Central Arizona - Gilbert Water Ranch (26 Feb 2013)

by AJ 26. February 2013 20:10

After a day of running around doing other fun things (OK, watching the ISU game with Kurt was excruciating), today I finally got out for a little birding.  I'm about three miles from one of my favorite places and still hadn't made it there so it was off to Gilbert Water Ranch where I found my first dragonfly of 2013 - a Variegated Meadowhawk.  It was afternoon so the sun and lighting weren't great but I got some passable photos I guess.  First up was this Snowy Egret having a bad hair day.  In reality I think his hormones were beginning to crank up since he was chasing a presumed female around the pond.


There were a few shorebirds around such as Long-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, several American Avocets changing into colorful breeding plumage, and perhaps my favorite - Black-necked Stilt.


Other water birds included Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, several dabbling ducks, both Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants, and this Green Heron who did his level best to stay behind branches and in the shadows just to make photography nearly impossible.


Great-tailed Grackles are everywhere and this female posed nicely for a moment.


Today I finally saw my first Inca Doves of the trip.


The common winter birds of the riparian include Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warblers, Northern Mockingbirds, Anna's Hummingbirds, the occasional Black Phoebe, and plenty of White-crowned Sparrows.


And of course, the ubiquitous Verdins which nest in all months of the year.


Two common birds of this area that can be hard to photograph well because at least for me they tend to bury themselves in shady vegetation - Abert's Towhee


and Curve-billed Thrasher.


I even managed to see a couple of mammals - this Desert Cottontail


and what I believe is a Cotton Rat.  Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.


This was the longest walk I've taken since the last leg break so we'll see if an overnight recovery will happen so I can get back out tomorrow.  The time is going much too quickly!


Birds | Travel

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