Texas Birding Safari Report

Northern cardinal getting a drink in south Texas.
Northern cardinal getting a drink in south Texas.

I have returned from leading my annual “South Texas Birding Experience” workshop on private ranches. What can I say? Starting from the moment the group arrived, we had an amazing time. Our first day out was what our guides call “hot.” Not because it was sunny, but because we literally had no periods of inactivity for the three hours we were in the blinds. We could have kept going, but the midday light was getting harsh and we had a nice lunch awaiting us. I nearly filled two 16GB memory cards that first day!

Our hosts at Campos Viejos and Dos Venadas were once again amazing. They ensured that the blinds were perfectly set up each day, and if one blind was slow, we were able to relocate to a better one. It was not uncommon to see 20+ species in each session, and photograph them with clean backgrounds.

One of the best parts of this trip was that we never had to drive very far to get back to our accommodations, and there was always a home-cooked meal and cold beverages awaiting us upon our return. So in addition to epic photography, we had great meals and lots of time to socialize and do post-processing in a casual, air-conditioned environment.

Here’s a partial list of what we photographed

  • Painted bunting
  • Northern cardinal
  • Curve-billed thrasher
  • Long-billed thrasher
  • Scaled quail (with babies)
  • Bobwhite quail
  • Black-crested titmouse
  • Green jay
  • Crested caracara
  • Bullock’s oriole
  • Pyrrhuloxia
  • Couch’s kingbird
  • Black-throated sparrow
  • Lark sparrow
  • Scissor-tailed flycatcher
  • Kiskidee
  • Orchard oriole
  • Hooded oriole
  • Bronze cowbird
  • Red-winged blackbird
  • Golden-fronted woodpecker
  • Northern mockingbird
  • Turkey vulture
  • White-winged dove
  • White-lined dove
  • Ground dove

We also saw rabbits, ground squirrels, and snakes!

By day three of our adventure, we were able to refine our shooting to move from capturing “record shots” and portraits to focusing on behaviors and action photos. Many of the birds came an bathed in the water features at the blinds. We were also rewarded with a male cardinal feeding his fledgling! In all, it was a fantastic safari and I can’t wait to return next year.

Are you interested in joining me on this small group adventure in 2015? Register at my workshops page and you’ll be notified when it is scheduled. I’m currently looking at dates in late May or early June 2015.

Texas Birding 2014 Photo Gallery (click on an image to enlarge it)

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