Tuesday 8 April 2014

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, April 2014

The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix are hosting an exhibition of glass in the gardens with pieces by artist Dale Chihuly liberally scattered throughout the site. 

Plan ahead and you may be able to experience “Chihuly after dark”, which I assume, is a reference to an evening stroll with evocative lighting rather than a sudden encounter with the artist in an unlit alleyway.

The pieces are vibrant and interesting of form, but not really my bag. I only mention them as at noon when the desert light is fierce and burns out colour, the installations certainly brightened the place up and brought a bit of vitality to the photographs.

The birds were dull by comparison and I had to emphasise the bright eyes of the Curve-billed Thrasher to die lieblinge der wüste. 

My beautiful colleagues had invited me to accompany them to the gardens, but they had come to appreciate the ambience and plants rather than birds. Even so, they showed a polite interest; after all, who can ignore an Anna’s Hummingbird feeding from flowers?

Trails leading round the gardens brought Mourning Doves, Phainopepla and Gambell’s Quail. A female caught the attention of a male quail and was chased through the flowerbeds as we watched.

A Gila Woodpecker used the metal of a shade cover to drum out his spring message and a male Anna’s Hummingbird treated us to a J-shaped display flight.

There was a butterfly exhibition at the gardens which we visited for an additional $3.50 each. The butterflies were shipped in from Florida and kept in a polytunnel-type structure. It made for easy pictures, but I would have preferred to have seen more examples of Arizona butterflies.

Bird list for Desert Botanical Gardens; 17

Gambell’s Quail 10, Red-tailed Hawk 1, White-winged Dove 2, Mourning Dove 8, Anna’s Hummingbird 5, Costa’s Hummingbird 1, Gila Woodpecker 6, Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1, Verdin 12, Northern Mockingbird 6, Curve-billed Thrasher 15, Phainopepla 20, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, Great –tailed Grackle 12, House Finch 15, Lesser Goldfinch 1, House Sparrow 8.

The gardens can be found in Papago Park, Phoenix and the following Google Earth ref gives the entrance from the parking lot ( 33 27 44.54N 111 56 40.61W ). Entrance (April 2014) is $22, but a discount can be had with an airline security pass.

A previous post from the gardens can be seen at the link below;

Visit the dedicated USA and Canada page for more posts from Phoenix, including; Madera Canyon and the Riparian Reserveat Gilbert Water Ranch.
Birding, Birdwatching Phoenix, Arizona

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