I went to the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert on Wednesday, 11/23/2011. I didn’t see anything unusual, but I took some photos, which are posted here. There were two highlights for me. One was the Green Heron and the other was the Northern Harrier. It’s not unusual to see a Green Heron, but the remarkable thing was how close I got to it. I was standing by pond 6 and a male and female mallard swam right up by my feet. I watched them for a while. The male got on top of the female like he was drowning her, though I don’t think that’s what he had in mind. After a while I noticed a Green Heron feeding about 15 feet from me. I got some close up photos of him feeding. I tried to capture him with his neck extended catching fish. He would very quickly extend his neck and strike at the fish. I wasn’t able to capture that, but got something better. While he was feeding a Northern Harrier came swooping down over the pond and sent the ducks and sandpipers flying. The Green Heron stood up and extended his neck and raised his crest, which made for a nice shot. The Harrier left, and the Green Heron stayed in his spot and kept feeding.
About 10 minutes later, after I left the Heron, the Harrier made another fly over, and I got some shots of him.
Here are some photos from the day (click on the photo to see a large view; use the arrows on the bottom to step through the pictures; click on the enlarged photo to get back to here):