Old Mill Park and Holding Pond is a small park tucked away along Big Cottonwood Creek in Cottonwood Heights. Just a mile from the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon the park has a great walking path that run the length of it east to west. The path continues west along the creek after the park, and east as well to the canyon. The habitat along the path is mostly riparian as it follows the river. There are houses on either side of the park to the north and south but sitting in a gully the park is still very wild. Near the west end is the large holding pond which the creek runs through. Usually in the spring the pond is filled with run off creating a great resting stop for migrant waterbirds. Most of the year it has little to no water--often the creek running through it is the only water. The path goes all the way around the pond here, with a bridge over the river at the inlet.
Old Mill Park is an infrequently birded location that has turned up some interesting birds. The large pond is the main feature and when full could be a great spot to check for waterfowl. Several RED-BREASTED MERGANSER were seen here during migration in April 2009. Large flocks of swallows may be present in harsh weather during migration as well with easy feeding over the open water. All 6 species have been seen here in the past. During the breeding season you can expect to find LAZULI BUNTING, YELLOW WARBLER, BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, and SONG SPARROW along the riparian habitat. During the winter keep an eye out for AMERICAN DIPPER that have moved from the fast flowing mountain streams into the calmer waters here in the flats. Some notable finds here in the past include a large flock of BOHEMIAN WAXWING in the winter of 2010-11; a flyover OSPREY, which could probably be found most years as a migrant; and a pair of COMMON GRACKLE migrating through in April 2009. Passing through this area, it might be worth a quick stop to see what's on the water, or if you're looking for a short walk, the trail here makes for great early morning birding.
From I-215 east side belt route take exit 6 east bound on to 6200 South/Route 190 for about 400' then take the right onto 3000 east. Go south to the light at 6485 south/Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and turn left. Follow this road for .3 miles till you reach the parking area on your right.