Recently I shared the news that feral cats had been eliminated from one of my favorite birding spots in the Valley (that’s the greater Phoenix area to you not familiar with Arizona lingo), the Gilbert Water Ranch. Last night we went for a walk there around dusk. In winter, the ponds are full of many species of ducks, but at this time of the year things are much quieter.
In fact, other than one lone Cinnamon Teal the only ducks I spotted were manky mallards like these, begging for handouts.
Summer is when the Black-necked Stilts and American Avocets turn up, which are always a treat. We saw a few of those, but a lot of the ponds were dry, their beds plowed. Not sure what purpose plowing them serves. (As I explained in my previous post about the Water Ranch, it’s technically a wastewater treatment facility, where graywater is allowed to sink into the ground and recharge the water table.)
We also saw… one lone gray cat. Sigh. I guess they were a little premature in announcing the total extirpation of the site’s feral cat population.
Even if summer is a relatively quiet time for water birds in southern Arizona, it’s still pleasant to walk along the paths, all landscaped with native plants. It’s easy to forget here that you’re in the vicinity of the sixth most populated city in the country.
More Arizona bird stories later…