Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegas Sunset

Sunset Park is one of my very favorite birding spots in Las Vegas, and after this last trip, it is even more impressive. Previously, the park has consisted of an extensive area of playgrounds and ball fields that aren't very enticing to birds, and the highlight has been Sunset Lake - the artificial pond that hosts many different types of waterfowl. Around the lake is a wide stretch of open ground and trees where songbirds can be found, and beyond that was undeveloped scrub desert where the most adventurous birders might find dry-loving species.

In the past year, however, that scrub desert has been beautifully renovated and preserved, and a small area of natural spring marsh is now able to be accessed. Wide, accessible walking trails stroll through the extensive area, and information stations offer tidbits about local ecology, climate, habitats, and wildlife, including birds. The area has been leveled a bit to give clear, unobstructed views, but the native vegetation is thriving, and so are the birds. In just that area, I spotted...

Mind you, this was before migration has really begun and later in the morning, but still the birding was exquisite. Both the Costa's hummingbird and the Bewick's wren were unexpected lifers - unexpected because I've been to Sunset Park several times, and I'd not anticipated any new birds. The Costa's hummingbird was displaying in his dizzying courtship flights, and the Bewick's wren was singing greetings to all passersby.

This park is always a Vegas jackpot for birding, and I highly recommend it - it's not a gamble to get great birding here!

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