Escaping the city life of Las Vegas for some reasonable desert birding is quite straight forward, since Corn Creek is less than half an hours drive from downtown on the State Road 75. Set 3.8 miles along a dusty but very well maintained gravel track, the reserve is consist of a fairly small green oasis in the desert, holding some standing water in the form of bullfrog infested pools, and a mixture of trees. There is even a toilet and small visitor centre, although the latter showed no signs of being open during my visit. There are also interpretive boards and leaflets to be had, along with a guest book to sign.
At first I had the impression that the reserve was much larger than it actually was, but it turned out to be relatively small, so I completed at least 3-4 loops of the trails. Ash-throated Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere, being quite common and noisy. A group of Phainopeplas also kept reappearing and alighting at the top of bare branches. The active and constantly calling Lucy's Warblers were more difficult to get good views of - they were seen regularly enough, but played around in the leafed trees. At least 2 Yellow-breasted Chats were a lot easier, since they frequently sang from the topmost lookout branches. A Loggerhead Shrike with mouth watering insect was a bit of a surprise. There were probably fewer species than I had expected in this hyped up spot, which may have been down to season, but it is probably one of the better and higher potential locations in the Las Vegas area.
More time should have been spent here, since there is more in potential than just the lagoons, and even these kept turning up more species as the time, and temperature, moved on and up. The location from Las Vegas is ideal - just across the 75 from the centre of town, and the directions make the site easy to visit. After using the intercom at the main gate for entry, the visitor parking and centre were well signposted, passing the out of bounds working lagoons on the way. No fee is required, just signing in and out is all that is requested. A map of the birding area is provided along with a bird list.
Most of the birding is on the lagoons, of which there are nine, but a perimeter walk can also be done, looking in particular for Crissal Thrashers, which are listed as common in the mesquite to the other side of the boundary fence. Time constraints meant that I had to cover this quickly, and none were seen. The lagoons are well worthy of attention, with #9 offering extra interest since reeds have been planted, and are the host to a colony of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. The small islands were also the only place to hold a few American Avocets, alongside the more common and widespread Black-necked Stilts. The only lagoon which was mainly dry was #3, due to maintenance, but the small pool remaining was the best place for White-faced Ibis.
Throughout, Black-necked Grebes were very common, being present on nearly every lagoon. Wildfowl were present in small numbers - mainly Redheads and Ruddy Duck were joined by the odd Cinnamon & Blue-winged Teal, and even singles of Pintail and what looked like female Bufflehead. 2 separate Green Herons were inadvertently disturbed from the edges, and 2 Killdeer seemed to be performing distraction displays.