Friday, February 24, 2017

Springs Preserve, Las Vegas

One of our favorite places in Las Vegas is Springs Preserve. Unlike most people, we stay on the edge of town near Red Rocks (where we climb) and don't visit the strip or go shopping. If you're careful where you go and squint a little, Vegas can almost appear to be a "normal" city (as far as there is such a thing).

It seems a little artificial to go to Springs Preserve instead of just visiting the actual desert but the advantage is that there are a range of habitats and plants concentrated in a small area. And usually birds attracted by the water and flowers, although often just common ones like this House Finch.

House Finch

I was surprised to see this Great Egret out in the desert, usually they are by the water. Maybe he was hunting lizards.

Great Egret

Later we saw (the same?) one in a more expected spot by the water.

Great Egret

I didn't get any photos of them, but we saw a couple of cormorants fly in and land on the water. Later we saw them take off. They are not the most elegant fliers (better underwater) and they always struggle a bit to take off. But this time, one of them crashed into a bush just past the water! It reappeared and waddled down the beach and back into the water. If it had been me, I would have been hoping no one had seen it happen!

As usual, there were a few hummingbirds around, although not many flowers for them. I couldn't get very close so didn't get great photos.


The most common birds on this visit were Northern Mockingbirds. This one was singing up a storm and let us approach quite close.

Northern Mockingbird

Of course, I enjoy the plants as well as the birds. It's a treat to see spring so early in the year (relative to Saskatchewan). Some of the trees were flowering:

tree flowering

And some of the leaves were coming out. I always love the color of new leaves on the trees:

new leaves on trees

And tall grasses backlit by the sun:

backlit grass

I got frustrated because these ones kept blowing in the wind when I was trying to photograph them. So I switched to a longer exposure and embraced the blur :-)

grass blowing in wind

One of the reasons for the plants and animals here is the water. I'm always fascinated how the reflection of the sun traces lines as the water moves (with a long exposure, in this case 1/30 of a second).

sun glinting on water

Normally I wouldn't even attempt to photograph hovering insects but this one was surprisingly cooperative. Not sure what kind it is.

insect visiting flowers

flowering trees

Funny to see domestic flowers beside the ocotillo.

spring flowers


Some of the ocotillos had lots of leaves - must be getting water. (In the desert they are bare sticks most of the year.)

ocotiilo with leaves

See all 35 photos as a slideshow or overview

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