Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Rosseau Sod Farms
On Sunday, January 25, birding buddy, Chris Rohrer, drove up from Tucson and we ventured out to the Rosseau Sod Farms north of Mesa and east of Scottsdale. This is place that I had not been to in a long time. There have been some really special birds spotted there in the past and now that I have a scope, I felt it might be worthwhile to check out the fields. While we did not find anything rare, we most definitely found some good birds and really had a great time. I even explored more roads than I ever did in the past.
As the sun was rising, we started scanning the sod fields and although we tried, we could not come up with anything rare, but we had hundreds of American Pipits, and they alone entertained us as we watched them foraging in the grass. A flock would fly up into the air and then land a few yards away from where they took off. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side of the irrigation pipes. Some even ventured out onto the roads and along the sides of the roads.
As we drove the roads, we found canals and small ponds of water and one Common Merganser female allowed for a photo on the water and then when it took flight (they tend to be very skittish), if flew over us instead of away from us giving me my first attempt at capturing one of these birds in flight.
Some Mallards appeared to be playing a game of hide 'n seek in the tall green grass. Almost a bit comical to see them stretch their heads up above the grass to take a peek at us.
Probably the coolest bird we saw in such an unusual habitat was an adult Bald Eagle perched on a dead tree in some desert habitat. One photo which shows the habitat and then a close up photo that shows this bird in its majestic beauty.
Next we ventured to the lower Salt River and stopped at Butcher Jones Beach on Saguaro Lake, a place Chris had not yet been to and we got to see many of the regular birds to be found there. The Gray Flycatcher has been a resident in this location since before Christmas and at one of my visits I found two of them here. Great place to get decent photos of this tail pumping bird 'empid'. A Red-naped Sapsucker was also present and is definitely the most expected species in this area in the winter. But one always has to check them out closely to rule out a much rarer species, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. No luck on the YBSA on this day, but RNSA is always a good bird to find and watch.
One last stop on the way home was a small pond along a golf course in a residential neighborhood where the locals apparently enjoy feeding the ducks. And these ducks are spoiled and are easy to photograph. I already photographed a couple Redhead males a few post ago in January, so this time I focused on the lady Redheads, and they obliged. (Yes, I am guilty as charged, had to get another photo of a drake as well! I am a sucker for that irresistible red head!)
Redhead - Female
Redhead - Female
Redhead - Male
It was a great day of birding once again with another avid birder. Chris is almost obsessed with birding and he might even agree with that description.