Pushing the Limits: Bird walk in the bosque

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By John Hernandez

A group of nature lovers met one early Saturday afternoon at the Mammoth Public Library for a walk through the mesquite bosque along the San Pedro River. The Bird Walk in the Bosque was part of the Pushing the Limits program sponsored by the Mammoth Library.

The walk was guided by Celeste Andresen of the Nature Conservancy. Celeste led the group on trails that have been cut through the thick groves of mesquite. She listened for the calls of birds to identify them and hopefully point them out to the group. Celeste talked about the bosque and answered questions about some of the plants that grow in the area and animals that use the bosque as their habitat.

A bosque is a type of forest that grows along a corridor of a river or wetland that projects into an area that is bare or sparsely treed such as a desert. Bosque is Spanish for woodlands.

The mesquite bosque near Mammoth is located on the 7B Ranch. It is part of 3,050 acres along the San Pedro River. It is possibly the largest and oldest mesquite bosque in Arizona. It is part of the proposed Resolution Copper Project land exchange. It is considered a part of the Lower San Pedro global important bird area.

Many species of birds and other wildlife are found in the area. Many migratory birds including rare species visit the bosque annually.

It was a nice warm day for the bird walk. Although the group did not spot many birds it was an enjoyable and educational time. The warm weather also brought out a surprise visitor in the form of a small rattlesnake that was sunning itself on the trail. This probably focused are attention more on the ground than the trees where the birds were during the rest of the walk.

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