That would be the “National Wildlife Refuge”
The 57,331 acres Refuge established in 1939 is located in Southern New Mexico and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We caught the tail end of the migration of the Sandhill Cranes yet the best time being in the fall around Thanksgiving. The Reserve is open year-round providing safe harbor for its varied wildlife including present for us a few days ago thousands of Snow and Ross’s geese.
Every season has its highlights. In Winter times as right now, besides the cranes and geese there are intense endless flocks of ducks. Everyone during the daylight hours feeds on the corn fields situated North of the Refuge and on waves return to their nightly roost on the water ponds, referred as “fly-in”. In the morning at Sunrise it is then the other way around while they all take off in waves. Quite a show with their thundering sound of wing beats and calls almost deafening.
The Visitor Center is very helpful, very pleasant with also a Nature Store and maps of the Refuge and the two loops [North and South] one can [and should!] drive. A reminder that on the East side of HIghway 1 where the main refuge is, dogs are not allowed outside the vehicles. They are allowed anywhere on the West side of the Highway. Highway which is just a two lane paved roads. There is no camping in the refuge but there is a large viewing area on the West side before the entrance sign [above] and dry camping is possible. Coming from the East on Highway 380, there is also much BLM land off the Highway North and Southbound. If you use a Benchmark map [one per State] you will find the very detailed informations.
The North and South loop roads are not paved but very doable with any car as very well maintained.
The wetlands that held thousands of ducks, geese and cranes in the winter are slowly drawn down in the spring, creating expansive mudflats and shallow areas for migrating shorebirds. At least 25 species of shorebirds visit the refuge each spring, including various sandpipers, ibis, stilts, plovers, phalarops, godwits, dunlins and curlews.
Desert blooms are celebrated in the Spring. There will be more than 150 species of cacti and other Chihuahuan Desert plants. Although unfriendly to fingers, these prickly plants and their fruit provide shelter for nesting birdsband tasty treats for javelinas and quail.
A must to visit!
Stay well, Ara and Spirit