Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Ocotober 2012

Dave Burba and I went out to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum two weekends in a row in October of 2012. This post has a brief description and some photographs.The first trip was on Sunday, October 14. There was a pretty large group for the two-hour bird walk, which was led by Kathe Anderson. My favorite picture is the Broad-billed Hummingbird. I didn’t limit the pictures I published to good quality ones, but rather just to show what we saw. If I only published the great quality pictures I wouldn’t have many to show. After the bird walk, Dave and I hung out in the Pistachio grove for about an hour to see if we might get lucky and see the Rufous-backed Robin. We had no luck with that.

We left the BTA and Dave took me for a wild drive out into the middle of the desert. There were no marked roads. After driving for a bit we came upon a cemetery from out of nowhere. There were no markings or signs, but there was a fence around it, with a gate for access. Dave said that the grave of Wyatt Earp’s wife Mattie Blaylock was here, but it was vandalized and is now gone. There were a few graves marked with dates around the beginning of the 19th century. We also saw a freshly dug hole about 6X4 feet and 3 feet deep. I wonder what that was. Dave and I could think of various creepy explanations 🙂 It was interesting and strange to see this abandoned cemetery in the middle of the desert.

On the way to the cemetery Dave stopped at a spot where they were mining silica. There were large piles of nondescript grayish-white rocks. Dave cracked some of the rocks open and found Apache Tears rocks inside. Pretty cool!

On the way back we stopped for lunch. You can always count on Dave to know good places to eat. We stopped at small ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant called Casa Denogean. I had my first ever bowl of menudo. It was good. Several years ago Dave also introduced me to another cuisine ‘first’; one more unusual than menudo. We had ‘rocky mountain oysters’ at a cattle round up, fried in the same fire used to heat up the branding irons. That’s another story.

The next week we went back again for another bird walk. I was more interested in meeting the leader of the walk, Richard Ditch. Rich is an awesome bird and wildlife photographer. He takes a lot of pictures at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, which is one of my favorite spots. For me, Rich is kind of rock star of photography, so I was happy to meet him. He gave me some good tips, and showed us his photography gear. I think I’ll do a separate post on what I learned from him. To see some of his awesome photographs, go to

Rich and Kathe posted the bird list from the two trips. Here they are:

First weekend: Red-breasted Nuthatch, Western Wood-Pewee and also Marsh Wren were all notable today; other birds seen and heard included Gambel’s Quail, Pied-billed Grebe, Cooper’s Hawk, American Coot, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Northern Flicker (Red-shafted), Red-naped Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Warbling Vireo, Common Raven, Verdin, Bewick’s Wren, Cactus Wren, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Phainopepla, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Abert’s Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch and House Sparrow.

Second weekend: Common Raven, Abert’s Towhee, House Finch, Gila Woodpecker, Curve-billed Thrasher, Verdin, Phainopepla, White-crowned Sparrow, Anna’s Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Canyon Wren, Northern Cardinal, Red-naped Sapsucker, Northern Mockingbird, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gambel’s Quail, Lesser Goldfinch, Black Phoebe, Marsh Wren, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Song Sparrow, Rock Wren, Northern Flicker, Cactus Wren, Hermit Thrush, Bewick’s Wren

Here are the photographs from these trips to the Arboretum:



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  1. Maggie Castellani
    Posted November 3, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Joe! I was looking at some photos in Google about Aravaipa Canyon and came across this beautiful photo of two butterflies. I was admiring the photo and looked to see who had taken it and voila! There was! Hope you are doing well, if you are going to lunch tomorrow I’ll see you there (Guedo’s). I can tell you about a trip into Winkelman/Aravaipa that my neighbor took.


    • Joe
      Posted November 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you liked the photo. I think you probably thought you’d seen it somewhere before (like on my cube wall at work :)). Interesting that your googling brought you to our site! Nice talking to you at Guedo’s today.

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