Saturday, October 1, 2016

Last Day in Vegas

My last day in Vegas was all mine to go to the hottest local birding spot called Henderson Bird Viewing Area (pretty explicit huh). This is a waste water treatment plant which has big open water impoundments which attract lots of birds. I never imagined that I would see so many waterbirds in a desert but there they were. Ruddy Ducks

Ruddy Duck
 And Northern Shovelers
Northern Shoveler
And lots of grebes of all types including Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe
And Horned Grebes. There were 3 albinos in the group. This one is partially albino

Leucistic Horned Grebe
 And this one is almost all white when it is supposed to be black and white.

Leucistic Horned Grebe
And then there were the waders. American Avocets were kind of expected. I've seen them in water oasis in the desert before.
American Avocet
But I've never seen them swimming around in a flock and going butt to the air dunking for food.

Swimming Avocets
There was also one lone Black-necked Stilt in the park.

Black-necked Stilt
And one White-faced Ibis.

White-faced Ibis
Shorebirds found refuge here too including this Killdeer who wouldn't shut up the whole time I was there.

And this Greater Yellowlegs. Check out the cracked earth in the background.

Greater Yellowlegs
I was pleasantly surprised to find this Pectoral Sandpiper.

Pectoral Sandpiper
The bird that was most expected was Western Sandpiper. I saw a few but this one really caught my eye. He has something around his bill which he struggled to get off. He finally did.

Western Sandpiper
And then, there was the Life Bird. I stumbled on finding the Crissal Thrasher. They are so shy and stay hidden in the desert scrub. I heard something on the edge of the park and turned to see the Thrasher's iconic curved bill and red butt before it disappeared into the desert again.

More Costa's Hummingbirds were at this park so I took the opportunity to photograph this male. He mostly sat on a branch in the shade of the trees so you couldn't really see his bright purple gorget feathers.

Costa's Hummingbird
But occasionally, the light would catch him just right to reveal the iridescent feathers.

Iridescent Purple
This guy was molting. You can see where he is missing feathers under his chin and around his eye.

Molting Costa's
I love this shot. He stretched out just before giving his iconic call again.

Costa's Hummingbird
Alas, I has to leave to catch my flight home. An exhausting trip overall but ended on an up note.

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