Migration time is here and if one is serious about seeing some different birds, one must get out and check out some of the regular hot spots to see what might be passing through. Ellen joined me once again and I wanted to check out the Glendale Recharge Ponds again to see if one of the local rarities might still be hanging around, a Roseate Spoonbill. This is bird that is most seen as a regular species along the gulf coastal areas of Texas and Florida. Occasionally, it seems that a juvenile gets off course somewhere and ventures into the desert of the American Southwest. A juvenile showed up at the Glendale Recharge Ponds back in 2010 and hung around for a few months, but did not spend all of its time at the ponds but further west in the valley in the Buckeye/Arlington area. This new one first appeared in August of this year and had been seen off and on by several birders in the few weeks since it was first spotted. When we arrived at the Ponds, we were surprised to find another couple of birders that we know very well, Keith and Lindsey Story. So we ended up being a four-some and we counted well over 45 species on this adventure.
As we were checking the ponds, sure enough the target bird came flying in and landed at the southern end of the pond to our south. We were getting really good views of it through Lindsey's scope (thank you Lindsey!) when it decided to take to the air and it headed right in our direction and flew over us giving us one of the best views I had ever seen of this unusual but gorgeous bird. It landed in the pond just to north of us and I got photos of the fly-over and also in the water. Definitely a rare bird for Arizona.
The first bird that I actually photographed that day was a Green Heron that thought it was hiding from us under a clump of grass.
Also making the rounds looking for fish was an Osprey, which had found a perch on an electrical pole and looks like it was having a 'bad hair day', but in reality was just dealing with the wind.
As we worked our way to the west side of the ponds toward the riparian area of the Agua Fria river, we came upon this Roseate Skimmer. Not too many creatures with the word 'Roseate' in their name, but we found 2 at the same place on the same day.
We also found many Wilson's Phalaropes busy feasting, but I have decided to feature them in a separate post as they are one of the most enjoyable water water birds to observe. Another bird that had been reported at this location recently was a Marbled Godwit, with a bad leg. This was the bird that Lindsey had come to try and find as it would be a new life bird for her. We searched and searched, but could not find it. Then as we stopped and were visiting a couple of biker riders, we heard Lindsey remark, 'I got it!' Sure enough, she had found it in her scope. We got some good views of it along the water's edge and also flying and we could clearly see that it did have something wrong with its right leg. My photo shows that the right leg is bent backwards as if it is severely dis-jointed or possibly broken. We have no idea what might have happened to it, but it is a sad feeling to see a bird handicapped like this. It hobbles arond on one leg when working the shoreline feeding, but when it has to fly, it has no trouble at all. Really going to be a tough life for it and its survival rate is definitely in question.
Our visit to the look over into the riparian area added several species of birds, many of them too far away for photos, but we did see a couple of Greater Roadrunners, and although they were quite a distance away, I did capture a good enough photo of one to post in this edition of my blog. Always a fun bird to find and observe.
Going to have to go back to this place as there are a couple of other species out there that I missed on this trip.