Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Birding in Arizona - Day 7, Gilbert

We got up extra early, 3am so we could leave around 4:30am, which we managed.  I handed back the wheelchair and we set off.  The road is pretty straight but involves a descent of 5,000 feet so there's some pretty steep angles involved!  We enjoyed watching the dawn break and then the sun rise over the desert landscape.  We were able to take advantage of the HOV lanes heading into and out of Phoenix and so made it to the Gilbert Wetlands at a pretty early 7am.  Helen had planned to try and hop to a viewing area, but it became quickly clear that she couldn't so she sat in shade in a picnic area and I headed for a brisk walk around the preserve.

The Curve-billed Thrasher didn't seem to mind (could be Bendire's but I don't want to call it!)














Verdin and juveniles abounded:





























As did herons of various ilks, including this feeding Snowy Egret:















































A Magnificent Hummingbird proved very inquisitive:



















Great-tailed Grackles are always showing off:



















More Heron, this a Great White Egret:














then a Great Blue Heron:




















Double-crested Cormorant drying its wings after a successful fishing trip:
















Black-necked Stilt, wading around the shallow pools (also reclaimed waste water):
















In Winter and the desert Spring, the preserve is teeming with birds, the locals however seemed disappointed. I wasn't, I really enjoy seeing American Avocet:

Helen was being staked out by a strange chap by the time I returned so we gave up and I reversed our car onto the trail to collect her and we headed on to Tuscon and our last hotel, the Westin La Paloma.

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