|South Mountain Park|
South Mountain Park, at nearly 17,000 acres, is the nation’s largest municipal park. The rugged desert mountain terrain, with easy access from the City of Phoenix, provides scenic mountain vistas. The park also offers an environmental education center, guided programs, several picnic areas, exte...
Tres Rios Wetlands
|Description: Tres Rios is a constructed wetland complex for wastewater treatment at the confluence of the Salt, Gila, and Aqua Fria Rivers. Its waters and created habitat have made this a premier birding area, providing winter habitat for many species of waterfowl in close proximity to the metropolitan Phoenix area. Although not well developed, this site offers excellent viewing opportunities to the knowledgeable birder.|
Wildlife to Watch: More than 150 different species of birds have been spotted in the area. You may see three species of egrets, green, great blue, and black-crowned night herons, white-faced ibis, neotropic cormorant, yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds, least bittern, black-bellied tree duck, and black-necked stilt. The wetlands also are home to muskrat, raccoon, skunk, coyote, bobcat, and beaver. The cottonwood trees and other dense shrubs around the ponds and along the trail attract many migratory and wintering songbirds. During late fall and early winter, these trees are frequently full of foraging yellow-rumped and orange-crowned warblers, which birders search through for less common wintering species such as black-throated gray, Townsend’s, yellow, and black-and-white or even rarer warblers. The site also contains a great blue heron rookery near the parking area. Though winter visitors are unlikely to encounter reptiles and amphibians, the area is home to several snakes including gophersnake, long-nosed snake, glossy snake, coachwhip, common kingsnake; lizards include desert spiny, ornate tree, common side-blotched and zebra-tailed; toads include Woodhouse’s, Great Plains and red-spotted.
Other Activities: A trail runs along the creek among cottonwoods, mesquite and willows and accesses all three ponds; portions of the trail have universal accessibility.
Ownership: City of Phoenix
Size: 35 acres
Closest Town: Phoenix
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: