An unexpected oasis in the desert with wildlife…Five days and counting…

Impressive clouds over the mountains while I toured the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

With both of us having visited Nevada many times in our old lives, we had already been to many popular sightseeing venues throughout the state. With many tasks to accomplish before leaving the US until our next family visit in a few years, we had much to do with little interest in traveling around the state in the excessive heat.

The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve entrance is secure to avoid trespassers entering during hours the facility is closed.

At this point, we’ve almost completed everything we needed to do. Today, we’ll make the final visit to our mailing service to pick up the last of our mail and drop off a few items we’ll store in our oversized mailbox for future shipment.

Also, we’ll make a quick stop at the pharmacy and Smith’s Market, which will see us through until we leave for the airport on Tuesday morning to fly to Costa Rica for the upcoming three and a half month stay.

Too distant for close-up photos, we spotted these two Cormorants sitting on a rock in a pond.

Two days ago, when I decided to head out on my own, leaving Tom behind to have some time to himself, I headed to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve with few expectations, hoping to see a few birds.

There is a total of eight distinct ponds within the facility.

On many occasions, we’d attempted to take photos of the few birds we’d seen here and there, including some in the yard by the pool.  In most cases, they’ve flown away before I could grab the camera.  While out and about, we’ve seen a few birds and virtually no wildlife.

Each pond had a distinct look with a variety of birds and vegetation.

As our long-time readers know, wildlife is the single most exciting aspect of our travels. Without the opportunity to see Mother Nature’s treasures, we try to focus on culture, scenery, and vegetation. 

Unfortunately, where we’ve been located in Henderson with a population slightly under 300,000 (bordering Las Vegas, which has a population of over 632,000), there have been few opportunities to see desert wildlife in the metropolitan area. 

There are fewer birds at the facility in the summer, but I was surprised to see as many as I had.

Even if we’d ventured deep into the desert (as we’ve done in the past), it would be unlikely we’d see much in the way of wildlife. The heat and the sun keep most animals under cover during daylight hours.

Arriving at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve at 11:10 am, I had no idea the facility closes at noon during the summer months. A kindly staff member explained they’d be closing soon, and the gates would be locked. 

Duck on a rock.

When I explained about our website and the fact I’d hoped to prepare a story on the facility, I was not only welcomed with open arms but was offered a private tour through the entire facility on their utility vehicle; I couldn’t have been more appreciative. 

Oddly, the typically sunny sky this time of year was overcast and not ideal for taking photos, but the unseasonable cool temperature at 75F (24C) was perfect weather for the tour. I was determined to do my best and take as many photos as possible to share here with our worldwide readers. It proved to be a perfect tour.

This bird is a vulture.

As for the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, here are a few facts from their site:

The Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve (HBVP) is one of the best places in southern Nevada to watch birds and dragonflies. Marsh and stream-side habitat in the nearby Las Vegas Wash, combined with open ponds and trees in the HBVP ponds, attracts birds of all kinds to water in this otherwise parched land. Desert species, waterbirds, wading birds, migrant songbirds, and shorebirds can be abundant here. Paved (fully accessible) and dirt (mostly accessible) walkways run on dikes that divide the area into nine brush-lined ponds and provide many vantage points. An elevated platform gives good views over much of the site. Access to the area is free, but it closes early, especially during summer.

The HBVP began as part of the Henderson city sewage treatment system, but with changes in the treatment process, the HBVP now uses reclaimed water, and the odor is gone. Even so, the staff still ask people to remain on the trails and stay out of the mud and water.”

More information may be found on their site, including year-round hours of operation and the remarkable fact that there are no fees required to visit this particular spot. 

Please keep in mind a liability waiver must be signed upon entrance into the facility via the visitors center. However, staying on the trails is safe for people of all ages, although the roads are rough in spots and may not suit those with disabilities.  

In the usual heat of the desert, certain plants bloom pretty and colorful flowers.

The walk through the facility may take several hours, and it’s imperative to dress for the weather and bring plenty of water.  Cooler days definitely would be more suitable for those interested in walking the entire distance. Binoculars and/or a camera are a must. 

Shortly after Barbara, who’d volunteered to give me the tour, we were joined on the utility vehicle by Anthony, a biologist. He plays a significant role in overseeing the wildlife in the preserve. 

During and after the tour, I had an opportunity to speak to Anthony at length as we shared beautiful stories of nature and wildlife. He, too, was originally from the Midwest with an innate passion for nature, so much so that it had become his dedicated lifelong career.

Las Vegas/Henderson is located in a valley surrounded by mountains.
Over the next several days, we’ll continue sharing more photos from my visit to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, although the stories included may not necessarily be relevant to the images.

So, folks, we’re winding down our visit to the USA. On August 1st, “travel day,” we’ll include all of our expenses and a recap of our favorite photos from the 24 days we’ll have spent in Nevada.

Have a pleasant day filled with beautiful surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, July 27, 2016:

One year ago, the second bedroom in the Phuket house, which we never used, included an en suite bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. For more photos, please click here.

Safari luck prevails once again…A visit to the unique Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve….

Ducks and other varieties of birds in one of the many ponds in Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. I visited the preserve on a cool, cloudy day, but the scenery was still beautiful.

Over the next several days, we’ll be posting many photos from the awe-inspiring Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve located about 15 minutes from our current location in Green Valley Ranch.

In the interim, I had to share what turned out to be a solution for my unfortunate fender bender, which occurred on Monday while I was visiting a possible assisted living facility for my sister located in North Las Vegas, beyond the Summerlin area.

Visiting this venue provided me with an entirely different perspective of the Henderson area.

As shared in Monday’s post (click here for details), I bumped into a square pillar in the parking lot of the facility, leaving a dreadful situation in the left front of the white rental car that could easily have cost us hundreds of dollars in expenses with Avis handling the repairs, after returning the vehicle on August 1st.

With considerable angst, I showed Tom what had transpired in the parking lot. With only a week remaining until we leave Nevada, we decided to wait and see how it would roll out when we return the vehicle next Tuesday before our flight to Costa Rica.

Two Mallards are sitting on rocks in one of the eight ponds in the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.

Yesterday morning after visiting the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, which I’d done on a whim when on my way to the grocery store (more on that shortly), the most peculiar thing happened.

After buying the groceries to make last night’s dinner, loading the groceries into the trunk in the insulated bags I had with me, I was approached by two men who commented about the situation on the left front bumper. They explained they could fix it right there in the parking lot for $100 if I had 10 to 15 minutes to spare while they worked. 

Car before we wiped off the residue this morning.
Here’s the white rental car after repairs were made in Smith’s Market parking lot. A tiny spot remains but is barely visible. We’re satisfied with the work.  Below is the before photo.

At first, I hesitated. Was this some scam? The two men in their 30’s seemed OK. They had a nice pickup truck, were dressed in clean white tee shirts and jeans, and didn’t appear to be anything other than two guys trying to make some extra cash doing small bodywork jobs from Smith’s parking lot.

They assured me I didn’t have to pay until they completed the work to my satisfaction. They explained I’d need to let the paint dry overnight and could wipe off the residue in the morning with a damp towel. Another car owner was standing nearby, listening to the conversation. He, too, was considering that they work on his car also.

The little white rental car before the repairs were done in Smith’s parking lot.

What did I have to lose? The only risk would be if they exacerbated the damage by working on it. For $100, it seemed worth taking the risk. I told them I’d walk over to Wells Fargo ATM across the parking lot to get the rest of the cash when I didn’t have $100 in cash on me. 

I locked the car and walked to the ATM while they worked on the vehicle. The bystander watched with intense curiosity and decided that he, too, would go for their “deal” and could work on his car as soon as they were done with mine. 

In no time at all, I was satisfied with the work they were doing and told them I’d give them a mention in today’s post for a reasonably priced job well done. How handy could this be?

As described here, this bird is a Grebe: “Grebes are a widely distributed order of freshwater diving birds, some of which visit the sea when migrating and in winter. This order contains only a single family, the Podicipedidae, containing 22 species in 6 extant genera.”

This morning Tom and I  wiped off the car to find it in considerably improved condition, most likely not detectable by the rental car company. The 2016 model with 30,000 miles on the odometer had several similar small spots when we took the car, typical for rental vehicles over a year old.

If you live in the Las Vegas/Henderson area, they’ll come to your home or place of business or any other designated location to repair dings such as mine. Of course, the price is subject to the extensive nature of your “dings” or dents. You can reach Sean at 702-972-2495.

Today, I’m off to see Susan. With today and Friday’s upcoming visit, this may be the last of the two times I see my dear sister. These past weeks I visited her every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With this next upcoming Monday designated as packing day, I may not make the long drive that day and say goodbye on Friday.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share the details of my excellent visit to the breathtaking Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve with many more stunning and surprising photos.

Please check back then!

Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2016:

The pouring rain in Phuket continued for many days during our six-week stay. For more photos, please click here.