Birding at Kachina Wetlands, Flagstaff, AZ

Friends and I traveled to a new birding location. Kachina Wetlands receives wastewater, from a nearby community a mile away, after its secondary treatment and chlorination. The water then flows here through 8 ponds by gravity. The initial plan for this wetland had more ponds, but work and constant evaluation through the years by many individuals checking the pond water’s pH, checking that there are no leaks, planting native vegetation, removing invasive plants, and constructing birdhouses and blinds with an overall goal to create a wildlife habitat. Thanks to the cooperation between Northern Arizona University, AZ Game & Fish, and Coconino County their work and continued efforts make it possible for many of us to birdwatch on this 70 acre parcel of land. I believe we will see more wetlands near communities, but understand years of work are needed to get to this stage. The operation here began in 1988. When we look at environmental issues needing solutions, time is needed. That is why we’ll be hearing more about climate change and the timeline needed for certain actions and solutions now, assuring future generations of us leaving them clean air and water.

We walked the trails around the ponds while a few other people rode their bicycle. Egrets, yellow-headed blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows and other small birds were abundant.

We spent time watching a couple of ospreys flying easily on the thermals and then diving to the pond’s surface to capture a fish. Many times they were not successful, but sometimes they had a fish to show for their efforts.

Off in the distance we saw a bird in the air and identified it as a bald eagle. We watched it land in a tree and my camera still did not have the capability of getting a good photo. So we walked toward where we saw the eagle land.

There is a balancing act when attempting wildlife photography. Do you take the photo you can from where you are, or do you try to get closer to the subject and take the photo, and/or do you put a teleconverter on your camera and hope for the best from where you are standing? I decided to move closer, but there was a pond between me and what I discover are 2 bald eagles in a tree! I took my photos. When I do move closer the angle from under the tree is not right and then the birds take off. We saw 2 majestic bald eagles and when I looked across the wetland, a coyote was also passing though. The wildlife appreciate this habitat!

Coyotes are here too!

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