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.
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.)
These are Great Blue Heron nests!
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.
Tony took this photo, above, I love it! The GBH looks almost prehistoric here.
Common Gallinule, above.
Flock of Neotropic Cormorants.
Great Egret in the marsh.
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.
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.)
Snowy Egret fishing.
On the other side of the fence in this photo, above, are the inaccessible ponds.
These Mexican Amberwings were everywhere, sparkling in the sunlight, and they’re tiny, about an inch long, at most.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
If, after all that, you would like to see how Tres Rios works, here is a video: