Wow! Look at that cinnamon underwing! I was lucky enough to catch this Marbled Godwit just as it stretched its wings. That peachy color is one of the diagnostic characteristics of this bird. I think it is just stunning. There were three Marbled Godwits on Pond 9 on Saturday. I had to pass by the pond a couple of times before I caught them feeding and not just resting with their bills under their wings. It was worth the effort, I got a great look, and added another species to my list of "new" birds for the year. Besides the Marbled Godwits, I added 3 other "new" species.
There were 2 Bonaparte's Gulls on Pond 1. Gull ID is difficult and I am definitely not an expert at it, but there were several other experienced birders there and the other gull had an obvious dark ear spot, and this one seems to be transitioning into first summer plumage. It also has a slender, straight and pointed mandible, whereas a young Franklin's would have a stockier, less pointed mandible.
I found several Cliff Swallows on the lines near the visitors center, but it was a hazy day and the light was so bad I wasn't able to photograph anything but silhouettes.
I also saw my first Black-necked Stilts of the year. There were several on Pond 9, and they have been observed several times at the preserve over the last few weeks. I think they are very appropriately named.
The first of the cactus blossoms were open Saturday. If you look closely you can see a pollen-covered bee busily working away. Blossoms are beginning to appear on the Palo Verde trees, Red Yucca plants and penstemons.