Tonto anomalies

Today I walked an area in the Tonto National Forest near the Verde River, thinking that the lower elevation (480M) location would have more spring ephemerals in bloom. That turned out not to be true, but it was an interesting walk anyway. The fenced area east of the road to Needle Rock is some of the most cow-beat land I've seen. Horse-beat these days, as the cattle are gone, but there are plenty of horse tracks and a lot of manure. They're even eating ironwood. Non-native Schismus is the ubiquitous ground cover. But just across the road to the west is an entirely different landscape; a mature Arizona Upland community with many large buckhorn chollas, numerous ironwoods, and saguaros of many age classes. And very few non-natives.

The mesquite bosque above the Verde there is in terrible condition. Lots of beat-up mesquites, and lots of mistletoe in them. Interestingly, because of that, there was a larger number of birds in the area - phainopepla and Gila woodpeckers especially. They favor the fruit of the desert mistletoe. There were deep gullies dug into in the sandy river deposits. Some of them were filled with trash.

West of the road was remarkably different. Though not fenced off from the road, it's only disturbed by one dirt road traversing the area. There were young and old trees, shrubs and cacti. While there may have been fewer birds, there were definitely more species - house finches, gnatcatchers, verdins (no photo), cactus wrens (same) and thrashers. There were also potsherds, tools and other Hohokam relics; the area is near a large Hohokam community know locally as Azatlan.

Posted by stevejones stevejones, February 05, 2017 05:27

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Graythorn Ziziphus obtusifolia var. canescens

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:01 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Desert-Thorn Lycium exsertum

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 10:59 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Ironwood Olneya tesota

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:01 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Buckhorn Cholla Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:02 AM MST

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What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:03 AM MST

Description

Young saguaro; closeup shows new rib arising.

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What

Triangle-leaf Bursage Ambrosia deltoidea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:03 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Stork's-Bill Erodium cicutarium

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:04 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Anderson Thornbush Lycium andersonii

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:08 AM MST

Description

Rare in the area

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Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Palo Verde Parkinsonia florida

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:14 AM MST

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What

Big Bur-Sage Ambrosia ambrosioides

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:15 AM MST

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What

Velvet Mesquite Prosopis velutina

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:16 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Mistletoe Phoradendron californicum

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:17 AM MST

Description

Male plant

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What

Fourwing Saltbush Atriplex canescens

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:18 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

California Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:20 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:25 AM MST

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Square

What

Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:26 AM MST

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Square

What

Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:30 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:31 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Gila Woodpecker Melanerpes uropygialis

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:35 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

American Kestrel Falco sparverius

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:43 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:49 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Buckhorn Cholla Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:50 AM MST

Description

Very large, dense and mature community of buckhorn chollas. Last photo shows fruit on the ground.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Buckhorn Cholla Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:52 AM MST

Description

Young plant

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:55 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Ironwood Olneya tesota

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:58 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Graham's Fishhook Cactus Mammillaria grahamii

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:10 PM MST

Description

Rare in the area; this is the only group seen.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Little-leaved Palo Verde Parkinsonia microphylla

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:58 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Buckhorn Cholla Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:09 PM MST

Description

Residual fleshy fruit with red color; perhaps a Cylindropuntia leptocaulis was a 4th-great-grandplant. But definitely this species.

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Photos / Sounds

What

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:01 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Chuparosa Justicia californica

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:12 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

California Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:13 PM MST

Description

Large plant.

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:20 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:26 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Creosote Bush Larrea tridentata

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:30 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:37 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:53 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Mormon Tea Ephedra fasciculata

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:55 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:55 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

California Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:56 PM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:56 PM MST

Description

Curious specimen. Perhaps the nurse plant for this saguaro was an ironwood tree; maybe the branches were carried along as the cactus grew. Ironwood takes a long time to break down due to toxic material in the wood.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Desert-Thorn Lycium exsertum

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:58 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Western Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:59 PM MST

Description

Lycium exsertum flowers

Photos / Sounds

What

Coulter's Brickellbush Brickellia coulteri

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:10 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Granjeño Celtis pallida

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:12 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Triangle-leaf Bursage Ambrosia deltoidea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:15 PM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Palmer's Indian Mallow Abutilon palmeri

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:21 PM MST

Description

Single population under a tree. Healthy plants, though.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:22 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Curve-billed Thrasher Toxostoma curvirostre

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:27 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:35 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:36 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:38 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Black Harvester Ant Veromessor pergandei

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:40 PM MST

Description

Small black harvester ant about 7 mm long. Note the caterpillar upper right of the nest entrance in the second photo.

Photos / Sounds

What

Brittlebush Encelia farinosa

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:42 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:45 PM MST

Description

Another with atypically bent spines.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 01:46 PM MST

Description

Sickly-looking arm arising low on the trunk.

Tags

Comments

Thumb

I am surprised, too, here in Tucson that their is virtually nothing blooming. Usually we can expect to see the first of the brittle bush blooming. Also dale greggii should be blooming but I only found one yesterday.

Posted by desertdutchman almost 3 years ago (Flag)

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