To reach the southern ponds, continue west 1/4 mile on Mottman Road and park by a gray gate on the right (just before the railroad tracks). Go around the gate to gain access to the rest of the ponds and wetlands.
Check for the Solitary Sandpiper in early May. This is one of the most reliable places to see this bird, with 1 to 3 here each spring between the last week of April and the second week of May (particularly long during migration in 1998). The southern pond, especially the northwest end, has been the best, although during 1998 this bird was also seen on the northern ponds. Sometimes diligent searching and patience are required.
Other shorebirds reported in the southern ponds include Killdeer, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Western and Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Spotted Sandpiper, and Common Snipe. There has also been evidence of nesting by Spotted Sandpipers, and Killdeer breed at the site every year.
In the woods and nearby fields are Bewick's Wren, Steller's Jay, Song and Fox Sparrows, chickadees, kinglets, Winter Wren, Dark-eyed Junco, and Spotted Towhee. The ash grove along the ditch near the entrance to the southern ponds is particularly good for passerines in spring migration.
During April and May there can be many birds birds here, particularly a good variety of warblers, but also tanagers, grosbeaks, flycatchers, and vireos. Bullocks Oriole and Dusky Flycatchers, Goldfinches, and nuthatches are common in early spring.
Tree and Violet-green Swallows inhabit the nest boxes. California Quail sometimes call from the nearby fields. House Finch nest in the blackberry thickets along the dike that parallels the drainage ditch.
You can follow the gravel path to the south end of the wetland, cross over to the dike, then follow the dike back to the point of origin thereby making a loop of the area.
Watch for Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk, Bushtit, White and Golden-crowned sparrows, Wood Duck, Spotted Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, and Swainson's Thrush.
In the winter, the ponds can host a variety of ducks including Mallard, Pintail, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead.
Salmon spawn in Black Lake Ditch during fall. This site is also good for dragonflies, with a reported siting of the Pacific Clubtail, Gomphus Kurilis, only the second State record, and the most sought species in Washington.
(notes by Bob Morse and Bill Shelmerdine)