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In the Field: Rocking R-6 Ranch

February 28, 2016
Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)

© jmillerphoto.com – Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)

Saturday morning was spent in the land of pure bliss–the blinds at Butch Ramirez’s Rocking R-6 Ranch north of Laredo, Texas.  This was my third trip to Butch’s ranch and it only gets better every time I go.  This time I was using my Tamron 150-600 lens and I’d been looking forward to this trip for weeks.

This visit repeated my most recent visit.  An early morning shoot at the morning blind, a late morning shoot at what I’m calling the cactus blind, and a late afternoon visit to the afternoon blind.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)

© jmillerphoto.com – Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)

The highlight of the morning blind is always the variety of raptors that come in for a visit.  This time it was pure Crested Caracara as far as birds that perched.  A couple of Black Vultures came in for a look, but the Caracara were showing their competitors who was in charge.  Other great birds in that blind included Northern Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds, Audubon Orioles, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, and Western Meadowlarks.  After the first set of images I had to swap out memory cards as I had almost filled a 32Gb card.

Audubon's Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)

© jmillerphoto.com – Audubon’s Oriole (Icterus graduacauda)

We moved over to the mid-morning blind and were treated by a wide variety of birds.  The Audubon’s Oriole was here as well, plus Cactus Wren, Pyrrhuloxia, Savannah Sparrow, Green Jays, Curve-billed Thrashers, Black-throated Sparrows, and a wayward rat that was trying to steal a meal.  After that shoot I had only 8% left on my battery.  I guess we were making a lot of images.

Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre)

© jmillerphoto.com – Long-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma longirostre)

The afternoon blind has a special place in my heart.  It is where I got my shot of the year last year of a Greater Roadrunner. On yesterday’s shoot it was a day or life list adds.  The Long-billed Thrasher was the life list add I actually got to see.  We heard Scaled Quail (confirmed by listening to their call and a recorded call) and I caught just a glimpse of one, but they were being shy and I wasn’t able to make an image of one.  I also got to see my first Javelina in the wild which was really cool.  I burned through the rest of my battery in about the first 30 minutes of shooting and decided it would be prudent to put in a 3rd fresh card for the day before I started.
(Edit: 2/28/2016  8:19PM CST:  Add Lark Bunting to the lifer list.  It was way off in the distance at the morning blind and I have an image that is just barely good enough to use for identification purposes.  Life list is now at 163.)

Final body counts for the day:  I made 2234 images, I used 3 memory cards, depleted one battery and but a serious dent into a second.  Now that was a day of shooting.

As always, Butch and Zita went above and beyond to make me feel at home.  An incredibly awesome day at the Rocking R-6 and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Full Disclosure:  The cost for a day of shooting at the Rocking R-6 is $125.  As I have done in the past, I paid the advertised price for the day.

About the Images:
All four shots were made with the Canon 7D Mark II, Tamron 150-600mm lens, shot off a tripod w/Wimberley gimbal head.  The camera settings for the images were:
Pyrrhuloxia:  ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/10
Crested Caracara: ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/14
Audubon’s Oriole: ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/9
Long-billed Thrasher: ISO 400, 1/200 sec at f/9

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2016 12:38 pm

    All great images, Jim. Sounds like there is a blind for all seasons. 🙂

    • February 28, 2016 12:49 pm

      Thanks Bob. All three of the blinds he has on the property are wonderful to shoot out of. I may be busy for a few weeks processing all of the keepers.

  2. February 28, 2016 2:36 pm

    Their beauty amazes me. Thank you so much for letting me see it.

  3. March 1, 2016 11:12 pm

    Fantastic.

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