The birds are already flitting about the trees fringing the blind as photographer Ruth Hoyt sets things up for our shoot at one of the blinds at Laguna Seca Ranch north of Edinburg, TX. Soon Northern Bobwhite, Green Jays, Northern Cardinals, Black-crested Titmouse and other Valley birds are visiting the area.
What's a photo ranch? Across Texas ranches are setting up photo blinds. Some ranches also offer lodging and meals. Photographers like Ruth shoot and lead workshops at the ranches. My workshop was a one-day shoot offered as part of the annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
There's a lot of waiting involved; you're on the bird's schedule. It's a large ranch; the birds have a lot of territory and options. And, for a while, a Cooper's Hawk plants himself in a nearby tree and scares off the birds - that is, until the Green Jays gang up and chase him off.
But, the sunken photo blind I'm in gives a unique perspective and there's a lovely soft background to work with.
Long-billed Thrasher Black-crested Titmouse Green Jay (you know I love Jays, right?) Olive Sparrow Northern Bobwhite
I'm looking forward to doing another photo ranch trip soon. Who's with me?