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Descriptions of
Eastern Utah Areas:
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DESCRIPTIONS OF EASTERN UTAH
BIRDING AREAS:
21 - 30

Below are descriptions of:
[21]  Pelican Lake
[22]  Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
[23]  Wyasket Bottom Road
[24]  Montes Creek Reservoirs
[25]  Lake Boreham (Midview Reservoir)
[26]  Mallard Springs WMA
[27]  Upper Duchesne River
[28]  Strawberry River WMA
[29]  Desert Lake WMA
[30]  Emma Park


  [21]  Pelican Lake
Pelican Lake is a large reservoir that attracts many water birds during spring and fall migration. Also, many rare and unusual birds, for Utah, have been observed on this reservoir. It's worth a stop at Pelican Lake to look for rarities and "tune up" for your visit to Ouray National Wildlife Refuge (site #22). The primary observation area is along UT-88 on the east side of the lake. There are additional access points on the southeast corner of the lake and on the west shore of the lake at a BLM primitive campground. Look for Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Great Blue Heron, and Red-tailed Hawk in addition to the featured species. Just west of Pelican Lake is a large Double-Crested Cormorant nesting colony in trees surrounding a pond. This pond is also good for shorebirds during migration season.

The complex of Pariette Wetlands, lower Duchesne River, Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Pelican Lake and Stewart Lake Waterfowl Management Area are very important for many birds. Many habitat characteristics and patterns of bird use contribute to this importance. These include, waterfowl breeding and migration behavior, passerine requirements for a migratory corridor, availability of water in an expanse of desert, existence of the largest contiguous area of lowland riparian type in Utah, and the high diversity of birds preferring lowland riparian habitats.

While driving south on UT-88, look for Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, and Yellow-headed Blackbird along the road. Approximately 5 miles south of Pelican Lake is the turnoff to Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. After birding the refuge, continue south on UT-88 for 3 miles to the town of Ouray and the cottonwood forests along the Green River.

HABITATS: Primarily open water with some bullstem rush.

FEATURED BIRDS: Bald Eagle (winter), American White Pelican, Osprey, Blue-winged Teal, Redhead, Canvasback, and Sandhill Crane (migration).

SEASON: Yearlong, but best in spring and fall.

LOCATION: Pelican Lake is 9 miles south of US-40 on UT-88 and approximately 5 miles north of the Ouray refuge turnoff.

GPS COORDINATES: 40 11' 57"N, 109 39' 53"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: BLM, private, and some UDWR.

NOTES: BLM provides an improved boat ramp and restroom on the southeast corner of the reservoir and a primitive campground on the southwest segment of the lake.

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  [22]  Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
The deserts of eastern Utah provide minimal habitat for ducks, geese, and other water birds. Therefore, wetlands are at a premium. Many areas in eastern Utah receive less than seven inches of precipitation annually. However, the Green River corridor provides water and wetland habitats for thousands of waterfowl and riparian habitat for a multitude of migrating passerines. The species richness is highest during the migration seasons. Ouray National Wildlife Refuge includes 16-miles of the Green River riparian corridor and encompasses 12,000 acres of land. At last count, 237 species of birds have been recorded on the Ouray refuge and nearly half of these are associated with water. The refuge is well designed for birders with a driving route through the various habitats with pullouts, overlooks, and an observation tower.

The highest diversity of birds are on the portion of the auto tour route through the bottomlands of the Green River. Just past an information kiosk, the road turns south to some rich marshes and cottonwood forests. However, the portion of the auto tour climbing to the highlands overlooking the marshes and cottonwood forests is interesting for the view and for desert species like Burrowing Owl, Lark Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Pronghorn, and White-tailed Prairie Dog.

During migration, Pelican Lake and Ouray NWR are covered with water birds including Horned Grebe (uncommon), Eared Grebe, western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, White-faced Ibis, Canada Goose, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, and Bald Eagle (winter), and more. Long-billed Curlew and Brewer's, Vesper, Lark, and Savannah Sparrows use the surrounding grasslands. Burrowing Owls are occasionally seen in and around the prairie dog towns.

HABITATS: Wetlands, open water, riparian, and desert uplands.

FEATURED BIRDS: Bald Eagle (winter), various waterfowl species, American Bittern, Northern Harrier, Virginia Rail, Spotted Sandpiper, Sandhill Crane, Black Tern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (rare), Lewis's Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Sage Sparrow, and Yellow-headed Blackbird.

SEASON: Yearlong, best during spring and fall migration.

LOCATION: Drive south on UT-88 from US-40. UT-88 heads south from US-40 11.2 miles SW of Vernal or approximately half way between Roosevelt and Vernal. UT-88 is signed for the town of Ouray. The refuge sign and turnoff is 13.8 miles south of US-40.

GPS COORDINATES: Leota Overlook, 40 10' 41"N, 109 36' 22"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.

NOTES: When birding along the Green River, observe the NO TRESPASSING signs on private and Tribal lands.

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  [23]  Wyasket Bottom Road
Wyasket Bottom is offered if time allows after birding the portion of Ouray National Wildlife Refuge on the west side of the river. There are similarities in birding the east side of the Green River, but some differences. Access to the east side of the Green River on the road to Woods, Wyasket, and Johnson Bottoms will provide additional cottonwood riparian and wetland birding. Most of this area is part of Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. Just south of the bridge crossing the Green River, near Ouray (no services), Uinta County road #3310 heads east from UT-88. Then in 0.5 miles, Uinta County road 5021, signed the Wyasket Bottom Road, heads northeast from CH-3310. If going to Johnson Bottom, go straight, along the river, instead of following CH-5021 to the right and up the bluff. The road is only passable during dry weather and high clearance vehicles are recommended if traveling to Johnson Bottom. It is approximately 24 miles (round trip) to Johnson Bottom.

Birding is good at the beginning of the road in the Green River bottomlands. Less than two miles up the road is Woods Bottom where many waterfowl species and a rookery with Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorant nesting can be observed. The dike roads further up the road are only mowed once a year and mowing is not done until well after nesting season, therefore they are not open for vehicle traffic for some of the year. After mowing, the dike roads are passable.

Bird diversity is highest during spring and fall migration. Look for Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Western Tanager, Townsend's Solitaire, and Mountain Bluebird in addition to species mentioned on sites #21 and #22.

HABITATS: Cottonwood gallery forest, open water, cattail marsh, agriculture, and uplands.

FEATURED BIRDS: American White Pelican, Lewis' Woodpecker, Cliff Swallow, and Bullock's Oriole.

SEASON: Summer when dry.

LOCATION: Just south of the Green River bridge on UT-88 turn east on County Road 3310 for 0.5 miles to County Road 5021 then north on the road to Johnson Bottom (Wyasket Bottom Road). The road is unimproved, sandy in spots, and not recommended during wet weather.

GPS COORDINATES: Wood's Bottom, 40 05' 46"N, 109 38' 46"W; Johnson Bottom, 40 11' 18"N, 109 36' 36"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Primarily Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.

NOTES: No facilities.

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  [24]  Montes Creek Reservoirs
Montes Creek Reservoir and Little Montes Creek Reservoir are shallow reservoirs and great for waterfowl and shorebirds. The wetland below the Montes Creek Reservoir dam, viewed from the road, adds diversity. Access roads allow the reservoir to be viewed from either the north or south end of the dam.

For Little Montes Creek WMA park at an access parking lot just south of where Montes Creek crosses the road below the dam. The 189-acre WMA includes Little Montes Creek Reservoir. Open year around to day use only. Access is by walk-in traffic only. This area offers good birding opportunities for species that inhabit riparian, Russian olive, sagebrush, and open water.

HABITATS: Open water, riparian, marsh, uplands.

FEATURED BIRDS: Spotted Sandpiper and several upland and waterfowl species.

SEASON: Yearlong.

LOCATION: Drive east on US-40 from Roosevelt for three miles to 3500E, then three miles north to the reservoir. Little Montes Creek WMA parking area is on the east side of road just before reaching the main reservoir. A road turns west from 3500E to access the north end of the dam and the south end of the dam can be accessed from 3000N.

GPS COORDINATES: Dam, 40 20' 52"N, 109 56' 21"W. Parking for Little Montes Creek WMA, 40 20' 49"N, 109 56' 04"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private and Utah Division of Wildlife.

NOTES: No facilities.

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  [25]  Lake Boreham (Midview Reservoir)
This shallow lake is often very productive during migration season for specialties like Black Tern and several species of loon. A good place to get an overview of the reservoir is at the Lake Boreham memorial monument which sits on a hill just north of the dam. This location offers a view of the reservoir, looking west, so is best viewed in the morning hours. The road to the area is through agriculture land and offers opportunities for American Kestrel, Brewer's Blackbird, Western Kingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, and more.

HABITATS: Open water.

FEATURED BIRDS: Clark's and Western Grebe and many waterfowl species.

SEASON: Winter and migration.

LOCATION: Drive east on US-40 out of Duchesne and before crossing the Duchesne River turn north on the East River Road. Drive 9.5 miles to the Bridgeland Junction, then northeast for one mile then east for 3 miles to the site. From Bridgeland, 12 miles east of Duchesne (near US-40/191), proceed as above. From 1 mile north of Myton on US-40/191, drive west on 6250S for approximately 3 miles then south on 7240W to the reservoir (another 3 miles). The Lake Boreham memorial monument and overlook are just north of the dam on the east side of the Reservoir.

GPS COORDINATES: 40 10' 46"N, 110 09' 57"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private.

NOTES: No facilities.

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  [26]  Mallard Springs WMA
Mallard Springs is a 270-acre wetlands formed as a result of spring water and agricultural runoff and maintained as mitigation lands for loss of wetland habitat from other water development projects (CUP). For birders driving along US-40/191 in the Myton area, this area provides a short stop to stretch the legs and observe many species of birds. The wetlands are surrounded by Russian olive on the north and a canal system on the west. The springs remain non-frozen long after other wetlands in the area freeze up in early winter. This open water is very attractive to many waterfowl species. Since UDWR began managing the area, several shallow ponds have been created and some areas have been planted with food plots, forage plants, and shrubs. The area is small, but diverse. Walk in access only from the northeast parking area.

During dry conditions, the road around the north and west sides of the WMA offers another opportunity for observing the wetlands. If driving this unimproved road, bird from the road to avoid tresspass.

HABITATS: Wet meadows, cattail wetlands and Russian olive groves.

FEATURED BIRDS: Migrating warblers and various waterfowl.

SEASON: Yearlong but best during spring and fall migration.

LOCATION: From US-40 turn east and drive through Myton in Duchesne County. All roads through Myton eventually join and only one main road leaves town to the east. In approximately 1.75 miles the road turns south for approximately 0.5 miles. Look for the Mallard Springs sign and parking area where the paved road takes a sharp left turn. A dirt road goes to the right (west).

GPS COORDINATES: 40 11' 39"N, 110 02' 35"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Utah Division of Wildlife (UDWR).

NOTES: Foot access only, no facilities, no camping.

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  [27]  Upper Duchesne River
There are many opportunities for birding along UT-35 to Wolf Creek Pass and along side roads in the area. Some of this area is within the boundaries of the Great Salt Lake Birding Trails map, but not mentioned in that map. In the past, UT-35 was gravel and sometimes rough. UT-35 is currently paved from Duchesne to Francis (68 miles). With this hotspot, we highlight the road from Stockmore Guard Station up the North Fork of Duchesne River and Hades Canyon to Grandview Trailhead.

From the Stockmore Guard Station, on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, drive north up the North Fork of Duchesne River to the Ashley National Forest boundary (approximately one mile). Birding is good for the next 10 miles to Grandview Trailhead at the end of the road. Along the way, visit Aspen Grove, Castle Cliffs, and Hades campgrounds. Just beyond the Hades Campground, the Forest Road leaves the river and goes east towards Hades Lake and Grandview.

After returning to UT-35 (Stockmore), bird west on UT-35 along the West Fork of Duchesne River towards Wolf Creek Pass. Then on to the Francis/Kamas area. Wolf Creek Summit is at 9,476 feet elevation. UT-35 offers scenic views, campgrounds, and good birding. The coordinates for Wolf Creek Summit are 40 28' 55"N, 111 01' 54"W.

Interesting points from Duchesne to Grandview include the wetlands on both side of the road just north of Duchesne; historic Stockmore Forest Service Ranger Station at mile 35.2; Big Springs at mile 36.6; Aspen Grove Campground at mile 38.2; Hades Campground at mile 41.4; and Grandview Trailhead to the Granddaddy Lakes area of the High Uintas Wilderness at mile 46.

UT-208 is another interesting road connecting UT-35 and US-40 west of Duchesne. This road crosses blocks of state land, including the Tabby Mountain WMA. On the south, UT-208 junctions with US-40 four miles east of the Red Creek Road (site #28) and goes north to junction with UT-35 three miles southeast of Tabiona. The Tabby Mountain WMA unit consists of 42,025 acres of mostly sagebrush and greasewood flats with some pinyon-juniper, however, it contains a portion of Red Creek with riparian vegetation. The Red Creek portion of the WMA is accessed by driving north on 45,000 West from near the Fruitland Store. Red Creek forms the western border of the WMA and Red Creek Reservoir is near the northwest border.

HABITATS: Riparian, Pinyon-juniper woodland, aspen, and conifer forests.

FEATURED BIRDS: Western Tanager, American Three-toed Woodpecker (Wolf Creek Pass summit), Hairy Woodpecker, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

SEASON: Summer (road may be closed in winter).

LOCATION: Drive north up the Duchesne River from Duchesne on UT-35 through Tabiona and Hanna towards Francis. UT-35 junctions with FR-144 at mile 35.5 and heads up the North Fork of Duchesne River towards Hades Campground, 6 miles from UT-35.

GPS COORDINATES: Hades Campground, 40 32' 03"N, 111 52' 24"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Ashley National Forest

NOTES: One or more days could be spent in this area. Campgrounds are available and restroom facilities are conveniently spaced. Trailheads offer opportunity to backpack into wilderness areas.

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  [28]  Strawberry River WMA
The Strawberry River runs through a beautiful riparian corridor flanked by high cliffs. In addition to a great trout fisheries, this area offers an excellent birding area. The area is near the west boundary of this birding trails map. Red Creek Road continues east down the Strawberry River, however, the Strawberry River WMA, featured here, is up stream (west) from the Pinnacles.

There are several pullout parking areas along the river. Stop at any of these and walk along the road to observe the birds using the area. At mile 4.5 from the WMA property boundary, the Timber Canyon Road heads south. This road provides access to higher areas of pinyon-juniper and Douglas-fir forests.

HABITATS: Cottonwood forest, willow, grass meadow, running water, and high cliffs.

FEATURED BIRDS: A variety of warblers (including Yellow-breasted Chat), vireos, and woodpeckers.

SEASON: Spring, summer, and fall.

LOCATION: Drive west on US-40 for 23 miles from Duchesne (3 miles east of Fruitland), turn south on the Red Creek Road for 6 miles, the first 4.6 miles are paved. Then turn right, the road goes south then west past the private "resort" area, then bird up the canyon for 8 miles to the private property gates. Obtain a detailed map if you plan on exploring the side roads.

GPS COORDINATES: DWR property boundary, 40 07' 42"N, 110 45' 08"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).

NOTES: Gravel road should be avoided during wet weather and winter snowstorms.

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  [29]  Desert Lake WMA
The Desert Lake Waterfowl Management Area covers some 2,240 acres. The wetland area is made up of waste water and agricultural runoff. These wetlands are surrounded by very dry desert and bare ground areas, therefore are very attractive to water birds. Viewing is best in the spring and during wet years, as the water is far from the roads during drought years. Also, as this is area is primarily managed for waterfowl and upland game hunting, public access is restricted to the waterfowl season or by appointment. With a scope, some of the open water areas can be viewed from the road around the wetlands. On the surrounding uplands, look for Sage Thrasher, Say's Phoebe, Brewer's Sparrow, and more.

HABITATS: Sparse desert shrub, open water, and marshlands.

FEATURED BIRDS: Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck, American White Pelican, and Sandhill Crane.

SEASON: Best during spring migration.

LOCATION: From Price, drive south on UT-10 to the Cleveland-Elmo junction with UT-155, then to Elmo, then turn south on the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry road to the Waterfowl Management Area. Signs are present.

GPS COORDINATES: 39 21' 46"N, 110 42' 25"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Utah Division of Wildlife.

NOTES: No facilities.

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  [30]  Emma Park
Emma Park is on US-191 northeast of Helper near the Carbon-Duchesne County line. The area consists of Emma Park, Willow Creek and Summit Creek. Areas to bird include a unimproved road going east along Summit Creek and a paved road going west to US-6 and the Price River.

US-191 from Duchesne to the junction with US-6 is designated the Indian Canyon Scenic Byway, a 43.5 mile section of scenic US-191. From Duchesne, the drive goes southwest through colorful Indian Canyon then through a section of the Ashley National Forest. Enjoy the unique display of geologic formations and vegetation types from pinyon-juniper on the south slopes to aspen, white fir, Engelman Spruce and Douglas Fir on the north slopes. The Indian Creek Pass summit is at 9,100 feet in elevation. After the summit, the road descends along Willow Creek. A road to Avintaquin Campground and Picnic area heads west 1.2 miles south of the summit or 29.2 miles southwest of Duchesne.

Bird Emma Park by driving on a paved road, but not maintained during winter months, that goes west (from US-191) through Emma Park, over Matts Summit at 7,454 feet in elevation and joins US-6 just north of the Price Canyon area. Contact the Utah Division of Wildlife (UDWR) in Price for group viewing of Greater Sage-Grouse lek activities in early spring. Also look for Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Vesper Sparrow, and Common Poorwill.

HABITATS: Wet meadows, riparian, associated sagebrush uplands and pinyon-juniper woodlands.

FEATURED BIRDS: Wilson Snipe, Long-billed Curlew, Greater Sage-Grouse, and Sage Sparrow.

SEASON: US-191 is kept open yearlong, however side roads are best from late spring through fall.

LOCATION: Three miles north of Helper, US-191 branches from US-6 and heads towards Duchesne. Emma Park and Matts Summit are on a road re-connecting US-191 and US-6 approximately 7.8 miles northeast of this junction on US-191. Continuing towards Duschesne on US-191 will take you through Indian Canyon.

GPS COORDINATES: Junction with US-191, 39 47' 54"N, 110 47' 06"W. Matts Summit, 39 40' 09"N, 110 51' 01"W.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private and BLM.

NOTES: Birding should be done from the road to avoid trespassing on private property.

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Descriptions of
Eastern Utah Areas:
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