I enjoyed looking for birds around Red Rock State Park so, today, rather than hiking among some more red rocks, I decided instead to focus on looking for birds at a couple of locations recommended to me by the folks at the forest services offices.
Page Spring Fish Hatchery and Bubbling Ponds
The first location was a large fish hatchery operation located on North Page Spring Road which exits from 89A about halfway between Sedona and Cottonwood. This hatchery utilizes a natural spring which supplies fresh water at a constant temperature of 68F. The fish (primarily Rainbow Trout) are reared in 36 raceways kept oxygenated by artificial means, The raceways are housed in covered facilities which reduces losses due to natural and human predation. In addition to the raceways for the colder water fish, the hatchery also has a number of outdoor large capacity earthen ponds for the rearing of warmer water fish.
Click on the truck image to see a larger version.
Although I am always interested in looking at fish hatchery design and operations, my interest today was more focused on visiting the external ponds due to the substantial number of waterfowl that were frequenting the ponds. Of course, add in an eagle or two, a half dozen or so Great Blue Herons, a hawk or two and the ponds get even more interesting. I even had a flock of quail scurry by in the underbrush.
I couldn’t possibly see all of the birds that have been sighted at the ponds at one time or another but if you click on the list above you will get some idea of how popular the ponds are not only for permanent resident species but also for wintering and migrating species.
Sedona Wetlands Preserve
In most parts of the world, the location that is good for viewing many species of waterfowl is the local sewage lagoon. In the case of Sedona, the recycled water from the sewage lagoons is used to develop a large marsh-like preserve next to Highway 89A about 5 miles from the western edge of Sedona.
As I stopped in the parking lot, it was easy to hear the ‘noise’ of hundreds of red-winged blackbirds all communicating in their screechy way. They weren’t the only bird species making noise. As I walked along the paths beside each of the ponds, the American Coots would make their grunting sound and move out from the side of the pond into deeper water while other species of waterfowl either just swam to the other side or up and flew away.
All in all a pretty good day looking for waterfowl in this rather dry part of the world.