For the last two weeks, I’ve visited several of the my old haunts here in south Texas, including Santa Clara Ranch, Laguna Seca Ranch, and South Padre Island. It’s May and all the critters are doing two things, looking for water and mating…not necessarily in that order. So, it was the right time to head for the country and stir up a few photos.
When you are viewing today’s photos, don’t forget to click on the image to enlarge it and make it sharper. The right and left margins have hidden arrows for advancing and going to the previous photo.
The photo above was shot at blind #2 just after sunrise. The two cottontails seemed to be playing tag…one would dash in and the other would leap over it. In the past, I tried to get these shots with the super telephoto, but switching to the 100-400 mm lens allowed me to widen the view for catching a rabbit 3 feet in the air.
When agarita is fruiting, it is very attractive to birds and humans for food. This limb was brought to south Texas by another photographer to set up a colorful perch for hungry, fruit-eating birds.
Yellow warblers, like this one at Laguna Seca Ranch, are always among the late spring migrant songbirds in south Texas.
This piping plover photo is one of my favorites. I used the 500 mm lens and 1.4 X teleconverter on a Canon 1D Mark IV to get this capture from the car window. It was shot at 1/3200 sec. , f 6.3 on ISO 640.
This is just a little of what I’ve seen in my neck of the woods in May. It makes me all the more eager for June’s arrival.
Last week, I was at the Block Creek Natural Area near Comfort, Texas to lead an instructional photo tour with three other photographers and our hosts Sharron and Larry Jay. It was a fun four days with good company, great food and lots of wildlife.
During the week, John Karger, Director of “Last Chance Forever” brought several of his hawks and owls to the ranch. It was educational and gave us an opportunity to photograph the birds at close range.
The following group of images should give you a pretty good idea of the beauty and wildlife diversity we enjoyed. Be sure to click on the right side of each image to enlarge and sharpen it and to find the “next” arrow to take you through the images.
During the photo tour, we experienced unbelievably great weather with cool days and chilly, clear nights.
The painted bunting was number one on everybody’s priority list for this shoot. No one was disappointed.
Each of us tried to hold our camera settings at 1/2000th second to stop flight action and head motion. During the sunrise and sunset hours, we had to settle for something slower, but we never stopped looking for behavior and action shots. The bunting was at 1/640th second and f4; the goldfinch was 1/400th second and f4. Except for the hawks and owls where I used a wide angle lens or small zoom on the Canon 7D, my bird captures were made with the 500 mm IS lens and Feisol carbon-fiber tripod with Wimberley head.
This hawk passed within two feet of my head and 24 mm lens while landing.
Having saved the best for last, we photographed this male vermilion flycatcher on Sunday morning in a meadow in front of the ranch house.
I hope to lead another photo tour at the Block Creek Natural Area next spring during the first week of May. Plan to join me if you like colorful birds, starry skies and good food.