Kay caught a flight out of Tucson today to return home to assist in the post op care of BFF Pam. This gave me the opportunity to bird and photograph extensively (hogging the only car we have in Arizona). First on the list was the Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson. The Sweetwater Wetlands is one of the most important functional, environmental, and educational components of the City of Tucson’s reclaimed water system. The facility was originally constructed in 1996 to handle backwash filter water from the reclaimed water plant. The wetlands now uses reclaimed water exclusively, helping treat secondary effluent and backwash from the reclaimed water treatment system at the now-closed Roger Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. Sweetwater Wetlands serves as an environmental education facility and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Paths, both paved and unpaved, visit all the ponds and give a view to the large detention basins to the south, which when containing water attract wading birds and shore birds. Rarities seen at Sweetwater over the years include Groove-billed Ani, Least Grebe, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, and many others. The area consists of several ponds surrounded by cattails, willows, and cottonwoods. Ducks visit the ponds while Red-winged, Yellow-headed, and Brewer’s blackbirds frequent the cattails. Thick stands of saltbush provide cover to Song Sparrows, Abert’s Towhees, wrens, and many other species. While I enjoyed walking around the facility, it did not have as much to offer today as those we visited near Phoenix.