Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nevada & Utah Trip: Las Vegas

The birding part of my vacation started when I spent 3 early-morning hours at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve outside Las Vegas. I did an hour's walk alone and then spent almost 2 hours being driven around on a golfcart by one of the volunteer staff. 

The site was surprisingly beautiful for a re-purposed sewage plant.


Birds were everywhere, as were desert cotton-tail rabbits.

The various ponds had a good selection of ducks, many with ducklings in tow.


Ruddy Ducks


Male Ruddy Duck

Ring-necked Duck

Common Gallinules also had young with them, as did American Coots.

I was excited to see many Western Grebes, in addition to some Eared Grebes.

There were even a few Pied-billed Grebes.

A Great Blue Heron and a Least Bittern disappeared too fast to photograph but a Green Heron was less skittish.

Several Canada Geese were hanging our on a path, right next to where a Killdeer was sitting on her eggs.

Shorebirds included Least Sandpipers, Wilson's Phalaropes and Black-necked Stilts (below).

A Marbled Godwit was feeding near a few American Avocets.

Several other species were flitting or running around near the ponds but were too distant or too fast to photograph: Bewick's and Marsh Wrens, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Crissal's Thrasher, Verdin, Greater Roadrunner and Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

I was luckier with some Black-tailed Gnatcatchers and a Costas's Hummingbird at the Visitor Center.

My 40th species of the morning was a Say's Phoebe.

If I ever go back to Las Vegas, I will certainly go back to the Henderson Preserve. It was a beautiful site with excellent birding, and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. It is rather a pity that in the summer it is open only from 6:00 to noon.


Dorothy Borders said...

Good to know about this site. It sounds like a great place to see birds.

Jeff said...

It really was excellent, despite the fact it was summer and hot. It would be even better in the winter, when more species are present