We're back at Desert National Wildlife Refuge, for another year of mammal surveys. But the birding was amazing today too...
If you don't know where Desert NWR is, it is just north of Las Vegas - the major landform that you can see looming over the city as you drive up highway 95, buzzing by the casinos and bright lights. But just past the city is the largest national wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states, and it is in beautiful shape. They have a new visitor center that is very nice, and right by Corn Creek Spring - an amazing little natural oasis in the desert, and now a brand new PAVED road to Corn Creek from highway 95.
We received a small contract from US Fish and Wildlife to help survey the natural resources - which for us is helping survey the birds and mammals. We started today up Mormon Well Road and driving to Desert Pass, and some highlights included seeing a big buck mule deer at the spring, and a desert bighorn sheep ewe in Peekaboo Canyon. Lots of birds too - we saw over 25 species while driving (which is a good number for that drive) and the desert is beautiful. Here are a couple photos, but I will blog more next time we are back at Corn Creek and have some cell reception!
The bighorn sheep had a broken right horn. Unlike antlers, which grow new each year, this horn will remain broken for its entire life. Still a very handsome sheep!
Orange-crowned Warbler just above Mormon Well. Bird life here was quite busy - lots of birds coming to drink from the spring and feed on the lush vegetation.
Loggerhead Shrike atop a Joshua tree near Fossil Ridge...
Pages from the field
Jack Dumbacher's Blog. I am an evolutionary biologist and ecologist studying birds and mammals. I live for field work, but the genetics lab can be fun too... And living in the Bay Area is always full of surprises.