Saturday, April 18, 2009


There are times when a birder ventures to a new location in the hopes of getting lucky and finding a new species for their life list. I hit the birders' jackpot on a trip to Las Vegas in the past few days, where I was fortunate to visit the City of Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve as well as Sunset Park. Between several hours at those two locations, I managed to add 15 new species to my life list...

  • Greater White Fronted Goose (pictured, bottom)
  • Ross's Goose
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Redhead
  • Ring Necked Duck
  • Greater Scaup (pictured, top)
  • Bufflehead
  • Gambel's Quail
  • Eared Grebe
  • Double Crested Cormorant
  • Common Moorhen
  • Northern Rough Winged Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Verdin
  • Northern Mockingbird

In addition to these new-to-me birds, I also spotted Canada geese, mallards, an entire flock of northern shovelers, ruddy ducks, many American coots, one shy Wilson's snipe, many color variations of rock pigeons, several mourning doves, a pompous greater roadrunner, yellow rumped warblers, one yellow headed blackbird in a flock of Brewer's blackbirds and brown headed cowbirds, the ubiquitous house sparrows, and a great number of great tailed grackles. There were also at least two species of hummingbirds, a type of egret or heron, several other swallows, a largeish hawk, and other ducks and songbirds that I was unable to identify.

Frankly, I cannot recommend these two birding locations strongly enough. Easy and free to access, they are just a few miles from McCarran International Airport and an easy drive from the Las Vegas Strip. The Bird Viewing Preserve was wonderfully unpopulated - in fact, my husband and I were the only two in spacious facility for most of our visit - and while nearby Sunset Park is more crowded, the birds are also more accustomed to human presence and don't mind eager birders getting closer. I'm already planning a return trip in different seasons so I may see what other visitors are present. I'm also planning a full review of the Bird Viewing Preserve on, so stay tuned for tips on hitting your own birding jackpot!

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