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Activities abundant at Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge

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The 2013 Fall Flight Festival at Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge announces fall schedule and other tours available.
Ponds filled with water from heavy September rains and the calls of Sandhill Cranes are heralding the annual migration of wintering birds. The refuge will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday in November for the Traditional Annual Fall Flight Festival featuring a 4 1/2 mile self-guided auto drive. Interpretive talks and kids crafts are also scheduled.
The auto tour allows visitors to view the vast spaciousness of the short-grass prairie, ponds, marshes and croplands that serve as important habitat for migratory waterfowl, eagles and hawks along with numerous grassland birds such as mountain bluebirds, meadowlarks, horned larks and sparrows.
Except for this time of year, these areas are not open for general public use, in order to leave an area of the refuge undisturbed for wildlife. Visitors can observe directly how recent rains have filled the ponds following the drought.
Volunteer roving naturalists will be on hand with spotting scopes to help visitors identify birds. No walking is required. Visitors are encouraged to bird from or close to their vehicle so birds will not be disturbed. All events at the refuge are free.
Friends of LVNWR volunteers will be inside the Visitor Center to meet and greet visitors. After visitors have made the tour, they are encouraged to return to the Visitor Center and add their wildlife sightings to the posting board.
Anyone joining or renewing Friends of LVNWR memberships during the month of November will be entered into a drawing for a gift of friend’s merchandise.
For kids of all ages, there is Special Wildlife Kids Crafts, featuring a different themed craft are from 1-3 p.m. each Sunday.
Children also will enjoy the live raptor presentation from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the first Sunday in November.
Other presentations include programs are repeated at noon and 1:30 p.m.:
• Santa Fe Raptor Center Live Raptor Presentation will be Nov. 3.
• The Role of Wildfires in Southwestern Landscapes, Dr. Kent Reid, New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute will be Nov. 10.
• Bison Ecology and Management at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, Dr Brian Miller, Denver Zoo will be Nov. 17.
•  Drought and the Ecology of Southwestern Shortgrass Prairies, Mollie Walton, Quivira Coalition will be Nov. 24.
For further information, contact Jan Arrott at 454-6115.
Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is located on state highway 281, just east of Las Vegas.