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Conservation Programs & Activities

San Vicente Trail and Open Space Update
By Ken Sexton

As a member of the Trails and Open Space Advisory Committee, we have found significant vandalism including cut gate lock chains, smashed gates and cut fencing to allow access by an array of 4-wheel vehicles. Recommendations to make repairs have been followed. We have identified illegal access points from surrounding roadways and plans have been made by the town to block these. Major access points such as the end of Chukar Road near the old landfill include plans where 10 inch diameter pipes will be installed to block the access area. While repairs are being made, vandalism in the form of cut fencing near gates have been found indicating again, tracks representing a wide range of 4 wheel vehicles from ATV width to much wider– with “off-road” and on-road tire tread marks. This month at the request of the Mayor, after his Meet the Mayor session at the Drifter restaurant, we rode to locations where there are current cut fences, and to Chukar Road.

During the Trails and Open Space committee meetings during the last year, maps of the San Vicente Creek area were reviewed. There are parts of the trail that are on private land and also significant“social” trails that follow the creek that are popular with birders and hikers, also on private land. These maps also showed areas where negotiations for right-of-way access or actual boundary adjustments of private lands for trail use have been made or are in progress.

Discussions have included how to make the San Vicente trail and open area more easily accessible and attractive to both locals and tourists. There are discussions to include trail improvements during planned maintenance work on the Big Ditch by the Army Corps of Engineers, which would make the trail from the Visitor Center to the trail head under the Hwy 90 Bridge, more user friendly to avoid climbing over loose rocks. Lastly there have been discussions about how this trail head appears to be a “hang-out” location by locals. This might be managed by requesting police monitoring.

   If you see motorized vehicles on the trails report it to the police by calling Central Dispatch at 388-8840.

Have you seen these birds?

Dale Zimmerman and Carol Ann Fugagli are seeking observations for documentation. If you see either of these birds, Phainopepla or Bullock's Oriole, at any location during the 2018 calendar year, please send an email to: Carol Ann Fugagli: cfugagli@gmail.com. Please report any sightings with: 1)  locale, 2) date, 3) number of birds.

We appreciate your assistance!


With its erect crest and the male’s shimmering black cloak, the Phainopepla’s name was inspired by the Greek word meaning “shining robe.” Many readers may not know that this species tends to work overtime, with studies indicating the likelihood of breeding twice a year in two distinct habitats.

This long-tailed silky flycatcher can be found perched upright on top of a palo verde or mesquite tree in the Sonoran Desert early in the year from February through April.  In May, when the heat at lower elevations begins to intensify and the mistletoe berries there dwindle, the birds move up slope into woodland canyons of Arizona, California, and New Mexico, where they breed again through July.

The male is glossy black except for broad white patches under the wings that are obvious in flight. The female is gray with some wing patches. Both sexes have red eyes, an obvious crest and long slender tail. The bill is short and slender. They can be 6.3 to 7.9 inches long. In recent years, the local movements of this conspicuous bird are believed to be shifting.

Credit: crossleybooks.com


Bullock’s Oriole

This breeding bird of our riparian forests and Silver City’s shade trees has been declining in recent years, and we would like your assistance in documenting its abundance and distribution. 

Male Bullock’s Orioles are larger and more colorful with orange and black plumage, a distinctive white wing patch and a black throat and eyeline. The females have more of a dull yellow coloration with gray-brown underparts.

Credit: crossleybooks.com

dazmaz_1993The Marian and Dale
Zimmerman Wildlife
Conservation Endowment

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Simply avoid using pesticides and harsh cleaning products, like bleach, anywhere outside of your house. Be aware that pesticides include all types of insect control (insecticide), rodent control (rodenticide) and weed control (herbicide) products. Stick to mild biodegradable soaps for outdoor cleaning of lawn furniture, etc. To make your own safe, homemade, insecticides see: treehugger.com/lawn-garden/8-natural-homemade-insecticides.

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Finding bird nests can help scientists. The free NestWatch project at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology collects, analyzes, and distributes data, serving as a warehouse of nesting bird information. Find a nest and report its location, the species using it, number of eggs, and other milestones as the birds incubate, raise, and fledge their young. The NestWatch website and mobile app now accept reports submitted from anywhere in the world, enabling scientists to compare birds across their global breeding range. Register for the project at NestWatch.org and learn how to monitor nests without disturbing the birds.

You Need A Permit!
Did you know that you are required to have a permit to use certain wildlife management areas for hiking, biking and bird watching? WHERE and the Online Permit Purchase system is at wildlife.state.nm.us.