The Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona: A Riparian Preserve

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

the main entrance to the Gilbert Water Ranch Riparian Preserve

Day break at the water ranch

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.

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

Another view..white eye prominent

 

The most common bird seen on this trip was undoubtedly the Mourning Dove with its characteristic spotted wings

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

another view of mourning dove from the front

 

The beautiful white winged dove with blue eye rings

The beautiful white winged dove with blue eye rings

 

another view of the white winged dove

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

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

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...

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...

Here with his catch, a green headed bug…

 

with a juicy body....

with a juicy body….

 

they were very tame and allowed me to get close...

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

Giant Saguaro cacti…more than 50 years old..and home to the Gila Woodpecker and Desert wren

 

There were very pretty purple cacti too..

There were very pretty purple cacti too..

 

unusual cacti flowers

unusual cacti flowers

 

The paths were well laid out and quite quite attractive...

The paths were well laid out and quite quite attractive…

 

And as the sun rose, its light played with the desert blossoms.

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

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

and here serenading merrily to its mate

 

but there were also some less unusual water birds….

heron

heron

 

Black necked stilt

Black necked stilt

 

a pair of black necked stilits

a pair of black necked stilits

 

but this was another wonderful bitd that I''d never seen before...the American Avocet with its upturned beak...

but this was another wonderful bird that I”d never seen before…the magnificent and quite large American Avocet with its upturned beak…

 

mother mallard?

mother mallard?

 

duckling party

duckling party

 

Killdeer

Killdeer

 

Killdeer from the side

Killdeer from the side

 

the pomds were very scenic...but it was getting intolerably hot by 9am...

the pomds were very scenic…but it was getting intolerably hot by 9am…

 

Curved bill thrasher

Curved bill thrasher

 

? Phoebe

? Phoebe

 

Abell's Towhee

Abell’s Towhee

 

Then of course there were the hummingbirds! My favourite birds...so fast so versatile so pretty and so cute...

Then of course there were the hummingbirds! My favourite birds…so fast so versatile so pretty and so cute…

 

?Black chinned hummingbird

?Black chinned hummingbird

 

another view

another view

 

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

 

a series of three pix of the same bird...female black chinned?

a series of three pix of the same bird…female black chinned?

 

spreading wings

spreading wings

 

preening

preening

 

just gorgeous birds

just gorgeous birds

 

This was another gorgeous lifer..the Verdin

This was another gorgeous lifer..the Verdin

 

another view of the Verdin

another view of the Verdin

 

DSCN1812

 

female red winged blackbird

female red winged blackbird

 

bronze cowbird looked evil

bronze cowbird looked evil

 

especially when it flared its feathers..

especially when it flared its feathers..

 

Brown headed cowbirds

Brown headed cowbirds

 

mockingbird

mockingbird

 

highly recommended!

 

I enjoyed birding here so much that I went both mornings at 530am...

I enjoyed birding here so much that I went both mornings at 530am…

 

 

 

 

 

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