Riparian Preserve Reprise

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.

Lessder and Great Yellowlegs 2Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs 3Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs 1

Least Sandpipers were plentiful.

Least Sandpiper RP 1Least Sandpiper RP 2Least Sandpiper RP 3

Black-necked Stilts are so perfectly suited for wadding.

Black-necked Duck 0



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.

Mallard Female RPMallard Male RPI love the coloration of the Green-winged Teal so much I’m consider using the color combination in a website I’m designing.

Green-winged Teal RP 1Green-winged Teal RP 2Northern Shovelers were also present.

Northern Shoveler RP 1Northern Shoveler RP 2Northern Shoveler RP 3_0320

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.

Muscovy 1


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.

American Coot RP 3


A Snowy Egret kept its distance from me.

Snowy Egret RP 3


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.

Riparian Preserve 2018

The Birds of Quivira (12 photos)

I introduced Quiriva National Wildlife Refuge in my previous post. By November the primary migration along the Central Flyway is declining. Yet we still saw thousands upon thousands of ducks, geese and Sandhill Cranes during a day visit.

Quivira Water FinalQuivira Water 5I didn’t bring a telephoto lens on the trip, so I rented an older Nikon 50-400. Between a misfitted lens and generally overcast skies, the quality of photos is lacking. So be it. This was my first visit to Quivira.

A couple of days before our visit, migrating Whooping Cranes returned to Quivira. While we did not see the cranes, we found plenty of fellow birders looking for this endangered species.

There were plenty of waterfowl and shore birds, even if most were out of camera range.

Quivira Water 10
American Avocet
Quivira Water 12
Quivira Water 9
Least Sandpiper
Quivira Water 8
Lesser Yellowlegs
Quivira Water 6
American Coot
Quivira Water 7
American Pipit

Even though I live east of the Mississippi River, I consider Kansas my home state. So I have an emotional connection to the birds of the prairie. The Western Meadowlark is the Kansas state bird. The call of the Northern Bobwhite is iconic. I can only imagine the photo opportunities in the spring at Quivira for birds of the prairie.

Quivira Land Final
Western Meadowlark
Quivira Land 2
Northern Bobwhite
Quivira Land 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Birds identified at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge November 5, 2016.

American Avocet, American Coot, American Robin, Bald Eagle, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Canada Goose, Dark-eyed Junco, European Starling, Field Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Mallard, Marsh Wren, Northern Bobwhite, Northern Flicker, Northern Shoveler, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Redhead, Ring-billed Gull, Ring-necked Pheasant, Ruddy Duck, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, Snow Goose, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-rumped Warbler