Another place we like at the Gilbert Water Ranch is what we call Roseate Bay, so named because Roseate Skimmers are so abundant there. It's located at the northern end of Pond #5 in an area that stays wet all the time, while most of the pond dries up. Its location is indicated on the map below:
There's also a nice shaded viewing blind at Roseate Bay. It's a great place to see 3 or 4 Roseate Skimmers perched at a time, while in the background all sorts of ducks and shorebirds are feeding.
Here are a couple shots of a Roseate Skimmer at Roseate Bay. They're very active right now, and often just perch for a few seconds before taking off again, but every now and then one rests for long enough to get some good shots.
|Roseate Skimmer, at Roseate Bay, Gilbert Water Ranch.|
The same individual. Notice how the front two legs are tucked up nicely behind its head. This is where they hold the front legs during flight as well. Once the rear four legs capture an insect, the front two legs come into play as they manipulate the prey item for processing.
Also observed at Roseate Bay were a couple Variegated Meadowhawks. Here's one on a stem, watching for something to take off and chase.
|Variegated Meadowhawk, Roseate Bay, Gilbert Water Ranch.|
The same individual from a different angle. Notice the two yellow spots on the thorax. When it was younger, there would have been two white stripes on the thorax, with yellow spots at the bottom. With age, the white fades away, leaving just the yellow spots. Notice also the intricate pattern on the abdomen, the reason for its name.