This site is proof yet again that all it takes is water to draw migrating birds from the sky. The Potholes Wildlife Area sits at the northwest end of the Potholes Reservoir. From the site’s entrance, you would never guess that down a dirt road you can find lush, tree-edged ponds thick with sandpipers, herons, and songbirds. Perhaps that is why we find this site so hard to bypass whenever we are headed east on Interstate 90. Right next to the Potholes site, as if to illustrate the drastic differences between the water-filled reservoir and the native steppe, the Desert Wildlife Area provides a complimentary site, complete with Burrowing Owls and an interpretive trail that will help you learn more about the high-desert habitat.
Habitats: Shrub-steppe, wetland, lakes, ponds. Specialty birds: Common Loon; American White Pelican; Great Egret; Tundra Swan; Greater Scaup; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Golden and Bald Eagles; Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawks; Sandhill Crane; American Avocet; Black-necked Stilt; Long-billed Curlew; Baird’s and Pectoral Sandpipers; Wilson’s and Rednecked Phalaropes; Bonaparte’s Gull; Forster’s Tern; Short-eared and Burrowing Owls; Cassin’s Vireo; Sage Thrasher; Sage Sparrow.
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