where, when, and what to find

Warm Springs (Salt Lake Co.)

posted by Tim Avery at
on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 

Warm Springs from Google Street View

Warm Springs is a series of shallow ponds along I-15 at 2300 North in Salt Lake City.  Most birding here is on the ponds west of the interstate south of 2300 North where as many 4 ponds are present.  The 2 most notable are directly south of American Building Components and Rocky Mountain Fabrication and can't be seen from 2300 North.  The only access is a tiy6 two track that allows you to scan looking east (see directions below). The shallow ponds often dry to nothing by later summer, but are usually quite full in the spring. The industrial complexes around really give the area a stark and "wasteland" type of feel.  There are some russian olives along a canal that borders the west end of the ponds.  Further west form here is a wetland observation area--ironically the view into it is often obscured by phragmites.

What do a loud interstate, a industrial park, and a large playa with a shallow film of water on it have in common?  Not a whole lot, but it sure makes a great stop for birds i nan otherwise inhospitable area of the city.  More than a dozen species of waterfowl have been observed here. NORTHERN SHOVELER seems ever present, while in the fall winter and spring you might glimpse RING-NECKED DUCK or RUDDY DUCK.  WOOD DUCK and both GREATER and LESSER SCAUP have been observed.  GREAT and SNOWY EGRET along with WHITE-FACED IBIS may occasionally turn up here, while the main draw has always been shorebirds.  Salt Lake City despite having a large portion of Great Salt Lake shoreline is mostly devoid of good shorebird habitat--Warm Springs surprisingly fills the void to an extent.  Both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS are common fall migrants here. SPOTTED SANDPIPER, KILLDEER, AMERICAN AVOCET, and BLACK-NECKED STILT are all easy finds.  Small numbers of peeps occasionally show up and LEAST, WESTERN. and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER have all been seen.  Due to the limited number of birders that go here, a lot probably goes unnoticed.  Occasionally good gulls are seen at this locale.  BONAPARTE'S GULL have been seen during migration while MEW, HERRING, and THAYER'S GULL have all been observed during the winter.  During migration all 6 regularly occurring Utah SWALLOW species can be found here.  Other species typical of marsh can be found here, mostly in the areas to the west.

From I-15 southbound take exit 311 as it loops back 180 degrees and hits 2300 North.  Turn left here and go .4 miles.  On your left there will be a dirt road a small canal, another dirt road, then a big canal then another road.  Take the 1st dirt road (furthest east) and go south.  It degrades to two track and eventually dead ends at a fence between the north and south pond to your west. Form I-15 northbound taking exit 311 turn left onto Warm Springs Road for .4 miles.  After you pass under the freeway the road heads west becoming 2300 North.  Go another .4 miles till you reach the road on your left.

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