In the Field: Rocking R-6 Ranch
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.
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.
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.
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