Las Vegas

Feb. 18:  Bill had picked up the parts for our heater & the RV repair fellow arrived this morning to fix it.  I did laundry.  We took the truck in for a service at the Ford dealership (where we waited nearly 2 1/2 hours for the service to be done!) in Henderson, then grocery shopping.  Dinner wasn’t until 7 PM – the latest we’ve eaten on the whole trip!  We’ll test the heater tonight to see if all is well, but we sure hope so.

Feb. 19:  Yay – heater is fixed!  Bill did a little more work on our house plans, we shopped for cat food for our picky cat who hasn’t really liked anything we’ve found so far, since we ran out of her Whiskas!  No one has carried the same type – until today at PetSmart.  Hopefully she hasn’t gone off it.  Laundered the sheets & now all caught up on that.  Tomorrow will be our first bird outing – can hardly wait!

Feb. 20:  Today is our dear Suprima, Patsy Larson’s, 75th birthday – Holy Mackerel!

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She is a beautiful woman with a big personality – but she is very tiny.  We love her & hope she (& Mur) have a great year!  These wishes come especially packed with our love & support for Mur’s impending surgery!

This morning we were excited to go to the Henderson Bird Viewing Area:  We’ve been here lots of times & we’re pretty sure we’d add some new species to our list.  And we were not disappointed!

My personal hope was to see a good view of a Crissal Thrasher.  Indeed we did!  This will be the last time we see this guy, we imagine, since no more trips south in our trailer.  He was singing & singing for a very long time (& he is a GREAT singer), sitting on the fence in the sun – being very cooperative!

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imageimageIsn’t he great?  If you really want to admire him – play his song from an app.  Impressive!  And what a bill!

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We have not seen a White-crowned Sparrow since we left Canada.  They are among the most common birds we see while in AZ & TX – but NONE in FL.  So here is one now!

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Just for the record, Canada Geese.

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Bufflehead.

N. Shoveler – flying & then group feeding.  In the group shot, their irredescent heads show colors from purple to blue to green & black.

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Green-winged Teal.

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One of the prettiest of the teal – Cinnamon, glowing in the sun.

imageGreater Yellowlegs.

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Killdeer don’t often pause long enough for a nice portrait.

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We added American Pipit.

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Female Northern Harrier.

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We Heard interesting stuff from a local birder about our little yellow-faced friend, the Verdin.  They build 2 nests each year (probably the reason for all the little nest clumps amongst the trees & bushes around here).  The summer one is for shade & the winter one is where they lay eggs. HOWEVER – after fact-checking at the Cornell bird site, here’s the low-down:

The Verdin builds nests for both breeding and roosting; roosting nests are much smaller. The outer stick shell is constructed mostly by the male, while the female does most of the lining.
The Verdin’s roosting nests help it stay warm in winter. Winter roosting nests have thicker insulation, and may reduce energy requirements for thermoregulation by as much as 50 percent.
The Verdin builds roosting nests all year round. One pair of Verdins in Arizona was observed building 11 nests in one year.
During the heat of the desert summer, the Verdin rests quietly in the shaded interior of a shrub, sometimes panting or spreading its wings. Nests built in summer open toward prevailing winds, perhaps to aid in cooling.

The desert landscape is so different from FL!

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A little western fence lizard.

Especially for Ron – Costa’s Hummingbird.  A male in the top 2 shots; a female bottom & on the nest.

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Instead of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, we have Black-tailed here in Vegas.

This group of shots is rather unusual, since a Ruby-crowned Kinglet rarely shows its red crown.  It was so unusual, the people from the bird preserve wanted us to send the photos in an email – so did another woman we met there.

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The 1st shot shows a male actually displaying – raising his crest & fluttering his wings.

imageThese shots show him scratching his head!  Who knew he had so many red feathers up there!  He does look relieved afterwards.

It was a great day.  Perfect weather with clear skies, high 22C & no wind – WOW!  Amazing.  9 new species for the list!

Feb. 21:  A visit to Henderson for a short walk this morning – then off to the Red Rock Canyon.

Another beautiful day with highs around 22 & mostly sunny &. Light wind. More great photo ops.

Once again, a few sights around the area; some old & dried; some new & fresh.

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For the record – Abert’s Towhee.

The Tree Swallows were perched on the electrical wires.

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Can you see the fly this Say’s Phoebe is about to catch?

Safe landing!

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And a lovely pose on a post.

The Canada Geese are fighting over territories.  It’s serious!

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Loggerhead Shrike.

The Marsh Wrens are also fighting over territories.  There are quite a few which obviously nest here.  This one had just fended off another male.  Wooh – he looks tough with his little tail not only upright, but bent across his back!

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Cute little Verdin.

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Another shot of the female N. Harrier.

We headed over to Red Rock Canyon afterwards, but the lineup was atrocious!  We decided we’d rather come back to Henderson to walk this area again – make more than once.  Weather is supposed to hold.  We’ve now broken the 200 barrier & have 205 species for our list.

Feb. 22:  We walked around Henderson again, but arrived a little earlier than usual.  Matter of fact, the check-in center was still closed, but was supposed to open at 6 AM (It was 6:40 when we got there).   Nonetheless, someone arrived just as we & another fellow were going to jimmy the door (ha!).

Another sunny morning, a bit cool at first, but we were down to t-shirts by 9 AM or so.  The wind started to pick up & become a bit much, so we left early.  But there are a few shots I wanted to include in this blog.

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Gambel’s Quail are around every morning – but usually hiding amongst the bushes.  Bill managed to get this female as it ran across an open area in the sun.  What a great top-knot!

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A Great-tailed Grackle is a little different to a Boat-tailed Grackle – which we captured in FL with head thrown back, belting out its croaky song.  This guy splays his tail & has a more whistled tune.  Whichever one you hear – it’s LOUD!

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This Abert’s Towhee blends so well with its surroundings, you have to watch for movement to find it.  Assume it’s stretched up to grab an insect.

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imageIf you ever see a Black-crowned Night Heron roosting amongst the thick bushes, you may think it’s a very peaceful thing to do.  Little may you realize how much work it took to get in there!

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This pair of Kildeer were cuddled up behind a rock!  So cute!

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And there are bunnies everywhere…

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…and new buds on the trees.

Feb. 23:  Last walk at Henderson.  Sunny, cool, but the wind has started up again.  We won’t last too long today, sadly.  The wind keeps the birds hidden amongst the bushes.

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The airport is nearby & we usually hear the huge jet planes (while trying to listen for birds) as they come in for a landing.  Today the wind is in the opposite direction & they seemed not quite so noisy!.

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I really wanted to capture the male Gambel’s Quail.  He is something with his little black plume!

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Even a plain old Mallard is pretty in the sun.

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We saw at least a dozen Cinnamon Teal.  3 extra this time in honor of Galllie.

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Acacia in bloom… image…& larger flocks of Canada Geese honking & flying over, certainly portend spring!.

Over the nest couple of days we’ll travel to Brigham City, UT, where we’ll do a little birding (though it’s likely a bit early for most migrants).  So that’s it for here.

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1 Response to Las Vegas

  1. Nona says:

    Paul came to Tulsa for a week & we “did files & business doings”. Then to Missoula for a week to see Hollin & Greg & my PRECIOUS great granddaughter. She is a keeper for sure !!!!! We had a nice visit then Paul & I left on the 13th,, he to Gunnison & I to Tulsa.

    So you are now “up” in that general area, so to speak. Assume you are working your way home. I am sure you are anxious to see how your house is coming along, if the weather has permitted work.

    Incidentally, there has been talk of another “gathering” in Missoula this year – Yeah ! Someone will keep you posted.

    Always interested in hearing where you are, etc., & etc. Such beautiful pictures & enjoy your “talk”. Keep us up to date on the house. Very happy for you !!!!

    Love, Lou Ann

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