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Bird Walk Gilbert Riparian Preserve
December 7, 2022
by Randall Greeley

Hike results: 1.5 miles
Sighted 37 species of birds

We met at 8:30 AM at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch for a beautiful morning of birding. Handouts were supplied that had a map of the park on one side and a bird list on the reverse. The bird list included information about season and abundance by species and served as an excellent checklist for the types that we spotted.

This 110 acre park is a multi-use area but is mainly for numerous water recharge ponds that double as an excellent riparian preserve for wildlife, especially birds. During the winter months, it is an excellent area to spot migratory and wintering species as well as year-round residents.

Our walk began by crossing the floating bridge across the permanent lake which is also stocked with fish.

Trailblazers ready to hike. [photo by Randall]
Joe, Richard, Carl, Cindy, Randall (hike leader), Lidiette, Joel

Here we took some time for a group photo and began identifying numerous kinds of ducks including a rare crested duck with a powder puff head. Several species spotted are here only during the winter months.

Crested Duck and Ring-necked Ducks. [photo by Randall]

A side trip to the stand of Saguaro cacti near the ramadas proved a reliable spot for sighting the Gila Woodpecker.

Gila Woodpecker.
[photo by Randall]
Carl watches, spots the
woodpeckers. [photo by Randall]

Our walk continued into the recharge pond area where numerous trails weave among the ponds.

We enjoyed seeing several American white pelicans winter visitors as well as a Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Cinnamon Teal duck, two types of herons, and Osprey raptor.

Richard and Joe are on the lookout for woodpeckers. [photo by Randall]
American wigeon duck.
[photo by Randall]

Our walk continued through the preserve where we spotted an Anna’s hummingbird and the Abert’s Towhee, which arguably should be the state bird over the cactus wren.

We finished our hike by recrossing the floating bridge back to our trailhead parking lot at 10:30 AM. Overall, we sighted 37 species of birds today, a good day’s worth of birding and friendship.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated December 14, 2022