Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Initial Description - South Llano River S.P. Blind #4

I had the good fortune to visit South Llano River State park on April 17th and followed-up with a 2nd visit on May 8th. As was the case the first time, park staff & volunteers were very friendly.

This is the 4th of 4 entries on this park to go with the 4 blinds that are in the park. Thank you for your patience while I've struggled to get all 4 of these entries up.

Park Location: South Llano River State Park is located about 5 miles south of the city of Junction off of US Route 377. It is approximately 120 miles west of San Antonio or 295 miles southwest of Dallas.

Blind Location: Inside the park, Blind #4 is not as easy to find. It took me well into my second trip to the park to find it. There are 2 ways to get to the blind. The way that I went is to park in the day use parking area that is technically north of the park headquarters and hiking about a mile to the blind. The easier would be to park in the parking area near blind #3 near the walk-in camping area and walking around the loop of powered camping spots to near space #41 and then walk just a short distance (likely no longer than 100 yards). Remember if you are coming into the park for the first time that day you must first pay the entrance fee at the park headquarters.

Setup: This blind is completely different from all of the other blinds that are in the park. Instead of wooden benches, this blind has padded chairs that are similar to older/traditional theater seats. There are two windows in this blind. The window furthest from the entrance has a padded seat to sit in. The window closest to the entrance is setup as a handicapped access spot and has no seat. Please, if there is a disabled person that wishes to come into the blind, give up this spot and either wait for a spot to open or shoot over the fence.

The blind itself is, well, unique. It is completely fenced in with reasonably low fencing material. This provides a much more intimate view of the birds. The birds don't seem to mind. Neither did the field mouse that I saw the morning I was in this particular blind.

Perches/Attractants: This was a much more natural looking blind than the rest when it came to places for the birds to perch. No chicken wire enclosures for the seed here. Granted that there was not as many perches as I would have liked, but there hardly ever are. By the time I found the blind the sunlight was starting to create issues for me.

AM/PM: This is probably best as an early morning blind. As logistics would have it, I found the blind after 10 and the sunlight was all ready starting to become to harsh for my needs. That being said, my favorite image of a painted bunting was shot at about that time so it just made it more of a challenge.

Species: I spent about an hour in the blind in May. The species I saw inside this blind included: Lark Sparrow, House Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Painted Bunting, White-Winged Dove, and Lesser Goldfinch. And one pesky field mouse. The dominant species were the doves on that particular morning. Your mileage may vary. Again, a full species list for the park and surrounding area can be found here.

Lens Requirements:
The 300mm L IS USM lens worked very well. I'm looking forward to getting back and trying out that lens with the 1.4 teleconverter.

Other Photo Ops: As noted, the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area adjoins the park. In all reality, it dwarfs the park in terms of overall size. Miles of hiking trails are available in the WMA. Three additional blinds are located in the park as well as a number of hiking trails near the South Llano River and Buck lake. Outside of the park there are
additional wildlife viewing possibilities are listed on the Great Texas Trails - Llano Loop

Image: Painted Bunting, South Llano River S.P., (c) 2008 Jim Miller

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