Papago Park

Blue Dfly

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Roseate Skimmer

Dashers and Darners and Skimmers, oh, my! These photos are from a couple of visits to Papago Park last weekend. Papago Park is where The Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden are located. Its 1500 acres (mostly located in Phoenix but a smaller section in Tempe) also include Hole in the Rock, the first governor of Arizona’s tomb, sandstone buttes, hiking trails, a golf course, and 6 acres of stocked ponds. The ponds are where all this action took place. (Click photos for more detail.)

Duck Drink

Killdeer

Killdeer

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

American Coot

American Coot

Mallard Fly

Longview

Driftwood

Red-Eared Slider

Red-Eared Slider

Longview 2

Blue Dasher

RS

Flame Skimmer

And, yes, there were colorful dragonflies everywhere!

Trunk

And the star of the ponds, for me, was this Green Heron, not quite an adult but almost there. While I find Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and Black-Crowned Night Herons pretty often, the Green Herons have eluded me (although I did get one a few weeks ago in shadow).

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Such a handsome little guy…These ponds attract a lot of wildlife and aren’t too far from where I live so I’ll be heading back there soon…

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Tres Ríos

Stream

I’ve found my new favorite place in town: Tres Rios Overbank Wetlands. Tres Rios is 480 acres of constructed emergent wetlands at the confluence of the Salt, Gila, and Agua Fria Rivers in far west Phoenix. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers, the primary goals are flood protection for the local residents and habitat restoration for native animals. The water source for Tres Rios is highly treated effluent from the City of Phoenix’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. All the plants are native to Arizona. You can read more about Tres Rios here.

Mtns

I have far more photos in this post than I normally do so I’ll try not to write much. Someday this area will have ramadas and restrooms and be open to the public but right now it is (easily-obtained) permit only. Tony and I were the only humans there last Sunday. I can’t wait to go back when it’s cooler and full of even more birds and wildlife. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Nests in Tree

These are Great Blue Heron nests!

Nests Close

GBH Barb

And speaking of GBHs, there are a lot of them there. They like the marshy areas but they kept flying off and going into the inaccessible-to-humans pond areas when they saw us.

GBH Fly

Tony took this photo, above, I love it! The GBH looks almost prehistoric here.

GBH Fly

Cattails Close

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule, above.

Cormorant Flock

Flock of Neotropic Cormorants.

Cormorant Fly

Marsh

G Egret

Great Egret in the marsh.

Dead Tree and Mtns

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Lilies and Reeds

Osprey Fish

I didn’t know the Osprey had a fish until I looked at the photo later (not very sharp). Another one, below, is enjoying his fish in the tree.

Osprey Tree Fish

Ibis Flock

White-Faced Ibis, above and below. The 300mm lens is beginning to seem too puny. (You can see their curved bills by clicking on the photos.)

Ibis Redo

S Egret

Snowy Egret fishing.

Sunflower

Marsh 2

Marsh 3

On the other side of the fence in this photo, above, are the inaccessible ponds.

Mexican Amberwing Dfly 3

These Mexican Amberwings were everywhere, sparkling in the sunlight, and they’re tiny, about an inch long, at most.

Reeds and Water

Rockbed

Hawk Fly

Cove

Formation

Lilies

Wings 4

Lizard

Rushing Water

TV 4

I think this photo, above, and the next 4, below, is of a Turkey Vulture. They are plentiful at Tres Rios but some of these may be hawks also.

TV Fly 2

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TV Fly 4

TV Fly

Longview

UFO

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Pinkish Bird

I have no clue what the birds in the above 3 photos are. I do have 2 birding field guides ordered so I can get good at this stuff. If you have a guess, please tell me.

Longview 2

This place is just stunningly beautiful to me…I can’t wait to go back. It’s the best riparian location I’ve been. Blue skies, mountains, water, birds and other wildlife, it’s awesome!

Bubbling Water

Here’s an aerial view of Tres Rios. Most of those ponds are inaccessible to humans but there is still a huge area that is accessible. (Credit for below photo here.)

Tres Rios Aerial

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If, after all that, you would like to see how Tres Rios works, here is a video:

Back to the Falls

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I went back to Arizona Falls a couple of weeks ago because I heard there were Green Herons there. Well, they must have been out and about fishing when I was there because I saw none.

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I last wrote about Arizona Falls here. Located on the canal, it is a functional hydroelectric plant that furnishes power for 150 homes as well as a public art project called WaterWorks.

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There are 2 sets of falls here but there are also some smaller falls. Arizona Falls has been in existence since the early 1900s (in different incarnations) when it used to be a popular picnic destination.

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This photo, below, is from my post several years ago but gives you an idea of the current structure. Only one of the falls was running that day.

AZ Falls Distance

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I had to amuse myself with capturing water effects and experimenting with shutter speeds.

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Spotted Sandpiper 2

The star of the day, for me, was this Spotted Sandpiper, since I’ve never photographed one before.

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Gotta get a few more birds in…

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This is an interesting and strange place but I would have enjoyed a little more bird action since that seems to be my preference lately.

Chillaxin’ at a Tiny Lake

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On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, I left work early and drove home by a different route. I had forgotten about this very small lake in Scottsdale and have not been there in years. I had a feeling someone special might be there and I was right. It always seems special to me to see a beautiful Great Egret.

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I love the catchlight in his eye above (click photo to enlarge).

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He found my interest annoying and flew to the other side but that didn’t daunt me, I followed him around…although I had to walk :)

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He was so gorgeous I couldn’t stop snapping and he was kind enough to let me get fairly close.

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This was my first glimpse of him, above. It almost looks like autumn but it’s nowhere near to it here in Phoenix.

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A squirrel family resides there, too. I saw several but they were shy and ran back down their hole.

Mallard Closeup

And ducks, of course, congregate anywhere there is water. This female Mallard had just hopped out of the water (click to see the water drops on her feathers).

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Such a quiet little secluded lake. A couple people were fishing when I arrived but they left and, other than animals, I only saw one or 2 others riding their bicycles through. A perfect beginning to a holiday weekend…

August in My Yard

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As August draws to an end and we head into autumnal September here are some  shots taken in my yard over the last few days. When I sit out there on weekend mornings to see who might drop by, I am usually rewarded. (Click on photos for more detail.)

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I would guess that most any little piece of land must have the same sort of diversity and frequency of visitors if you are looking for them. I know that photography has helped me to be more aware of the world around me.

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The Harris’ Hawks often swoop by briefly.

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Lately the Northern Mockingbirds seem more sparse than usual and I hope they will come back in full force because I enjoy their antics.

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Female Verdin, above.

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Male Verdin, above. This cute tiny couple loves to eat at the hummingbird feeders, too.

Gila Wdpkr

The Gila Woodpecker (above) has made several forays into our silk oak tree but he quickly flies off so I haven’t captured him well yet. Here is one I photographed at Desert Botanical Garden a few months ago. I hope this handsome guy will let me get a better shot of him at some point.

Forest Cat

Okay, this is a slight cheat above…I was in my yard but the Phoenician Forest Cat was right across the street in my neighbor’s yard. He’s a beautiful cat and, oddly, he isn’t ours. He never seems to come to our house for food so I am assuming/hoping he is someone’s cat. He (or she) is very prettily marked. I loved the way he was in shadow but the sun hit him as he looked up.

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There was a time a couple of years ago when I thought the hummingbirds were elusive. They must be used to us now because I can often get very close to them.