Today had been set aside to do some target birding. I reached Glendale Recharge Ponds about 16 miles west of Phoenix just as the sun was rising. Carrying my spotting scope, camera and binoculars, I walked up into the "pedestrian only" area from the East parking area just as clouds moved in front of rising sun. Yikes! Another gray day. Well, BIBBIDI-BOBBIDI-BOO! I had already seen a Prairie Falcon perched along the entrance road so I was feeling lucky, sunshine or not. I just won't take many photos.
These six large rectangular ponds attract a multitude of rare birds. The birds I wanted to see weren't really rare, but also not common in the Phoenix area: Dunlin, Western Sandpiper, and Lesser Yellowlegs. The ponds, laid out in an open grid are easy to access and the clouds would at least provide shade since there are no trees.
As sometimes happens at these recharge facilities, some of the ponds are drained and allowed to dry out. Pond 5 was the one with the most water and most waterfowl. A Dunlin is a sandpiper that is just a bit stockier and larger than the "peeps" (Least Sandpipers) that run around the edges of the water and fly off in synchronized flight like sparkling little BIBBIDI-BOBBIDI-BOOS! But scoping each flock of these sandpipers, I came up empty each time for Dunlin. The sandpipers were up in the roadways poking around in the gravel much of the time so my access to them was great.
This is the first time I've ever had the whole place to myself while birding here. But, it isn't quiet: Killdeer are always piping their "dee, dee, deee" while the Black-Necked Stilts are clacking away with their long beaks, "kik kik kik" or when complaining, "kee kee keef".
And, there are muted conversations among the many ducks. Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal seemed most abundant but Gadwall were plentiful out on the water, too.
Such open ponds provide easy access for predator birds. A Bald Eagle who flew in, perhaps for breakfast, was chased away by an Osprey who had already done some good fishing. When the big hawks fly over, the ducks on the pond tend to huddle together to make the target look too large for the predator. If you look closely, you may be able to see several different species in the "huddle".
|Mixed species flock of waterfowl|
|Black-necked Stilt calling|
|Close up of Black-necked Stilt|
|Pedestrian Bridge; West end of Tempe Town Lake|
|Domestic Muscovy Duck|
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21992172
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21991845
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21991934
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