Lake Pleasant is the largest in Maricopa County with over 90 miles of shoreline amidst endless mountain scenery. It is a migratory stopover for thousands of waterfowl as well as native species inhabiting the edges and trails. A large feeder to the lake is Castle Creek where the road crosses leading another four miles to the new Castle Hot Springs Resort. We will not have permission to trespass into the resort but will have good views and roadside birding. I have invited guests to join us at the lake at 9 a.m. if interested.
We expect to see a variety of waterfowl from various vantage points at the north end of the park, including Western Grebes, Cormorants, other diving and puddling ducks near the shoreline and will see and hear many desert birds at the Cottonwood Canyon rest area, our first stop inside the park. From the park areas north along Castle Creek Road we will continue to stop for wildlife and birds up to the resort area. This road is considered a primitive road with some obstacles and normally lots of dust. A higher clearance vehicle is recommended.
Meet at the north end of the park at 8:30 a.m., bring water, snacks, sun protection and a scope if you have one. We will return to the park late morning and hike a short stretch of the Pipeline Canyon Trail, starting at the Cottonwood Canyon rest area. Bring a lunch if you want to stay into the afternoon and hike at the south end of the park.
Difficulty: Level 1 if you bird roadside only
Level 2 if you hike the Pipeline Canyon Trail for an hour or so.
Directions: From I-17 take Rt 74 west to Castle Hot Springs Rd. Turn right and follow signs to Lake Pleasant Park. Go past the first entrance to the park (south end) another 3 miles to the north end entrance area. We will gather there and may find some good desert birds while waiting.
Please email Jim Consolloy firstname.lastname@example.org or call 602-920-7059 and leave a voicemail message. I will return your call.