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Percha Dam State Park is a relatively manicured, open bosque of cottonwoods with picnic tables and campsites. Flanking the east side of the park along the river is a thick growth of willow and cottonwood. At the south end of the park near the river is a fence with a narrow gap. For about a half mile, there is a trail that follows the river and passes through a thick cottonwood bosque. Directly north of the fee station and canal there is a woodland along the river, accessible from the road or by crossing the canal in the park.

Billfold 1 CC SAGEBROWN amp; ID With 9 Brown Billfold SAGEBROWN Caballo Lake is 18 miles long and holds almost 350000 acre-feet of water. It has a surface area of over 11000 acres amid the Chihuahuan Desert. The reservoir was created in 1938 and is New Mexico's second-largest lake. The dam was built for water retention, flood control, irrigation, and 1906 treaty obligations with the Republic of Mexico. The lake is the winter home of many species of waterfowl and a migratory stop for wading and shore birds.

The Palomas Marsh is located at the northern most point of Caballo Lake. The exclosure includes two vastly different habitats. One is the typical mesquite shrub zone (dry) with the other being the marshy area. You can enter the exclosure at the southeast corner in the dry area and you can walk down to the marsh. You can then walk back up and through the drier habitat to the NE corner. An interesting sidelight is the emergence of young willows, cottonwoods, and grasses at the edge of the marsh.

Directions: Percha, Caballo, and Palomas Marsh are all between Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences.

Ornithological Summary

The waters of Caballo Reservoir are a significant concentration point for waterfowl, shorebirds, and waders. The bosque and marsh habitats at Percha State Park, Palomas Marsh and scattered locations along the reservoir edge represent very rare habitats in southern New Mexico, and thus attract concentrations of many migrants and priority breeding species. Over 300 species of birds have been seen in the Caballo/Percha/Palomas area.

Sources: Christmas Bird Counts 1995-1999; Barry R. Zimmer personal list (November 13, 2000); Palomas Marsh compilation for the BLM

Other Species: Clark's Grebe, Resident;
Western Grebe, Winter; Neotropic Cormorant, Winter; Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Breeding; Sage Sparrow, Winter; Verdin, Resident; Ferruginous Hawk, Winter; Bald Eagle, Winter; Red-naped Sapsucker, Winter; Gambel's Quail, Resident; Wood Duck, Resident; Lark Bunting, Passage; Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Passage; Olive-sided Flycatcher, Passage; Willow Flycatcher, Passage; Gray Flycatcher, Passage; Dusky Flycatcher, Passage; Cordilleran Flycatcher, Passage; Prairie Falcon, Winter; Scott's Oriole, Breeding; Long-billed Curlew, Passage; MacGillivray's Warbler, Passage;
Osprey, Passage; Savannah Sparrow, Winter; Green-tailed Towhee, Passage; Summer Tanager, Breeding; White-faced Ibis, Passage; American Avocet, Passage; Bank Swallow, Passage; Wilson's Phalarope, Passage; Lucy's Warbler, Breeding; Plumbeous Vireo, Passage.

Conservation Issues

There is some saltcedar at Percha along the Rio Grande. Cattle grazing along lake limits cottonwood regeneration. As with all sites along the Rio Grande, battles over water rights, seasonal flows, and flood control could impact riparian wetland habitats in the area.

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New Mexico State Parks, P.O. Box 32, Caballo, NM 87931, 505-743-3942