Glendale Recharge Ponds (primarily) and ASU Research Park (secondarily), Maricopa County, AZ

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reports of two rare migrating birds spotted at the Glendale Ponds over the past several days got me moving early this morning when I could avoid commuter traffic on I-10 West. 

Arriving at 5:45 a.m., I headed to Pond 5 with hopes of finding the Sabine’s Gull reported there by Magill Weber as late as last evening. There, I found another birder, Janine McCabe, but no Sabine’s where it had last been seen. I scanned the pond; Janine must have scanned the sky.  “Here it comes!” was music to my ears. A mature gull still in full breeding plumage, the gull circled the west side of Pond 5, turned and aimed directly toward us and landed on the flats not too far away.  How great was that!  

Sabine's Gull arrives at 6:06 a.m., Pond 5

Sabine's Gull; Pond 5

The gull walked along the edge of the water for just a few minutes before taking off again at 6:09 a.m.  But we had three minutes to study the bird and take a few photos.

Sabine's Gull lifting off in front of us; then flying east (below)
Bye-bye, pelagic bird: Sabine's Gull; Glendale 6:09 a.m

Two birders approached; they had seen the gull fly eastward.  It was Caleb Strand and Joe Ford so Janine and I hung with them while birding the remainder of Pond 5.

Last week, I had seen, but not photographed, a Baird's Sandpiper.  Today, it was also at the shoreline directly below the berm where I walked.

Baird's Sandpiper; Pond 5
And, while I've never seen a single Sanderling wandering the beach before (it's usually in a good-sized flock at the edge of waves), there was one below the berm not terribly far from us but I didn't want to flush it, so stayed back to take this photo.

Sanderling at Pond 5, Glendale; 8/29/15

Since I had spent several hours at this spot last Saturday, I didn't continue on to the next pond but worked my way back toward the car with binoculars, camera and spotting scope in hand.  I may be kicking myself for not going on to Pond 2 where the other birders may have easily picked up more off-the-flyway rarities.

Instead, I took a photo of an Ash-throated Flycatcher perched near my car. 

Then, on my way home, I turned toward ASU Research Park in search of the Nanday Parakeets which, again, were a no show. But, as usual, I couldn't leave without a photo of the bird that started my birding hobby.

Green Heron

For me, this was another very rewarding day in the field.

* * *

No comments:

Post a Comment