This tiny natural community of microphyll woodland dominated by Elephant Tree (Bursera microphylla) on the western edge of the Colorado Desert is located entirely within massive Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Specifically, the habitat is best developed along Alma Wash, which crosses Split Mtn. Rd. south of Hwy. 78. Known to ornithologists only since 1999, it is apparently unique in the state, being the northernmost extension of a plant community otherwise restricted to northwest Mexico.
This IBA is notable as the sole wintering ground for Gray Vireo in California. This declining species that nests in desert-slope foothills in southern California was thought to winter exclusively outside the state when biologists from the San Diego Museum of Natural History discovered the population here.
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Elephant Tree Forest is located entirely within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
This tiny natural community of microphyll woodland dominated by Elephant Tree (Bursera microphylla) is on the western edge of the Colorado Desert.