Gilber Water Ranch, Gilbert Az ( east Of Phoenix Az) is a great place for birders to visit. And a fun place for families with kids. Land was set aside for recycled water into 8 ponds. With lots of riparian, but open areas also, to view the creatures. Very nice dirt and paved walk ways easy for anyone. AND! Best of all dog friendly on leash. PLAAEEESEEE pick up your poop. seriously do. We will lose our privilage to walk dogs.
I got there before sunrise and had no idea where to be and how it would look. So lost some early light trying to figure out the lay of the land. Wintering birds find this a haven and there is another watery area down the road for more exploration. Very nice place for photographers as the ponds are not so large you need 2000 mm to see anything. I used a 500 and was happy. Could have used a 400 or a nice 300mm. After walking and shooting for a few hours my shoulder, being out of shape from shooting, was very bruised . After putting away gear got the hounds out to enjoy the bunnies who obviously are dog tolerant and did not move til 3 feet away. Probably 2-300 cottontails. Looks to me they had a burst of breeding and the hawks/coyotes will be fat and happy. Very few people pre sunrise. The crowds really begin around 9:30. Lots of kids by 10:30. There is a nice sandpit kids can dig for Dinosaur bones. A walkway over one pond and easy for wheelchairs. A small native garden area, bathrooms, and free.
Morning mist on egrets