More Block Creek Natural Area

Well, you got to see some of the photo tour participants’ photos from out visit to the Block Creek Natural Area.  If you didn’t get enough, here are a few of mine.

Don’t forget to click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it for better viewing.

Eastern Bluebird, male perched
Eastern Bluebird landing
Lesser Goldfinch pair
Late afternoon at a hummingbird feeder, Block Creek NA
Block Creek Photo Tour group focused on owls.
Vermilion Flycatcher male on rail fence.
Sphinyx Moth feeding at thistle bloom.
Ladder-backed Woodpecker, male on mesquite.
Painted Bunting male on mullein stalk.
Big Gobbler too close for the 500 mm, but I like the crop anyway.
Eastern Screech Owl: how about those peepers?
Bewick’s Wren on fence post.
Harris’s Hawk landing, Canon 7d Mark II and 70-200 mm lens


…and last but not least, my favorite shot of this batch is the great horned owl and red barn.

Great Horned Owl and barn.  Canon 7d Mark II and 70-200 mm 2.8 lens, hand held

Soon, I’ll be sharing shots from the Transition Ranch Photo Tour.


Block Creek Natural Area

Three weeks after the FeatherFest trip, I was at the Block Creek Natural Area with five photographers to “focus” on several species.   As you will see, they seemed most impressed by the wild turkeys, hawks and hummingbirds.

All the following shots were made by the group and I think it’s an impressive collection.

Remember, if you click on an image, it will enlarge and sharpen for better viewing.

Three images by Barbara Pickthall:

Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding at thistle flower.
Male Eastern Bluebird flying to nest box.
Strutting Wild Turkey gobblers.

Two images by Larry Urquhart:

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds feeding at Prickly Pear Cactus blooms.

Four photos by Jack Emsoff:

Wild Turkey gobbler strutting.
Getting the red-tailed hawk closeup.
Harris’s Hawk landing.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds feeding at Prickly Pear Cactus blooms.

Two photos by Tom Pickthall:

Painted Bunting male foraging.
Wild Turkey gobbler in wildflowers.

Kimberly Smith, our fifth photographer, wasn’t able to submit images for this newsletter, but some of her shots will be featured in a future newsletter on the Christmas Mountains Lucifer Hummingbird Photo Tour.

Way to go photographers.  Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.


Coastal Birds in April

 Galveston’s FeatherFest was almost two months ago.  How did I get this far behind?  The short version of a long story is this…I booked too many trips and took on too many photo projects this spring.  It was fun but grueling.  Anyway, here we are with plenty of time to look back and enjoy some of the images captured along the way.

During the first week of April, I led a photo trip on Kevin Sims’ boat at Rockport to photograph colonial nesting birds along the coast.  That was followed by two days with groups at High Island and Galveston Bay.  The weather was fantastic and we had a ball.

Here are some of my favorite shots from those outings:  When you click on an image it will enlarge and sharpen for better viewing.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck stretching wings at Paradise Pond.

After photographing along the islands of Aransas Bay in the morning, we headed south to Port Aransas for the afternoon at Paradise Pond and the Birding Center.

Green Heron walking a dead willow branch in Port Aransas.
Red-winged Blackbird flying from cattail perch at the Port Aransas Birding Center.
Great Egret displaying at nest, Aransas Bay, Texas.

Recommendation: when you are photographing at a nesting colony, set the big lens aside and go with a more flexible zoom lens (100-400 mm is ideal for me).   In doing so, fewer wings are clipped on the flight shots and you have more room in the frame for bird behavior or multiple birds at once.

Great Egret landing.

Large birds look best in flight when they are banking into a turn.  We got lots of photo opportunities working from Kevin’s boat as birds returned to the island with nest material and to feed young.

Roseate Spoonbill with nest material.
Great Blue Heron in flight at first light.
Great Egrets courtship display at High Island.

The rookery at High Island offered many nice shots of roseate spoonbills and various egrets engaged in mating and nest building.

Brown Pelican adults in flight.

Bird photography on Galveston Bay (also from Kevin’s boat) during FeatherFest, was superb.  We enjoyed an afternoon with brown pelicans, spoonbills, terns, skimmers and more.

Royal Tern carrying fish.


Roseate Spoonbill landing on oyster bar with laughing gulls, spring.

Late in the day, we couldn’t quit “shooting” passing black skimmers.

Black Skimmer after sunset on Galveston Bay.
Black Skimmer in flight at sunset.
Black Skimmer after sunset.

Then, as the light faded, I just had to get one more slow shutter speed shot of these pelicans.

Brown Pelican trio in blurred flight after sunset at 1/160 second.

There is no place for bird photography like the Texas coast in April.