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.
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.
The rock formations were very unique and Gaan Canyon is quite a large area. Another rock formation looked like E.T.
Besides the pristine interior chaparral, there is beautiful Sonoran desert, riparian, and pinyon-juniper habitat in the canyon.
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.
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 was the first scorpion I’ve seen in Arizona 😉
green winged teal