Friday, February 20, 2009

Preliminary Report - Lost Maples SNA Blind

On my last trip down the South Llano River State Park, I stopped for a quick bite to eat in Junction at Sonic and then headed down the road to Lost Maples State Natural Area (SNA). I had learned a number of months back that Lost Maples SNA had a blind and I received some input from a couple of the readers here about the place. But I figured that if I'd all ready driven 2 hours to Junction, another almost hour in the car to Lost Maples was worth the trip, even if the light available was not going to be good light.

First off, the staff at Lost Maples SNA were very friendly and responsive to my questions and needs. Great folks, but then again I've rarely had anything other than that to say about TPWD staff at any park, SNA, or WMA.

The blind was only a short distance from the front gate. Make the first left and follow it to it's termination. There is a full-fledged parking lot very close to the blind. This is both good and bad. Good that I didn't have to carry my equipment very far. Bad in that there seemed to be a constant level of noise from the parking area to include folks playing music way too loud. Not what I go to a state park for, but I guess we can't always keep civilization out of paradise.

The other thing that does not help this blind is that it is right next to a trail head with no barrier between the trail and the bird perches/food.

The blind itself has a wide face but is narrow. There is a large wide window on either side of the blind with nearly the same level of tilt as you find at South Llano River State Park's 4 blinds. As such, shooting from behind these windows is next to impossible.

There is a trap door in the middle of the blind. The trap door is more than big enough to get my 300mm f4 through and I have nearly full range of the blind area from this open trap door. Seating is okay, but far from comfortable from that middle spot.

Other readers have told me that it is possible to shoot from outside and I found that to be the case as well. The birds are reasonably used to the humans.

Despite the challenging conditions, I'm convinced that this could be a very productive blind to shoot from, whether it be inside the blind, out in the open, or perhaps a small pop-up outside the blind.

Perches and attractants were plentiful and generally natural. I'm looking forward to a mid-week early morning visit to the park so I can see how this blind works out. Probably towards late April or early May.


Anonymous said...

Just curious, have you thought of taking pictures of the blinds and putting them in the posts? I hope I haven't suggested that before.

jim said...

That is a good idea that I've contemplated but never done. Mostly I think because when I go out to take these pictures I've stopped carrying my shorter lenses and 300 + 1.4TC means I'd have to stand at the park entrance to get good shots ;) It's a good idea and I'll start carrying my 10D with the 17-40 to do the outsides along with the 30D for the bigger shots.