January 19, 2014

birding, part one. (semi-random photos from a few hours in time)

Since I didn't start my new job until January 6th, giving my notice at my previous job gave me an unexpected week or so off between Christmas and New Years. So, with some free time, I decided to take my camera, binoculars, and bird book out for a spin. Some Western birds are the same as the ones I grew up seeing in Illinois, but there are quite a few I'm not overly familiar with yet. I hadn't really been out 'birding' since college, when I took a summer ornithology class at the school's field station along the Mississippi river near Hannibal, MO. 

It was great to get out and enjoy the outdoors, watching the birds was really alot of fun, and getting some pretty good photos out of it was the icing on the cake. And thank goodness for having a digital camera and a delete key, since I took well over 2000 photos over the course of three different days out! (Birds don't sit still for very long, you know-- I have plenty of badly composed shots, blurry pics, or the bird was already on its way out of the picture by the time I clicked the shutter.) 

The photos in this post were all taken at the Gilbert Riparian Institute, a 110-acre preserve in Gilbert, AZ that has 7 ponds and a lake, situated behind a branch of the Gilbert Public Library. The pics are semi-random... they were all taken on December 27th, starting at just after sunrise till about 11:15 am. Oh, I have plenty more where these came from, too- I just didn't want to add too many to one blog post-- enjoy!

sunrise with geese... gorgeous!
(even though I did have to get up early to see it!)

some sort of hawk, catching an early-morning thermal.
No idea yet what species it is- I need to do some more research. 


I was quite surprised to see this fellow come out of the bushes.
The geese weren't concerned by him at all.

According to someone I spoke to later, he hangs around the preserve regularly;
the birds must be quite used to him. (plus, they're pretty big for him to take on.)

I have no clue what this bird is- I'm no good identifying sparrows
and the like. But I really liked the pose!

RIng-necked duck. (not the best lighting; this picture was taken kind of early,
before the sun was fully up.) 

This gives you an idea of how close you can get to the birds-
well, more like you wait quietly, and they come to you, actually.

snowy egrets (on the tree) and a great egret (by the shore)
it's tough to see in this photo, but the snowy egrets have black legs and yellow feet.
(there's a couple double-crested cormorants in the background, too- there were tons
of them around, fishing in all of the shallow ponds.)
 
female Hooded Merganser cruising in the morning light-
there were three of these hanging around together.
I love their crest of feathers!

Northern Pintail, I think. (? I might be wrong; I don't have the bird book handy)

pied-billed grebes-
they're somewhat odd looking diving ducks; it looks like they don't have a tail.

Mallard
(I thought this was funny- it looks like he's checking out his hair, perhaps??)


a few shorebirds-
the larger ones are Black-necked stilts, but I'm not exactly sure about the smaller ones.

I hope you enjoyed this little slice of winter birding in AZ- I'll be back with more soon!

1 comment:

scrapperjen said...

These are fantastic photos! It looks like a lovely preserve.
Let me assure you the only birds in northern IL are the geese.