Urban Birding & Wildlife – Las Vegas Style

On my recent trip to my hometown of Las Vegas I was astounded by the variety of wildlife that I encountered. Since I have been focusing on shooting birds and other wildlife for the last year, I thought I would take the opportunity to shoot some of the strange and wonderful species found in the western desert.

I stopped in at Floyd Lamb State Park.

Tangent – you might wonder who Floyd Lamb was. He was the brother of Ralph Lamb, who has become a household name in the US since the premier of the show Vegas last fall. If you watch the show you probably know that Ralph’s TV brother’s name is Jack – me thinks Ralph didn’t want to share the spotlight – that’s OK because Floyd has an awesome park named after him – kinda trumps a TV crime drama if you ask me. End of Tangent.

Back to Floyd’s park – so many birds…

This guy is a white crowned sparrow – I saw these all around Las Vegas…

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So much flashier that my Ozark sparrows…

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But then again it is Vegas.

In a nearby bush I spotted a thrush. Not common in the desert…

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I bet he was probably just visiting.

Over at Floyd’s pond I was overrun by mud hens, or coots as some call them.

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Their feet aren’t exactly webbed…

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Still they work pretty well for swimming…

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And they do the job on land pretty well too.

I noticed some larger birds diving into the pond and coming up with fish…

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I spotted a few of them bracing themselves from the wind up in a tree. These are crested cormorants – juveniles so they don’t have crests yet…

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Their green eyes were pretty striking…

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And they can scoop up a pretty sizable fish with those bills…

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These guys have huge webbed feet with wicked looking talons.

From Floyd Lamb Park I moved a bit closer to home. I get shots of birds at my house all the time, I should be able to get some good shots at my brothers house…

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First I was attacked by this wild creature…

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I stepped back as it assumed a defensive posture between me and the Christmas tree…

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He puffed himself up to make it clear that it was NOT OK for me to pass…

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The scariest thing about this wild beast was not it’s impressive beak, it was its eardrum shattering voice. After a while the Christmas spirit took over and he permitted me to enter the living room.

Not all the wildlife at the homestead was so aggressive….

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Some of the beasts were almost serene…

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Playful…

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Zen like…

Some beasts were a symphony in color…

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I found it hard to imagine a beast more colorful…

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He brings to mind an explosion at a crayon factory…

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All the best colors mixing together.

This creature made me think of a dingy mop…

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Aglow in the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.

The last creature I encountered was very unusual…

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Her eyes appeared to be a bit in front of her nose…

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And she had a fierce anger, she tore into the closet…

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And made off with her prey. To the victor go the spoils, no wire hangers for this fearsome beast!

I am glad to be back home in the safety of the woods where I am not accosted by scary beasts that screech in the night or steal my hangers, by my, what an adventure it was.

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45 thoughts on “Urban Birding & Wildlife – Las Vegas Style

  1. You have pictures of my very favorite — the coot! They are so silly, so awkward, so individual. I love them. They make me smile — but they’ve been missing to from my river for a few months (migration, not tragedy). So thanks for giving me a sighting today!

  2. Great post and photos.

    i have been away for 4 weeks. I tried keeping up by iPad but gave up in desperation after only two days. I remember you said you did your posts by the iPad. For that you deserve a medal :)

    • LOL – Glad to see you back! I am actually traveling this week and am catching up on my reader on my iPad. I did take a break over the holidays though. I love the WP app on the iPad. The only thing I can’t do is put captions on the photos.

  3. Wow, some fantastic birds over LA way.
    The focus of your images (especially the interior ones) is absolutely amazing. The bokeh was pretty dazzling too. Easy to see your family loves birds & animals.
    Great photography, Lorri.
    Hope you had a good time over Christmas/New Year – it seems like months ago now.

    • Thanks Vicki, it does seem like ages ago. I used my fast 50 for all the inside shots, there wasn’t a lot of light in the rooms so getting the bokeh on the tree was easy. My brother’s house is full of wild things, his wife grooms and boards birds and they have lots of holiday guests:)

  4. wonderful pictures! I had a peregine falcon in my yard yesterday! It killed a female bluejay :-( and was eating it in my backyard. These falcon’s are protected and on the endangered list here so that was the first time I”ve seen one. My camera just would not take a picture of it. But it was cool! gross, but cool!

    • Wow – I bet it was stunning! I see eagles, but have never seen a falcon. I was inundated with turkeys last week. My camera was in the car and the scattered before I could get to it. About a dozen with a few crows mixed in. Crazy.

      • my mom gets turkeys going through her yard all the time! Too bad you didn’t get pics. Like me :-( the falcon was so pretty, and looked absolutely fantastic! Only one I ever saw in the ‘wild’. Magpies were following it. It flew off and took the dead bird with it, except the head, uck. I wish you would have been here so you could have taken a pic! :-)

        • LOL – those turkeys are so stunning – I love when they fly, they haven’t been close to the house for some time because of my dogs, I wonder if the feeders attracted them. Magpies – wonder why they were around the falcon?

          • oh magpies are scavengers like crows. They were probably waiting around to eat what ever the falcon left behind. They are a little too big for the falcon so it didn’t bother them, they kept a respectful distance. ;-)

          • yeah that one is interesting. my best guess is that crows wait for the ill and the babies, they will kill things if they think they can. I’ve seen it. It’s only a guess though.

          • I was curious about the crows and turkeys. I love research. I found out that crows just love to harass the turkeys! They will follow them and just pester the hell out of them. Lots of hunters find turkeys by watching the crows! Isn’t that weird? I read on most websites that crows are in general harassers! That’s not as bad as eating them! :-)

  5. I have wanted a bird since the first time I met a friend’s pet cockatoo named Elliott that said, “Open the door” with a Jersey accent. So, it sounded more like “Open da doeah!” Nice! Oh, and he said, “Gimme da keys.” Loved it.

    • My sister-in-law Karen has a business grooming and boarding exotic birds – we get a new mix every holiday. The African grey is hers and it speaks exactly like her and Max – it freaks me out, I have mistakenly thought they were in the next room when it was just the bird.

        • That Jersey accent had to be hilarious. Karen is so good with them – that cockatoo was a beast though – it would scream nonstop until my brother walked into the room – it was not so aggressive as it was noisy.

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