Glendale Recharge Ponds, August 3, 2017

Fr. Charlie and I went to the Glendale Recharge Ponds on August 3, 2017. I’ve heard of this birding spot for years, but this was my first visit there. It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house.

The Glendale Recharge Ponds (GRP) are owned and managed by the utility company called Salt River Project (SRP). These ponds collect overflow from the river and canal system, and are used to recharge the water table. The ponds are very much for function, and not form! There is no shade or landscaping of any kind, so the area is very drab and rather … well … ugly. However, the birds that show up in the ponds are amazing! 256 species have been reported there in ebird.org, and many of them are shore/wading birds that are otherwise rare in this part of the country. The ponds are very large compared to similar facilities in the area (e.g. the Gilbert Water Ranch). Even though the lack of trees is ugly, there is an advantage that there is nothing obstructing the view of the birds, and it is easier to get pictures of birds in flight, because there are no trees to get in the way.

We arrived at GRP at about 8 AM. The temperature was in the 90’s by the time we left, which isn’t bad for the Phoenix area in August, but we have our monsoon season humidity, and without any shade, it was hot. Our clothes were soaked through, and we were ready to leave by about 9:30 or 10.

Despite this, I really enjoyed it, and will definitely go back, maybe when it is not so hot and I can stay longer and get more bird in flight shots.

ebird.org reports 4 different sandpipers, but I could only ID two: the Western and Least Sandpipers (the most common kinds). The Least has light-colored legs, and the Western has black legs and is a little larger. There were reports of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. I think we only saw Greater Yellowlegs, based on their size relative to the Wilson’s Phalaropes. The Black-necked Stilts are very common in this area, even in urban areas. I got a little carried away by posting 4 photos of them, mainly because I liked the in-flight pictures. I’ve seen the White-faced Ibis before at Gilbert Water Ranch, but there were a lot of them here, and I got some shots in flight.

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