My first official nature walk with the Wetlands Park

My Saturday morning adventure at the Wetlands Park began at a trailhead at the Old Silverbowl Park, which is right behind Sam Boyd Stadium.  The Clark County Wetlands Park offers many programs such as the “Java Jaunt”–which is an early morning bird watching nature walk for bird (and nature) lovers of all ages.

We arrived at the designated meeting spot at 7:00 am and after a few brief introductions, the group was on our way.  We set out to stroll along a portion of the Duck Creek Trail.  We began to “watch” for birds and were greeted by a swallow in the first few minutes of our morning walk.   We were accompanied on this jaunt by Douglas Chang, of the Red Rock Audubon Society, and a couple of expert naturalists from the Wetlands Park.  Mr. Chang graciously shared his expertise, and I for one was eager to soak up the knowledge he imparted.  Part of the conversation geared toward the types of birds that might be witnessed and at what time of the year.  He and the park experts explained that the Las Vegas area is on the Pacific Flyway and can be a stopping point for hundreds of species of bird every year.  And, as we strolled along, we discussed some of the other plant and animal life we encountered, such as the creosote bush, which is a keystone species for the Wetlands ecosystem.  Another plant species, the tamarisk, was noted (this isn’t difficult since it has overtaken the region).  The tamarisk is an invasive water hog, but more on that another day.

After a short hike of about 20 minutes we arrived at the Las Vegas Wash, where we noted a few mallards and grackles.  A few hundred yards further and the wash widens at it meets the weir.  In this area, the water is slowed down tremendously and looks as if it is standing water, when it is actually still flowing.  This is an excellent location for the growth of aquatic plants, and for birds to find shelter, rest and perhaps even a bite to eat.  This is where we were met with a beautiful sight of the numerous birds afloat on the water, or in the process of taking off or landing.  Scores of mallards, coots, black-necked stilts, and a few egrets and herons were present.  At one point one of the Great Egrets posed for us, spreading her feathers out and preening (unfortunately my bird-watching iPhone camera just couldn’t zoom in enough for a nice shot).  I am attaching a list of the 22 species we were fortunate to witness that day (below).

Here are a few photos of the weir:

IMG_2631 IMG_2632 IMG_2633 IMG_2634 IMG_2635 IMG_2636 IMG_2637 IMG_2638

The birds we saw on our nature walk:

  1. Rough-winged Swallow
  2. Western Kingbird
  3. Gambel’s Quail (heard)
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. Red-winged Blackbird
  6. Great-tailed Grackle
  7. Green-winged Teal
  8. Cinnamon Teal
  9. Double-crested Cormorant
  10. Wigeon
  11. Black-necked Stilt
  12. American Avocet
  13. American Coot
  14. Redhead
  15. Lesser Sandpiper
  16. American White Pelican
  17. Snowy Egret
  18. Great Egret
  19. Great Blue Heron
  20. Mallard
  21. Northern Shoveler
  22. Gadwall

Wetlands Park map  A Google map of the Wetlands Park.

****************************************************************

So, for anyone interested in exploring more of the Clark County Wetlands Park, visit http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/wetlandspark.

Here is a link to the Red Rock Audubon Society: http://www.redrockaudubon.com/

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2 Responses to My first official nature walk with the Wetlands Park

  1. Monty says:

    Great start. Most of the listed birds I can identify except the ducks. Not so good with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nrdgrl71 says:

    Thanks! But their identification came from the experts. I did find a scattering of Great Blue Herons, however. Only because I happened to be looking in their direction when they took flight from behind some overgrowth on the weir.

    Like

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