Today I visited Glendale Recharge Ponds and tallied a nice number of species (ebird list here). I’ve been going to this hotspot for at least ten years when I visited Phoenix on business, but this was my first visit as a resident and with Swarzooka (my 95mm spotting scope). When I’ve traveled here with a scope in the past, I brought the 65mm.
The development around the property continues with many homes, ball fields, and roads going in, but they seem to be preserving the facility and continue to permit access to birders. This is the best place in the valley I’m aware of for waterfowl and shorebirds, but it’s 45 minutes from Roundhouse…quite a bit farther than I’m used to traveling in Jacksonville getting to Huguenot and Spoonbill Pond. Regardless, I’ve ticked many local rarities here over the years like Sabine’s Gull and Sanderling and it’s a spectacular place to bird.
When I arrived this morning, there was another local rarity here…actually three of them – Roseate Spoonbills! I didn’t think I’d see them again so soon after leaving Florida, yet here they were, and they attracted quite a crowd. It was nice chatting with some of the folks where I learned it was a life bird for some while others drove all the way from Tucson to see them. Hearing that sometimes makes you pause to appreciate a bird anew through another person’s eyes and excitement. I’ve probably been taking this beautiful species for granted for many years.
One of the Spoonbills is pictured above, feeding in the company of Great and Snowy Egrets.
I continued to another basin that had more shorebirds and ducks, as I thought that’d be a chance at another species I wanted to see here – Greater White-fronted Goose. It’d been a few years since I’ve seen one, and I heard there were a few hanging out. I snapped this Say’s Phoebe along the way.
As if on queue, seven specklebellies flew in and I managed a few shots before they landed in the basin, actually near a stunning Yellow-headed Blackbird that was too far out for any decent photos.
White-faced Ibis are pretty scarce in Florida, so I always enjoy seeing them in Arizona. Guess I better get used to it… they’re fairly common out here.
I stayed about 2 hours but it really takes about 4 to bird this place correctly. I’ll look forward to going back in a month or so when the weather is cooler and more ducks are in.
I figured I’d enjoy a beer after seeing some rad birds today. I think this one fits the bill.