alaskabirder

Its a Great Day to Bird

Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Apache Junction, and Gilbert Water Ranch

January 3, 2017

Jack and I traveled to Apache Junction, Arizona (near Phoenix) to visit our friends Carla and Wayne Stanley.  They have a great location – views of the Superstition Mountains and a bird haven.  Carla puts out a lot of bird feed for the birds and it definitely draws them in.  Fun to watch.  I don’t know how much they spend on bird feed in the four months they are here, but I assume it is a lot.  Lucky birds.  Thanks Carla and Wayne for supporting local birds and a great time.

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House Finch

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Curve-billed Thrasher with a very (deformed) curved bill

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Inca Dove

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Female Gila Woodpecker – no red on its head

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Male Gila Woodpecker – red on head

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A nice afternoon and evening spent with friends and birds.

Bird Species Seen or Heard from Carla and Wayne Stanley’s Backyard

  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Abert’s Towhee
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • House Finch
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Gambell’s Quail
  • Mourning Dove
  • Inca Dove
  • Cactus Wren
  • Gila Woodpecker
  • House Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Curve-billed Thrasher
  • Bendire’s Thrasher
  • Verdin
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Northern Flicker
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Common Raven
  • Black-throated Sparrow
  • American Kestrel
  • Cooper Hawk – boy did this bird clear the area of other birds when it popped in

January 4, 2017

Ah, a favorite place –  Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  If you love cactus (from all over the world) and birds, then this is the place for you.  The property is owned and operated by the State of Arizona and is located east of Phoenix – an easy drive.  We got there around 9:30 am and birded the park for three-plus hours.  They have a great trail system, and for those with dogs – dogs are welcomed so long as they are on a leash.  Doggy bags provided.

I saw or heard 20 different bird species.  This actually was lower than during previous visits this time of year.  Most of the birds I’ve seen here before.  One new species was the Plumbeous Vireo.  Although I have seen this species before, I’ve not seen it at Boyce.  There was a pair flitting about in the trees.  As for the various cactus plants we saw, I apologize for not getting the names of all those photographed.  You will just have to come to the arboretum to see them for yourself.

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Barrel Cactus

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Male Anna’s Hummingbird

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Prickly Pear Cactus

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We walked up this wash for a short distance in search of birds

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An agave plant

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Male Phainopepla

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No waterfowl or coots on the pond, although I have seen waterfowl and coots here in the past.

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Cactus flower getting ready to blossom – this bee likes it

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Do these tuffs provide protection for the cactus spines? I wonder what the purpose is for the tuffs?

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Love the spindly needles – sharp too

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One of the trails.  They provide park benches along the way to stop and rest and enjoy the beauty of the area.

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Queen Creek –   there has always been water in the stream bed when we’ve been here.  Maybe not during the hot summer months though.

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Male Northern Cardinal – saw lots of cardinals today

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Red-naped Sapsucker

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Plumbeous Vireo

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Monarch Butterfly

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Oh, I do remember the name of this cactus – Octopus Agave

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Saguaro Cactus

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Loved the way the light lit up this leaf

After Boyce, we returned to Carla and Wayne’s house and hung out in the back yard checking out the birds coming to the feeder and just relaxing.  Ah, what a life.

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Verdin

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Carla puts out oranges for the birds. The Verdin love oranges.

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Inca Dove – a pair usually comes into the feeder late in the afternoon

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Cactus Wren – the Wren family is my favorite family of birds

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These guys really love the suet feeder Carla puts out for the birds

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Yes, even desert hares

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Abert’s Towhee – does he blend into the Cholla or what?

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Black-throated Sparrow …

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… this guy is the lone Black-throated Sparrow coming to the feeder …

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… well he actually eats the seeds on the ground, rather than at an actual feeder

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White-crowned Sparrow

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Mourning Dove

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This Mourning Dove looks a little different – maybe it is getting ready to molt?  That one feather.

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I think this may be a Bendire’s Thrasher. Note the short bill and the yellow eye.

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Curve-billed Thrasher

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In addition to the one with the deformed bill, there are at least three other Curve-billed Thrashers that come to the feeders …

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… and they do like the suet as well

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The House Sparrow surpass all the other species in shear numbers, including the House Finch

Birds Species Seen or Heard at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

  • Verdin
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • House Finch
  • Gila Woodpecker
  • Cactus Wren
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Curve-billed Thrasher
  • Phainopepla
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black Phoebe
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Abert’s Towhee
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Red-naped Sapsucker
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Plumbeous Vireo
  • Canyon Wren

January 5, 2017

Today we visited the Gilbert Water Ranch in Gilbert, Arizona.  This is a great place to bird, but beware the area is also heavily used by walkers and runners, and there is a playground for children.  The area is always quite busy.  Surprisingly the birds have become somewhat used to all the activity and when flushed, don’t travel far.  Today I observed 48 different species.  This is actually a low number as I generally have around 60+ birds.  I’m sure a lot depends upon how much reclaimed water is available for the birds – this is a waste water treatment area – constructed wetlands.

In this riparian area, there are seven ponds and Water Ranch Lake.   There area is small in that the trails cover only a couple of miles.  We spent around three hours at the lake. I was happy – another great day of birding.

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Dedication Sign

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Hiking Map for Gilbert Riparian Preserve (Gilbert Water Ranch)

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Pond 7 – lots of shorebirds here: Sandpipers, Avocets, Stilts, and Dowitchers

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Female Lesser Goldfinch

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Black-necked Stilt

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American Avocet

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Long-billed Dowitcher …

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… or three

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Yes, a non-native species – Rosy-faced Lovebird. We saw this species in Namibia, Africa.

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The trails are wide

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LOTS of Desert Hares, and I mean LOTS

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These platforms were not here last time we visited several years ago

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I wonder whose nest this was?

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American Coot

Birds Species Seen or Heard at Gilbert Water Ranch

  • Gila Woodpecker
  • Curve-billed Thrasher
  • Great-tailed Grackle
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Gambell’s Quail
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Long-billed Dowitcher
  • Canada Goose
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Black Phoebe
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Mourning Dove
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Abert’s Towhee
  • Rosy-faced Lovebird
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • House Sparrow
  • House Finch
  • Northern Harrier
  • Wilson’s Snipe
  • American Coot
  • Verdin
  • Anna’s Hummingbird
  • Mallard
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Lesser Yellowleg
  • Killdeer
  • Northern Pintail
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Snowy Egret
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Song Sparrow
  • American Kestrel
  • Marsh Wren
  • Osprey
  • Green Heron
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Lesser Scaup
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Ruddy Duck

Tomorrow we head to Catalina State Park for several days.  This park is located near Tucson, Arizona.  Until then …

It’s A Great Day to Bird

1 Comment

  1. Catalinas were where I spent a lot of time on weekends with the family as a kid.

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