Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Gilbert Riparian Water Preserve - 9 January 2013
Another post on another regular spot and an easy place to visit. The Gilbert Riparian Water Preserve, (aka GWR or Gilbert Water Ranch) is a birding spot one should not miss when visiting Arizona. Always has a lot of the regular in-season, local birds, but many times some rarities decide to pay a visit, such as the Winter Wren from a few posts back (and to my knowledge is still there, but being a bit more discreet). The latest bird that decided to camp out here was a Northern Parula. This is a bird of eastern United States, but just about every year a few wander to the west for the fall and winter. Many birders got great views of it and many also got some great photos, but for many reasons I was not able to get there and look for it until about a week ago before the cold temps kicked in. It was pretty well known what area it was hanging out, so of course that was my priority location when I arrived and sure enough it made its regular appearance where I got great looks at it. It definitely made me work for my photos (as most warblers do), and although it did not come to the front of a tree and pose in full sunlight for me, the photos are adequate enough for a positive ID.
Along with the Northern Parula there was another visitor in the same area that should not have been there. A male Yellow Warbler has been hanging out in the same vicinity. This bird should have been much further south, like maybe Mexico, not in Arizona for the winter. The Yellow Warbler was even more difficult to photograph for the simple fact it did not stay in the area for a very long time. So I had to settle for a photo with a lot of branches in front of the bird.
After seeing these two wonderful warblers, my wanderings then veered to some of the ponds to find a couple of specialty waterfowl; a Common Merganser female and a Hooded Merganser female. Neither species is considered rare in Arizona, but they are a bit uncommon compared to some of the ducks, which includes Mallards which is probably the most common duck throughout the entire United States.
Also could not help but taking a couple of photos of some birds in the trees; a male Anna's Hummingbird and a female Red-winged Blackbird. The later bird has stymied more than one novice birder in trying to identify it as it looks so much different than the male of this species.