Goldwater and Lynx Lakes, Prescott AZ

Goldwater and Lynx Lakes, Prescott AZ

After having a good night’s sleep and filling breakfast we heading out to Goldwater and Lynx Lakes.

Starting with Goldwater Lake we found that it was only about 10 minutes out of town.

Here is a short snippet from the Prescott website:

Though a smaller sized lake at 15 acres, there are many ways to enjoy it! There are picnic areas, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and boating. Only electronic motors are allowed on the lake and there is no swimming.

They say in the summer that this area is absolutely wall to wall people and the small lake is filled with boats.

And… no one is allowed to swim or even wade.

The water looks clear but lots of silt around the shore and in talking to a ranger he said that there is lots of junk on the bottom as it’s a man-made reservoir and there is no water running in or out.

Hence no swimming as it would just become a mud hole.

When you arrive all you see straight ahead is a concrete dam but when you look left or right there are lots of trees in the form of a pine forest and some sort of oak tree.

And of course… we arrived on Wednesday which just happens to be a no-fee parking day.

There were wonderful hiking trails on either side of the lake so as I spotted a large bird flying off the left that was the direction we took.

I could see some Ruddy ducks on the lake but too far out to take a picture.

Also, there were some cormorants, mallards, coots and a loon.

As I was sitting on a rock by the lake two mallards came by so close I couldn’t focus on them but I could have reached out and touched them.

But other birds weren’t so friendly.

We came around a corner and surprised a great blue heron who flew off and landed in a tree.

Rob spotted a Williamson’s Sapsucker which I had never seen before.

I noticed it had a yellow breast and a red chin but I didn’t get a very good picture of it as it was in the shade.

As well there was a Red-naped Sapsucker nestled in a tree that we would get a glimpse of occasionally as it worked its way around the trunk.

Walking through the forest I could hear birds all around us but couldn’t see them for the trees.

Coming out into the sunshine we could see a western bluebird perched on a shrub (in the shade) but looking over to our right there was a female in the sunshine sitting on a rock.

Female western bluebird
Female western bluebird

A quick snap of the camera and it was gone.

We walked halfway around the lake and then turned around and came back. There was a loop you could do but it took you away from the lake.

On the way back we ran back into the heron fishing in its favourite spot and surprised it again.

A kingfisher was working the lake and we could hear a woodpecker pounding its head against a tree or at least that is what it sounded like.

All of a sudden we were inundated with acorn woodpeckers and western bluebirds.

Acorn woodpecker peaking around a tree
Acorn woodpecker peaking around a tree

They were all around us and I’m running from tree to tree with Rob shouting over here and me trying to get a good picture.

Well actually it wasn’t quite that bad… we tried to be stealthy as we crept through the underbrush crunching on all the dried leaves. 🙂

Pygmy nuthatch
Pygmy nuthatch

The birds kept well in the trees and shadows but persistence pays off and I finally got some reasonable shots.

Western bluebird sitting in the shade
Western bluebird sitting in the shade
Western bluebirds lining up for a drink
Western bluebirds lining up for a drink
Male western bluebird in flight
Male western bluebird in flight

We had a picnic under the trees (leftovers from last night’s dinner) and food never tasted so good after a long hike and wonderful scenery.

Four hours of relaxation and fun. What a holiday is all about.

The only downside of the day was when I stopped to look at a picture of a loon that I had taken from a distance and noticed that something was hanging out of its mouth.

When I zoomed in what we could see what a mass of fishing line dangling on the left side and a smaller amount on the right.

I’m assuming that it could still eat as it looked in good shape and was diving but who knows how long it had been there.

We saw the park ranger on the way out of the park and we stopped to let him know.

His reply was… “What’s a loon?”.

Hmmm, so much for a wildlife expert.

So I showed him a picture and he said that unless they could approach the bird they really couldn’t do anything but he would tell fish and wildlife.

Common loon with fishing line in its mouth
Common loon with fishing line in its mouth

Heading back into town we, of course, stopped at the casino for a few spins.

Rob didn’t have his usual luck and as he hates losing money we left shortly thereafter for Lynx Lake.

This too is a man-made lake but lacked the beauty of Goldwater.

There were campgrounds and a boat launch but the shore was rocky and again no swimming.

It seems funny to go out to a lake and not being able to get your feet wet.

Not a lot of birds on the lake.

Some mallards, lots of coots, and a few mallard hybrids along with 3 white I’m assuming originally domestic ducks.

Domestic ducks
Domestic ducks

The hybrid ducks were a lot bigger than the normal mallards so I’m thinking they might be a cross between the white ducks and a mallard.

Hybrid mallard
Hybrid mallard

Both the lakes we visited were stocked with fish and there were a lot of people taking advantage of it. Fishing rods abounded.

Total time at Lynx lake was about half an hour and we headed back into Prescott to get a room for the night.

The hotel had a Mexican restaurant right across the street where we had a lovely meal with enough left over for a picnic lunch today.


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