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Randalls Pool

Birding in New Mexico

Randalls Pool
Santa Teresa, New Mexico 88008

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Dona Ana County

Randall’s Pool
Coordinates: 31.8349826, -106.6082811
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Tips for birding Randalls Pool
This restoration area, managed by the International Boundary Waters Commission (IBWC), offers unique riparian habitats along the Rio Grande in Santa Teresa. Though the namesake pool is often shallow and stagnant these days, the surrounding vegetation, as well as the outflow of canal water into the riverbed here, provides excellent year-round birding.

Access to this obscure location is tricky, to say the least, with multiple options that generally involve a decent amount of walking. The best access method is to take Ray Ward Place from McNutt Road and drive until you reach Solar Smart Living, LLC. There is a bit of space to park near this business, and from here you can walk northeast down a dirt road for about 0.25 miles until you reach a canal that leads south to the pool (which is about 0.7 miles farther south). Alternately, park in the gravel lot across from Country Club Car Wash on Santa Teresita Drive and walk south along the canal until you reach the pool (about a 0.9-mile walk). If you wish to drive directly to the pool and have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, there is an inconspicuous dirt road on the southeast side of the Sunland Park Splash Park (formerly City of Sunland Park Sports Complex) which leads directly to the pool. Turn onto this unnamed dirt road from McNutt Road and drive south until it forks; take a left at the first fork and a right at the second fork. This access method is highly discouraged for all vehicles, as the narrow dirt roads around the pool are extremely sandy and muddy, and there are no good places to park. There are no hours or fees associated with accessing Randall’s Pool from any of the described methods.

As mentioned before, the namesake pool of water is often shallow and putridly stagnant (or completely dry) these days, and there is often a lot of litter in the area. It is worthwhile to check the salt-cedar trees surrounding the pool, which often attract migrant warblers. Walking the dirt roads around the pool through the restored vegetation is the best way to search for birds here. In summer, listen for Yellow-breasted Chat, Bell’s Vireo, Bullock’s Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and other neotropical migrants. Phainopepla and Northern Mockingbird are often present in large numbers, feeding on wolfberries in the area. Barn Owls may be in roosting sites in dense salt-cedar or clusters of cottonwood trees. Check the canal for Great Egrets and Neotropic Cormorants year-round, or for dabbling ducks in winter. Water enters the Rio Grande riverbed northeast from the pool; this limited flow attracts various waterfowl and wading birds year-round. Dense vegetation throughout the area may host unusual passerine species at any season, including local rarities like Carolina Wren and Gray Catbird.
From Joel Gilb