A Long First Day in Paradise Comes to an End

Welcome to the latest offering from Life Intrigued.  I had quite the debate with myself on the topic for today’s post.  Should I go with a discussion on the results of a key bird hunt?  Maybe a summary of the various happenings while we were in Vegas (when you run a blog, there is no such thing as What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas – rather What Happens in Vegas is Another Post!).  I do have another book recollection to get to, but need to get the graphics ready for that first.  Why don’t I just close out the First Day at Henderson Series.  I promise I’ll give you a break for at least two posts before diving into day two.

To wrap things up, I’m going to throw you a hodge podge of birds.  None of these were firsts for me, but wanted to let you know that there was a nice collection of the more common birds to go along with all those new check marks.  First off is the Northern Shoveler.

To say there was a lot of these hanging out at Henderson would be an understatement.  There were actually more there than I’ve seen collectively at Havana’s Emiquon (link here).  What did catch my attention was they isolated themselves to a specific pond.  Not sure what the real attraction was, but it was one of two that had an island in the middle providing pretty good cover from the sun and Harriers circling the skies.  You almost got the sense they were keeping one eye on the water and one eye looking for danger.

Of course, they may have seen what happens when you venture too close to the shores (link here).  Fortunately, this didn’t prevent them from engaging in their unique feeding ritual.  This was observed at Havana, but only two or three of the Shovelers were involved and didn’t give the full effect.  At Henderson, they were in full whirlpool mode.

Reminds me when I was a kid and we would quickly traverse the outside edge of a neighbor’s pool to create a similar effect.  Of course, we were not doing that to make food more accessible (wow, the thought of a Baby Ruth just crossed my mind hehehe).

Although not completely positive thanks to the number of female breeds that look a like, I think the following shot is of a Shoveler coming in for a landing.  Both the water and wings were frozen in motion which is rather difficult to do with the Beast.  Our lighter 2.4 70-200 is more handy for those kind of shots being easier to hit the focus marks and most of all LIGHTER!!

Hit the jump to see more of the birds of Henderson

The following shot you were given a hint at in the last blog.  Although I had to wait for the damn Coot to stop clowning around and get out of my shot, I eventually did capture the composition I wanted with the female Mallard.. again, I am pretty sure it is a Mallard based on the smaller bill size.  “Lookie at me, I can walk on water”

Needless to say the male Mallard was NOT amused by this juvenile prank.  For the observant out there, you are correct, I had to wait for the Coot photo bomber to get out the way before getting the shot I wanted here as well.

wait a minute, that’s not my signature shot…

muuuuuch better – hehehehe.  This particular Mallard was quite the ham – busy making all kinds of poses from atop his throne.  Lucky for him I am easily amused and gladly spent equal time on the shutter button.

Not everything worth shooting was hanging out in the water.  The shores and pathways were filled with ground birds showing off their foot speed.  Clearly the Roadrunner was king of the road that day, but the Quail can give it a run for the money on shorter distances.

Bummed about the fence in the following shot but I really wanted to get the female.   I didn’t really have a good shot of one of those (and still do not have a “good” one) but it refused to come off the fence line preferring to hang in the shadows.  Note, this was a property line and not a confinement fence – basically meant to keep the HUMANs in the preserve.

I found the following Green Winged Teal shots taken later in the day than the ones posted previously (link here).   It was feeling a little lonely in the Lightroom catalog so extended it some digital processing love and allowed it to take its rightful spot among the rest of the Henderson birds.

I believe the following shot is a female Ruddy Duck.  The tail feathering is a dead giveaway, but the head coloring doesn’t sport the well defined patch seen on the other specimens in the area (link here).  It might be a juvi – I need to go back and spend a little more time in the reference books.

and lastly I’ll leave you with one final shot that made me laugh when I came upon it during the run through.

Not sure how to take this shot – either the female ducks saved their dimes up and hired a bunch of Egrets to protect them from the bullies in the pond or a more sinister perspective – the Egrets are holding them hostage!  Admittedly, the long day of shooting may be playing with my imagination but since I don’t know “quack” all I have to go on is body language.

Phew, we have made it through the Series.  Hopefully you have a good feel now for just how wonderful this place is in Henderson.  If you like birds and you enjoying gambling I recommend getting your butt out there and take in that bird paradise.  Try to get out there early – when we were there last year (and even this year for that matter) we arrived a little late resulting in having to deal with that hot desert sun.  The birds didn’t mind it as much having all that water to play in, but hauling around the Beast and tripod makes for some definite sweat.

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