Fan-tailed Warbler

Fan-tailed Warbler

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gilbert Riparian Water Preserve - 7 May 2013

Probably one of the most popular birding spots in the metro area of Phoenix and its suburbs is the Gilbert Riparian Water Preserve.  The name has kind of been shortened by many people to be known as the Gilbert Water Ranch, or GWR.  This is a spot where anyone with a bit of interest in birds can go and see probably a minimum of 50 species in one day and most likely at least 60 or more species.  It is an easy access area with very well maintained paths and recently they have did a bit of trimming of trees to allow some excellent viewing.  It is a series of 7 man-made ponds of recycled water and the water levels can vary from pond to pond and from week to week.  It is a winter haven for many winter birds escaping the cold weather up north and it is amazing what rarities seem to show up at this location every year.

For me it is a great place to go if I only have an hour to go birding as I live only about 15 minutes from this gem.  And one day in early May, I had some time to go out after work and I spent about an hour there.  There had been a couple of birds reported there the day before that are not all that common, so decided to check it out after work.  A Bonaparte's Gull had been reported and even though I had discovered one in Navajo County a couple of weeks before, it was nice to find one this close to home.  Plus this one was a bit easier to photograph as it put on quite a foraging show for me.  That is another reason to visit this spot; photography.  It is a great place to maybe capture great photos as some of the birds are quite used to humans.

 Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

This gull was on pond 5 and also on the pond was a small flock of 9 Western Sandpipers.  Yes, I had seen and photographed this species at Glendale Recharge Ponds about a week before, but since it is less common than the Least Sandpiper, plus they are showing breeding colors right now, I love to capture their photo when I can.  Sometimes these 'peeps' can be difficult to photograph with their beaks out of the water as they are usually very active probing in the water and mud.

 Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

And since it is spring time in parts of Arizona, many resident birds have already nested and their fledgling offspring can be detected by just being alert to what is going on.  This trip yielded fledglings of both the Killdeer and also a Curve-billed Thrasher.  The Kiildeer chick is pretty much on its own at this stage, but the Curve-billed Thrasher chick was still begging and being fed by one of its parents.

 Killdeer fledgling

Killdeer fledgling

 Curve-billed Thrasher fledgling

  Curve-billed Thrasher adult & fledgling

 Curve-billed Thrasher adult & fledgling

What a great way to spend an hour outdoors and enjoying the wonders of nature.  Some of these birds are birds I see all the time, but it seems that I learn more about them and their behavior with every encounter.  Much more enjoyable than spending an evening in front of a television.  



  

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