El Paso Rio Loop
- El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau,
Keystone Heritage Park
From I-10 in El Paso, take exit 13 to Sunland Park Dr. Turn left (west) on Sunland Park Dr. and go .5 miles. Turn right on Doniphan Dr. and proceed .8 miles to the Keystone Heritage Park on the right.
Over 200 avian species have been recorded at this archeological site and wetland. The extensive mud flats attract shorebirds that flock to the area in abundance each spring and fall. In the winter months, thousands of Red-winged Blackbirds and lesser numbers of Yellow-headed Blackbirds roost in the extensive reed beds. Watch for "Mexican" Mallard as well. Just across Doniphan Dr., the wooded neighborhoods support nesting Mississippi Kite. The predominantly xeric landscape supports desert residents such as Curve-billed and Crissal Thrasher, Verdin, Greater Roadrunner and Gambel's Quail.
Billy Rogers Arroyo Park
From I-10 in El Paso, Exit 19A onto North Mesa St. Turn right and follow North Mesa St. 1 mile to E. Robinson St. Turn right and go .3 miles to the park on the right. The park can be accessed through the El Paso Tennis Club. In El Paso, you will find this city park provides good birding opportunities. This site is typically best for birding during migration; however, some of the most exciting birding can occur during winter when jays, woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and finches provide irruptive excursions southward. Migrants expected at this site include flycatchers, vireos, warblers, tanagers and grosbeaks. Otherwise, typical winter birds include, but are not limited to, Red-naped Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.
Wyler Aerial Tramway
Take US 54 north from I-10 and exit Fred Wilson Blvd.; turn left on Fred Wilson Blvd., which turns into Alabama St.; follow Alabama to McKinley Ave. and turn left. McKinley ends at the park.
Wyler Aerial Tramway is situated on the east slope of the Franklin Mountains. The surrounding vegetation is primarily desert scrub with a wide variety of cacti and abundant lechuguilla. The bird populations are dominated by desert species such as Pyrrhuloxia, Black-throated Sparrow, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Curve-billed Thrasher. The tram platform provides an excellent vantage point to observe raptors, particularly during migration. Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vultures are the most commonly observed species, but the occasional Golden Eagle (primarily in winter), Swainson's Hawk (summer), Peregrine and Prairie Falcons can be seen.
From I-10 in El Paso, take Copia north to Memorial Park.
In El Paso, you will find this city park provides good birding opportunities. This site is typically best for birding during migration; however, some of the most exciting birding can occur during winter when jays, woodpeckers, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, and finches provide irruptive excursions southward. Migrants expected at this site include flycatchers, vireos, warblers, tanagers and grosbeaks. Otherwise, typical winter birds include, but are not limited to, Red-naped Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.
Feather Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
From I-10, take exit 34 (Americas Ave.) and go south on Americas Ave. 1.2 miles to North Loop Dr. Turn right onto North Loop Dr. and go .4 miles to the stoplight at Bordeaux St. The Feather Lake entrance is on your left. A 1-mile-long trail encircles the lake. Open weekends; can be closed when lake is dry. Check website for status.
Some 219 bird species have been observed at Feather Lake. Resident wetland birds include Pied-billed Grebe, "Mexican" Mallard, Common Moorhen, and American Coot. However, it is most dynamic in migration and in winter. In migration, herons, egrets and thousands of White-faced Ibis find the location a great spot for roosting and feeding. Water levels vary, but in winter the site is typically good for a variety of waterfowl, especially large numbers of dabbling ducks.
Rio Bosque Wetlands Park
From I-10, take exit 34 onto Loop 375 south. Go 2.2 miles to the Pan American Dr. exit. Turn left onto Pan American and go 1.5 miles and cross the bridge that spans the Riverside Canal immediately before the water-treatment plants. Immediately turn left onto the levee road. Go .7 miles to the Tornillo Trailhead at the northeast corner of the park. There are two more parking areas farther down the canal (.5 and .8 miles).
Some 229 bird species have been seen at Rio Bosque, a reliable place to find resident species such as the Gambel's Quail, Harris's Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Verdin and Crissal Thrasher. Summer-resident nesting species include Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak and Painted Bunting. In late fall and early winter, approximately 100 acres of the site are flooded, and up to 5,000 ducks can be present. Raptors are also abundant in winter.