“Have you seen the spoonbill who lives here?” asked a man with a camera.
“No, I’ve never seen the spoonbill, but I see you’ve brought the big gun,” I said, pointing to the huge telephoto lens on his camera.
The Gilbert Riparian Preserve is a popular local venue for nature photographers. I posted about it in 2016 and 2017, but I hadn’t been back there since, so the other day I drove to the 110 acre park that boasts a lake, seven ponds, hiking trails, a playground, and an observatory. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy on a weekday; I was lucky to get a parking spot. The park was full of senior citizens and parents with young children. And also lots of ducks.
When I was a little girl, we’d go to the local pond with a bag of stale bread and tear it up to feed the ducks. Bread is no longer a recommended duck cuisine. At the Preserve, only at the lake (not at the ponds) are you allowed to feed the ducks, and only birdseed, corn, and whole-grain cereal are permitted. (Most people, like the kids above, bring baggies of Cheerios.)
As I wandered around from pond to pond, I found lots of things to look at and wonder about.
Benches appear throughout the preserve. This one had a placard that particularly touched me:
In one of the ponds I noticed some wading birds fishing for food.
And further on, another turtle:
I noticed a painted rock nestled in the V of a tree trunk:
A gambrel’s quail sprinted across the trail in front of me, and I was barely able to snap a shot before it disappeared into the brush:
I won’t let another four-and-a-half years pass before I make another trip to the Preserve. Maybe I’ll see you there. . .