Archive for the ‘What’s New?’ Category

2018 MVAS Calendars Now on Sale

Some of the best Mesilla Valley bird photography is available in the 2018 MVAS calendar.  Mesilla Valley Audubon members submit their most stunning work throughout the year for newsletters and the annual calendar.  Their level of expertise truly has to be seen to be believed.  Purchase copies while supplies last at upcoming monthly membership meetings or contact a board member directly.

2018 Annual Meeting – Officer Elections

In anticipation of the January 17, 2018 annual meeting and election of officers, the Nominating Committee of the current board is creating a slate to fill four officer and two director positions.  All chapter members are encouraged to self-nominate or suggest other candidates.   Please contact any board member.

The Board consists of the four officers – President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary, six directors and the Past President.  Outgoing President Jennifer Montoya will serve as Past President for one year.

Besides Montoya, current officers include treasurer Diane Moore, vice-president Ken Stinnett and secretary Jay Wilbur.  Current directors include C.J. Goin and Mark Pendleton whose terms expires in 2019.  Gill Sorg and Wayne Treers, elected in January 2016, are serving terms through 2018.  Terms for Judi Schultz and Aaron  Lucas expire in 2017 and are open for nominations to a new three year term running through 2020.

Las Cruces Christmas Bird Count Dec. 16, 2017

Our Las Cruces Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2017, from sunrise to sunset.  Mesilla Valley Audubon Society (MVAS) has sponsored this CBC for 43 years.  Our CBC circle encompasses a varied habitat for birds – from a riparian corridor to agricultural fields to suburban areas to desert scrubland.  This diversity often has yielded more than 130 species sighted during the CBC.

MVAS will hold a pre-CBC meeting on Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00PM at the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC), 275 North Main Street on the Downtown Mall.  The meeting provides an opportunity for team members to discuss final arrangements for the count day.

We have 13 teams of birders that cover the Las Cruces CBC circle.  Please consider joining us in locating and counting birds on December 16 and make a big contribution to citizen science.  If you are new to the CBC, we will find a team that you can bird with.  If interested, please contact Wayne Treers (coordinator and compiler for the Las Cruces CBC) at or 575-528-8696.

MVAS studies birds at A-Spear Ranch

Last October, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society led a field trip to beautiful Las Palomas Creek on the A-Spear Ranch, LLC, in Sierra County.  This was the kick-off for a year of field visits by MVAS in order to build a bird list for this incredible example of a southwestern riparian gallery forest.  Thanks to the efforts of C.J. Goin and other MVAS board members, we were able to post bird lists on eBird and the number of species observed and confirmed at the A-Spear currently stands at 106.

In 2017, nests and subsequent fledglings were observed, including for Common Black Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Barn Owl and others.  Mammal species thrive and proliferate on the ranch as well, with trail cameras capturing young elk, black bear, mule deer, bobcats and mountain lions.

In coming months, the ranch hopes to move forward with a conservation easement for the riparian area as well as further habitat improvements.  This will include working with representatives from Bosque del Apache NWR to plant Monarch butterfly-friendly milkweed.

In addition, the owners of A-Spear hope to continue working with MVAS to develop projects that can be mutually beneficial to the ranch, MVAS, and, of course, the birds.

By J.R. Absher
Co-Owner, A-Spear Ranch

2017 Christmas Bird Count Information

Hello all,

The 2017 Christmas Bird Count will be here before you know it.  This year’s count will take place on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from sunrise to sunset.  The Pre-CBC meeting will be held Wednesday, December 13th at 7:00PM at the Southwest Environmental Center located at 275 N. Main Street.  Please click here to review the flyer about the event and contact information if you have questions or would like to participate in this annual Citizen Science event.

MVBSP Trail Maintenance

If you are interested in helping maintain trails at Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, please contact Jay Wilbur at

Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park

State invites residents to MVBSP to discuss possible management transfer.

NM State Parks and the NM Department of Game and Fish are hosting an open house at MVBSP to discuss the potential transfer of park management to Game and Fish.  The discussion will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 10 at the park, 5000 Calle del Norte in Mesilla.

This transfer is being considered to provide additional services to the public and better utilize state resources, according to announcement jointly released by the two government divisions.

According to the release:  If a transfer to Game and Fish occurs, the MVB property will remain open to the public.  Game and Fish will not charge fees for visitors.  Game and Fish will continue to provide natural resource and outdoor educational programs.  Hunting will not occur within the property.  “A transfer of this property could be a tremendous benefit to everyone, including the wildlife that inhabits this area” said Game and Fish Director, Alexandra Sandoval.  “Strategically it fits within the Game Commission’s plan for all of our regional offices.  In addition to providing a site for eleven staff members, acquiring this property will give us an outdoor classroom for outdoor education and outreach programs.”

“State Parks has been honored to manage this property for the past nine years,” she State Parks Director, Christy Tafoya.  “Such a move would provide more funding, resources, staffing and programming to the MVBSP.

For information, contact the park at 575-523-4398

October 2017 Events/Announcements

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with the BLM-LC District at the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument.

5:00pm Marcy Scott, author of Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest and “a birder, botanizer, former wildlife rehabilitator and garden consultant” and co-founder of the Robledo Vista Nursery.  She will talk about the hummingbirds of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and answer many of your bird or plant related questions.

6:00pm A short 1-1.5 mile hike on La Cueva Trail to look for birds that appear at dusk with C.J. Goin, an expert birder of southern New Mexico.  Please bring binoculars if you have them.  There will be some available on loan.  Flashlights are optional.

Meet at the Dripping Springs A.B. Cox Visitor Center.  Feel free to bring your dinner or snacks, hydration and wear layers in case of chilly temperatures.  $5.00 day use fee for Dripping Springs but events are provided at no additional cost.

Wednesday, October 11 and October 25, 2017

A History of Nature and Man at Leasburg Dam State Park

Please join Leasburg Dam State Park staff for a guided, moderate 2 mile hike and experience the diverse environments, wildlife and geothermal springs and the fall weather while learning about the different Chihuahuan Desert Plants and peoples that have made this area their home over the centuries.  Bring water shoes if you wish to experience the hot springs.  For directions, including a park map, visit  There is a $5.00 per car admission fee.  Event is free with paid camping permit.  For more information, contact Alex Mares at 575-524-4068 or email him at


October 2017 Meeting/Field Trip Reminders


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jackye Meineke, retired owner of Enchanted Gardens, will discuss the basics of plantings that can benefit birds in your own yard.  Our social meet and greet begins @ 6:30pm followed by the program at 7:00pm.  We meet at Southwest Environmental Center, 275 Downtown Mall in Las Cruces.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Beginner Bird Walk (every 3rd Wednesday of each month) at Tellbrook Park, 4290 E. Winchester Rd., Las Cruces.

Saturday/Sunday October 7 & 8, 2017

Monarch Butterfly Survey and Tagging

Netting and tagging Monarch Butterflies with expert Steve Cary of Santa Fe who will provide nets & tags, and conduct a short how-to session each day.  SATURDAY 10/7 meet at the NE end of the parking lot for K-Mart just off US 70 at 2pm to carpool to Placita Arroyo (north of Hatch) and return by 8pm.  SUNDAY 10/8 meet at the south parking area of the Las Cruces Dam at 8:00am.  The survey and tagging site is along the foot of the dam on the east side of the dam.

To sign up or if you have questions, contact Mark Pendleton at 575-635-8711 or putting “Butterfly Question” in the subject line


Monarch Butterfly Survey and Tagging

Photo Submission Reminder

Photos submitted must have been taken in our local area, i.e. Sierra, Otero or Dona Ana counties only and during the past 12 months.  Our publications committee judges entries based on photo quality, subject interest and subject variety.  Please include the name of the species and the location of where the bird was photographed in your email.  Our newsletter editor makes the final selection for publication.  From these, one is chosen as the First Prize winner.

By submitting your photo you automatically grant MVAS publication rights for one year.  MVAS may use your photo in any of our publications, including newsletter and our annual calendar.  Photos should be submitted electronically as a high resolution jpg file to