Granite Reef Recreation Area along the Lower Salt River; Tonto National Forest, Mesa, AZ

January 23, 2015
Colder at the river than at home, my four light layers felt insufficient for 40 degrees F.
Birds were already in the bare tree tops sunning, so I walked out onto the sunny entrance road to view them.  What a great way to bird!  Timing couldn’t have been better.  While a dozen House Finches and a couple Lesser Goldfinch may not be birds to get excited about

the Gray Flycatcher certainly was!

Birds flew in and out keeping me there for a nice warming time before I braved the riverside. 
Red Mountain, across the river, is always a beautiful sight - on any day.

 A raft of Buffleheads were swimming and foraging in mid-river directly in front of me.  

Male and female Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye are always a treat to see, too!

Male and female Goldeneye
After walking all the way to the end of the west trail, I returned by way of the berm.  The retention basin held just a little pond of water -- enough to attract a Black Phoebe. Two Say’s Phoebes were perching low, zipping out for an insect and back again along the berm where I walked.

Before long, I was back in the picnic area where I was able to photograph a male Ladder-backed Woodpecker before returning home.  

Male Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Temperature had reached 49 degrees F.  --  too cold for my Arizona blood.


  1. Amazing! COGO are a very good catch!

  2. Thanks for write up. Could you please let me know where the retention area located. I visited couple of time there.

  3. Walking west from the picnic area on the trail closest to the river, watch for a well-worn path up to your left possibly within 100 yards of the dirt road (old boat ramp area). It leads to a berm - need to scramble up a short distance, then it's flat....and usually birdy up there.