A few weeks ago we went to the recently-opened Las Vegas Springs Preserves. This spring is pretty much the reason that Las Vegas exists at all. Not that legalized gambling hurts, don't get me wrong. But people had to come here in the first place before somebody could say, "You know, we want to make a living here, but the climate is less than ideal for ranching and large scale farming is right out. Gambling, hookers and easy divorces is the way to go!"
Thus the Las Vegas Springs and its newly opened Preserve, about two miles of walking trails, interactive exhibits and desert demonstration gardens (unfortunately featuring some frankly weird art). Back in the day, this was an oasis in the middle of the desert and I'm pretty sure this is where the Native American snowbirds invented Bingo. When the pioneer-types came along they stopped here as well, and eventually the springs supplied a railroad stop and the young town of Las Vegas. Eventually gambling, neon and Elvis made Las Vegas what it is today, but to get there required more water than the springs were able to produce, so that's when they invented Lake Mead.
The Preserve is nice, even if it feels a little raw yet from the recent construction. The building site for the Nevada History Museum contributes to the not-quite-settled-down effect, as do areas marked for future restoration. For now, the high point for us was a bush full of hummingbirds. I believe these are female Rufous hummingbirds. They must have been migrating south for the winter, but if you look at these pictures, you can see our pictures look an awful lot like the females/juveniles in these pictures.
The first picture is just for fun, it's obviously way out of focus, but in an interesting way, I thought. Kind of a Monet hummingbird.
The rest of these are just shots that I thought turned out well. Hummers are HARD to catch!
Help! Mr. Flower is eating my head!!