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!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Birding is my Disneyland - and My Little Big Year

Birding at the Glendale Recharge Ponds is like being a kid going to Disneyland for the very first time - and you want to go there again and again and...

Semipalimated Plover

Last Sunday it was back to the Glendale Recharge Ponds, my favorite birding place - and I FINALLY found the reported Semipalimated Plover!  I think I smiled for hours on end :)  

I'll let the photos do most of the talking this time, but want to mention that I decided to add another tab to my blog titled: 2016 Birding at Glendale Recharge Ponds.  In short, I'm sharing My Little Big Year adventure and that section explains more - if you're interested.     

Red-winged Blackbird Display

The Red-winged Blackbird is in hubby's top five (mine too) and he was pretty stoked to see over 100 of them all singing to him.

Red-winged Blackbird in field

Black-necked Stilt and Wilson's Phalarope
The Black-necked Stilts were plentiful and this one hung out with a Wilson's Phalarope.

Great Horned Owl - Peek-a-boo!

The young Great Horned Owl and I had fun playing peek-a-boo.

Snowy Egrets

The wind picked up pretty good as you can tell by the Snowy Egrets wild hairdo.

Western and Least Sandpipers

There were more Western Sandpipers than I had seen before, and of course tons of Least Sandpipers.

Wilson's Phalarope

Happy to see the ongoing Wilson's Phalaropes (8 this time) - and were riding the waves.

Long-billed Dowitchers

Gorgeous breeding plumage on these Long-billed dowitchers who were busy foraging.

Birds at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

There were a variety of species as usual, which is one reason I love this place.  In this not so great shot are just a few of the species seen that day:  American Coots, Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorants, Cinnamon Teals, Eared Grebes, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers and Snowy Egrets. 

If given the choice between Disneyland or birding, I would choose birding every single time.  In fact, if I had the ability to bird daily, I would.  Okay, maybe every other day... nope, daily for sure.  I tell hubby all the time: birding gives me wings - and I'm flying high!

Peace and happy birding!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Another GREAT birding day at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Great Horned Owlet

Yesterday morning I went back out to the Glendale Recharge Ponds to hopefully see the Franklin's Gull that was on the eBird email alert (I love eBird!).  And I was bound and determined to find the Great Horned Owls that have also been reported.

I parked on the bridge and walked over to pond 4, which was still full of water as was pond 3 (1 & 6 had shallow water and 2 & 5 still dry as a bone).  Anyway, it was 9:00 am and I was just getting started when another birder walked up and we chatted for a bit.  I mentioned how I was looking for the Great Horned Owl and he directed me to where they were.  I was very thankful and then had to laugh at myself because I literally passed them by each time I was there! 

So I headed in that direction and sure enough, there were two owlets in the nest!  The adults were not present, most likely off getting breakfast for everyone.  I stood there in awe as this was the very first time seeing a Great Horned Owl in nature - a lifer!  To say I was giddy would be an understatement.  It was time to move on and find the Franklin's Gull.

Pair of Franklin's Gulls

I didn't find a Franklin's Gull... I found 2!  They were in pond 1 on the opposite side.  It was a bit of a stretch to get a quality shot with my Canon Powershot SX50, but at least I was able to get a few good enough shots to ID. (can hardly wait to get my DSLR... next year

Franklin's Gull

Another birder who joined in let me look through his scope (I don't carry mine when I'm on my own as it's too much for me to carry with everything else).  It was a beautiful sight - another lifer!

Wilson's Phalarope and American Coot

The continuing Wilson's Palaropes were in pond 4, but this time there were 7 (saw 4 on Saturday).  They are such busy birds and it was a pleasure to see them again. 

Red-winged Blackbird

Listening to the Red-winged Blackbirds upon arrival and throughout several areas of the recharge ponds is absolutely delightful.  This is my hubby's second favorite bird (Bald Eagle is his #1) and what made him fall in love with birding.

Great Egret

I spent 2 hours there and saw hundreds of birds that consisted of a variety of 41 species, which included 3 lifers: Great Horned Owl, Franklin's Gull and a Horned Lark.  Here's the rest of them:
Gadwall, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Gambel's Quail, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Neotropic & Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Northern Harrier, American Coot, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, American Kestrel, Black Phoebe, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, American Pipet, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, House Finch and House Sparrow.

This location is such a fun place to bird, but not during summer (for me at least) which seems to be creeping in.  Hopefully I can get a few more trips in before the heat kicks in.

Peace and happy birding!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wilson's Phalarope - Rare Bird at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage

Yes, long time no blog.  I've simply been quite busy with work and trying to keep up with all my other social media sites, plus birding, and volunteering at a rescue & rehabilitation facility for wild and exotic birds... anyway, you get the idea. I'm going to try real hard to blog at least a couple times a month or more.  I have much to catch up on here.

Yesterday morning I went to the Glendale Recharge Ponds, one of my top favorite birding spots, and wasn't disappointed!  Besides many of my favorites, like the Bald Eagle (adult and juvenile), Killdeer, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Ducks, Belted Kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbird (the list goes on) I also saw another rarity!  This location is known for rare birds and that is just one reason I love this place!

Above is the Wilson's Phalarope and I saw 4 of these rare birds.  They were absolutely gorgeous in their breeding plumage and enjoyable to watch.  This was another lifer for me!

Western Grebe Couple in breeding plumage

This adorable Western Grebe couple was also there looking so elegant in their breeding plumage.  Don't you just love their red eyes!

American Avocets in breeding plumage

And the American Avocets were another treat to watch.  When I was there last week I saw only 1, but yesterday there were several.  Among these beauties I also saw Western Sandpipers along side the Least Sandpipers, a couple Lesser Yellowlegs, 4 Ring-billed Gulls and many more. 

Mallard with his ducklings

The main highlights of the day was seeing the rare Wilson's Phalarope, watching the Bald Eagle soaring above pond 4, and watching the adorable Mallard family.  The ducklings were just way too cute!  Wish my photos came out better, but I was off my photo taking game.  I'm obviously not a professional photographer, but I do try my best.  Besides, my main objective here are the birds - great photos are a bonus. 
Peace and happy birding!