Sunday, May 20, 2007

Boyce-Thomspon Arboretum

Arlene and I met at Danny’s house to carpool up to the Boyce-Thomspon Arboretum near Superior, AZ. Danny provided a wonderful traveling breakfast of western-omelet sandwiches (on his famous homemade rolls) and tea. At BTA, we immediately heard a lot of birds singing, but had a difficult time finding them. We were about to give them up as invisible when we spotted a beautiful Northern Cardinal male singing from the tree-tops, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and two Bell’s Vireos (adult and young) chattering incessantly among the bushes. We also saw Broad-billed and Costa’s Hummingbirds in the flower beds. We stopped for a while at a small fountain and sat quietly for a few minutes. We were rewarded by a Western Tanager coming in for a drink. Lesser Goldfinches and House Finches had also found the water source. As we slowly made our way to the pond, we saw a singing Abert’s Towhee, Phainopepla, and Turkey Vulture. At the pond, we sat for a long time under the shade of the viewing platform. There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of activity and it was starting to get very hot even though it wasn’t yet 10. In addition to the many Great-tailed Grackles, there was a female Pied-billed Grebe with her young. Five stuck very close to her, but one more seemed to have been ostracized from the family. We guessed it would be either raptor or turtle food within a day or so. We also found a Common Yellowthroat and Violet-green Swallows here.

We had to force ourselves out of the shade, but continued along the path to the next ramanda. There we again sat for a while to cool off. A brilliant male Summer Tanager kept us company for a while. We hurried a bit to get to the herb garden which was a wonderful respite. There’s a little 2-room stone structure in the garden that was the original house on the property, but was then turned in to a playhouse for the grandchildren. By the time we reached the end of the trail, we were too hot and thirsty to think about birds anymore, so we quickly buzzed the gift shop after deciding that the Dos Hermanos restaurant up the highway a bit would be the perfect place to satisfy our hunger and thirst.

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