Henderson Ponds, Henderson, Nevada
April 13, 2013
Each Spring the Red Cliffs Audubon tries to schedule a field trip to the Henderson Ponds in Nevada. Not only do we get to see migrants and year-around residents, but on our way to and from, we get to see what happens to the desert floor with the amount of rain we did or did not get. We really did "hit the jackpot" this trip. Along with a California King Snake and a variety of insects, the birds seen or heard were: Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Gambel’s Quail, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe (all decked out), Double-crested Cormorant, Least Bittern, Virginia Rail, Common Gallinule, American Coot, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilt, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Wilson’s Snipe, Mourning Dove, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Violet-green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Verdin, Marsh Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Crissal’s Thrasher, Common Yellowthroat, Virginia Rail, Audubon’s Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird, and Great-tailed Grackle.
Some of us visited the Las Vegas Wash and picked up additional species such as American Wigeon, Great Egret, American Avocet, and Marbled Godwit. Others drove through the Valley of Fire and found where they found a tiny blister beetle (Pleuropasta mirabilis ), found only in the Southwest. They also saw what they think was a Peregrine streaking through the sky and even saw an elephant - Elephant Rock, that is. And since this was a group of very serious birders, other species spotted as ‘To and From I-15 Route Flyover Birds’ were Brewer’s Blackbird, Turkey Vulture, House Sparrow, Common Raven, and Rock Pigeon. A total of 48 species were counted and a good time was had by all. Photos below:
Breakfast at Mcdonalds
Starting on the walk around the ponds
Stilts on stilts
Father, Son and The King (snake)
Tiny singing Verdin - cutest bird around
Beautiful Striped Meadowhawk Dragonfly
Ruddy Duck with a blue bill
Yellow and black Ornate Checkered Beetle on R. J. Hughs knuckle
Orange and black Ornate Checkered Beetle
Spying on the Wilson's Snipe through the blind
Enjoying the bird banter at lunch
A little lunch after the long walk
Wildlife biologists at the Henderson Ponds
Beautiful Palo Verde trees
Elephants in the Valley of Fire
Southwestern blister beetle - Pleuropasta mirabilis
I'm watching you!
Sage Grouse at Parowan Gap
March 16, 2013
Did you ever think it would be great fun to turn off your alarm at 3:00 a.m. voluntarily? Saturday turned out to be one great ‘birding’ day. Any day can be a great one if you have bird specialists to take you to the right places and knows what to look for and where. We had a super leader, Kevin Wheeler who got us moving out of St. George at 4:30 a.m. and onto a good dirt road near the Parowan Gap around 6:00 a.m. It was pitch dark when we reached our destination, but the wildlife was awake and very vocal.
Dawn arrived and we could then see who was making all the noise down below at the lek. Keith counted 26. Twelve very vocal males and the rest females. Then all around in the sage there were sounds of the Sage Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, the Common Raven flying above us and Sage Thrasher. The males were true to their reputation for strutting, thumping, and driving off the younger, not so wise competition. Then, all of a sudden the whole bunch of females flew off. "Why" I asked our leader. He said he thought maybe they had enough and it was time to go. It was time for us to go on to other places as well.
We drove to the Petroglyph Parking Lot. It was chuck full of birds. A Prairie Falcon was going to and from his nest complaining over and over again. There were Canyon Wrens, Rock Wrens, House Finches, and Spotted Towhee. Further down the road our leader found two Peregrine Falcons sitting on top of a rock having lunch. Then he found Ravens going in and out of nesting holes. When we came out of the rocks there were Mountain Bluebirds in the open fields, Horned Larks, American Avocets and Pinyon Jays. Just before we left for the frozen ponds a Golden Eagle flew overhead, and then again as two small birds came after this giant driving him away. There were Red-wings at the ponds, Mallards, Gadwalls, Coots, and even Canada Geese. A flock of Killdeer flew overhead calling out "kill-deer, kill-deer". There were Mourning Doves and Eurasian-collared Doves . . . and a good time was had by all. Birds seen:
Long Hollow: Greater Sage-Grouse, Common Raven, Sage Sparrow, Western Meadowlark
Parowan Gap: Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, Spotted Towhee, House Finch
Parowan Gap Road: Red-tailed Hawk, American Avocet, Pinyon Jay, Horned Lark, Mountain Bluebird, Sage Thrasher
Parowan Pond: Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, American Coot, Killdeer, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle
Parowan: European Starling
Waiting in the dark
Tom & Keith see something moving
It's nice to Grouse without the snow
Pinyon Jay up and at 'em
Scoping out the Sage Grouse
Canada Geese walking on water (well, frozen water)
Sage Grouse strutting his stuff
Horned Lark picking the highest post to sing from
Watching the Bluebirds
Inside The Gap
Now this is the way to bird!
The face of The Old One
Thanks to Marilyn Davis, Pam Gilbert and Tom & Rita Richardson for the nice photos.
Field Trip to Cedar Valley
November 17, 2012
If you think Raptors are in short supply, try taking a drive to Cedar Valley. Today our birding group left St. George in a slight rain, fearing that it would be a cold, miserable day by driving north to Cedar City. Wrong! The further we went the better the sky looked. We met our leader, Pam Wheeler in Cedar where she took us northwest of downtown and into the large agriculture fields. We had a great time finding such a variety of birds. It was fun figuring out with the group what those smaller images were. All in all we saw 18 bird species. Besides birds, we saw lots of sheep, horses, a few goats and a large flock of Wild Turkeys.
Eagles: Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle
Buteos: Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk
Harriers: Northern Harrier
Accipiters: Sharp-shinned Hawk? (It flew before we got a good look but it was likely a sharp-shinned based on the size).
Falcons: American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon
Other species: Mallard, Turkey, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, White-crowned Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove, House Sparrow.
Turkey in the straw
Pit stop for the hunter - Golden Eagle
Rapture at the raptors
Kickapoo (and Tyler, too?) Lake
Gloomy weather makes it difficult to identify the birds
One near the ground, one in the tree
What can it be?
Flying Golden Eagle
Here comes the storm, here comes the storm!
Scope and Pam - necessities for the trip
Watch this website for upcoming field trips with the Red Cliffs Audubon. Public is welcome.