Sun Lakes and Veteran’s Oasis Park, February 2, 2013

Dave and I went to Sun Lakes and Veteran’s Oasis Park. This post has some photos. We heard reports of the first ever sighting of a Least Grebe in Maricopa County, so we went to Sun Lakes to see it. Unfortunately, we were a few days too late, and the Grebe was no longer there. We still had a good time at Sun Lakes. There weren’t any unusual birds, but there was a variety of ducks, and the lakes are fairly small without much vegetation, so it was a good opportunity for photographs. The Grebe sighting where we went was in the West Lake on East Riggs Road, just east of Sun Lakes Blvd.

After Sun Lakes we decided to visit Veteran’s Oasis Park on Lindsay Rd and Chandler Heights (northeast corner). It’s a park similar to Gilbert’s Water Ranch, with a lake and water recharge ponds. I went there a couple of years ago when it was relatively new. I was impressed on this return trip. The landscaping was more mature. I think that it is comparable to the Gilbert Water Ranch now. I originally misidentified Canvasback as a Redhead, but I’ve updated this post with the correct identification.

There were two women there from the Audubon Society in Scottsdale. They were showing a Red-tailed Hawk and a Great-horned Owl. The Hawk was 26 years old!

We were trying to get close to a Black Phoebe when another bird came flying in chasing the Phoebe. At first we thought it was a Hawk. When I saw the pictures on the computer, I realized it was a Great-tailed Grackle. I then learned that Great-tailed Grackles are predators of small birds. They aren’t great pictures, but they illustrate the Grackle chasing the Phoebe.

We saw a number of Coyotes (four or so), and a lot of large Jack Rabbits. The Jack Rabbits must attract the Coyotes.

Here are the pictures:

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