Sweetwater Wetlands Great Horned Owl


The Owl. Sony HX400V at 2400mm equivalent field of view.

Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson Arizona was one of the first “municipal wetlands” in the US: waste-water reclamation ponds converted to a birding destination. This year they took Sweetwater off-line and replaced it with a new, modern facility down the road, but it has become such a poplar and well-known birding spot in the Tucson area that they are still pumping enough water to keep the ponds full. August us not the time to visit, but it was when we were in Tucson, and it is still good enough birding not to miss. We were, in fact, there three times, once in the early evening and once in the early morning on our own, and again in the early morning with a group from the Tucson Birding Festival.

On the first visit we walked up on a Great Horned Owl sitting between the trail and the pond. We pretty much photographed it from every angle and framed it with the full range of the zoom on the Sony HX400V.

When we walked on the bird was still sitting there. The next morning a group of birders had already found the Owl when we got to that side of the ponds. In fat they had seen it take a Coot, behead it, and fly up to a branch to eat it. Again we took all the photos we wanted before the Owl had had its fill.

Sweetwater Wetlands, of course has other attractions, especially in other seasons, but a Great Horned Owl is always a treat.

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