Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Tempe Town Marketplace (marsh overlook at east end of Tempe Town Lake)

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Waterbirds and migrants throughout the year

Elevation: 1170'

Habitat:  Open water with marsh, cottonwood, and willow riparian habitat

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 1 (Easy)

Birding Type: Walking and Scanning, Simple Walk

Facilities:  Parking

Fees/Ownership:  None/City of Tempe

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Tempe /9.5 miles east southeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Reached easily from surrounding freeways near Tempe Town Marketplace

Overview:  Located at the east end of Tempe Town Lake is a "marsh" accessed by the very busy Tempe Town Marketplace.  This area is a nice marshy habitat, as well as open water at the lake's end, which is east of the main dam.  There is also a nice section of willows and cottonwoods, adding to the habitat mix here and creating what can potentially be a great morning's worth of birding.  With the open water and marsh habitats as well as the willow and cottonwood groves, a good mix of birds may be observed, especially in migration and winter times.  This area can be birded easily from an elevated path, which the birder is looking down on the lake, as well as on the surrounding habitat.

This spot is a hotspot that is always worth visiting.  This east side of Tempe Town Lake at the Tempe Town Marketplace is the best place to observe Brown Pelicans in Maricopa County.  These pelicans often congregate in higher numbers at this lake and there is commonly at least one Brown Pelican annually at this spot.  There are often multiple Brown Pelicans here, sometimes as many as five birds!  Besides the pelicans, the area is excellent for waterbirds and waterfowl.  A Eurasian "Common" Green-winged Teal, a subspecies of Green-winged Teal from Eurasia has wintered here several winters, and is an extreme rarity in Arizona as well as a very rare North American bird.  Keep an eye out here for various ducks, geese, loons, grebes, herons, and other waterbirds.  During migrations and winter, be sure to scan the cottonwoods and willows, where passerine migrants will be present and viewable.   The spot is also good for occasionally viewing Osprey and Bald Eagles.

Birding Tip: Parking is located right by the path which goes along the overlook.  This is a simple and easy walk, bring a scope if you have one to view distant birds.  Cover the cottonwoods and willows just as well as the open water and marsh.  Cross McClintock Drive (which is on the west side of the Marketplace), and continue west along the south side of Tempe Town Lake for more viewing of waterbirds.

Directions: From the south end of the Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway), take S. McClintock Drive south a short distance for 0.3 miles to the Tempe Town Marketplace, located on the east side of S. McClintock Drive.  Go to the north end of the parking lot and park by the marsh overlook.  Get out and bird!  Continue west of McClintock (cross at the stoplight) to explore more of Tempe Town Lake.


Tempe Town Marketplace Map

Tempe Town Marketplace ("Marsh") eBird Data


Scenes and Sights from Tempe Town Marketplace "Marsh":


Birdlife of Tempe Town Marketplace "Marsh":

Common Teal (Extreme rarity in Arizona)


Back to Area 5-South Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe

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