Friday, March 29, 2013


On a recent visit to family in the Phoenix area, I had the pleasure of birding the Tres Rios Wetlands. (above photo)  Much of the water in the wetlands is treated waste water that flows out of the Phoenix treatment plant into a large pond system, creeks, and man made water ways that meander through the desert, eventually terminating into wetlands.  In a few hours of birding I saw 48 species; not bad, considering most of the migratory birds had moved on.

In the vast pond system, which is fenced off from the public, saw numerous Green Herons.  From my experience, a birder is fortunate to see just one of these little beauties.  And to see one sitting on bobbed wire is a most unusual sight.   Close to the ponds was a Great Blue Heron Rookery in an old Cottonwood tree.  Create a habitat and the birds will find it, and they will breed.
 Birds of feather, do flock together --- In an area of trees and reeds were hundreds of boisterous Great-tailed Grackles; many of the males were in breeding poses with their head point skyward.  Another section of reeds was occupied by thousands of noisy Yellow-headed Blackbirds; and on an island in one of the larger ponds were 50 or so White Pelicans.  I have a video on the wetlands (about 1.40 seconds). 

This was my second visit to Tres Rios and I was not disappointed.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


This morning's birding jaunt on Turri Road was delightful.  The sky was blue with a warming sun.  As soon as I turned on to Turri Road, I spotted a Wrentit.  Most of the year Wrentits are seldom seen, as they keep to the brush, but when the weather warms and spring breeding season begins, the perky little darlings can be seen and easily heard.  I had the pleasure of watching two of them darting about scolding and singing, their Wren tails vibrating as they sang (so cute!).  A Bewick's Wren was doing much scolding as the two Wrentits carried on. (photo - private road I would like to explore)

About a mile up the road, the creek is accessible.   The water was bank to bank as the high tide and recent rains had filled it. There were Cinnamon and Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead and American Wigeon.  The thrill of the moment was watching a Green Heron fly by.
Another mile up the road is an ephemera pond (photo); though much used by cattle, there was enough water left for Green-winged Teal and No. Shoveler to be dabbling.  Along the mucky edge was a lone Greater Yellowleg and two Killdeer.

Using the barbed wire for a perch were Say's and Black Phoebe, and several Western Bluebirds.    On the way home stopped at the Audubon Overlook - on the bay floated a huge mixed flock of Scaup and Ruddy Duck (they travel together), along the shore all the various shore birds feeding in the wet sand.  In a few weeks the majority of  the ducks and shorebirds will take flight to their breeding grounds in the north. Takes awhile for me to adjust to the quiet emptiness of the bay.  Happy Birding!