a legend for their ferocity, which is nonsense.

A colorful male Hooded Oriole.
The equally colorful male Bullock's Oriole.
There is a pond in the Arboretum where Black Phoebes nest.
A favorite bird of many visiting birders, the Green-tailed Towhee. By the way, the best time to visit the place is during the winter months, especially March. That is when the most birds are present, and the temperatures are more tolerable.

An uncolorful bird, Canyon Towhee. The more restricted ranging, Abert's Towhee also occurs at Boyce Thompson. It looks like the Canyon Towhee, but wears a black facemask.

Arizona's state bird, the Cactus Wren is the largest Wren species north of Mexico.
The diminutive Inca Dove is common in much of Arizona's desert landscape.
A Curve-billed Thrasher in a Tree Cholla after a rainstorm.
I got to watch that same Thrasher feeding it's young in the same cholla.
Most people dont associate Cardinals with the desert, but they are a common sight at Boyce Thompson.
Sonora whipsnakes are a lightening fast inhabitant of the desert around the arboretum.
You have to be fortunate to get a look at a Common Black Hawk in that area.


Steve's Bird Blog said...

I have been to the Arboretum twice and got several life birds there, including Magnificent Hummingbird, Black Phoebe and Cardinal. We used to visit my sister and her family who lived in Chandler but they have moved to Utah so my opportunities to go to Arizona and mostly gone away. My brother in law keeps telling me he is going to take me to Arizona for a week of birding for the last three years but so far we've been unable to make it.

Nice post and your woodpecker count is impressive. I will really need to get serious this coming year to get more of them on my list.

Maggie said...

Wow, that brought back some great memories of our Audubon trips there...camping at that campground nearby, eating lunch at Tres Hermanos, hearing the eerie calls of Canyon Wrens...and it was so much warmer than the mountains.

john said...

Remembering Boyce Thompson makes me so nostalgic for my younger days. Great times they were.