When: May 2015 Weather: Hot to very hot. 30-40C
Leica M240. 21mmF3.4 Super Elmar, 35mm F1.4 Summilux. Nikon P900
Visiting an old friend in Mesa, Arizona for a few days, I was staying at the Residence Inn Marriott in Gilbert when I discovered that there was a highly regarded birding site called the GilbertWater Ranch (GWR), which is a riparian preservation area (Riparian = Riverbank) barely a couple of mile from my hotel. I was told that this was not the ideal time for birding as the birds were scarce as the weather had turned very hot….nevertheless, bloggers had said that the birding in GWR was good all year round. As the day broke at about 520am, I arrived there at 530am(thanks to Uber!) when the weather was still cool and the gentle rays of the sun started illuminating the earth….
the main entrance to the Gilbert Water Ranch Riparian Preserve
Day break at the water ranch
Immediately on arrival at the car park, you can see numerous birds flying around with quite a cacophony of bird song….
One of the most common birds here is the Great Tailed Grackle..noticeably different from the Common Grackle I’d seen in the Blue Hills of Massachussetts…see my last post. The tail of the bird remains in the vertical position like an aircraft rudder even when flying!
Another view..white eye prominent
The most common bird seen on this trip was undoubtedly the Mourning Dove with its characteristic spotted wings
another view of mourning dove from the front
The beautiful white winged dove with blue eye rings
another view of the white winged dove
But one of the prettiest birds of the two days I visited the GWR was the Gila (pronounced Hila) Woodpecker, here looking brown due to the early morning glow..
The made their nests in the holes of the giant Saguaro cactus..here we see a couple, the male with the red cap
They would dive into the hole and then stick their necks out….and then fly off to feed…
Here with his catch, a green headed bug…
with a juicy body….
they were very tame and allowed me to get close…
Giant Saguaro cacti…more than 50 years old..and home to the Gila Woodpecker and Desert wren
There were very pretty purple cacti too..
unusual cacti flowers
The paths were well laid out and quite quite attractive…
And as the sun rose, its light played with the desert blossoms.
The wonderfully unusual Gambel’s Quail was the next lifer for me…it has an unusual plume over its head
and here serenading merrily to its mate
but there were also some less unusual water birds….
Black necked stilt
a pair of black necked stilits
but this was another wonderful bird that I”d never seen before…the magnificent and quite large American Avocet with its upturned beak…
Killdeer from the side
the pomds were very scenic…but it was getting intolerably hot by 9am…
Curved bill thrasher
Then of course there were the hummingbirds! My favourite birds…so fast so versatile so pretty and so cute…
?Black chinned hummingbird
a series of three pix of the same bird…female black chinned?
just gorgeous birds
This was another gorgeous lifer..the Verdin
another view of the Verdin
female red winged blackbird
bronze cowbird looked evil
especially when it flared its feathers..
Brown headed cowbirds
I enjoyed birding here so much that I went both mornings at 530am…