Sunday, October 24, 2010

White-faced Ibis at Gilbert Riparian

A single Grackle among the White-faced Ibis at Gilbert Riparian Preserve
I don't know about you but I don't see any white faces among these White-faced Ibis.  So when a fellow birder said she saw some White-faced Ibis today, I thought maybe she'd been out in the sun too long!  Turns out that I don't know an Ibis when I see one.  There were plenty of them out today at Gilbert Riparian Preserve, on Field Trip #1 of "More Birding with Cynthia Donald".  Its too late to sign up now for this great class, but watch for the Spring 2011 class listed at .

Ducks now appearing at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve include - Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Cinnamon Teal, and the not-a-duck Pied-billed Grebe.  Other birds of interest seen today were an American Kestrel, Osprey, Western Kingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Wren, Lincoln's Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Says Phoebe, and Black Phoebe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Owls, Bats, and Ring-tailed Cats, Oh My!

Starts this Friday night!  Enchanted Trail Evenings at the Rio Salado Audubon Center this October. Premiere family event on the Rio Salado which will dazzle children of all ages!!! Invite your family and friends too!! Theme will focus on the nocturnal animal life on the banks of the Rio Salado. Activities will include live animals along the wheelchair accessible trail, games and puzzles and mask making and other fun activities. This Event will take place on 4 nights, 5:30pm ‘til 8pm:
  • Friday, October 22nd
  • Saturday, October 23rd
  • Friday, October 29th
  • Saturday, October 30th

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hit the Trails in Support of Phoenix Desert Mountain Parks and Preserves

Photo by Loren Worthington
 These trails don't just maintain themselves!  So come out in support of the Phoenix Parks Trails Fund - established to to maintain and preserve over 200 miles of trails throughout the City of Phoenix desert mountain parks and preserves.  Sign up for the Phoenix Summit Challenge - a non-competitive hiking event that embraces various ages, abilities, and fitness levels to challenge an individual's mind and body while enhancing the quality of life and promoting healthy outdoor recreation. Participants are challenged on barrier-free and summit trails in the mountain preserves and parks of Phoenix. Register HERE for All-Access-Paved Challenge. Hike four wheelchair/stroller friendly trails of the Phoenix Parks! One Day - 4.5 miles -  10 hours
  • Papago Park
  • South Mountain
  • Rio Salado
  • North Mountain

Saturday, Nov. 6th, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Check-in begins at 7 a.m. At the conclusion of the event, join everyone from 5-8 pm on Sunday for a celebratory dinner at the Phoenix Zoo and free admission to Zoo Lights. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased for guests at the door for $10. All participants will receive a commemorative tee-shirt and dinner pass.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birds Watching the 202

Great Egrets in the Tempe Marsh watching traffic on the 202
I wonder if any of those evening rush hour drivers whizzing by on the 202 have any idea of the hidden beauty just to their right, or even realize they are being watched.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

McDowell Mountain Park Bird Walk

Phainopepla and Northern Mockingbird sharing the mistletoe berries.
I finally made it out to McDowell Mountain Park for one of their Bird Walks led by Ranger Amy Ford (a long time birder with a great ear for identifying bird calls).   To my surprise, no one else showed up for the walk, so it was just the two of us on the ADA accessible Nursery Tank Trail.  It was a great opportunity for me to really listen to the bird calls, with Amy there telling me who was talking to who. 

Park Ranger Amy Ford
I was amazed that someone could differentiate between so many similar calls!  (Don't tell anyone, but I think she might be part-bird, I think I saw what looked like a flight feather poking out of one sleeve.)  The highlight of the walk was when a Cooper's Hawk swooped down in front of us when we reached the tank, which was quite full from all the recent storms.  Birds seen included: Phainopepla, Northern mockingbird, Black-throated sparrow, Canyon towhee, Cooper’s hawk, Gambel’s quail, Common Raven, Mourning Dove, House finch, Turkey vulture, and Curve-billed thrasher.  Birds heard included:  Verdin, White-throated sparrow, Northern Flicker, Gila Woodpecker, Cardinal, Black-tailed gnatcatcher, and Ladder-backed woodpecker.  Critters seen:  Lesser Earless lizard, Spiny lizard, Whiptail lizard, and Harris’ antelope ground squirrel.

Scarlett chowing down on a strawberry.
If you go to McDowell Mountain Park, be sure to check out the Nature Center, and the great new Desert Tortoise Habitat out back and meet the three dames of the desert - Lady, Scarlett, and Lily.  The Phoenix Herpetological Society has over 300 Arizona Desert Tortoises that need homes and are up for adoption.  If you're interested, carefully read their Arizona Desert Tortoise Adoption Packet and see what the requirements are.

Yours truly on the ADA accessible Nursery Tank Trail

The next ADA accessible walk at McDowell Mountain Park is Friday, October 29th, 9 AM to 10 AM, and will meet at Nursery Tank Trailhead.  Ranger Amy will be showing us which desert plants are edible, and I'm sure you'll see a few birds along the way!

Northern Cardinal checking out
the new Desert Tortoise Habitat

Lady, the habitat's Grand Dame, is rumored to be over 50 years
old, but shhhhh!  A Lady never tells her true age!

For more photos and details about Nursery Tank Trail's wheelchair accessibility, see my July 16th. 2010 post .
Do you have an event, bird walk, meeting, or nature walk that belongs on this calendar? Please send info to

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