2020-02-24: Boyce-Thompson Arboretum

Spotted Towhee - Pipilo maculatus
I spent the day meeting birds at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum near Superior Arizona.

Sunday, after spending the day at the Gilbert Water Ranch, I drove the Superstition Highway forty miles east to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior Arizona. I’d been here only once before in the fall of 2019 (last year) and was looking forward to another visit. I doubt that birding was a consideration or a goal for the founders when they conceived of establishing this arboretum in the Roaring 1920s. Never-the-less, that’s been one result achieved.

One challenge in photographing here is that many of the trails through the arboretum are narrow. If you use a tripod as I do, it takes up space on the trail and makes it an obstacle for other visitors to navigate. There were several occasions this day where I found a peaceful spot to attempt a bird capture, only to have to shift my gear to accommodate an approaching group of folks out to enjoy this amazing location. I feel it’s my responsibility to keep the path clear in these situations. But it was frustrating to have a nice bird come into view and not be able to follow it with my camera because of an approaching group of citizens out to enjoy their day. Most of the visitors here are out to savor the amazing collection of trees and plants, and these trails are ideal for that purpose. My goal here is to adapt to these conditions and look for quiet places out of the way from most of the traffic, or wide places where my presence won’t pose an obstacle to my fellow visitors. It was tricky, but I was fortunate in finding a number of satisfying opportunities to capture the local avifauna.

Most of the birds I met this day, I suspect are residents. I believe I was too early for many of the migrants that make their annual journey north to pass by here. Still, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood (sorry Mr. Rogers), and I enjoyed it immensely.

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