Hitting Jackpot in Henderson

Having finally made my way through the Indy Zoo photo shoot, I can finally switch my attention to another photo trip that has been lingering out there way too long. Last November Linda and I headed out to our home away from home in the plains of Nevada. As in the previous time we hauled out our camera equipment with the primary intent of heading out into Red Rock. Turns out one of employees that works for Linda had lived out there. When she heard I was into bird photography she highly recommended we popped over to Henderson and make a visit to their Bird Viewing Preserve. Without hesitation this spot was added to the agenda figuring we could drop by on a late morning before packing up and moving out to the Red Rock staging area (translated.. one of our casino “finds” from a previous trip). The day we went was somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. There was high anticipation on the ride out, but as we neared the location (per the GPS) that started to taper quickly. Spoiled from the preserves around us in Illinois, I expected a mini forest – on hind sight there was no basis for that assumption seeing as how we were in a … DESERT. The GPS kept telling us we were headed in the right direction, but all that really stood out was industrial type buildings and a water treatment plant. You would think there would be a large lake or something if they had any hopes of pulling in waterfowl. Linda eventually found a small sign pointing to a road that wrapped back behind the industrial complexes. This brought us to a small building with exactly one other car in the parking lot. The coaster had just bottomed out.

With subdued enthusiasm we got all the gear ready and headed into the building where we were greeted by a gentleman who instructed us to sign in. Additionally we were required to sign a special form indicating we understood the rules and wouldn’t harm anything. Hmmmm – that at seemed a little odd. That form was basically good for one year before you had to fill it out again. This slight annoyance was forgotten soon enough when we discovered that the Preserve was FREE. In this day and age that is becoming rare. With the paperwork out of the way, we headed out back to see what this was all about. Remember that coaster comment? well it took a massive ride up a few minutes later. There were approximately 140 acres (according to their website) dedicated to the facility with a series of ponds carved around a nice walking path. Oh, and they did have some trees. I was floored, not sure my shutter finger ever left the camera for more than 10 minutes as we moved from pond to pond. That place was packed with birds I’ve never seen before and according to someone we met there, a current stopping point for some rare migrating birds. A personal jackpot in the land of excess. As with the Indy posts, these will take some time to get through, but as before I’ll sprinkle in some other topics to keep the non-bird enthusiasts entertained.

Starting out this series is another new entry to the Blog:

That would be the Geen-Winged Teal. From the maps I have (Audubon) it looks like their permanent residence extends down into Nevada, however, preferring the Canada regions during the summer breeding and the bottom half of the states during the Winter months. It does show that it migrates through Illinois but do not think I’ve encountered one to date.

Hit the jump to read more about this sharply colored bird

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