Birds of a feather flock together at Pintail Lake
Author's note: Exercise and a healthy diet can help ward off diabetes and some other ills. The 100-mile club began on Hopi awhile back to promote healthy lifestyles. As a hiker, I do more than 200 miles per year. This year I hope to hit the 365-mile mark in order to average one mile per day. I know some hikers who average more than 100 miles per week. We each have to decide what is the right amount of exercise for us. To promote exercise, hiking, a love of nature and cool points of Arizona, this weekly column will appear throughout the summer.
SHOW LOW, Ariz. - A short stroll with a variety of birds to watch can sometimes be just as rewarding as grueling hikes. Allen Severson Memorial Wildlife Area, also known as Pintail Lake, offers this exact experience.
From the parking lot, there is a one-quarter mile paved trail to an enclosed viewing point. The stone building has no windows and will keep viewers cool even in hot weather.
Another 30-yard concrete trail leads the hiker viewer to an observation deck. Since the trails are paved and level they are wheelchair accessible.
There are no other listed trails, but grandson Nick Basham and I took a walk around the lake. For others who want to do this, be ready to hold your nose because this is wastewater effluent.
The advice is to go close to dusk or dawn to catch the best bird sightings as some may find it too hot in the heat of the day. There are a variety of ducks. There were also yellow-headed blackbirds, but the gems at the site include black crowned night heron, white-faced ibis, American avocet and great blue heron.
Falcons, hawks and occasional bald eagles can be seen here.
The trail has several interpretive signs along the way and there are more signs about the marsh and birds inside the viewing building.
Once at Pintail Lake, more happiness isn't far away at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area. Some trails can be found around the lake along with camping, fishing and boating.
Many of the birds at Pintail Lake wander over to Fool Hollow along with sandpipers, northern flickers and several species of woodpeckers.