Bartlett Lake / Tonto National Forest. 28 Oct 2020.

I took a few days off work and planned on doing some more local exploring. On Wednesday morning,  October 28th, I decided to check out Bartlett Lake Recreation Area, which is 22 miles (34 minutes) from Roundhouse. People often ask if I’ll miss the water in Arizona,  and I don’t think so… if I’m jonesing to kayak or get on a boat,  there are huge reservoirs like pictured above.  Sure,  it’s not the Atlantic Ocean, nor is it Huguenot Memorial Park,  but it’s a huge body of water nonetheless.

I had my scope and scanned the vast body of water.  I picked out a few Western Grebes and a couple of Great Blue Herons.

The water is drawn waayyy down. A local camper that I chatted with said it was losing about a foot per day. In the image above,  you can see how steep the decline on the floating ramp is…. it actually looked even steeper in person.

The place was virtually devoid of people on a chilly (low 50’s) Wednesday morning,  but I can imagine how packed it is during the summer and on weekends. I didn’t spend much time hiking or birding, as I was mostly driving around the area trying to get familiar with my new surroundings. I did see many Black-throated Sparrows and one Brewer’s Sparrow.

The views of the Tonto National Forest and mountains is stunning. It’s a 14 mile drive into the recreation area after turning off the main road.

I saw several Phainopepla on the way out. I had to cut my visit short so I could get back to an 11 o’clock call, but I’m sure will be back fairly often.

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