My first destination in Nevada was the wonderful Bird Viewing Preserve in Henderson, just 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.
The birding there is terrific and you can spend hours in the morning discovering new species around every corner, in every pond and even on every bench and fence line, including Ruddy Ducks, Cinnamon Teal, Gambles Quail and even a female or young male Vermilion Flycatcher:
Close by is Wetlands Park, an oasis in the desert, with rocks and riverbeds, full of interesting wildlife, including coyotes,(I only saw the tracks), and naturally, Roadrunners, along with a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.
I spent a night in the interestingly named town of Pahrump prior to heading to Ash Meadows NWR, and enjoyed what has now become my favorite new beverage at a local pub:
Back home in Toronto, it was time for a Lifer or two! The week I was gone, a Slaty-backed Gull began to be reported from a garbage dump and landfill out in Brantford, Ontario. At the time the dump was open to birders to come see it. By the time I returned, they had closed the dump and birders had to hope to catch a sighting in flight. My first trip resulted in dozens of photos of hundreds of gulls, but not the rare one, so I was going to hope to find it on a return visit.
The next day another rarity showed up in the form of a Eurasian Collared-dove, this time in Hamilton. Another rare bird in a home-owners back yard, which seemed to happen a lot in 2018. I raced over and joined half a dozen other excited birders to enjoy the sighting. I had seen a few just days earlier in Nevada, but this was number 325 for my Ontario List.
It was time to return to the dump in Brantford. I searched the skies over the dump then went to the nearby lake to see if there were any gulls there, with no luck. But after a coffee and bagel break, I returned to the road outside the dump and within a few minutes, I finally spotted the Slaty-backed Gull in flight. I now had another new Lifer for the year, giving me 677 ABA species, 685 in the ABA area and a grand total to end 2018 of 1014 species reported.
By the numbers, I listed 451 species, and added 5 ABA Lifers, in addition to 63 I added in Trinidad. I also added 9 birds to my Ontario Life List and 21 species to my Colonel Sam Smith Park List. All in all a fun and exciting year.
2019 is here and I plan to keep an eBird a day list going, and add even more Lifers, both in ABA and my world list, starting with a February trip to Ecuador!