Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gilbert Riparian Preserve, Part II

I completed my tour of the Gilbert Riparian Preserve this morning, getting started at around 8:30 and finishing two hours later.  I saw plenty of birds, but not too many new species to add to my life list.  When I arrived the last of the swifts were leaving, so next time I'll need to arrive even earlier if I want to get some pictures and make some identifications.  I spent about 10-15 minutes in the first spot I arrived at, watching flocks of waterfowl swooping in from overhead and landing on the pond.  The I made my way on my journey, stopping to admire a number of wildflowers, some of which were conveniently identified on large signs placed throughout the area that was designated as the "Butterfly Garden".  I leisurely made my way down the path stopping to admire a bird here and there, as well as some of the mammals that make their home in the preserve.  I was talking to some birders when one of them noticed a coyote at the far end of the pond and we spent a few minutes admiring it.  I took my leave and headed around the pond, towards where we had seen the coyote and when I got in the general area, I sat down on a bench to take a look through my binoculars at all the waterfowl in the muddy edge of the pond, which was mostly devoid of water.  All of a sudden, all the waterfowl in the far end of the pond starting taking to the sky and right behind them was the coyote, hell-bent on catching one.  All it managed to do was rile up the birds and tire itself out and I'm guessing it will have to settle for a cottontail or a pocket mouse or two today.  Following the same format as yesterday, here are today's photos.

Calliandra eriophylla, Fairyduster

Encelia farinosa, Brittlebush

Encelia farinosa, Brittlebush, close-up

Glandulara gooddingii, Goodding's Verbena

Justicia californica, Chuparosa

Auriparus flaviceps, Verdin

Calypte anna, Anna's Hummingbird, Male

Sturnus vulgaris, European Starling

Sayornis nigricans, Black Phoebe

Charadrius vociferus, Killdeer

Recurvirostra americana, American Avocet, immature individual

Recurvirostra americana, American Avocet, adult

Anas clypeata, Northern Shoveler, Male

Aythya collaris, Ring-necked Duck, Male

Aythya collaris, Ring-necked Duck, Female

Chaetodipus penicillatus, Desert Pocket Mouse

Canis latrans, Coyote

Lastly, here's a picture of some of the nesting structures that have been constructed for use by platform nesters and one something we see quite often around here during the cooler months.

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