On Highway 15 going south from Las Vegas on the way to California you will pass two exits where there are casinos and the last gas station stops for visitors before crossing the border into California. You would never guess that these two exits host a large number of other visitors who also stop for refueling. These two places bordering the parking lots of said casinos are affectionately known as the Primm National Forest and the Lawn Patch at Jean. These little desert oases are important stops for birds migrating through on their ways from here to there.
If you have ever flown in and out of Las Vegas you will have seen the vast expanse of desert outside our urban area. Imagine flying across many miles of desert and seeing those green patches below! These stops in Primm and Jean provide food (insects and seeds), water and shelter for weary birds where they can rest up, fill up and continue their journeys.
Some newer members of RRAS took a little field trip to these sites on Friday May 31st as part of a Birding Basics class. While the season to catch unusual migratory birds has passed the group managed to see 9 species in Primm and 8 species in Jean. Watching two peregrine falcons battling in the sky above certainly made up for only seeing a small number of resident birds.