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Out in the Field: Touched Them All and Batted 1000 With Incas

March 9, 2014
Black-throated Sparrow

© – Black-throated Sparrow

It has been a while since I’ve been around.  Sorry about the disconnect.  Life is super busy in my neck of the woods right now, working on a project or two that should conclude in early July.  It is threatening my ability to do my annual spring Photo Binge and any number of other things.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully this time there won’t be a train behind it.  Stay tuned.

As to the real subject of this particular post, I spent last Saturday at South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas.  It had been a few weeks since I had been out and I really, really needed to get the camera in my hands.  Well, in my hands long enough to put on the tripod, but you know what I mean.

On this trip I brought along another photographer.  He had not been to the blinds so there was a little instruction combined with a lot of shooting.  And I do mean a lot of shooting.

© - Inca Dove

© – Inca Dove

Over the course of about 7 hours, with about an hour set aside for lunch, we managed to hit all 4 blinds at the park.  We started with the Acorn Blind where we did the bulk of our shooting.  As it turns out, saving that one for last might have been a better idea as the light conditions became more favorable and less harsh as the day moved along.  Lots of good birds to be seen, to include quite a few that my photographer friend had never seen before.  Highlights included Inca Doves, American Robins, and Black-throated Sparrows.  Of note was the quantity of Inca Doves at the Acorn Blind.  We counted up to 5 different Incas in the blind at the same time–normally I’m lucky to get 2 at any given time.

By the time it was all said and done, I had finally broken the one thousand images in a day mark with the odometer reading 1,135 and I had filled 2 memory cards.  I can’t wait to get out there again when the weather has warmed and the dragons and damsels have started to hit the river and Buck Lake.  If I do it right, pack a lunch, and leave later, I bet I can nudge into that third memory card.

I learned a thing or two about bringing a chair to sit at the open window in the four blinds.  The biggest revelation–the windows are all different heights.  The chair I brought (an older folding camping chair) was perfect for two of the blinds, too short for the Acorn Blind and nearly too tall for the Juniper Blind.  I have a fix action for the next time I’m at the Acorn Blind (bringing a couple of blankets to boost me up in the chair), but the light was not as good at that side of the blind as the other side in the morning.  I had meant to bring the chair that I got for Christmas, but I failed to plan ahead and I couldn’t find it in my rush to get out of the house.  More to come on that.

Overall it was an outstanding day of shooting.  I can’t wait to get back into the field again.  This weekend was cancelled on account of rain.  Next weekend will be tough with family obligations.  But there’s always hope…

About the Images:
Both images were made with The Standard Gear, on the tripod, no flash.  The lead shot of a Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) was made at the Agarita Blind near the park’s headquarters.  They are not an easy bird to make a good image of due to the fact they have both black and white in their feathers.  Tech data was ISO 400, 1/100 sec at f/9.  The Inca Dove (Columbina inca) was shot inside the Acorn Blind.   Tech Data was ISO 400, 1/640 sec at f/10.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2014 10:45 pm

    Nice images! I’ve been in that neck of the woods many times but never knew what a great birding spot this park is – I’ll make it a point to stop there next time.

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