Egrets of Sun Lakes

Gwen Grace

One of the enjoyable sights to see in Sun Lakes is a large number of great egrets lined around a lake in Oakwood, like sentinels spaced 10 to 12 feet apart, with their necks stretched out. Each likes his own hunting space, and yet they forage by walking with their head down. Great egrets like to nest in groups in the evening in large trees. In the fall one year I saw 86 of them in a eucalyptus tree over a lake! The great egret is easy to spot, with a yellow bill and black legs, and they are about 39 inches tall, whereas the smaller egret, also common in Sun Lakes, is the snowy egret, just 24 inches tall and having a black bill and yellow feet. These two egrets are joined by a cattle egret, usually seen in a field being plowed.

Desert Rivers Audubon offers free BirdWalks. Come out and enjoy this free event. Bird guides take out a small group, and the walks last about 45 minutes. There are binoculars for lending. Bird guides and books are for sale, and there are children’s bird books. BirdWalks are held the first Saturday of the month at Chandler and the third Saturday of the month at Gilbert.

Scheduled BirdWalks:

Jan. 6 at Chandler Veterans Oasis Park, located at Chandler Heights Road and Lindsay Road, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Look for the Desert Rivers tent.

Jan. 20 at Gilbert Riparian Preserve, located at Guadalupe Road and Greenfield Road, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Monthly Speaker:

Jan. 9 at the Gilbert Library, located at Guadalupe Road and Greenfield Road

Speaker: Tice Supplee, director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Southwest

Tice is heading up Audubon’s efforts in Arizona to build a network of receivers for the Motus migration monitoring project. Come learn about this exciting research technology.

The meeting is available in person at the Gilbert Library or on Zoom. Register for Zoom on the website Desert Rivers also offers advanced birding and BirdWalks. See their website.

Christmas Bird Count: Jan. 17. Join the fun.