A Red Letter Day

gb-heron_edited-1Great Blue Heron

great-egretGreat Egret

stilt_edited-1Black-necked Stilt

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:

greater-yellowlegs-2Greater Yellowlegs

solitary-sandpiperSolitary Sandpiper

I was most excited about these two:



savannah-sparrow-3Savannah Sparrow

pipit-1_edited-1American Pipit

I saw these cute guys before we left:


ocwa-creosoteOrange-crowned Warbler

says-phoebeSay’s Phoebe

black-phoebeBlack Phoebe

sparrow-songSong Sparrow

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:

vesper-sparrow_edited-1Vesper Sparrow

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.

snow-geeseSnow Geese

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!



Spring at Papago

Green Heron 2

Green Heron

Cooper's 2

Cooper's 6


Sharp-Shinned or Cooper’s Hawk (hard to distinguish)


Common Gallinule

Pond Slider

Red-Eared Pond Slider

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Egret 2

Egret 3_edited-1

Great Egret


Lesser Scaup

Ring-Necked Duck

Ring-Necked Duck

Grebe 3


Pied-Billed Grebe

Flicker 2

Northern Flicker

Cactus Flower

Green Heron

I spent the first day of spring at Papago Park and made a brief visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, which is in the park. Not much luck there as it was later in the day and packed with people but the ponds at the park made for a decent day of birding. I have a 3-day weekend and I’m planning to go shooting somewhere everyday. More photos to come, I hope…

Happy Spring!

Tres Ríos, Tres



We went back to Tres Rios Overbank Wetlands for the third time a couple of weeks ago (1st time, 2nd time). You can have good days, with tons of birds, or bad days there, with little bird activity. We were not there at the primo time so things were kind of slow.


Great Blue Heron

Blue-Winged Teals

Blue-Winged Teals, hen and drake




Red-Tailed Hawk



Snowy Egret





But we did see who I specifically went there to see. Yes, we do have pelicans (American White Pelican) in Arizona, at least this time of year. There were several there and they are at other places in town, including Gilbert Riparian Preserve and Tempe Town Lake.


They were shy and stayed way back in the area that is inaccessible to the public, where the water is not completely treated yet, behind fences. They’re huge compared to the other birds.





They do emerge from the fenced areas, goof-ishly flying around and coming in for landings.


Painted Lady Butterfly

And the butterflies have begun making their spring appearance…

An Egret Study




On the same cloudy and rainy day that I got the first 2 photos in my last 2 posts (Flicker, Goose), I was able to hang out with this Great Egret at my favorite park, Granada. It’s the first time I’ve seen an egret at that particular park and, as I was leaving a little later, I saw this one and a buddy head back to the lake.

Crop Face


I never get tired of watching egrets (and herons) even though they are fairly commonplace and I especially like when one lets me close to it for awhile. Well, until they get skittish or annoyed and take off.



CHOMP! Okay, not really, no ducks were harmed or eaten and he/she wasn’t even trying to get the duck, just an optical illusion…but entertaining.



This egret is in full breeding plumage. More than 95 percent of the Great Egrets in North America were killed for their plumes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Plume-hunting was banned, for the most part, around 1910, and Great Egret populations quickly began to recover.

The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.