After exploring the Lower Salt River, we headed to Saguaro Lake, set in the Sonoran Desert and rimmed with canyon walls. It is only about 40 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix.
And…I got a lifer (below)!
Red-winged Blackbird, immature male
The lake is divided into two sections connected by narrows between canyon walls. The above is considered the marina side and the other side is my favorite, Butcher Jones Beach.
The Salt River wild horses, mentioned in my last post, often congregate here on hot, summer days. A lot of people also congregate at this lake all summer long. As you can see, we beat the rush by waiting.
There was a really nice trail there but it was almost dusk so we were not able to go very far on it…maybe next time…it seemed pretty “birdy.”
Great Blue Heron
We were in Page Springs the other day, which is technically in Cornville, close to Cottonwood. It’s known for having Page Springs Hatchery where they raise rainbow trout for sport fishing and for Bubbling Ponds Native Fish Research Facility. Both are owned by Arizona Game and Fish Department and are surrounded by a preserve where AZGFD and the Northern Arizona Audubon Society are engaged in conservation projects for the plants and animals. It is located on Oak Creek and has several miles of well-maintained trails which we were on.
For those of you who have real autumns, these shots won’t be that exciting to you but, in Phoenix, where fall doesn’t produce many changing leaves, we all get excited at fall colors. This area was not at peak yet, unfortunately, but it was still pretty. So here are too many fall shots of the area.
Maybe that was too many…sorry. The Important Bird Area was not full of plentiful birds, of course. No lifers here.
White-crowned Sparrows, male and female
Northern Cardinal, female
Nor did we see the River Otters which are sometimes spotted there.
This area is also known for its many vineyards and wineries.
We didn’t feel right not getting some souvenirs to make up for the lack of birds. It’s always nice to support the local economy…
Oops, I didn’t mean to be gone for so long. I haven’t been out birding much lately due to household issues and numerous chores. Now it’s starting to get really hot (117° coming up this weekend) so I hope I can motivate myself to get back out there or it will be a long, blogless summer.
Fortunately, I have a few recent photos laying around taken in various places, including my yard.
Red-winged Blackbird, male
Fountain Hills, AZ, is home to a world-famous fountain that operates daily and shoots water 562 feet high. I was there on December 15th and today, New Year’s Day, Tony and I went back. Fountain Park is a beautiful place with a 29 acre lake and the park is filled with sculptures and recreation areas. It has changed a lot since the last time I was there years ago. This is my favorite sculpture there:
But…the reason I initially went was because I wanted to see these guys, and I did…fun-loving Hooded Mergansers, a lifer. Both drakes and hens were there.
The second lifer I saw there was this female Common Goldeneye:
And the third lifer I saw, today, to start out 2016, was this Eared Grebe.
Love those red eyes. And I also saw these guys:
Ruddy Duck, male
Ruddy Duck, female
Northern Shovelers, churning up their food
The first day I was there, which was cold and windy, I also saw these birds:
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Red-winged Blackbird, male
House Sparrow, female
I hope the new year has started out fortuitously for you, too.
Gilded Flicker, male
I go to several urban parks on a regular basis. Weekly I head over to Granada Park, the closest to my house, but I also visit several others. Here are a few friends I met over the last month, mostly at Granada but also 4 other parks.
Gambel’s Quail, female
Rosy-Faced Lovebird, juvenile
Black Phoebe, chowing down
Gila Woodpecker, female
Brown-Headed Cowbird, female
House Finch, yellow variety
I guess these guys, above, must be Mallard hybrids (or domestic ducks), but they’re funny, always swimming together and looking similar but different. Must be related.
And another little buddy that I see at the park often, Georgie, a water dog: