The Waste Treatment Ponds (labeled “Transfer Station” on Google Maps) are located about half a mile from where FR-354 veers northeast off West Main Street (just past the Library and Village Hall). About 500 yards from this “Y” is another, with (unsigned) Road 534 heading off east-northeast to the south side of the ponds; this is the road you want to take. The gravel roads are bumpy but easily managed (in dry weather) by a passenger car. The 5 polyethylene- or rubber-lined ponds, one of which is very small, are located behind a chain-link fence. Therefore, you can’t actually get up to the edge of the ponds (not all of which may have water when you visit), but there is a stretch of dirt road alongside the southwest portion of the fence. You can get a good look into the southernmost pond here, and if you were to stand in a pickup bed, a fairly good view of the next two ponds (a large one and a small one) lying directly north.
Driving a bit further northeast on 534, you reach an area of abandoned or junked vehicles where you can easily turn around. There are more one-seed juniper at this end, among the gramma grass, four-wing saltbush, and yucca. The west end is more populated with tumbleweed and kochia.
Though there’s nothing prohibiting you from tramping through these prickly plants along the outside perimeter of the fence, with binoculars the two northernmost ponds may be more comfortably viewed by returning to FR 354 and driving up the hillside to the village cemetery.
Birds observed in Magdalena proper are best listed separately, rather than at the Waste Treatment Ponds hotspot, due to the presence of feeders and exotic plantings in town. For such observations, you may create a new hotspot, using latitude/longitude (34.11699, -107.24335), which are coordinates for the crossroads of NM- 60 and Main Street.
The Magdalena Waste Treatment Ponds are on Forest Road 354 north of Magdalena.
Content from John Montgomery