We went to Lake Pleasant Regional Park, northwest of Phoenix, last week. What I mostly wanted to see were the wild burros and we did! The herd is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and there are anywhere from 480-600 from what I’ve read. They are descendants of burros brought over from South Africa in the 1600s. 100 wild burros (jacks) were freeze marked and 55 jennies (female burros) were radio collared to help study and monitor the herd. Some are removed at times and put up for adoption while living and being cared for at a BLM facility. You can read more about this program here.
This is the trail we hiked to try to find them. We didn’t see any there but, fortunately, we saw them even before we started hiking. It was extra nice to see them with some wildflowers around; they looked especially cute frolicking through the flowers.
And we actually saw a few birds!
Red-winged Blackbird (female)
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (at least the flowers are in focus)
And a few other critters crossed our path:
Painted Lady Butterfly
Checkered White Butterfly
Common Side-blotched Lizard (check out his tongue!)
And we saw the lake, too, of course! This is a lake I used to go sailing on back in the mid-1980s…all the time…almost every weekend for 3-4 years. Since then it has been enlarged a lot so it didn’t really look at all familiar. The lake now covers 10,000 acres and is fed by the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct which diverts water from the Colorado River as well as the Agua Fria River. It was pretty cloudy when we were there and not many boats were on the lake.
New Waddell Dam
The new dam submerged the older, much smaller dam.
This is a 4 shot panorama of the lake. You can see a larger version of it on my Flickr. It was fascinating to see how the lake has changed, I loved everything we saw.