Ring-necked Duck captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5 wZ1.4x

Sharon & I have been traveling down to AZ, specifically the southern part for decades. First decades were for birds of the feathered nature and then the last decade birds with metal skins. We never came down that we can remember just because, with no plans. We came down for the annual hangar Christmas party and thought we would extend the trip a few days, “just because.” Having breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants in Mesa, we discussed what we’d do for the morning. I pulled out the iPhone, clicked on the eBird app, clicked on Explore, and five miles away was Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. We looked at what was being seen there and decided we’d check it out. We’d never heard of it all these years so it would be some place new. We like new!

Black-necked Stilt captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5 wZ1.4x

When we pulled up to the Water Ranch, we saw a lot of cement and blacktop and wondered if we made a good choice. Looked at the map and saw there was a floating boardwalk. That seemed novel so we headed there first. We’d taken just a couple of steps on it and we were mobbed by Ring-necked Ducks! If you know anything about these ducks, they are normally one of the first to fly away, not mob you! Soon, there are nine species of ducks right in front of us, many too close to focus on. I did have my Z 9 / Z400f4.5 w/Z1.4x on my shoulder and instantly needed to take the Z1.4x off but had left the caps in the car. Well, this was quite the greeting and soon we’d seen over twenty species of birds in the town of Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix which is all cement and blacktop! We spent over two hours walking the Preserve seeing 71 species of birds and photographing 37! This is a treasure for the nature lover, bird watcher, and bird photographer and if you ever find yourself in Gilbert, you gotta spend time at this oasis in the desert, water ranch!

American White Pelican captured by Z 9 / Z400f4.5 wZ1.4x
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