One of the reasons to visit the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico is how close you can get to the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese. This Sandhill was coming directly overhead, so close that I could not fit more than this in the frame at 600mm equivalent. That is close indeed. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My custom Birds in Flight adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
It has been one of the most spectacular weeks in memory at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, New Mexico. The birds are in and close, the light has been simply wonderful (even by NM standards, which is saying a lot), and there is a lot of action in the flocks. This “dance” is part of the year long mating ritual, and it is a behavior you will see if you spend any time watching cranes. Sony RX10iv in my customized Birds in Flight adaptation of Program Mode. Processed in Polarr.
Sandhill Cranes taking off in the early light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro New Mexico. This has been the best year in the past 10 years for birds and weather at Bosque. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
The dawn flyout at Bosque del Apache is one of the great wildlife spectacles of North America and this morning was one of those days that make it memorable. I was out with a field workshop of aspiring Point and Shoot Nature Photographers at the Flight Deck Pond just at sunrise this morning when the Snow Geese rose to go to their day feeding fields. Wonderful light. Amazing action. Shot with the Sony RX10iv in my specialized Birds in Flight mode adaptation of Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This Common Paraque has roosted beside one of the trails at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center for so many years in a row that has to be the most photographed bird in Texas. There are always two along this short stretch of trail, but most years we only find one of them…this one, or at least the one sitting in this spot. This year the second was about 4 feet behind this one, kind of on the same line, and also in plain sight. You have to understand that “in plain sight” means something different for Paraques than it would for most birds. Even though I knew the second bird was there, since others were seeing it, it still took me 5 minutes to find it…sitting right out in plain paraque sight. The difference in the 2018 version of my yearly Paraque photo is that this bird is wet…or very damp at the least…since it was raining on and off the morning we visited Estero Llano Grande. Of course, I have only ever photographed this bird in sunlight once in all the years I have been going to Texas in November…even on a bright day it is tucked in under deep shade. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Anti-motion Blur mode. (A special mode that takes multiple images and stacks them for better performance in low light.) Processed in Polarr.
Here is something you don’t see everyday…a Yellow-billed Cuckoo sitting right out in plain sight. This very wet and very bedraggled cuckoo was feeding near the boardwalk at the Birding Center on South Padre Island, Texas, part of a wave of migrants coming through with the storm front. The bird continued to feed in plain sight as long as we watched it. It even perched on the boardwalk for a moment. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We spent the morning at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center in Weslaco Texas yesterday. It was overcast but the birds were still beautiful on the pond by the Visitor Center, there was lots of activity around the trails. This White Ibis is caught in a classic pose over its reflection. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. +1EV to deal with the bird silhouetted against the bright water. Processed in Polarr.
As we got out of the car at Fronteria Audubon in Weslaco Texas the other day, we looked up and into a huge swirl of White Pelicans moving over. They slowly circled over us, the center of the circle moving north slowly until the were behind the trees. Very impressive! I don’t know where they were coming from or where they were going, but the beauty of will remain. Sony RX10iv at about 250mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
I did not know Plain Chachalacas did this thing with their tails…and neither did other birders that I talked to today, but they clearly do. These birds were strutting their stuff at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, where I was teaching a field workshop for Point and Shoot Nature Photography. Sony RX10iv at about 400mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Not great photos, but still, any day when you see 3 species of Kingfishers is a GOOD day. All three were too far away, but again, see previous statement. Ringed Kingfisher, Belted Kingfisher, and Green Kingfisher. Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center in Edinburg Texas. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent and heavily cropped. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.