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29 December 2007

Gilbert Again

I went back to Gilbert (and the Rio Salado project in Phoenix) today in search of recently reported Northern Parula, Painted Bunting, and Varied Thrush. I didn't find any of them, but was surprised to find about 30 Black-Crowned Night Herons in Gilbert (there are usually 5-7 roosting...30 is really unusual).

The Pyrrhuloxia is a relative of the Northern Cardinal, and Phoenix is about the northern extent of it's range. This was only the third or so time I've seen one.

Pyrrhuloxia



Yellow Warbler



Black Crowned Night-Herons



Black Crowned Night-Heron in Flight


Northern Pintail


Cooper's Hawk

22 December 2007

Gilbert, AZ

Today I visited the Gilbert Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, AZ (about 15 miles east of Phoenix). The Preserve uses reclaimed wastewater and leverages ponds natural cleansing and recharge capabilities, while simultaneously creating a habitat for birds, butterflies, rabbits, lizards, and other wildlife. In general, the habitat is meant to duplicate different elevations of riparian (that found near water sources) habitat found in Arizona

I've been to the Riparian Preserve approximately 15-20 times since moving here, and have seen about 110 bird species at this one location in the middle of metro Phoenix. On this one trip, 50 species were spotted, including those pictured below. The Peach-Faced Lovebirds are not native to Arizona, but escapees have established breeding populations in several locations around Phoenix.

Anna's Hummingbird:


Great Egret:


Great Blue Heron


Peach-Faced Lovebirds



And here are a few pictures from a trip earlier in the month:
Grey Go-Away Bird The Go-Away Bird is from Africa, and showed up in Gilbert a month or two ago. This bird is rare even in captivity, so it's arrival in Arizona has been a source of mystery.



Great Egrets (and perhaps a Snowy Egret or two A large flock of Egrets was located on one of the ponds. There were a few Snowy Egrets too, but I'm not sure if any were in the field of view of this picture, and I haven't taken the time to analyze.



Gila Woodpecker


White-Crowned Sparrow One of the most common winter birds in Riparian habitat in Arizona.


Curve-Billed Thrasher Despite it's looks, it has one of the most musical songs of local birds.