Oak Flat and Gaan (Devil’s) Canyon, Superior, Arizona – March 6, 2016

I went on a field trip with the Maricopa Audubon Society to document birds, plants, and wildlife in an area of Tonto National Forest that is planned to be a future mine site. Nine people went on the trip and we saw about 35 species of birds; along with lizards, rock squirrels, white-nosed coati, a canyon treefrog, scorpions, fish, and insects. We had to take 4-wheel drive vehicles over some rough terrain to get into the canyon. The rock formations and different environments we walked through were spectacular.

These types of rock formations were abundant in Gaan Canyon and the Oak Flat area

A large deposit of copper is located below these beautiful rock formations and a large section of once public land is now privately owned. The area is sacred land to the San Carlos Apaches and is a very popular rock-climbing and recreational area. If you would like to learn more about this controversial mine try searching the internet for: Oak Flat Recreation Area in Superior, AZ and/or Resolution Copper and  you’ll be able to find different resources.

We named this rock “Poodle Rock”

The rock formations were very unique and Gaan Canyon is quite a large area. Another rock formation looked like E.T.

Pristine interior chaparral

Besides the pristine interior chaparral, there is beautiful Sonoran desert, riparian, and pinyon-juniper habitat in the canyon.

White-nosed coati

This is the first white-nosed coati I’ve seen in Arizona. It reminded me of a lemur from Madagascar. They are related to raccoon’s. Supposedly they are not very rare; we saw two more crossing the road later in the day.

Canyon treefrog

The canyon treefrog blends in very nicely with the rock it is sitting on. When the frog moves you can see the skin on the inside hind legs is bright yellow and stands out very much.

This may be a bark scorpion

This was the first scorpion I’ve seen in Arizona 😉

Bird List:

spotted towhee

ruby-crowned kinglet

vermillion flycatcher

American coot

black phoebe

green winged teal

Gambel’s quail

white-throated swift

Anna’s hummingbird

American kestral

cinnamon  teal

common raven

black-chinned sparrow

black-throated sparrow


Bewick’s wren

ring-necked duck

cactus wren

song sparrow

red-tailed hawk

yellow-rumped warbler


canyon towhee


white-crowned sparrow

canyon wren

rock wren

lesser goldfinch

Gila woodpecker

ladder-backed woodpecker

brewers sparrow

Say’s phoebe

Crissal thrasher






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