Sunday, May 3, 2015

Snow in Glendale!

Lately the Glendale Recharge Ponds have been king over all the other birding hotspots in Phoenix. With the exception of seeing the Black-bellied Plovers and Red-breasted Merganser, I have just been seeing the leftovers of everyone's great success. I've missed birds like Least and Forster's Terns, Sanderling, Marbled Godwit, Semipalmated Plover, and more. Well this morning (5/3/15) my Mom and spent a little over an hour at the Glendale Recharge Ponds in search of anything interesting. Once we reached a good spot to start scanning, I quickly picked out a Willet and three Marbled Godwits!


In flight the Willet is one of the easiest shorebirds to identify, with its contrasting black and white marked wings.

Marbled Godwit

Willet (foreground), Marbled Godwit (background)

We then continued walking when I spotted a Forster's Tern actively hunting along the ponds and canal.

Forster's Tern

 We watched the tern for a while and decided to start working our way to the other ponds. That is when we ran into fellow birder and 2nd highest lister in the state of Arizona, Mr. Dale Clark! We began talking and he pointed out my first for the Glendale Recharge Ponds, Wood Duck. After conversing for a while and watching the tern again we joined forces and birded the rest of the area. We walked over to the Basin 2 and before long found the continuing Black-bellied Plover.

Black-bellied Plover

After relocating the plover my Mom spotted some baby Black-necked Stilts (which probably made it into her top ten birding moments) and as I scanned the shores for any more baby stilts, I was shocked to see my lifer Snowy Plover within about 35 yards from us!

Snowy Plover in foreground with a Killdeer in the background

The Snowy Plover has been a frustrating bird for me. I wouldn't say it was a nemesis but it was starting to get pretty close. It all started when one showed up at the GRPs when I was a beginning birder and I missed it by a few days. I then went on a family trip to Santa Barbara, California and tried to see some at a birding hotspot called Devereux Slough and missed them. How? I don't know. Apparently there was a whole flock there, but I somehow missed all 60 of them! After my miss in CA there have been a few sightings of SNPLs at the GRPs but they all happened when I am was camping up in Happy Jack! So seeing this bird was awesome!

Snowy Plover

Here is a photo that shows just how tiny it is compared to a Black-necked Stilt

After getting to observe my awesome Snowy Plover lifer we started working our way back when I decided to photograph the third plover of the day, the common Killdeer. There was also a tidy flock of Wilson's Phalaropes spinning like tops.


Wilson's Phalarope

I finished the beautiful morning in Glendale with 50 species of bird and a long awaited lifer! Thanks Mom for the fun morning of birding!


  1. Congrats Caleb on finding the Snowy Plover. It's a neat bird, let it snow!

    1. Thanks Mr. Tommy!!! The Snowy Plover was a neat bird indeed, and Glendale needs a bit more snow any ways. By the way, I saw your post on the listserve. Bag-pipes, a thick riparian forest in the middle of the city, and a bearded dude yelling "Who goes there!" Man I thought I was seeing some strange things along the canal! Nice job on identifying that NOWA by song!