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Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
Henderson, Nevada 10-12-12
Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve Series, October 2012 Click here to view a larger version of this image.
Last October, I flew to Las Vegas, Nevada and drove up to Springdale, Utah to participate in a landscape photo workshop at Zion National Park. I added an extra day to my itinerary for bird photography, and was rewarded with two delightful visits to one of the best birding spots in southern Nevada. Located on the southeast perimeter of Las Vegas, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is an oasis in the desert. It was created from former sewage treatment ponds (they now contain reclaimed water) for the city of Henderson. Water is a huge attraction for birds in a dry climate-especially for migrants-since this place is on the Pacific Flyway .
The Cinnamon Teal is a small blue-winged dabbling duck that filters mud with its bill. Females are described as "Gray-brown overall, with small white area at base of bill. Bill dark. Light-blue upper wing patch with narrow white border. Back of wing mostly brown, with little green." Males in basic (eclipse) plumage are "Gray-brown overall, with rusty wash. Small white area at base of bill. Eyes red."
Duck groups and identification: I saw many ducks at the HBVP, but the differences between the species (especially females) are not readily apparent to me. Looking through field guides and photos can be both helpful and frustrating. What I really need is more experience in the field! As I have learned from various sources on the internet, ducks are divided into two major groups by their anatomical adaptations and feeding behavior-the dabbling ducks vs diving ducks : Diving ducks, or "divers," are ducks that propel themselves underwater with large feet attached to short legs situated far back on the body. "Dabblers," in contrast, have smaller feet and their legs are situated farther forward. While a few dabblers may occasionally dive to feed or to escape predators, typically they skim food from the surface or feed in the shallows by tipping forward to submerge their heads and necks. The table below lists the North American ducks generally included in the groups dabblers and divers. We have also listed a substantial group of species that dive after their food, but often are not meant when one refers to divers. Note that many of the ducks that dive also dabble. Although the Wood Duck (not listed) dabbles and shares with the dabblers the ability to take-off vertically, it is not ordinarily included in the dabblers."
NEW POST ON MY WORDPRESS BLOG: indybirdphotographer.com For species profiles, location reports, random nature notes, as well as links to my favorite photographers, nature bloggers, and conservation websites.
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This photoblog is my nature journal and travelogue. Many of my wildlife images were made in environments impacted by humans. My goal is to feature each animal in a way that allows the viewer to sense the essence of its life in the wild. The purpose of the accompanying narratives is to enhance awareness and appreciation of our natural world, as well as to inspire everyone to protect and care for it.