Hundreds of thousands of people called “snow birds” migrate to Arizona in the winter. In moving to Phoenix, we expected to find real “snow birds” wintering in the Valley of the Sun. We didn’t anticipate shore birds and waders and waterfowl in the desert.
The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ is one of the best places to photograph aves wintering water birds in the Sonoran Desert. The following photos were taken at the preserve in February 2018. My previous post featured land birds from the Preserve.
As so often happens, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were found together, with the Leaser in the foreground.
Least Sandpipers were plentiful.
Black-necked Stilts are so perfectly suited for wadding.
There were a number of ducks, but not the variety one might expect in February. We did see the ever-present Ring-necked Ducks.
And we found Mallards.
I love the coloration of the Green-winged Teal so much I’m consider using the color combination in a website I’m designing.
Northern Shovelers were also present.
Given they were sleeping the entire time we were there, I had to wonder if the Ruddy Ducks had arrived the previous night.
Domestic waterfowl were also found, starting with the unmistakable Muscovy Duck.
I think is a Pomeranian Goose. If it is another species, I’d appreciate clarification. It was hanging out with domestic ducks.
It was good to find Pied-bill Grebes.
As it was to see American Coots.
A Snowy Egret kept its distance from me.
A broader view of one of the shallow ponds at Riparian Preserve. The flock is made up of Least Sandpipers. Green-winged Teal are in the background. I think there are also Cinnamon Teal in the background, but I’m open to correction on that ID. A Mallard and Common Grackle are in the foreground. A Killdeer waded out of range of the camera lens just before I snapped the photo.
Although we visit the Valley of the Sun yearly, we had only once explored the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ. A 110-acre nature preserve and educational facility, the Riparian Preserve has several shallow basins that attract all sorts of wildlife.
This year, it was time for a second visit.
In February, the waders and waterfowl created one group of birds. The others were “land-aves,” or birds that prefer drinking water over getting wet. These photos are of the later.
We found the ever-popular Verdin.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds seemed quite fond of the area.
Sparrows and their relatives were abundant. These included Albert’s Towhees…
As well as White-crowned Sparrows, usually in pairs.
Gamble’s Quail are a personal favorite in the desert. Highly social, very colorful and rather talkative, I’m amazed at the patches of desert where Gamble’s thrive.
Eurasian Collard Dove are now rather common in the desert.
But not as common as it’s cousin, the Mourning Dove.