Visiting Mount Charleston in the summer is always a good Idea. You can see many birds and plants, take in some fresh mountain air and enjoy noticeable relief from the Vegas valley heat.
Visiting Mt. Charleston in the company of John Hiatt, Red Rock Audubon's Conservation Chair, takes that experience to a different level. John graciously led 22 members and guests on a memorable walk through the lower part of the Mary Jane Falls trailhead and along Deer Creek on July 13th. You learn a lot about natural and human history any time you are around John.
The area is an isolated, green oasis of high mountains surrounded by miles and miles of desert. The term for this topography is sky island. Along with commonly found flora and fauna it is home to 28 endemic species of plants, animals and insects. Have you ever heard of the Charleston Mountain Chipmunk? It is only found here and some of us saw one. Did you know that Las Vegas was settled because it provided water for the railroad, water that comes from Mount Charleston?
In all, the group observed a total of twenty species of birds including three different species of hummingbirds. One of the more unusual birds sighted was a Williamson's Sapsucker, first spotted by a middle school student along for the walk. He described what he saw and a member used the Merlin app to identify the bird. It was spotted a second time on the way back down the trailhead so more people were able to enjoy this little treasure.
Join one of our bird walks and you, too, might see something or learn something new.