Thursday, May 31, 2012

Birding in Arizona - Monday, day 3

The reason we stayed in Mesa was that our primary Monday destination was the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a renowned spot.  It was only about a 45 minute drive from the hotel so we arrived before it opened (at 6am), though the staff arrived around 05:50 and let us in early :)

We birded around the car park until the visitor centre and access to the arboretum itself was opened.  We spotted female Bullock's Oriole, fleetingly, but got quite close to calling Gambell's Quail, unexpectedly sat up in a tree:













The morning flew by as we walked around the site, so in no particular order some of the highlights of our visit, including Cactus Wren, look closely to see what it was eating:













A flower garden with feeding butterfly and Hummingbird:













We repeatedly bumped into some other birders, Gordon, Ellen and Brendan.  The latter had been photographing a Varied Bunting in the demonstration garden and was kind enough to show us the bird:























Flowering Yucca:
















No idea what it is but the bees loved it!


Views from the trail:



















A 'glowing' cactus:













And a flowering one:













More views:













This is a noisy fellow, the Yellow-breasted Chat:












Wondering what we were doing:

 











Yellow Warbler:
















Warbling Vireo:

 
Gordon and Ellen pointed out Zone-tailed Hawk and Canyon Wren for us, both too distant for decent pictures but both lifers.

My target bird for the whole trip was a Verdin, we saw quite a few in the arboretum:













including recent fledglings:

 
A female (possibly juvenile as it looks like the bird has a gape) Phainopepla eating berries:













A massive and massively old cactus:


















Female Lesser Goldfinch:


Summer Tanager:



















Great-tailed Grackles displaying:



















Hooded Oriole:













And Black-throated Sparrow:













Finally, Costa's Hummingbird:



We had another iHop lunch then drove on up to Sedona, our next location, for two nights in Los Abrigados a timeshare-cum-hotel resort.

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