Arizona State Parks
Primarily a birding site, a spotting scope is helpful for birding the lake. On the road to the ranger station, in about a quarter-mile, is a small marshy area that attracts birds. In summer, look for black phoebe, yellow-breasted chat, yellow warbler and Virginia rail. Birding is good on the lake near the dam where waterfowl sometimes congregate. Trees below the dam attract migrants, and phainopepla have been seen here. Cordilleran flycatcher and several species of swallow are seen in picnic and camping areas.
A dirt road leads to the south end of the lake where shallow waters invite migrating shorebirds, such as American avocet, black-necked stilt, greater and lesser yellowlegs, long-billed dowitcher, snowy egret, white-faced ibis and western sandpiper. Gulls and terns also use the lake during migration. From fall through spring, western and Clark’s grebe can be found on the lake, and Barrow’s goldeneye has been seen here. Common merganser, double-crested cormorant and a variety of ducks are more common. Some other birds seen in the park include canyon and rock wren, canyon towhee, common yellowthroat, Townsend’s solitaire and pinyon jay. The park has hiking trails to archaeological sites.
Habitat: Aquatic, wetland riparian, pinyon pine and juniper woodland, grassland
Seasons: All year. Birding is best during migration and winter.
Location: From the intersection with U.S. Highways 60 and180/191, go north 15 miles on Highway 180/191 to the state park entrance.
Access: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The entrance road is paved.
Near: St. Johns or Springerville