Monday, April 25, 2016

Burrowing Owl, thanks to Tommy D!

Saturday I headed back to the Glendale Recharge Ponds and had another great birding day!  I arrived at 7:45am and was able to see quite a few birds and 3 more lifers!  I'll start a little backwards here as the last hour was pretty exciting!

I met some wonderful birders, Melissa and Tommy D who was so kind and a joy to bird with for a little while.  Me, Melissa and Tommy were at pond 3 when he found a Solitary Sandpiper.  By the time I got a lock on him he was in the air and flying about.  We all watched him with hopes that he would land back in the pond area, but nope - over into the riparian area he flew.  So it was decided we were going to head over there to try and find him.  This was lifer #1 for the day. 

Burrowing Owl

We had to back track a little to get to the opening of the bike/walking path, and we talked along the way.  It came up that I've never seen the Burrowing Owl here (in nature that is) and Tommy offered to show me where they were.  As you can see, there's my lifer #2 for the day!

Burrowing Owl

There were actually 2 of them, the second one is apparently a little shy and only gave me a brief performance.  That was more than I could ask for and was ever so thankful to Tommy for his kindness - he's truly an awesome guy!

Oh and no we didn't find the Solitary Sandpiper, but we did see several other birds along the way:  Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by an American Kestrel, Lazuli Bunting, Gambel's Quail and...


Adorable little ducklings!  Aren't they the cutest?  This made us all smile big time!

Red-winged Blackbird

Back to the beginning.  I typically park on the parking bridge and am greeted by several Red-winged Blackbirds.  They are the coolest birds and, I know I've said it many times, but I love their song!

Western Grebe

This Western Grebe was in pond 4, which by the way was the only pond with full water.  Pond 3 had water, but quite low in many parts.  Pond 6 had shallow water and vegetation and the remaining ponds still dry.


You always know when the adorable Killdeer are around - their calls are unmistakable and, I think, are quite entertaining.

Neotropic Cormorants

It was pretty much snooze time for the Neotropic Cormorants, except for this one who still needed a little wing drying time.

Western Sandpiper

Spring is such a wonderful time for everyone, especially the birds.  Just look at the beautiful breeding plumage on those Western Sandpipers!

Where's Waldo
Can you find the Horned Lark?  Trust me, he's there and made me work for that not so great shot. 
Horned Lark

I cropped the pic and while it's not great at all, you can see his little horns - too cute!

Birds at the Glendale Recharge Ponds - pond 6

That is current pond 6 with a variety of birds:  Great Egret, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Heron (BiF in middle), American Coots, Long-billed Dowitchers & Black-necked Stilts (upper right hand corner) and several others.

Long-billed Dowitchers

Speaking of Long-billed Dowitchers... there are 182 in that photo, along with Black-necked Stilts.

Snowy Egret

The Snowy Egret makes such a lovely model, especially in the wind.  What a beauty!

Great Egret and Snowy Egret

The ever so graceful Great Egret and a crouching Snowy Egret sharing a spot in pond 6.

Indigo Bunting
At the end of my 3 hour birding day while walking to my car along the walking path, I saw 3 Indigo Buntings in the riparian area across from pond 4.  My 3rd lifer for the day.

Indigo Bunting

Despite my not so great shot, this is one gorgeous bird!  See, we do have colorful birds here in the desert - and many many more.

Semipalimated Plover, Western and Least Sandpipers

At the end of the day, I saw hundreds of birds which consisted of 41 species (3 were lifers which was a nice addition to my Little Big Year).  After reviewing my photos I discovered that there was a Semipalimated Plover in pond 3 among all the Least and Western Sandpipers.  I saw him a couple weeks ago, but it was still pretty cool to find him in this shot.  Can you find him?  Here's a little hint... he almost didn't make it in this shot.

Here's my ebird checklist with the rest of the birds I saw:

Peace and happy birding!

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