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Birding Outside the Las Vegas Valley
Birding Around Las Vegas
Birding Outside the Las Vegas Valley
Several bird watching site outside Las Vegas provide excellent birding for desert birds and other western species; however, they involve long travel times from Las Vegas, guarantee few extra species that can't be found closer to town, and limit the ability of visitors to maximize their birding time because of time spent in the vehicle. For bird watchers looking for day trips or on the way to other places, these sites can provide excellent birding.
Birding Outside the Las Vegas Valley
Birding North and West of Las Vegas Birding Northeast of Las Vegas
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Water and vegetation in the desert provide good habitat for waterfowl, hawks, migrants, and desert species. The area was set up to protect several species of endemic fish, so check the springs and running water for pupfish (1:45 from town). Bowman Reservoir. This is a reservoir that can be good for waterfowl in the land and smaller birds in the shrubs, trees, and canal. This is not a destination; it is just a place to make a quick stop (1 hr. from town).
Cactus Spring. Cottonwood trees and a spring pool surrounded by dry Mojave Desert scrub and mesquite thickets attract a diverse avian community. This is not a destination; it's just one of several birding sites to visit while driving on Highway 95 (0:45 from town). Gold Butte Area. This wild, remote, and scenic area is good for a variety of desert species. Drive the steep Arizona Road as it traverses several habitat zones from desert to pinyon-juniper woodlands (2 hrs. from town).
China Ranch Date Farm. A date orchard along the Amargosa River, this verdant spot attracts desert birds from far and wide, plus lots of migrants in season. Bird the orchard or down along the river, but be sure to stop for a date shake (1:30 from town). Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This was an old resort with hot springs, pools, palm trees, and brushy thickets. The USFWS is restoring the area to provide habitat for endangered fish. In the dry desert, what is good for little fish is good for birds. Birding here is good for migrants and summer residents, and be sure to visit the fish viewing facility on weekends (1.25 hrs. from town).
Death Valley National Park. The floor of Death Valley is an extremely dry place with little vegetation. Concentrations of birds can be found around springs, thickets, palm trees, meadows, and other places (e.g., the golf course) that provide water or cover. Death Valley is good for migrants and desert species. Be sure to visit Badwater, the lowest point in North America (2:15 from town). Pahranagat Valley. The centerpiece of this area is Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge with broad, shallow lakes, brushy thickets, bulrush and cattail marshes, and large cottonwood trees. Look for wintering waterfowl and migrants (1.5 hrs. from town).
Shoshone and the Amargosa River. Shoshone is a small town with a bit of water and green amid a very arid piece of desert. This isn't a birding destination, but it is a nice place for traveling birders to stop for the night and do some nice evening and morning birding (1:30 from town). Valley of Fire State Park. This dry desert area has spectacular red and white sandstone crags. There are a few real birding hot spots around water, but look for desert species while enjoying the scenery and petroglyphs (1 hr. from town).
Tecopa Marsh. Ponds and marshes around Tecopa Hot Springs bring in birds, mostly during winter. This isn't a birding destination, but it is a good place to stop and bird while traveling through the area. Be sure to bring your bathing suit (1:30 from town). more to come ...
Torrance Ranch. This Nature Conservancy area north of Beatty was established to protect springs and riparian areas at the headwaters of the Amargosa River. This is a good place to stop and look for migrants and summer residents while driving on Highway 95 (1:50 from town). more to come ...

Happy birding! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140324

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