In mid April, my friend Joy treated me to a day at Boyce Thompson Arboretum where we hiked and spotted familiar Arizona birds like the red Cardinal and black Phainopepla. Joy also pointed out some birds that even now, after having photographed them, I would be challenged to identify on my own like the not-so-common-to-Arizona Hermit Warbler.
When we arrived, Joy handed me a bottle of water and a baggie with trail mix of nuts, raisins and M&Ms for my backpack and that set the tone for the day where I could just relax and allow someone else to guide and nurture me.
Joy is an avid birder who volunteers for the Arizona Audubon society and it was a total treat to have her invite me for a day out together in such an enchanting place complete with a tea and cookies (which she brought from home) break in the picnic area where she helped me spot a Vermillion Flycatcher that I would have easily mistaken for a cardinal as it flew by.
After we set off on the path, I noticed that Joy spotted the birds first with her ears. She would follow the sound and scan the trees explaining that some birds are ventriloquists. Surrounded by mountains, sounds also echoed, and the place to look was sometimes behind us.
The birds were busy gathering materials for their nests with males in full plumage singing their hearts out hoping to impress a willing mate.
Capturing non-blurry photos with a telephoto lens and no tripod was a challenge as birds vibrated with the happiness of spring. What was impossible to miss was the total sense of well-being that this vibration imparted on my soul.
And the demonstration garden was nothing short of inspiring.
I can’t say enough good things about the park so I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
The day was a like a field trip. Sadly, many children today (and even grownups who take life too seriously and work hard) don’t get to experience the magic of being in nature and learning in the field. Having said that, we came across a few school groups made up of boisterous and very noisy children and teachers that made me grateful for a Montessori education when my children were younger.
Today on the news, I heard that a 500 acre fire in the Arboretum has been raging since Mother’s day… It has been extremely dry and windy here in Arizona after having had a lot of rain earlier this year. Conditions that raise the possibility for wild fires. I hope that this one will be contained in time because the Arboretum is nothing short of magical and I hope to visit again.
Updates are being posted on the Arboretum’s website. The park was closed today.
If you feel so moved, leave a comment and maybe we can plan a group outing together.
And, last but not least. Thank you Joy!