Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Lakeside Ranger District
This 93-acre artificial wetland has been created from reclaimed wastewater and includes 18 waterfowl nesting islands. The complex of ponds and marsh areas may be easily walked on berms, although there are no maintained trails. The area is bordered by forest and grassland.
Among the waterfowl that the marsh habitat attracts are pintail, redhead, ruddy duck, canvasback, bufflehead, and green-winged and cinnamon teal. Migration brings numerous wading birds and sandpipers, such as white-faced ibis and spotted and western sandpiper.
Bank swallow and purple martin can also be seen during migration periods. In the summer, sora and yellow-headed blackbird are common in cattails. A variety of raptors are often here, sometimes resting on nearby snags, including bald eagle (in winter).
Open areas in the grassland provide habitat for loggerhead shrike, western kingbird, western bluebird, northern mockingbird, sage thrasher, and vesper, lark and savannah sparrow. Woods surrounding the ponds contain species like pygmy nuthatch, brown creeper and Grace’s warbler. There’s a high probability of seeing elk at sunrise and sunset in cooler months.
Note that hunting in season is allowed in this area.
Habitat: Aquatic, wetland riparian, grassland, juniper woodland
Seasons: All year. Birding is best in spring, summer and fall.
Location: From the traffic light at the junction of White Mountain Blvd. (State Highway 260) and Penrod Road in Lakeside, proceed north 1.5 miles on Penrod Road to Juniper Drive. Take this dirt side street through a residential area and over a cattle guard. Follow the road curving to the right and over a second cattle guard to a parking lot and information kiosk, 0.7 mile from Penrod Road.
Access: Sunrise to sunset. Parking is at designated site only.