October 17 – 19, 2015 Las Vegas, New Mexico

Female Northern Harrier Preening
Female Northern Harrier Preening

Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

While having the work on my motorhome done in Santa Fe I had searched Google Maps for a place to spend a few days of peace and quiet and perhaps find some wildlife to photograph. Noticing the close proximity of the Las Vegas NWR to the town of Las Vegas and the Storrie Lake State Park, I decided this was the spot.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

I had forgotten that I had visited this NWR several years ago, but quickly recognized the place when I approached the refuge. Back then, I pretty much had no luck at all in finding anything here. This time, however, there were some songbirds around along with a host of raptors.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

Thought this was kind of an appropriate greeting upon entering the refuge.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

There were several juvenile Red-Tailed Hawks hunting the meadows in the refuge, but curiously I did not spot but one mature one in three trips through the refuge.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk Portrait
Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk Portrait
Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon

I’m not positive on this ID, but I believe it is a Prairie Falcon, and if so, the first for me. There were several spotted, but this was the only decent shot I could get of these small skittish creatures.

Female Northern Harrier
Female Northern Harrier
Female Northern Harrier
Female Northern Harrier

I found several female Northern Harriers flying over the meadows, and as usual, no males.

Female Northern Harrier Preening
Female Northern Harrier Preening

And I spent about half an hour shooting this very distant one doing her preening routine, sure wish she had been closer, these were shot with the 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender attached.

Female Northern Harrier Preening
Female Northern Harrier Preening
Female Northern Harrier Preening
Female Northern Harrier Preening

Western Meadowlarks

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

And now I will add a lifetime supply of meadowlark images. I don’t know if the number of meadowlarks here was due to migrating birds coming through or if there are always this many here, but there were hundreds of these guys along the refuge roads, as usual, singing up a storm.

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

I get a kick out of the expressions I sometimes get from my photographic subjects, this guy looks like he is disgusted with my intrusion on his singing performance.

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

I did say a lifetime supply of these guys!

Kind of nice to get back doing one of the things I enjoy most .. bird photography. I next must make a stop in Amarillo, Texas to get my Prius body work done and then it’s on to Salineno, Texas, for a five month volunteer stint at the Salineno birding site. So, for those of you following this blog who look forward to the bird images, there will be some nice stuff coming, for those of you that enjoy the “travelog” features, well, the next several months will be the first time since I began full timing that I will be stationary for an extended period of time. But please stay tuned anyway!

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