Hatfield Lake (Bend Sewage Ponds)

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Hatfield Lake is the sewage treatment facility for the city of Bend. Access is limited to walking into the ponds. The first pond is only 0.25 miles from the front gate but the back ponds are more than a 0.5 mile hike in. The easiest way to access the ponds if you don’t know Bend very well is to head east out of Bend on Highway 20. At 1.8 miles, you will see the sign for Prineville. This is the Powell Butte Highway. Take the Powell Butte Highway north for 4.0 miles going past the Bend Airport. Turn left (west) on McGrath Road. Go 1.2 miles. Park here and walk in through the gate (there is no motorized traffic allowed). The first pond can be seen from the gate. The other ponds are farther to the north and cannot be seen from the gate. For those that know Bend well, take Butler Market Road from Bend and travel east. Stay on Butler Market as it winds its way east. It will dead-end at the Powell Butte Highway (Bend Airport). Turn north on the Powell Butte Highway and take it as it turns first east and then back north. Just after the north turn, look for McGrath Road Take McGrath west until it ends. Park here and enter at the gate.


Habitat and Birds

Sewage lagoons surrounded by sagebrush / scrub and juniper. This is a prime birding spot in all seasons. Common species here include the broadest spectrum of waterfowl in Central Oregon, 15 species of diurnal raptors, Virginia Rail and Sora, more species of shorebirds than any other Central Oregon location, abundant and varied gull and tern reports, summer resident flycatchers (Western Kingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher), both Loggerhead and Northern Shrike, robust Pinyon Jay population, swallows, Marsh Wren, kinglets, bluebirds, Townsend’s Solitaire, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, migrating warblers and other neotropical migrants and abundant sparrow flocks.

Exceptional Species: It’s likely that Hatfield Lake has produced more rare bird reports than any other location in Central Oregon. A partial list of rarities from this site would include Ross’s Goose, Trumpeter Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Pacific Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Green Heron, Snowy Plover, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, White-rumped Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Ruff, Red Phalarope, Sabine’s Gull, Franklin’s Gull, Arctic Tern, Parasitic Jaeger, Eastern Kingbird, Purple Martin, Northern Mockingbird, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Snow Bunting, Hooded Warbler, Northern Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Bobolink. If you have to pick one place in Deschutes County to bird, this is it.

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