18th November 2016 - Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas for work for a week and wanted to get some birding in.  I had arranged a trip to the Preserve early in the week but was, unfortunately, unable to attend, so the only other time I had was 2 hours on the Friday morning to pop over and have a wander around.

White-crowned Sparrow
The second I got out of the taxi I was in a happy place!  The Preserve is beautiful, the people there very helpful and there are so many birds!  I failed miserably in the first instance though - I had completely forgotten to charge my camera and despite trying to learn the birds I might see before I went to the US, 70% of the birds I was seeing I couldn't ID and I only had a small amount of battery to take photos of said birds.  Doh!

First Bufflehead!
The first bird I saw was actually one I could ID - a Verdin.  Super pretty (and tiny!) bird and the only one of my visit.  There were lots and lots of Yellow-rumped Warbler, a bird I luckily already knew from my trips to Florida.  I had been hoping to see Gambel's Quail and there were plenty around, very quirky little characters.  A Northern Harrier spent most of the time I was there seemingly following me around and over that period of time it had a kerfuffle with both a smaller falcon type bird and a larger raptor, neither of which I could ID.

Northern Flicker
A few of the other birds had stuck in my mind as they were a bit more obvious - so I instantly recognised the White-crowned Sparrow as it hopped around on the ground near me, a White-faced Ibis that flew past and the Bufflehead swimming everywhere.  The speedy trip was finished with a pair of White Pelican sat in one of the pools.

I say finished, but whilst out in the car park waiting for my taxi I was suddenly surrounded by the tiny whirring wings of 6 or so hummingbirds (not sure if Anna's or Costa's - probably Anna's?).  I was so happy when I got in the taxi I completely bored the poor driver talking about them for the duration of the ride back to the hotel!

Not at the preserve but a quick bird of note actually in Vegas - two Nighthawk flying down the Strip, which was a bit cool!  I wouldn't have had a clue what they were if I hadn't seen my first ones in Florida a month or so before.

I'll be back in both November of this year and Februrary of next, so I look forward to a few more trips to the Preserve where I can hopefully take a charged camera and also try to ID a few more!

I've stuck on a few awful photos of the ones I couldn't ID either at all or for sure - if anyone feels like assisting me, that would be excellent, thanks!

House Finch?

Yellow-rumped Warbler?

Suggestions for this on social media have been both Nashville Warbler and
Orange-crowned Warbler, but no idea how common they'd be around Vegas in November?

Some sort of flycatcher?  

This was rustling round in the undergrowth for a long time, quite chunky.

Also no idea.  Some sort of sparrow?

Yellow-rumped Warbler?

Say's Phoebe?  Was more orange in real life

4th to 6th November 2016 - Scotland

Our weekend trip up to Scotland wasn't specifically for birding, but we did manage to fit a couple of little bits in.  We started with a trip to a small bit of water in Pitlochry where a Ring-necked Duck apparently was.  We saw him before we ever got out of the car, happily bobbing around.  We then headed up to Glenshee in yet another futile attempt to see Ptarmigan.  Plenty of Red Grouse, but no Ptarmigan to be seen.  However, we arrived in the blazing sun and 15 minutes later were engulfed by an incredible blizzard which instantly took the visibility right down - that was pretty interesting!  Half an hour later and we were back to blazing sun.  Crazy.

Ring-necked Duck
View from Glenshee ski centre before blizzard
On the way back to the airport we had a hunt around Kinross for Waxwing (no takers) and also a stop off in Musselburgh.  This proved quite productive, with Red-breasted Merganser, Eider and Long-tailed Duck amongst hundreds of Oystercatcher, as well as Stonechat, Twite and a Bar-tailed Godwit. We hadn't brought the scope, so whilst we could see a raft of black ducks that looked as though they could have held the Surf Scoter, we weren't actually able to check unfortunately.



Lots of Oystercatcher