Sunday, November 18, 2012
Mesa/Chandler Canal - 18 Nov 2012
Was not able to get out and about this past weekend like I usually do, due to an out-of-state house guest, but once in while it is really nice to see and visit old friends. Had a free afternoon on Sunday, and I needed some good exercise, so I took off and spent a couple of hours on the hiking/biking trail between Mesa and Chandler. One of my FB friends suggested this place as they had seen quite a few species of birds during their biking on the trail, including kingfishers. Well I struck out on the kingfishers today, but still had a good time and came away with some great photos of a Greater Yellowlegs. This is not a rare bird by any means in Arizona in the winter months. This bird was found at a small pond at Carriage Lane Park. Normally I would not expect to find one of these birds at such a small pond, but there it was, across the pond from me and as I tried to walk around the pond to close the distance, it would move further away, so I finally gave up and walked back to the south side and was getting ready to leave when it decided to fly to my side of the pond. As I stood there shooting photos, it was putting on quite a show for me by strutting, posturing and even calling, all the while keeping a close eye on me and my actions. It was one of those fun moments when you feel like the bird and you are communicating in some sort of weird way. This is the first time that I can remember seeing one of these birds with feet out of the water and noticing their black toenails.
A couple of other fairly common wading birds were also seen such as the Great Blue Heron and the Green Heron. It was easy to see why they were there as the canal was full of fish and even some of the fish allowed their photo to be taken.
Great Blue Heron
2 birds of prey were encountered including an Osprey that was not very cooperative for a photo and the American Kestrel was perched high up on a pool.
Ground birds were common birds as well which included a Killdeer which is quite a striking bird once one sees all the beautiful markings on them.
While this trip did not include anything new or rare, the point to becoming a better birder is to expose oneself to even the common birds and learn more of their behavior and their habitats. In this case, I saw some different behaviour with the Greater Yellowlegs than I had in the past and it is a very fond memory for this species and they have become much easier to identify from a distance from the Lesser Yellowlegs which is remarkably similar in appearance, although not quite as common as the Greater Yellowlegs in Arizona.