One week Ms. Rosemary and I, Ms. Karen headed off to Sweetwater Wetlands, west of I-10 to see if we could spot some birds. Our docent Saturday was a volunteer from Pima County Recreation. It was most helpful to have a guide to help find these critters.
With the help of our guide and fellow birders we were able to spot a Sharp-shinned and Harrier Hawk, a Yellow Rumped Warbler, Red Wing and Yellow-Headed Blackbirds and, of course, the usual Coots and Ducks. We were informed that there have also been sightings of bobcat and coati in the wetlands.
Similar to its sister wetlands, Agua Caliente Park, on the east side of Tucson, Sweetwater Wetlands attracts a huge variety of birds and waterfowl. Sweetwater is located between I-10 and the Santa Cruz River just south of Camino del Cerro. The main difference is Agua Caliente ponds are created by underground springs and Sweetwater ponds are a function of effluent.
In addition to sewage treatment at the Roger Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, Sweetwater serves as an environmental education facility as well as habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Best bring your spotting scope and/or your camera with a long lens.
List of Birds Sightings
The list of sightings is truly impressive, including rare Least Grebe and Chestnut-sided Warbler. The several ponds here include thick cattails, with abundant willows and cottonwoods. True, there be lots of ducks and coots bobbing in the water. No shortage of wrens and sparrows either. But Red-winged, Yellow-headed, and Brewer’s blackbirds frequent the cattails.
Guided Bird Walks
As part of an Audubon Program, every Wednesday, Luke Safford and/or Bryon Lichtenhan lead an easy walk through Sweetwater Wetlands in search of the many bird species hiding among the reeds. Start times vary by season:
- November – February: 8:00 AM
- March – April: 7:00 AM
- May – August: 6:00 AM
- September – October: 7:00 AM
You can contact a leader to answer questions: 520-209-1811 or [email protected]
- Tuesday – Sunday: Dawn to approximately 1 hour after dusk.
- Monday: 8 AM to approximately 1 hour after dusk.
Note: Sweetwater Wetlands is sometimes closed on Monday mornings for application of mosquito-control substances, especially in the warmer months.
Wildlife Viewing programs and sites offered by Pima County Recreation.
Please Note: Keep up to date on the state of the I-10 overpass at Camino del Cerro and access to the Sweetwater Wetlands here.