Las Cruces, New Mexico 88007
|Bar Charts by Season by Month|
The West Mesa Water Treatment Plant (WTP) can offer productive birding fall-spring and is one of the best places in the Las Cruces area to seasonally view diving ducks and shorebirds.
Park along the dirt road that flanks the WTP and view the ponds from outside the fence. Even if the main gate is open, please always stay outside of the fence. Four ponds are visible from the main road, while a lower fifth pond may be seen by hiking through the surrounding desert and up the hill that sits to the northeast of the WTP. Birding can be productive here at any time of day, though evening offers the best lighting conditions. A scope is very helpful, though not necessary, for viewing birds here.
Common winter waterfowl include Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Canvasback, and Ruddy Duck. Eared Grebe and Blue-winged Teal are regular in migration. A variety of shorebirds may be encountered during migration (especially August and September), including Least, Western, Baird’s, Stilt, and Pectoral Sandpipers, as well as avocets and stilts. Migrating swallows, especially Cave and Barn, may stop here in large numbers.
Directions: From Las Cruces, head west on I-10 until exit 132. Take this exit and cross over the highway. Drive west past the Love’s Truck Stop on Crawford Boulevard for 0.4 miles until the road forks, then take the dirt road on the left. Continue on the dirt road for about 0.6 miles before reaching the WTP, which will be visible on your left. This dirt road is easily passible for most 2-wheel-drive and low-clearance vehicles, though it may be washboard and bumpy at times.
Note: Do not use Google Maps or other navigation services to locate this WTP, as they will lead you down sandy, rough back roads that are not suitable for 2-wheel-drive vehicles.
From Joel Gilb
About West Mesa Wastewater Treatment Plant
The West Mesa Wastewater Treatment Plant is located south of I-10 on the west side of Las Cruces.