Santa Clara Ranch owner, Dr. Alberto “Beto” Gutierrez, called me at lunch yesterday to see if I was interested in heading out to the ranch for an afternoon of photography. At the time, I was comfortably engrossed in a good book and didn’t want to leave the air conditioning. Besides, the outside temperature was already hovering at 100 degrees.
Of course, I threw the book aside, jumped into my field clothes and headed for Beto’s place. We arrived at the ranch around 3:00 PM and crawled into the blind to enjoy the 103 degree afternoon. Birds were everywhere and everybody needed water. In five minutes, we were “blazing” away at various birds, rabbits, ground squirrels and other critters. The photography just got better as the day rocked along and things peaked about 6:45 PM when a young bobcat came in for a drink. By that time, we’d already photographed deer, rabbits, and over a dozen species of birds.
Here are some of the images we captured on that toasty Texas afternoon: click on the photos to make them larger and sharper.
These are the best yellow-billed cuckoo shots I’ve made. These were done with the Canon 7D Mk II, 70-200 mm lens and 1.4X teleconverter, hand held.
Once we photographed the cuckoo and this scissor-tailed flycatcher, we knew for sure it would be a hot afternoon.
Although this roadrunner drank often, it chose a dust bath instead of the wet type.
Eight anis were among the last birds to arrive at the pond on this afternoon. The group of young and molting adults were more fun to watch than to photograph.
These cautious white-tailed deer were all ears as we clicked away while they drank.
This young cat almost walked into the blind after drinking from the nearby pond. We were so excited by this cat that we pretty much forgot about photographing birds for the last half hour of the day.
As we left the ranch at sunset, the resident pair of Harris’s hawks showed up at the ranch house raptor blind, assuming Beto would leave a beef kinney supper on their favorite perch. He did.