Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tres Rios Wetlands-Again, 27 May 2012

What to do with a 3 day weekend?  Take advantage of the 3 days and go birding every day to a different location.  Weather was very nice with cool nights and warm days so after the Saturday trip to Sycamore Creek, decided it was time again to check out Tres Rios once more before the summer heat arrives.  Started off the day with a visit with the Burrowing Owls on Burrower's Row, (see previous post) which was done mostly from inside the vehicle.  Then it was time to get out and do some walking.  The west side of Tres Rios is birding by permission only and one has to get prior approval for parking near the gate and then venturing to the west area behind the closed gate.  So with one copy of my permission slip on the dash of my car and one copy in my pocket I headed out once again to explore the area. 

One of the first birds that I photographed was a Peregrine Falcon.  While these raptors are fairly common in the winter in Arizona, it was a bit of a surprise to find one still here at this time of the year.  Many, but not all, migrate to far northern climates for the summer.  And for the first time, I found one that was fairly approachable and allowed me to snap a couple of shots of it.  Their facial pattern is quite remarkable and they look so regal perched up high.

 Peregrine Falcon

Killdeer are so common and seen just about everywhere and really like to be heard.  Many times it is easy to ignore them, but they do some strange things at times maybe to just get attention.  This one was calling to make sure I heard it and then it would run a bit and stop to see if I was watching.  Then it would run a bit more, but this time it decided to try and hide behind a rock, thinking that I was not going to see it, but it did not fool me.  They can be so entertaining to watch their antics.


For those that think we do not have waders in Arizona, I just had to capture a photo of a Great Blue Heron.  These are really very common in Arizona, even though Arizona is part of the Sonoran Desert.  They can be found just about anywhere where there is water with fish.  This area in Tres Rios has a large population of these birds and in fact they even have a tree with a rookery of several nests that raise several young every year.  As this one shows, they quite frequently perch in trees.

Great Blue Heron

Also near this area I found several White-faced Ibis.  Most were easily spooked, but this one was hanging out with some Black-necked Stilts and allowed a bit more time for some photos.  It is a bird that can easily be confused with the Glossy Ibis, but the red eye is a sure sign of a White-faced Ibis.  The white face is evident on breeding adults.

White-faced Ibis

Just a bit past the spillway area is a small area going down near the river and the vegetation is very thick, so I just stood there watching the activity in the trees and during this time I was able to capture a photo of a Song Sparrow and also a Lazuli Bunting.  The bunting is a bird that is so colorful that they just try to make it difficult to those that want to take photos of them.  This photo is not bad, but would have loved to capture a front view with the cinnamon breast band.

Lazuli Bunting

Song Sparrow

Two more photos to round out this outing; one of an Ash-throated Flycatcher and the other of a Common Gallinule.  The flycatcher is a common bird in the summer in Arizona and have a subtle beauty to them even though they are not strong on bold colors.  The Common Gallinule was formally know as the Common Moorhen.  The name change took place just one year ago.  While they look a bit like the American Coot, they definitely have a bit more color to them.  They have already bred here in Arizona as I did see several chicks, but the ever-attentive parents quickly got the chicks to take cover when I approached too closely.

 Ash-throated Flycatcher

Common Gallinule

Will need to make some future trips out there again in the future, but with the heat starting to built for the summer, the trips will become less numerous until the fall night time temps start falling.


  1. Great shots Gordon. You sure do the Tres Rios site justice.

    I've never seen a Peregrine Falcon there, that's awesome! For some reason, the only time I've clearly seen that regal raptor in the U.S. was when one perched on a street light near down town Philadelphia. It was peculiar. You got a nice shot though--I'll definitely be keeping any eye out for that guy and hoping he braves the summer heat (if we can too, of course).

    1. Hope you come back with some great blog topics from PA!

  2. Gordon - did you do bird pictures in NE too? You do an amazing job.

    1. Dee, to be quite honest, I did not do this in Nebraska. Really wish I would have though. I have always loved birds and was interested in them, but just never thought I had time for the hobby, plus you know what other hobby seemed more pressing back then. I missed out on a lot of good years of birding and probably a lot of really good birds over the years. I really enjoy going out in the wild and seeing what I can find and sometimes it isn't all birds. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment!