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 on February 05, 2017 05:27 AM by stevejones stevejones

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Greythorn (Sarcomphalus obtusifolius var. canescens)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:01 AM MST

Tags

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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Photos / Sounds

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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Photos / Sounds

What

Triangle-leaf Bursage (Ambrosia deltoidea)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:03 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Redstem 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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Photos / Sounds

What

Big Bursage (Ambrosia ambrosioides)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:15 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Velvet Mesquite (Neltuma velutina)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:16 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

What

Mesquite Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:17 AM MST

Description

Male plant

Photos / Sounds

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

What

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:25 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:26 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:30 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:31 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:35 AM MST

Tags

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

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:55 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Ironwood (Olneya tesota)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 11:58 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Graham's Nipple Cactus (Cochemiea 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.

Tags

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.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

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

Arizona Jointfir (Ephedra fasciculata)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:55 PM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:55 PM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus)

Observer

stevejones

Date

February 4, 2017 12:56 PM MST

Tags

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

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

Spiny Hackberry (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

Tags

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

What

Combseeds (Genus Pectocarya)

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

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

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 over 7 years ago

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