Friday, January 29, 2010

Gilbert’s Riparian Preserve and Water Ranch.

When traveling to Arizona I landed in Phoenix, Arizona hoping to photograph the bird after which the city is named. This mythological bird is consumed by fire and rises anew to start life again. Not to be found here. Instead I found the Gilbert’s Riparian Preserve and Water Ranch where waste water is renewed for habitat use. Gilbert is a suburb of Phoenix. This bird whose seems to be on fire, it is not a Phoenix but a male Anna's hummingbird.

This park is about 110 acres and consists of ponds that are fed by the city’s sewage effluent. The effluent is filtered into underground aquifers and then pumped into the ponds. No wonder I noticed a peculiar odor when I first walked into the area. Still a great feast of water reuse. Local birders claim more than 200 species of birds so they do not seem to mind the aroma and this Curved Billed Trasher concurs.

I was familiar with the riparian word when used in its legal use as “riparian rights.” In this form it means that if one has property bordering water bodies, you as the owner have certain legal property rights of the land for a distance into the water. It is usually the land between the low and mean high tide. The water is the ponds is clear as you can see the feet of this Coot who is standing on a submerged rock. Notice that there is no web between the toes but each one looks like an oar blade.

When it comes to Gilbert’s Riparian Preserve, the word usage is in the form of riparian habitat, and it refers to the flora and fauna activities going on in the shores of a stream or lake. What is interesting to this site and others in the Southwest that I have visited, is that most of the bodies of water are “man-made.” It appears that when the birds flew south during their migrations, saw these bodies of water and decided to stay as did the Pintail above.

My elaboration in the previous paragraph leads to rewards to bird photographers. Most of the species that I closely photographed here are also common in the East Coast. But in the East these birds are not friendly and impossible to get close to photograph. How close I was to this ring necked duck? Very close, so close that at times the camera cannot focus in the birds. I have never seen a ring around the neck of this duck but there is a ring indeed around the end of the bill.

I did travel around the state and at Lake Powell, had the opportunity to capture the image of my favorite North American wader, the Wood Duck above. After 30 years of photography I finally got my first great photos of this bird in New Mexico last fall (images in one of my previous blogs).


jeannette stgermain said...

A very ingenious photo of the coot, where one can partly see under the water that is no webbing between the toes -in its shadow -how did you do that? (rhetorical question:) )
The wood duck in flight is gorgeous!

Atanasio Fernández García said...

Hla José, la primera y la última me parecen fantásticas. El colibrí sobre fondo blanco hace que sus colores destaquen maravillosamente; y la del Wood Duck en vuelo tiene una llamativa luminosidad, además de del merito de conseguir detener su movimiento. Enhorabuena! Un saludo!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Jose. What a wonderful idea for waste water. Thy have done the same thing here in a couple of places and added nesting sites for flamingoes and it has been a huge success.

A pity you never found the Phoenix though, you would have mad a fortune if you had got that picture. :)

Hummingbirds are always so colorful and have to be one of my favorite families of burds.

It sure was a long wait for the picture of the Wood duck and now to capture it in flight like this again is fantastic.

Altogether a wonderful post again Jose and well worth the wait of finding out where you were going. :) This sounds like a bird watchers and photographers paradise, you can always put a peg on your nose to keep out the smell. LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love your little hummingbird!! What a nice post to see on our 39th anniversary
(Jan. 29)!!


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