Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Yesterday, as we were waiting for our trailer to be loaded at Henderson, Nevada we thought if we got out of there soon enough we would stop at Pahranagat NWR. We did in fact get out in time and made our way to the refuge. We were a few miles from the spot were we could park the truck, that's the tricky part about traveling in a 70 foot vehicle, we were noticing how low the lower lake was. Was a little worried also as we weren't seeing any ducks in the lower lake.
As we made it up the hill the lake came into view along with ducks and swans! Swan! I get pretty excited when we see a new species that you wouldn't see everyday! So I was booted up and had my hoodie on so I jumped out to get a shot of the Tundra Swans.
Tundra Swan
Tundra Swan

They were on the other side of the lake so even for our 500 mm lens we needed to get a little closer for some good pics of the swans. Simon caught sight of some ducks that were sleeping but soon realized they were just your average Mallard. As we moved forward we saw an sparrow bouncing around on the ground, that was a Song Sparrow, we've seen plenty of those lately. As we started down the pathway I caught sight of a Great Roadrunner! OMG! A Greater Roadrunner! I mean we have been wanting to see one of those for a while and Simon even thought he saw one last month but we were unsure so couldn't count it. But this guy we got photos of, not the best since he didn't like to stand in the same spot every long and can run fast!
Greater Roadrunner


Also at that time we were trying to sneak up on some ducks. In the flock of ducks we saw some Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Pintails, and Canvasbacks. We got a couple good snaps of them before they saw us and took off but left there young behind, which was kind of odd. From there we were getting closer to the swans!

Ring-necked Ducks
The Canvasbacks would be a lifer for us and would bring us closer to our goal of 100 for the month. Taking a few more photos of the swans, Simon seeing the roadrunner running down the path again. But miss the shot. Moving on we get to group of trees and hear songbirds singing away. Oh, too not have a care in the world and just sing all day hopping from one branch to another. We ID the songbirds as Black-crowned Sparrows and move on to the swans. They are starting to moving on as well but never fly away, we both get a couple shots of the swans and plan our next course of action. We were thinking about walking around the lake but that was before Simon fell into the lake, only up to his ankles. The temperature was 50 degrees, but had it be 20 degrees colder we would had had to end our trip and get back to the truck fast! Don't want to loss any body parts to the cold weather! From there we headed back the way we came and saw some Lesser Goldfinch. On our way back to the truck we spotted the Greater Roadrunner again! I think
Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser Goldfinch
at this point he's just teasing us! But we tried for a couple more shots before he took off. Then we headed down a little path and saw some more Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrow and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Our time was running out and we had to get back on the road. All the birds we saw put us to 99 birds so far this year.

Chipping Sparrow

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