6th Street Pond

6th Street Pond

Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544

Tips for Birding

Parking is available along 6th Street, in the Merrick building’s parking lot, or in the gravel pullout immediately north of the pond off of 6th Street. The pond can also be accessed from the Canyon Rim Trail which runs along the southern edge of the pond.

As you approach the pond, carefully scan the shoreline for shorebirds. The most likely shorebirds to see are Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers. American Pipits have been seen along the water’s edge during migration as well. A variety of duck species have also been seen swimming in the pond. During the summer the pond is a favorite water source for White-throated Swifts and a variety of swallows.

The earthen berms on the north and west sides of the pond are usually good for sparrows and the occasional Greater Roadrunner. The small wooded area to the southeast of the pond (just below the overflow structure) includes a favored roost for Common Ravens as well as a mature understory that is good for warblers. Wrapping around the south and east sides of this wooded area is the Canyon Rim Trail. Just south of the trail opposite the wooded area is the north rim of Los Alamos Canyon. While there is no access down into this canyon from this location, you can walk up to the fence at the rim of the canyon and observe from there. Red-tailed Hawks, Zone-tailed Hawks, and White-throated Swifts are known to nest nearby.

Note that since the 6th Street Pond and Canyon Rim Trail hotspot areas intersect, it is a local convention to not travel further west along the trail than the nearest corner of the Smith’s Marketplace building when reporting birds for the 6th Street Pond hotspot, nor to travel further north along the trail than the northern extent of the pond. Birds seen further along the trail than these two spots should be added to the Canyon Rim Trail hotspot.

From the corner of the Canyon Rim Trail just SE of the pond, there is a dirt road heading east following the north rim of the canyon. This can be followed for a half-mile (eventually becoming a dirt trail) with negligible elevation change out to the end of the mesa finger through a number of excellent microhabitats and with frequent good views down into the canyon. While this is not part of the 6th Street Pond hotspot (or any other hotspot at the time of this writing), it is good birding and well worth the hike.

About this Location

This small pond on 6th Street in Los Alamos is an artificial retention basin for stormwater runoff from the parking lots and buildings to the west. It usually contains water year-round and has been known to be used by transient waterfowl and shorebirds. The pond was constructed in 2014 along with the shopping center to the west. The land is managed by Smith’s Marketplace. There is a wire fence around the pond which is marked no trespassing, but the entire pond can be seen from any point along the fence and the landowners have indicated that they are OK with birders walking around the perimeter of the fence.

In addition to birds, the pond is also an excellent place for observing dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies.

Content from Mouser Williams