Redheads are one of my favorite ducks, but they aren’t around Phoenix in the good numbers of their close relative the Ring-necked Duck. I might see one occasionally at the Gilbert Water Ranch where I do most of my bird photography, but even when I find one there it is almost always too far away for decent photos.
The only reliable spot to find them in the Valley that I know of is Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler. VOP is another wastewater recharge facility, like the Water Ranch, but much newer and with little developed vegetation. The best place for ducks and photography at VOP is the main “fisherman’s” pond just off the main parking lot. There’s always good water here and enough human activity along the concrete walkway circling the pond to make the ducks less spooky (at least at times).
A couple years ago I used to visit more often as I’d hear reports of interesting birds being seen there. These reports came from Scott Frye who lived nearby and also was a regular visitor at the Water Ranch where I’d see him frequently. When he moved to Florida my source of info on VOP dried up and I mostly forgot about the location.
Then two weeks ago I heard my name shouted out at the Water Ranch and whenI turned around I was surprised to see Scott. He was visiting the Phoenix area and had brought along his camera gear and was visiting his favorite spots. And sure enough he had a report for my of Redheads at VOP.