On Saturday, I opted for an easy 30-minute walk to keep things loose in preparation for my Henderson Senior Games track and field events the next morning. I headed over to go to Clark County Wetlands Park on the east side of the Las Vegas valley. Here, I can watch for a variety of resident and migratory birds (along with ground squirrels and cottontails to name a few) while burning off some calories.
When I arrived, I was surprised to see so many cars in the lot. I quickly discovered festivities for International Migratory Bird Day in full swing. The park staff offered many kid-friendly activities (such as making pine cone seed feeders), bird viewing stations, and a game on the paved trail that highlighted the trials and tribulations migratory birds face on their journeys.
I used the free Clark County Wetlands Park & Nature Center map that shows paved and dirt trails crisscrossing the park, and my MapMyWalk app, to guide me along the outer paved trail with several ponds and views of the Las Vegas Wash waterway. The path from the park’s nature center to the Sunrise Trail connector is for pedestrians only – no skateboards, skates or bicycles allowed (though I recommend staying alert) and is about .7 mile one-way. I passed a couple spots off the trail where one can take a break and watch the water in the Las Vegas Wash flow around bends and over rocks on its way to Lake Mead.
From there, the path is shared with cyclists. I walked the path staying to the left of the yellow center line so I could see any oncoming riders. Despite the perfect sunny and not-yet-hot weather, only three cyclists passed me.
At the restroom, the path forked to the right and to the left. I was tempted to continue on the right – presumably leading to the neighborhood playground section of the park – but I reminded myself to keep to my original pre-race preparation plans. So I headed left on the paved trail, later backtracking a little bit to a dirt trail to get to the parking lot.
The entire walk was only 1.5 flat miles and took less than 30 minutes. I was rewarded for my effort by sighting:
- a green heron
- a red-tailed hawk
- 2 swallows
- 2 American coots (one with a white bill, the other with a red bill)
- 3 hummingbirds
- a cottontail rabbit
- a ground squirrel
- several finch-like birds