Monday, January 21, 2013
Veteran's Oasis Park - 20 Jan 2013
This is a location that I probably don't visit often enough. It is a relatively new park with ponds of recycled water in Chandler, AZ and this last visit proved to me that it keeps getting better with age. Ponds had more water in them than my past few visits and of course that attracts a lot of waterfowl in the winter time as many species spend their winters in this area and head north in the spring for their breeding grounds. The water birds also bring many predatory birds and other predators as well. This place has the highest concentration of Jack Rabbits that I have seen in AZ. Along with the rabbits, this is usually almost always a great place to see the Greater Roadrunner. And just like the old cartoons, the battle with the Coyote and the Roadrunner continues to this day. We still don't have a clear winner as I found the Coyote first and the Roadrunner next.
Speaking of predatory birds, the Northern Harriers were in constant flight until one decided to land at the edge of one of the ponds. I approached very cautiously and slowly stepped around some bushes to find it resting on the ground.
The last predator is not quite as fierce looking, but is a favorite of many people and this place is almost always one of the most assured places to find the Burrowing Owl. They have easily taken to the man-made nesting area that has been installed at this location. Most people walking on the trails do not even see them as they sit so quite and still. People think they are just rocks on the ground.
Lots of waterfowl all over the ponds and my best photos were of a pair of Blue-winged Teal sliding silently through the water. This species is a bit more uncommon than the Green-winged Teal in AZ in the winter. The Green-winged Teal are quite abundant. And I learned long ago, not to pass up a photo of an elegant Northern Pintail. They may not be decked out in bright colors, but they look so elegant and refined.
While I was concentrating on the Blue-winged Teal, a lone Least Sandpiper scampered right in front of me along the shore line giving me just enough time to get 2 photos and I was quite surprised the photos showed some pretty decent detail on this little shore bird.
One species of bird in AZ for the winter is so abundant right now, you see them just about everywhere, is the 'Audubon's' Yellow-rumped Warbler. And of course this place was no different. One of the great aspects of this location is that many of the trees are still small and in this case photographing warblers is a bit easier than in dense foliage of older and denser trees. Also just had to include a photo of one of those Jack Rabbits that I mentioned early in this post. My what big ears they have!
'Audubon's' Yellow-rumped Warbler
With such a diverse variety of bird and animal life at this park, I think I need to return a bit more often.