|Great Fair, Fountain Hills|
Fountain Hills prides itself to sport the world's tallest fountain. True or not, it's certainly a waste of a lot of energy and water here in the desert. It only raises up once every half hour, but even the pond, surrounded by manicured lawns, is produces a constant water loss due to evaporation....
|Island of the Fountain Pond|
But still, the water attracts avian winter visitors as well as human snow birds. There are usually many wigeons and coots that graze the lawn and some diving ducks grebes that may indicate some fish in the sterile looking water.
But this year a new group of birds had discovered the little island in the pond. About forty cormorants and two dozens Great Egrets perched in the bare branches of its single tree. Here they spent the night protected from prowling predators.
As soon as the sun broke the horizon south of the snow covered Four Peaks the cormorants stretched their long necks and the egrets shook their silky long-trailing breeding plumage. Then bird after bird glided off its perch, the cormorants dropping nearly down to the water level and the egrets gaining height right away with heavy flapping wing beats.
By the time most artists and customers arrived at the show all cormorants and egrets had left for better fishing waters, maybe along the Verde River. But at night fall they were back to sleep on the island.
The garden planners left or even planted two lonely saguaros on the island. Their ghostly silhouettes added the strangest touch to this assembly of water birds against the clear morning sky of the desert.