Saturday, December 9, 2006

Ducks for Dummies

Started the day at Kennedy Park pond with leader John Higgins. Lots of Rock Pigeons, Great-tailed Grackles and Brewer’s Blackbirds as well as American Coots, Mallards, and domestic hybrid ducks. Best birds here were the Peregrine Falcon (found by Sid), one Redhead duck and a Black-crowned Night Heron. We really only spent about 10 or 15 minutes here and then drove to the Avra Valley Waste Water Treatment Plant by traveling west on Ajo Way.

Here sat the plethora of ducks promised in the trip’s title. Several hundred ducks were seen in the three treatment ponds. I immediately put my scope on a gorgeous Wood Duck drake and then found at least three more close by. Also lots of coots, Green-winged teal (a great day to get to know these birds well as there were literally 100’s of them), Gadwall, American Wideon, Northern Shoveler stirring up the waters, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Eared Grebe with a wonderful red eye, Pied-billed Grebe. In addition to the ducks were Least Sandpiper, American Pipit, White-crowned Sparrow, Abert’s Towhee, Killdeer, Red-tailed Hawk, Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Common Raven and a beautiful Mountain Bluebird* which I now feel I “own” well enough to put on the life list. At least two Northern Harriers were also spotted by the group, one immature who gave a group of ducks a fright and a gray adult male. Finally, as we were set to leave, a Wilson’s Snipe flew overhead and performed some spectacular aerial displays. All in all not a bad morning for little more than 2 hours of birding.

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