Some rare birds have been at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve (Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch) for the last few weeks and are still there. They are very unusual for Arizona as they are eastern U.S. birds. My birding friend, Marika, and I went there two weeks ago. I knew exactly where they were reported in the preserve~down to the exact trees and bench by the trees. We sat on the bench and all 3 of them came to us. They were all extremely fast and flighty and blended in with the cottonwood leaves so it was still challenging to get some photos.
It was pretty exciting to find them all. There were a couple more rare birds also reported there but we were unable to find those. Nevertheless, we were very pleased. I still may go back there soon.
This bird, above, is not uncommon here in the winter but I always like to see them. Last March Marika and I also went birding at the preserve and didn’t have as lucky of a day but I never posted any photos from that visit, basically because I had so few but here they are…
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
And I also have a few photos from a trip I took to the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden back in late October. I was happy to see the bird below. It’s only the third time I’ve seen this species. They are not very common here but they are not considered rare. This particular bird posed very nicely for me for several minutes.
Here are a couple more from that day…
Trying to catch up with the surplus of photos I have from 2017…hard to believe the year is coming to a close, isn’t it?
Despite mentioning in my last post that the Glendale Recharge Ponds are not my favorite place, I was back there one day last week. My birding friend, Samantha, wanted to look for the Long-tailed Duck reported there (that I could not find a few days prior when I went). She’s really good at finding birds so I wanted to go, too. We actually had 2 other target birds that day, at other locations farther west of the ponds: White-tailed Kites (2 have been reported) and a Tundra Swan. I was also really hoping to find some Western Meadowlarks and Western Bluebirds as they have been seen in the places we were going. All would be Lifers for me. But…
However, I had a 6 lifer day anyway! Samantha has more birds on her life list than I do so she was not so lucky. Here’s what I got at Glendale Recharge Ponds:
I was most excited about these two:
I saw these cute guys before we left:
We then drove several miles to our second location in search of Kites. No such luck but I did get one other lifer there and have a really bad shot to prove it:
Then we drove several more miles to where we hoped to see the Tundra Swan. No such luck again but we did see these guys and there were lifers, for me, among them. I saw them slightly better with my binoculars than these photos show.
Since we had already gone so far, we decided to make one other stop a few more miles away referred to as the “Thrasher Spot.” I had never been there but Samantha had with much success. It’s a nondescript little area known for a variety of thrashers, Horned Larks, and a few other less common birds but they all seemed to be taking afternoon naps by the time we got there. We saw hardly any birds and nothing unusual.
The most exciting thing I saw there was this mistletoe cluster in a mesquite tree with a tiny bird in the upper right corner. However, despite getting zero target birds, 6 lifers in one day was awesome!
These cute guys show up in the Phoenix area in the winter but they’re so fast that it’s often hard to get a clear shot. However, this little guy was very cooperative the other day at the Desert Botanical Garden and almost seemed to enjoy my attention. So did this guy, who let me get about a foot away from him:
Costa’s Hummingbird, male
I never see Costa’s in my yard. We have many Anna’s year-round and a couple Black-chinned in the spring.
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male
My little yellow yard bird has done many cute things lately.
Orange-crowned Warbler, male
And the tiny Verdins are always busy and love their fruit:
House Finch, female
House Finch, male
Did you know that House Finches were originally a southwestern bird but can now be found all over the US? I just found that out recently.
I’ve been to two places in the last week looking for specific Lifers and didn’t find either! I’m declaring two 2017 Goals here:
Find at least 60 Lifers (this will require more day trips but as Tony is now retired, he is willing to come along to interesting places).
Volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden for at least 100 hours (which isn’t really much over a 52 week period).
Do you have any goals you want to put into writing this year?
The above bird was seen at Glendale Xeriscape Garden (on a very windy day). I’ve been to quite a few locations in the past couple of weeks looking for birds but didn’t get enough good shots at any to make a post on their own so the theme here is “pretty lighting.”
Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center:Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Tempe Town Lake:Verdin
Desert Botanical Garden:House Finch, juvenile
Round-tailed Ground Squirrel
Glenrosa Estates (our yard):Abert’s Towhee
Common-checkered and Fiery Skippers
Gila Woodpecker, male
Black-chinned Hummingbird, male
*I’m adding this post to the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge because it represents how I view the Earth through my lens. Check some of the other blog posts out.