Monday, April 12, 2010

International Migratory Bird Day Festival

 Saturday April 10th 2010 was the International Migratory Bird Day Festival at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.  Yes, its quite a mouthful!  But what a magnificent day it was, and what a magnificent Audubon Center it is!  All I can say is WOW!!!  This is a well thought out and executed nature center and riparian area.  Inside the Audubon Center there are big breathtaking photos of birds, some taken by our resident birders and photographers extraordinaire - Jim Burns, and Rich Ditch.  The first exhibit was Ask a Biologist, with Dr. Biology himself - C.J. Kazilek from ASU's School of Life Sciences, who was doing a bang up job of demonstrating their new Bird Finder , an excellent tool for beginning birders.  Outside was Arizona Game & Fish with live birds of prey on display.  I was mesmerized by the Black-crowned Night Heron!  Its not everyday that you get to see one of these shy creatures up close and personal.

I ventured over to the North side of the Rio Salado, where there are accessible trails galore of every type.  So depending on how adventuresome you are - you have plenty to choose from.  If you want to play it safe, you can bird from the parking lot, the sidewalks, and the big shaded observation ramadas.  If you want just a tad more excitement, you can follow the paved trails, and the very smooth hard packed trail around the observation pond by the parking lot.  And if you really want to hit the dirt, go on the trail along the demonstration wetlands.  You'll see different birds at different times of the year.  See the extensive Birds of Rio Salado Checklist.

Now is a great time to check out the new Audubon Center, and its many trails.  The wildflowers are blooming, many bird species are in bright mating plumage, butterflies and dragonflies are starting to appear, the Rio Salado is running high from all the rain we've had, and the weather is still nice.  So get out there before it hits 100 degrees! 

To see ENLARGED version of slide show, DOUBLE-CLICK on the photo below.

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