Tres Ríos


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.)

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.


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


Cattails Close

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule, above.

Cormorant Flock

Flock of Neotropic Cormorants.

Cormorant Fly


G Egret

Great Egret in the marsh.

Dead Tree and Mtns

Cove Longshot_edited-1

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.


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


Hawk Fly




Wings 4


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

TV Fly 3_edited-1

TV Fly 4

TV Fly



Unidentified Birds_edited-1

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:


9 thoughts on “Tres Ríos

  1. What wonderful photos and love your captures of the birds and the Osprey with the! We have geese that fly over our home and I just love to watch them. I have heard that one takes the lead and if one goes down for some reason one will go with it. Not sure if that’s true or not. But birds are amazing. We have had some eagles fly over and around but not experienced with getting closeups..


  2. good evening
    It’s a beautiful place, and it is preserved very well for different species that compose – Very nice pictures of birds in flight, I like – thanks for this discovery and Arizona I discovered over time with you – Good Sunday


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