Rio Grande Valley, Texas-Part Two

My next two days were spent at Laguna Seca Ranch with their 5 bird-blind areas.  My guide, Ruth Hoyt, was exceptional…fun…and extremely knowledgeable, helping me through my periodic, “Now why in Hell is my camera doing this?” problems.  Although we had rain and wind the first day, the second day was bright and sunny.  Good opportunities for image both days.

Photographic blinds are rented by ranchers who have found there’s more $$ in catering to photographers than trying to raise cows in this area.  Water and food is provided and birds get used to coming into the sites.

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Ruth Hoyt is the primary guide for the Laguna Seca Ranch, although she guides on several others and on South Padre Island.  A very accomplished bird photographer.

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The habitat is mesquite scrub…not very picturesque and as the area is FLAT (the highest spot I was on was on a freeway overpass) there are no opportunities for “scenics.”

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Caracara-Actually a falcon but adapted to scavenging.

Northern Caracara 2

Caracara-Adult & juvenile

Northern Caracara 3

Harris Hawk-A desert-loving hawk, often hunting in groups.  Found in Arizona, southern Texas and Baja California.

Harris Hawk 3

Turkey vulture-Ubiquitous over this continent.  Likely one of our most valuable species in that they rapidly clean up dead animals from rodents to deer.

Turkey Vulture 1

Black vulture-Smaller, hangs around with turkey vultures.

Black Vulture 5

Scissor-tailed flycatcher-A very showy bird, flying to and from a roost (often a barbed wire fence) but this one was on a natural snag.

Scissor-taile Flycatcher 1

Green jay-The most colorful of the jays and found only in the Ruio Grande Valley of Texas and a small part of Mexico.

Green Jay 4

Bobwhite-The quail found in most states east of the Rocky Mountains.

Northern Bobwhite 1

Black-crested titmouse-Be quick as they are in and gone.

Black-crested Titmouse 5

Cardinal-Never get enough shots of this common species.

Cardinal 4

Olive sparrow-Very pretty and fairly tame.

Olive Sparrow 3

Long-billed thrasher-Somewhat more arboreal than the curve-billed thrasher.  Very pretty song.

Long-billed Thrasher 1

Curve-billed thrasher-A ground-lover.

Curve-billed Thrasher 7

Ground dove-Secretive and cautious.  The sound of the camera shutter and off it goes.

Ground Dove 4

Mourning dove-Ubiquitous but always photogenic.

MourningDove 11

Golden-fronted woodpecker-Brightly colored and aggressive.  Only the green jays are not intimidated.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2

Mockingbird-State bird of Texas…appropriate!

Mockingbird 5

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