In March, Rodger Bivens, a member of the DIGS Photography Club in SaddleBrooke, visited the Riparian Preserve at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, Arizona (east of Phoenix) to explore this bird sanctuary. Other members of the club have also visited this beautiful area from time to time. However, it is still not very well known to most people.
The development of the Preserve came about in 1999 as a result of the town of Gilbert’s decision some years earlier to combine water resource development with wildlife habitat. 70 acres of the total 110-acre area make up water recharge basins filled on a rotating basis with treated effluent. Around 298 species of birds have been identified as well as other wildlife. There is even an observatory on the property used in a variety of programs open to the public.
Many photographers, not just from Arizona but from around the country, come to the Preserve to especially seek out opportunities for some excellent bird photography. And, with the many walking trails around the seven water recharge basins, one can get some great exercise as well as enjoy some beautiful scenery. Other wildlife in the Preserve include fish, amphibians and, the favorites of my granddaughters, bunny rabbits.
I recommend one puts a visit to the Riparian Preserve on their bucket list and experience the beauty of this enclave on their next visit to the Phoenix/Gilbert area.