Monday, May 16, 2011

On the Road Again

Finally, a few days to relax and rest for the next journey!
Since I posted last I have been on a whirlwind of a tour taking advantage of the good weather and great opportunities before the July/August heat forces me inside to catch up on my editing.  when I last checked in the birds at the Heron Rookery off of 4-Mile Creek greenway were rebuilding relationships and nests.  Unfortunately, of the original 15 nests a wind storm destroyed 6 of them and the rookery is now down to only 9 nests.  For the first time 2 of them built nests in live trees on the periphery of the wetlands area.  A nest with greenery around it definitely provides a new view of the families.  I continue to visit most every day when I am in town and continue to marvel at their antics and devotion to raising their young.  they could definitely be role models for some of us humans.

I left Charlotte on March 5 headed for Houston and then on to South Texas (McAllen).  If you like birds, you must visit South Texas.  The area around McAllen happens to be where 2 major flyways converge and, as such, is one of the most diversified places in the world in the Spring and Fall, during the migrations.  The International League of Conservation Photographers has worked hard selling the ranchers on the concepts of conservation and managing their lands in a way that accommodates birders and photographers.  A good number of them have set aside land that they allow to be natural, building ponds and blinds to accommodate photographers.  The experience is one that I will not soon forget and I definitely plan to return soon.  I spent Sunday, the 13th, on the Martin Ranch.  After settling in the first of 3 blinds I frequented that day, this Harris Hawk arrived to welcome me!

He was wary, as though he knew we were there (in the blind) but could not quite figure out exactly where we were. After a while he ventured down to the carcasses that had been left there to entice them for this photo shoot.  I shot mainly with a Canon 500mm f4 lens and there were times when the birds were too close to focus.  After a few minutes the first of half a dozen Caracaras showed up!  From that point on the action was non-stop and I am glad I was not shooting film.  I would have surely exhausted any supply I might have had.  These birds were magnificent.

While there I spent time also at Santa Ana NWR which happens to be one of the country's top birding locations.  I was able to capture for my first time birds that I had never been able to spot before.  Some of them do not range much further north than about Corpus Christi.  Here is a Great Kiskadee

And a Black-Necked Stilt

I was in heaven for this week!!

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