|Blue River Drive|
This driving tour passes through exceptional river riparian habitat along one of the last undammed and least populated rivers in the Southwest. Because of its location and elevation changes, the Blue River area is one of the most interesting birding areas in east-central Arizona.
|Description: Nestled in the White Mountains,the 200-acre site near the south slope of Escudilla Mountain has marsh and lake riparian and pondersoa pine forest habitats.|
Wildlife to Watch: This is an excellent site for viewing wetland birds and has an established bald eagle nest site. The grasslands surrounding the lake provide excellent winter foraging habitat for large birds of prey such as ferruginous and occasional rough-legged hawks. During other seasons, bald eagles, osprey, American kestrels, and northern harrier may be observed. Waterbirds include cinnamon teal, northern shoveler, mallard, Canada goose, American coot, spotted sandpiper, great blue heron, sora, Virginia rail, and Wilson’s snipe. Migratory songbirds abound. Mule deer and elk can be seen watering at the lake during sunrise and sunset hours. Beaver and muskrat are best seen in late evening.
Special Tips: The west portion of the lake and adjacent shoreline is closed to public entry from April 1 to August 1 to provide nesting habitat for waterfowl. There is a closure area north of the lake, including a portion of the shoreline, associated with the bald eagle nest from January 1 – June 30; the lake is not included in this closure area. Both closures are well marked with signs and the kiosk near the boat launch ramp displays maps of the closure area. With binoculars, the public can still view eagle and waterfowl activity during either closure. Additional information on the closures can be obtained from the Alpine Ranger District Office.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests
Size: 200 acres
Closest Town: Alpine
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: