Magnificent Seven – Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory
Continuing with my series of Magnificent Seven places to make images (after a long pause, may I add), I will step out of the Texas State Park system and into a little piece of heaven in the capitol city of the great state of Texas.
The Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory occupies a portion of the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant in Austin. With its large water treatment ponds and bordered by the Colorado River, this property is known throughout the state for the birds that it attracts. And of course, the logical conclusion would be that I do a lot of bird photography at Hornsby Bend. And that logical conclusion would be wrong.
I do have a handful of images from Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory that are birds if only in the spirit of never let a shooting opportunity that presents itself go to waste. But I go to Hornsby Bend for the insects, reptiles, and amphibians rather than the birds.
I have been blessed to have always gone to Hornsby with a local photographer who frankly does some really incredible work. And nothing beats local knowledge when it comes to knowing what is likely to be seen and then focusing your efforts on those things. I still need to take at least one solo trip so I can put my own spin on what I’ve seen in the past and what I hope to see in the future.
So what have I seen in the past? A wide array of dragonflies. I may have more odonata Life List adds at Hornsby bend than at any other location in Texas. According to at least a couple of the experts, what makes the place so good for odes is the confluence of the Colorado River (okay, not the Colorado River everyone else thinks of…) running along the south end of the observatory, the ponds on the north end of the property, and the ode-friendly grasslands and trees separating the two. And of course I do my work in that center section and have wonderful luck.
It is a bit of a drive for me, and it means dealing with the traffic congestion on the south end of Austin and the north end of San Antonio on Interstate 35. And it is that congestion that keeps me from going more often. But gosh darn it, what a place to make images of odonata and other things.
About the Images
As always, all images were made with the Standard Gear. I picked three from literally a few thousand potential images. I could done nothing but one long wallpaper of images from Hornsby Bend. You can always click on the Tag of Hornsby Bend and see more of my shots. For this Magnificient Seven post, I went with a dragon, a damsel, and a frog. The dragonfly is a male Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) shot this spring. The tech details were ISO 400, 1/200 sec at f/13. The damsel was a male Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile), also from this spring. ISO 400, 1/250 sec at f/18. And finally the frog is an American Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea) from last fall. ISO 400, 1/1250 sec at f/8.