Water Ranch Riparian Preserve

There comes a time when you just have to get away from it all. This time we decided on a riparian preserve that was recommended by a friend, MaryBeth. It was fairly close and we had other plans for later so it was short and sweet but filled with many plants and animals that find their way to the riverbank in the desert climate. I’m just a little sorry that we hadn’t made it to the guided tour that MaryBeth raved about – maybe next time…

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There were a few ducks in one pond and Richard noticed this tufted one from the boardwalk. It came quite close to us and he mentioned his sister had one like this many years ago.

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The grackles are lighter coloured and sound a little different than we are used to. This one kept hiding behind branches and I was lucky to see this much of it.

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Another photographer on the trail mentioned that there was a snowy egret just through the bushes. It was fishing in the shallows and posed for us for a while.

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This hummingbird just sat on the branch while I slowly moved closer.

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The overcast weather was a little cool and this little hummy seemed to be fluffed up as if it was trying to keep warm.

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There was no mistaking this magnificent ash tree sporting its fall colours.

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The view across one of the ponds.

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Of course, the prickly pear cactus was blooming in mid-December!

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We even found Christmas colours in the desert.

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From the boardwalk, many small mud-islands were occupied by a turtle or two and the mallard beside them was preening himself.

It was a short walk with a multitude of wildlife and plants in a natural habitat right in the middle of the city of Gilbert.

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