Camp Verde Reclamation Ponds

A curious thing happened today. I was out at the Camp Verde Sewage Treatment facility taking pictures for this blog when I was approached by a man who wanted to know what I was doing. They are doing some work on the facility and one of the contractors reported me. I told him I was taking pictures of birds. He was nice, but told me that the facility was overseen by h0mel@nd $ecur1ty and taking pictures was a no-no. (I didn’t bring up the fact that reclamation ponds all over the country are frequented by birders with their cameras.) He then took a picture of my license with his phone. He assumed I had never been there before and told me I have to sign in at the office. I told him I already had. After that we talked about our dogs. Luckily, he didn’t take my SD card from my camera.

The takeaway, if you want to bird here: 1) sign in at the office; 2) don’t take photographs.

Western Meadowlarks taking a mud bath. Photo by Chip Engelmann

Small isolated treatment ponds like this one and the one at the McGuireville Rest Stop are good places to find waterfowl and, in this case, grassland sparrows–especially if it hasn’t rained in a while. You can expect to find Brewer’s Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and of course White-crowned Sparrows.

A pair Cinnamon Teal and a Western Sandpiper in the shallows
Savannah Sparrow – Photo by Chip Engelmann
Vesper Sparrow – Photo by Chip Engelmann

Other birds you might expect to find are Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Northern Mockingbirds, Verdin, Say’s Phoebes, Killdeer, Wilson’s Snipe, and Loggerhead Shrikes. As for waterfowl, you can find Mallards, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Green-wing Teal, and Blue-wing Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, and Ruddy Ducks.

The Loggerhead Shrike impales its insects on cactus thorns and barbed wire to immobilize them while it continues hunting. It later returns to feast on them after they’ve stopped twitching. Photo by Chip Engelmann

Title Photo by Chip Engelmann

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