Our eighth installment of our project, “It’s Beautiful Where We Live,” is the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert, just a 40 minute drive from us. It was created by the town to combine water resource management with wildlife habitat preservation, resulting in a place to enjoy the outdoors and avian wildlife. Not only is it a great place to walk around, but there are also approximately 300 species of birds to be watched and photographed.  Very early this morning, while still pitch black, we made the short trek to Gilbert to photograph some birds.

As we have stated many times before, neither Kathryn nor I are avid birders. Little tweety birds are not our thing. But, when there is the opportunity to photograph larger birds, or colorful birds, we dive right in.The Water Ranch literature notes the possibility of seeing owls, hawks, and eagles. Pretty exciting, just what we were looking for! They also promise the possibility of seeing an “Olive-sided Flycatcher” – Nope, a “Plumbeous Vireo” – Nada, a “Long-billed Dowitcher” – Nihil, a “Hooded Merganser” – Nyet, a “Loggerhead Shrike” – Nein, a “Phainopepla” – Ochi, a “Pied-billed Grebe” – Loh.  

Maybe they were all there. With my untrained eye (and lack of interest in tweety birds) I could not spot them. There were, however, many ducks, egrets, geese, and a surprise visit by a pelican. We did the best we could with our photography.

Ducks Silhouetted

Prior to the sun illuminating the pond I took the opportunity to be a little creative – Silhouetted ducks with their reflections.

Egret in Orange

The pond water exuded an amazing orange hue. This Egret was not there long, very lucky to capture the shot.

Pelican in Flight

Our surprise visitor – the American White Pelican flew in.

Portrait of a Pelican

We spent an hour watching this pelican, waiting for him to catch a large fish. Never happened, but he did pose for us.

Duck and Tree

Still looking to be a little more creative, I waited for a duck to position itself under this little tree.

Although we didn’t get to see owls, falcons, hawks and eagles, we did have a great time walking around, practicing our wildlife photography. Not bad for living in a desert! 

As we finished up our visit we came upon a cool looking tree. Immediately Kathryn and I were in our element – landscape photography where our subject stays put.

A tree amongst ponds, a welcome sight for us landscape photographers. [Photo by Kathryn]

Thank you for reading, and remember, it’s all about the light.