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GREAT SALT LAKE BIRDING TRAILS:
AREA DESCRIPTIONS FOR SITES 11 - 20

Below are area descriptions of:
[11]  Little Creek Reservoir
[12]  Cutler Marsh
[12a]  Bud Phelps WMA
[12b]  20-20 Ponds
[13]  Hyrum State Park
[14]  Amalga Barrens
[15]  Wellsville Hawkwatch
[16]  Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
[17]  Willard Bay State Park
[18]  Ogden Bay WMA
[19]  Farmington Bay
[20]  Layton Wetlands Preserve



  [11]  LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR  
Little Creek Reservoir attracts many species during migration. Additionally, a drive up either the Old Canyon or the New Canyon roads will provide more birding in different habitats, look for western riparian species in the summer. Expect Dusky Flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Western Tanager, and Warbling Vireo.

HABITATS: Open water, shoreline, and riparian.

FEATURED BIRDS: Double-crested Cormorant and Dusky Flycatcher

SEASON: Spring, summer and fall

LOCATION: Travel east from Randolph approximately 3 miles to reservoir. For more birding drive up either the Old Canyon or New Canyon road.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mixed land ownership: private, BLM, and state land
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  [12]  CUTLER MARSH  
Cutler marsh was created by the shallow waters of Bear River at the head of Cutler Reservoir. It is best viewed from the bridges where roads cross the marsh, at the boat docks (restroom here), or by canoe. Expect many waterfowl and shorebirds. A 2.5 mile loop trail starts/ends near the Benson Marina (on 3000 North) and includes a foot bridge over the old railroad trestle to the south. Look for American Bittern, White-faced Ibis, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, and Common Yellowthroat.

HABITATS: Freshwater marsh, open water, shoreline, wetland pasture, and some riparian

FEATURED BIRDS: Clark's Grebe, American White Pelican, White-faced Ibis, and Sandhill Crane

SEASON: Spring, summer, and fall

LOCATION: Travel west from Logan on the Logan Airport Road (2500 North) for 2.6 miles to an intersection, then bear left (west) another .75 miles to a "T" intersection, then turn right. Just before crossing the Bear River bridge, walk south along the river on a foot trail into some excellent wetland habitat. From the Bear River bridge drive west another 1.75 miles, then turn north on the Sam Fellow Road towards Newton. At about .25 miles look for the Oxbow Overlook (viewing light is better in the morning). From Newton head south on UT-23 to UT-30 then east to the Benson Marina foot trail. Make stops at overlooks, boat docks, and bridges to best view Cutler Marsh.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Mostly private or PacifiCorp land, view from road and designated pull-outs

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on Cutler Marsh HERE )
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  [12a]  BUD PHELPS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA  
The Utah Division of Wildlife (UDWR) manage this area for hunting. The adjacent land is owned by PacifiCorp where they have enlarged two ponds as part of a Resource Management Plan for the Cutler Marsh area. Together these areas represent approximately 1,000 acres of land open to the public for birding.

HABITATS: Marsh land

FEATURED BIRDS: Song Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Common Yellowthroat, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Sparrow (winter), and Short-eared Owl

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: From 1000 West and 600 South in Logan, drive 3.25 miles west, then turn on a dirt road marked by a "Bud Phelps WMA" sign. From the parking lot, several options are available, but a favorite is along the canal to the north.

LAND OWNERSHIP: UDWR and PacifiCorp

NOTES: Availability of restrooms unknown
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  [12b]  20-20 PONDS  
One of the few sources of open water in Cache Valley during the winter are these spring fed ponds. The ponds are located near 20th South and 20th West (thus called the 20-20 ponds). The ponds are deep enough for diving ducks as well as dabbling ducks. The best observation spot is at the southeast corner of the ponds. Please observe from the road as this is private property. A spotting scope is needed for best viewing.

HABITATS: Wetlands and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Wood Duck, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Tundra Swan, and an occasional Eurasian Wigeon during migration

SEASON: All year, but best during winter.

LOCATION: From US-89/91 south of Logan, travel west on 2200 South to 1800 West, the ponds are northwest of this intersection.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private property

NOTES: No facilities
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  [13]  HYRUM STATE PARK  
Hyrum reservoir (400 acres) is a favorite summer boating area, so noise and activity during the boating season is often disruptive for birders. The trail along the north shore from the ranger station to the beach parking area is good for Black-capped Chickadee, Spotted Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. The best birding is during fall, winter, and spring months when it is too cold for boating, swimming and water skiing. A canoe trip to the shallow marsh at the head of the reservoir is a good birding alternative. There is a good viewing area on the east side of the reservoir that can be reached by driving south on 200 East (Hyrum) until a steep slope, near the road, drops into the reservoir. This area is public land, accessible by a foot trail to an overlook -- a spotting scope is needed.

HABITATS: Open water, shoreline, sandy beach, and adjacent woodland

FEATURED BIRDS: Common Loon, Pacific Loon, Caspian Tern, Red-breasted Merganser during late fall, and Bank Swallow (summer)

SEASON: Best in late fall and winter

LOCATION: In the Cache Valley, turn east from US-89/US-91 onto UT-101, go to Hyrum, then south on 400 west. When the reservoir is approached, the right fork goes to a parking area on the dam's south side and the left fork goes to the park headquarters beach parking area (south end of Center Street).

LAND OWNERSHIP: Utah State Park

NOTES: Accessible restroom, fee area
(You will find more information on Hyrum State Park HERE )
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  [14]  AMALGA BARRENS  
The Amalga Barrens is a salt playa wetlands habitat several square miles in area with little human activity. Most of the area is private land, but a road bisects the barrens and offers viewing opportunities for waterfowl and shorebirds in the spring and raptors in the fall and winter.

HABITATS: salt playa wetlands, grassland, and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Short-eared Owls, and many shorebirds

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: From Logan, go north to Smithfield, then west on UT-218. Cross the Bear River, then go north on 2400 West for one mile, then west on 7000 North across the barrens.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private land, stay on road

NOTES: No facilities
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  [15]  WELLSVILLE HAWKWATCH  
From late August until late October each year, Hawkwatch International posts observers on the top of the Wellsville Mountains to count the thousands of raptors that migrate along this narrow ridge taking advantage of the updrafts created by a prevailing west wind. The Wellsville Mountains are a Wilderness Area with spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. Hawk migration is best after cold fronts pass through the area. This is the oldest hawk watching site in the Western U.S. For more information check

HABITATS: High elevation conifers and sagebrush.

FEATURED BIRDS: Most western hawk species and on the trail up look for Green-tailed Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Dusky Flycatcher, and Hammond's Flycatcher.

SEASON: Late summer and early fall.

LOCATION: Travel west from Mendon on 300 North to the trailhead at the end of the road. The trail climbs some 3000 feet in the next 3.5 miles up Deep Canyon. At the crest, turn northwest and follow the ridge another mile to an outpost shelter.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by Wasatch-Cache National Forest

NOTES: Carry water and clothes for quick weather changes, no facilities
(You will find more information on the Wellsville Hawkwatch HERE )
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  [16]  BEAR RIVER MIGRATORY BIRD REFUGE  
The refuge was established in 1928 for the primary purpose of providing spring and fall (stopover) habitat for thousands of water birds. It is a nationally known birding resource included in virtually all articles and books discussing birding hotspots in Utah. During spring and fall, large numbers of migrants can be observed.

Look for Bald Eagle (winter), American White Pelican, Long-billed Curlew, Western Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, American Avocet, and Black-crowned Night-Heron. During mild winters, when water remains unfrozen, look for wintering Herring Gull, Thayer's Gull, Glaucous Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Tundra Swan and Canvasback. Migrant possibilities include Red Knot, Common Tern, Bonaparte's Gull, and Snow Goose. A visitor center, opening in 2003, is in the planning stages and will include an educational center and refuge headquarters.

HABITATS: Grassland, marsh, and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Bald Eagle (winter), Tundra Swan (spring and fall), Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, American White Pelican, Long-billed Curlew, Virginia Rail, and California Gull

SEASON: All year with spring and fall best

LOCATION: From I-15 take Exit #366 (Brigham City's Forest Street) and travel west to end of road (20 miles). There is a restroom about 13 miles west of Interstate.

LAND OWNERSHIP: Public land managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service with private land (13 miles) between Interstate highway and the refuge property line. For more information check: .

NOTES: Accessible restroom, auto tour, kiosk at start of auto tour with refuge information
(You will find more information on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge HERE )
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[Willard Bay]
Willard Bay Carolyn Somer

  [17]  WILLARD BAY STATE PARK  
Willard Bay is a man-made reservoir created by a 15-mile dike completed in 1964. The lush riparian vegetation on the east side of the reservoir is sandwiched between open water and the Wasatch Mountains and serves as a warbler trap during spring and fall migration. Nesting species include Black-headed Grosbeak, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Gray
[Willard Bay]
Birding Willard Bay

Catbird, Yellow Warbler, and Song Sparrow.

Since the introduction of Gizzard Shad to the reservoir, fall and early winter birding has been excellent for fish eating species including Bonaparte's Gull, Bald Eagle, Common Tern, Hooded Merganser, and Common Loon, as well as the more expected fall migrants. Walking through the campground and on the nature trail is easy and productive. At the time of this writing (spring 2001) a large construction project was in progress to enlarge the campground causing much disturbance for birders.

Birding below the dike is often very good. To view below the dike walk west on the north dike to where the dike turns south (about 1.5 miles), then either bird from the dike with a spotting scope, or walk off the dike to the west and bird along the road at the base of the dike. This road can be reached by driving west on 4300 north from UT-126 (across from Smith and Edwards ). The road goes past Harold Crane Waterfowl Management Area and provides good birding, but is always rough and often muddy. This road also provides access to the southeastern corner of Willard Bay which is often very good birding. Another alternative is to visit the south marina which is reached from Interstate exit #354 and then following the signs.

HABITATS: Riparian shrubs and trees, and open water

FEATURED BIRDS: Clark's and Western Grebe, Black-headed Grosbeak, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Tern (fall), Hooded Merganser (fall), and Bald Eagle (winter).

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Just west of I-15 off Exit #360

LAND OWNERSHIP: Utah State Park

NOTES: Accessible restroom, fee area
(You will find more information on Willard Bay State Park HERE )
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  [18]  OGDEN BAY WATERFOWL MANAGEMENT AREA  
Early European explorers reported an abundance of birds so great it often sounded like thunder when birds were flushed from the extensive marshes along the east shore of the Great Salt Lake. Many of these marshes have been eliminated by development and agriculture but a few areas have been preserved. Ogden Bay Wildlife Management Area is at the mouth of the Weber River. Bird species utilizing these remnants of fresh water marshland are too numerous to mention. However, I always enjoy the occasional viewing of a Peregrine Falcon, American Bittern, Hooded Merganser, Northern Shrike (winter), or Virginia Rail. Birding is good all year long, but more species will be observed during migrations -- often, over 80 species of birds can be observed in a single day.

HABITATS: Open water and marsh

FEATURED BIRDS: Marsh Wren, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Yellow-headed Blackbird

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Ogden Bay can be reached by driving west on Ogden's 12th Street (becomes 900 S) to 7500 West, then south to the north entrance to Ogden Bay. Or, drive west from Hooper to 7500 West, then north to the south entrance. Vehicle access is restricted within the units; the area is mostly walk-in except during fall hunting seasons.

LAND OWNERSHIP: State land managed by Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) as a Waterfowl Management Area (WMA)

NOTES: No facilities at the north entrance, but a pit toilet at the south entrance of this Watchable Wildlife area
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  [19]  FARMINGTON BAY WMA  
Freshwater and brackish water marsh habitat types are available. As with other marshes along the east shore of the Great Salt Lake, birding is good all year but best during spring or fall migration periods. Bring insect repellant during the warm summer months. Read descriptions of other shoreline Great Salt Lake hotspots for more details on birds to expect and summer closures of Utah Waterfowl Management Areas to protect nesting birds.

HABITATS: Marsh, open water and mudflats

FEATURED BIRDS: Snowy Plover, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Common Moorhen (rare), Short-eared Owl, and Bald Eagle (winter)

SEASON: All year

LOCATION: Take I-15 Exit #322 (Farmington), north on east frontage road (by McDonalds) to Glover Lane (925 south) in Farmington, turn left and go over I-15, go west to the sign at 1325 west, turn left and proceed to the WMA.

LAND OWNERSHIP: State land managed by Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR)

NOTES: Accessible restroom
(You will find more information on Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area HERE )
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  [20]  LAYTON WETLANDS PRESERVE:  
The Layton Wetlands Preserve is an un-diked, relatively natural area of Great Salt Lake shoreline. The preserve showcases a dynamic ecological system influenced directly by lake levels. The result is a diverse mosaic of upland and wetland habitats which supports some of the largest gatherings of wildlife ever recorded on the Great Salt Lake. Small creeks, irrigation drainage ditches, brackish and fresh marshes, playas and mudflats provide viewing opportunities for many species of passerines, waterfowl and shorebirds, especially Long-billed Curlew, Sandhill Crane, Snowy Plover, White-faced Ibis, Franklin's Gull, Common Yellowthroat, and spring migrants such as Black-bellied Plover and Long-billed Dowitcher.

HABITATS: Fresh and brackish emergent marshes, wet meadows, grassland, salt desert shrub and playas. A large mudflat is exposed when the lake level is below an elevation of 4200 feet.

FEATURED BIRDS: Snowy Plover, Franklin's Gull, American Avocet

SEASON: Year-round watchable wildlife and environmental study opportunities. Please observe closures of special protective areas.

LOCATION: Northeastern shore of Farmington Bay of Great Salt Lake. Take I-15 north to Exit 332, turn left to Gentile and Main Street intersection, turn left on Gentile Street for 5.4 miles (road is gravel at mile 4), large double-gate on south side of road. Or, from I-15 south, take Exit 334, turn right to Hill Field Road, then south 1.4 miles to Gentile and Main Street intersection (proceed per directions above).

LAND OWNERSHIP: Private land owned by The Nature Conservancy of Utah (TNC) with additional properties owned by the Mitigation Commission. The preserve is wholly managed by TNC with support from the community. Shoreline below the Preserve is Sovereign Land, held in public trust by the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

NOTES: Currently no facilities, but a visitor center planned by 2002
(You will find more information on the Layton Wetlands Preserve HERE )
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HOME GSL
BIRDING
MAP & KEY
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DESCRIPTIONS:
1-10 11-20 21-25 26-30 31-40 41-49