We had a great day exploring and bird watching at one of the local wildlife areas. We visited the Jacques Marsh area in Pinetop. I read about how many birds stop there during the early spring migration. Once we got there, it was all built up on a hill with a wall protecting the lake. Once we all topped the hill where we could SEE them, all the ducks and water fowl flew to the other end of the lake. I guess we scared all of them off and they scared us too. :-)
They had the gates locked so we could not drive to the other end and quietly sneak up on them. I was a bit disappointed with this one. The road to get there was also in pretty bad shape. (See Photos) I did manage to see a few birds with my binoculars, not much to brag about.
I am sure once they open for the season and grade the roads it will be a nice place for birding. After the birding adventure we stopped at Cattlemen’s Steak House for great steaks with a salad bar for lunch. That made up for our bummer birding day. :-)
I am adding the information below for anyone wanting to check out the birding spot later. I hope you have better birding luck than we did. :-) Check back later for more from Arizona.
Description: In 1978, the Town of Pinetop/Lakeside initiated construction of a marsh complex to treat wastewater effluent. Cooperators included the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Pinetop/Lakeside Sanitary District, and Arizona Game and Fish Department, who agreed to maintain the area for waterfowl habitat. This site offers a 130-acre marshland surrounded by pinyon-juniper woodland and 7 ponds with 18 islands for bird nesting habitat. The topography is gentle rolling land with a northerly slope. The vegetative communities are predominately pinyon–juniper woodland and deciduous woodland.
Wildlife to Watch: The marsh area attracts a variety of wildlife, including wetland birds, mule deer, elk, bald eagle (during winter months) and other birds of prey, and songbirds. Permanent resident birds include Bewick’s wren and belted kingfisher. Bank swallow and purple martin can be seen during migration periods. In the summer, sora and yellow-headed blackbird are common in cattails. Open areas in the grassland provide habitat for loggerhead shrike, western kingbird, western bluebird, northern mockingbird, and vesper, lark, and savannah sparrows. Woodlands surrounding the ponds contain species such as white-breasted nuthatch, juniper titmouse, and black-throated warbler. Waterfowl that have been observed include mallard, northern pintail, redhead, bufflehead, canvasback, green-winged and cinnamon teal. Other wildlife includes Gunnison’s prairie dog, southwestern fence lizard, gophersnake, terrestrial gartersnake, eastern collared lizard, greater short-horned lizard, and tarantula.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Size: 130 acres
Closest Town: Pinetop/Lakeside