Glendale Recharge Ponds, Maricopa County, AZ

August 22, 2015

Great Blue Heron

Arriving a little after 5:30 a.m., about 200 yards behind another car, at Glendale ponds this morning, I was happy to see Gordon Karre getting his scope out as I pulled up in a piece of shade beside him.  

This was my second solo adventure in a while so it was fortunate to be able to leave my spotting scope in the car instead of hauling it around with me while I regain my former strength.

As we walked together toward Basin or Pond #1, a Bald Eagle flew over with a Peregrine Falcon in pursuit, apparently wanting it out of its territory.  But the Eagle paid little heed and perched on a near-by utility pole, not far from the Great Blue.

It had been several months since I had visited these ponds, so I was eager to see which waterfowl might be arriving for the winter but, more importantly, both Gordon and I were in search of some nice rarities spotted two days ago by Tommy DeBardeleben. With the sun at our backs, we went directly to Pond 1 in search of the Snowy Plover. We searched with binoculars; Gordon searched with his scope.  We walked west on the road between Ponds 1 & 6 so that when we arrived at the west end of Pond 1, we could also peer into Pond 5.  

Ah! With his scope, Gordon came up with the Baird's Sandpiper which I was then able to find with my bins since it was in the northeast quadrant of the basin closest to us.  

We turned then and continued searching Pond 1 for the Snowy Plover, walking to the north side to avoid looking directly into the rising sun.  The Plover eluded us, if it was there, but we did find a Semi-palmated Sandpiper that stopped by during its migration.

Semi-palmated Sandpiper

Another migrating shorebird, the Semi-palmated Plover, was a good find. Too distant for photos but easily identified in the spotting scope, there were two in Pond 1 and two in Pond 5, as I recall.

There were many more Western Sandpipers present than I usually see there, but they gave good comparison to the Least Sandpipers and to the Semi-palmated Sandpiper that was foraging in general proximity to one.

American Avocets were losing their breeding plumage and accompanied by young.

American Avocet

On empty Basin #4, Great and Snowy Egrets appeared to have arranged a meet-up.
{Photo-bombed by a Great Blue Heron}

A flock of nine White-faced Ibis had flown over and eventually settled on Pond 5.  The young have a dark, rather than red eye (below) and do not yet have the white "face".

By 8:15, we were both dripping wet from the sun's heat and the humidity so we began our return to the car.  We came upon Steve Hosmer who had searched yesterday for the Snowy Plover - without luck - but returned today.  We told him where we found the Semi-palmated Sandpiper and he was still walking to that spot when we departed around 8:30.

A very nice day in the field.  Thanks, Gordon; it was great birding with you.

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