2020-11-09 Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve

Solitary Sandpiper - Tringa solitariaAfter driving all day from Ely Nevada, I felt tuckered out. I didn’t want to boondock camp in Las Vegas, so I booked a night at an RV park in Henderson. The stay at the RV park was a good idea. It was only five minutes from the Bird Viewing Preserve, and Monday morning I was the first guest to arrive at the preserve just after 6am and I stayed until noon. I visited nearly every pond and trail. I took a ton of pictures, and a few of the images in the collection pleased me.

Waterfowl are the stars of the show here. Ducks and grebes abound, but I put in the effort to get passerines and shorebirds when I could. When I arrived at the preserve, the wind was calm, but it kicked up as the morning progressed, giving the morning chill an extra bite and making me wish I’d brought my mittens. Calm water early allowed me to capture reflecting images of the birds on the water, but when the wind picked up, the reflections were not so easy to get.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve in southern Nevada. At 6:15am I was the first guest at the preserve and I stayed until 12:30.

The preserve comprises nine ponds spread over 140 acres, intertwined with trails weaving their way along the levees between the ponds. Some ponds are quite large. Originally developed as a water treatment facility, it is now prime birding habitat. The city operated the wastewater treatment plant, not knowing it would evolve into the marvelous bird habitat we know today. After first becoming popular with birders in the 1960s, in 1995 the City of Henderson initiated policies that reflected a cooperative sensitivity to the birds who thrived here. They restricted the draining and filling of the ponds and the clearing of brush to times when it would not disturb the breeding and migratory needs of the birds. Both the birds and the birders have benefitted from this foresight, It’s a lesson that other municipalities could heed.

The species I collected images of were Ruddy Duck, Pied-Billed Grebe, Greater Yellowlegs, Northern Shoveler, Merlin, Green Heron, Northern Harrier, Common Gallinule, Mallard, American Coot, Bufflehead, Great Egret, Western Grebe, Black-Crowned Night-Heron, Northern Flicker, Greater Roadrunner, Abert’s Towhee, Green-Winged Teal, Killdeer, Say’s Phoebe, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Canvasback, Snowy Egret, White-Crowned Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Red-Wing Blackbird, Gambel’s Quail, Hermit Thrush, Merlin, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Say’s Phoebe. Not all the images qualified for display in the gallery. Species I failed to capture with my camera included Redhead, Belted Kingfisher, Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher, Verdin, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, White-Faced Ibis, Virginia Rail, and Sora.

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