Friends of Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge

What's happening at the Refuge?

The Refuge and the Friends are always busy, managing wildlife and introducing the public to the wildlife and nature. The blog "What's happening at the refuge" will keep you up to date with what's going on.
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  • 05 Dec 2011 4:06 PM | Anonymous
    Snow falling didn't stop the December 4 parade, though crowds were smaller this year. The theme, "A Candyland Christmas" inspired the Friends to create a float with lollipops, ribbon candy, wrapped hard candy, and whoopie pies on a grand scale. A gaggle of children staffed the Blue Goose Candy Factory, complete with candy cauldron (on loan from Charlie's). Check the photo album to see the float under construction and the finished product.

    Jo Rita Jordan
  • 05 Dec 2011 2:38 PM | Anonymous
    As the old saying goes, "Better Late than Never."  The weekly winner for the Bird-A-Thon was Sarah Powell, one woman show.  Her list included the following 36 species:  Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, American Kestrel, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Ring-billed Gull, Mourning Dove, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Norther Flicker, Northern Shrike, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Mountain Bluebird, European Starling, White-crowned Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark.  Additional birds sighted on the final weekend include:  Green winged Teal, Loggerhead Shrike, Eared Grebe, Golden Eagle, American Crow, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Chestnut-collared Longspur.  Congratulations to Sarah and the other weekly winners.  Thanks, also, to all who participated in the Bird-a-thon and to those that made donations.

    The Grand Prize goes to Meredith and Tory Taylor with 44 reported species.  I will post a complete list as soon as I get all entrants lists collated along with the list posted at the Refuge.

    Friends hope to have even more participation next year.  In the meantime Happy Birding!
    Sonya Berg
  • 21 Nov 2011 6:09 PM | Anonymous
    We had another tremendous day at the Refuge this past Sunday.  Many, many, many visitors and lots of good birding.  This weeks winner was "Wilderness Wonders", Demis Foster and Meredith and Tory Taylor with 43 species reported.  Their list includes: Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Northern Flicker, Northern Shrike, Steller's Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, American Crow, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, and House Sparrow.  Other species sighted that brought this weeks total to 49 are:  American goldfinch, Ferruginous Hawk, Ring-necked Duck, White-crowned Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Chipping Sparrow.

    Don't forget there is one more opportunity to enjoy the backroad of the Refuge and also to enter the Bird-a-thon competition.  The highest number reported by one team is 44, but the total number of species reported is more than 50.  So, anyone can still win the grand prize.  Come enjoy your Refuge!  Sonya Berg
  • 18 Nov 2011 11:02 AM | Anonymous
    Despite the fierce wind last Sunday, we had another great day at the Refuge.  There were approximately 100 hardy souls that visited and endured the wind.  The weeks winner was "Dynamic Duo".  Meredith and Tory Taylor reported 44 species.  Rumor says they will be back this weekend along with the Ruges.  The competition is keen for the Grand Prize at the end of the four Sundays.  Happy Birding!

    Here's this weeks list:  Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Wilson's Phalarope, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Caspian Tern, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, American Crow, Horned Lark, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, American Robin, European Starling, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, and House Sparrow.
    Additional birds reported include Great Blue Heron, Red-winged Blackbird, and Northern Flicker.

    Second place this week went to the PEEC Birders from Los Alamos.  Thanks for making the trip over the mountain.  
    Sonya Berg
  • 15 Nov 2011 1:52 PM | Anonymous
    In addition to articles in the New Mexico Magazine (November issue) and the front page of the Santa Fe New Mexican, FLVNWR have appeared in a couple of web sites praising our beautiful Refuge. Check them out:

    From Phoenix:

    And from Santa Fe:
  • 07 Nov 2011 8:24 PM | Anonymous
    The competition for the Grand Prize for the 2011 competition is off to a very good start.  Chris and Cassidy set a very high bar for teams for the next three Sundays.  They reported 43 species.  Here is their impressive list.
    Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, American Avocet, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Dove, Northern Flicker, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, American Crow, Horned Lark, Mountain Bluebird, American Robin, European Starling, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Red-winged Blackbird, and Western Meadowlark.
    Additional birds reported include Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Bushtit, and House Finch.

    The second place team was the "Denver Duo".  We hope you enjoyed our Refuge and will come back soon.

    Get your team members, field guides, and binoculars and head out to the Refuge Sunday, November 13 and see if you can top this number.  Sonya Berg
  • 28 Oct 2011 2:10 PM | Anonymous
    It is fall again, more than 500 sandhill cranes have already arrived at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge with snow geese soon to follow heralding the season for wintering birds. The refuge is located on state highway 281, just east of the City of Las Vegas. The Annual Fall Wildlife Drive will be open from 9 AM to 4 PM each Sunday in November. This 4 1/2 mile self-guided drive will take visitors through the short-grass prairie and past lakes, marshes and croplands that serve as important habitat for a multitude of migratory birds, including a wide variety of waterfowl, geese, eagles, hawks and sandhill cranes. Volunteer roving naturalists will be on hand with spotting scopes to help visitors identify birds.

    All events at the refuge are free. Special interpretive programs, sponsored by Friends of LVNWR are repeated at 12:00 noon and 1:30 PM each Sunday. Seating is limited to 40. All seats will be available on a first come first serve basis. For more information call Linda Kelly at 454-9452 or Jan Arrott at 454-6115.

    Children are invited to participate in all activities including special kids’ wildlife crafts featuring a different themed craft each Sunday at 1:00 PM.

    Please note: In case of inclement weather, it could be necessary for some events to be canceled or postponed. Call the Visitor Services Office at LVNWR: 505-425-358 ext 205.

    The following activities are scheduled for each Sunday:
    Kids Wildlife Crafts @ 1 PM
    Interpretive talks @ 12 noon and @1:30 PM

    Sunday, Nov 6 , “Live Raptor Presentation”
    By Santa Fe Raptor Center Volunteers
    Volunteers from the Santa Fe Raptor Center care for injured birds in order to release them back into their natural habitat. Those raptors, which cannot be released due to extensive injuries, are given a loving home and used in educational programs such as

    Sunday, November 13, “The Ecology and Conservation of the Gray Wolf”
    With Dave Parsons, a retired (1999) career wildlife biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Parsons led the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program for its first 9 years. Dave will lay out the latest research findings on the role of wolves in ecosystems and the latest thinking on how large carnivores and their ecosystems should be conserved.
    Sunday, November 20,"How Wolves, Coyotes, and Voles Affect each other in an Ecosystem"
    With Brian Miller, Executive Director of the Wind River Ranch Foundation
    Brian will discuss the research at Grand Teton National Park concerning distribution, abundance, and habitat choices of coyotes when those coyotes were near to a wolf den and subsequently how the number of voles was affected. With the absence of wolves, coyotes became the dominant canid and were able to out-compete other small carnivores. He will show how re-colonizing wolf packs reduced coyote numbers and restricted their habitat choices, allowing other small carnivores to resume their former place in the community.

    Sunday, November 27  “Flyways of the World: Migratory Bird Conservation and the Nature Conservancy”
    With Dave Mehlman, Director, Migratory Bird Program, The Nature Conservancy.
    Dave will give an overview of the state of birds in the world using data from the recent US State of the Birds Report, focusing on birds of two New Mexico habitats, forests and grasslands. He will also describe the life cycle of migratory birds and discuss several bird conservation projects of the Conservancy and its partners around the world.
  • 19 Oct 2011 10:16 PM | Anonymous
    This year, each Sunday in the Fall Flight Festival will feature a Bird-a-Thon, in which teams compete to find the most species. A modest fee for entry will qualify competitors for a membership in the Friends and will go to support programs such as Eyes of a Bird, in the Las Vegas elementary schools, Sunday lectures throughout the year, and the annual Concert for the Birds.

    Teams can sign up for the Bird-a-Thon in advance HERE.
  • 17 Oct 2011 9:04 AM | Anonymous
    Speaker Chick Keller gave a riveting introduction to grasses on Sunday, those essential plants so easy to ignore under our feet. Wildflowers are a pleasure to identify, with their colors and pleasing shapes. As he said, grasses have beautiful flowers, too—you just can't see them. Identification is a challenge, but Keller helped us see the parts of grass plants that distinguish the hundreds of species in our area.

    Don't miss our regular Sunday lectures that open our eyes to the natural world of mountains, plains, and canyons. Check the Calendar of Events!
  • 27 Sep 2011 3:30 PM | Anonymous
    Last Sunday was the annual Concert for the Birds, a great success. Hundreds of Las Vegans came to hear the Mariachi Cardeñal Infantil from the Las Vegas City Schools. The weather was spectacular, the food terrific, and the music sublime.

    Be sure to visit the Photo album to see what was happening. And don't forget to come to next year's event in September 2012!

    Here's what Friend board member Emelie Olsen said about the day:

    "It was a great day.   From the information desk, I was most impressed with the excitement of the kids in the exhibit room, and it wasn't just the sand table they loved.   They really liked the displays, like the egg display and the animal pelts, for example.   Some parents had to work really hard to get their kids out of the exhibit room to do some of the other great stuff.   Painting a hawk's talon is also amazingly popular, from tiny children to adults--even a couple Highlands students!

    "And then there was the wide-eyed wonder of one little girl who looked at the rough-legged hawk in the lobby and commented, 'It looks like a real bird!"\', clearly assuming it couldn't possibly be true.  I assured her it was, and she looked up at it again, awe-struck.

    "Other adults commented on how beautiful the headquarters is, which they had never seen, though they live in Las Vegas or surroundings.  

    When I could, I asked people signing in at the information desk  if this was their first time at the Refuge.  In a non-scientific guess, I judged that it was a first visit for about half of them.     Let's hope they all fell in love with the Refuge and with Nature and will return again and again. 

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