Monday, December 19, 2011

December 17th Report - San Angelo State Park Blind

It was a bit of a homecoming for me this weekend.  I was able to make it out to San Angelo State Park this past Saturday to spend a little time in the bird blind out there.

For my long time readers you know that this was my home away from home when I was in San Angelo.  Reports about this blind dominated the early couple of years of this blog because I was in that blind just about every weekend.

This trip was not specifically aimed at going to the park.  Other business took me to San Angelo.  But Saturday morning was free so I took advantage of the opportunity to take a look around and fire off a few frames.

As I mentioned over at Jim's Assorted, Usually Photographic, Ramblings, there have some words of discontent about the blind as of late.  Bob Zeller, a good friend and a photographer I respect a lot, issued some scathing words about the upkeep of the blind a few weeks ago.  Privately I had heard from a couple of other photographers that things were not being kept up to previous standards.

Along with visiting the blind I also helped maintain it for about the last 12-15 months I was in San Angelo.  I didn't do the heavy lifting--others spent far more time than I.  But I knew what it looked like when it was running good as well as the constant irritants that created work and would make the place look bad if not attended to promptly.  And I was worried about some of the things I had heard.

It is really easy to concentrate on the problems the blind may or may not have, so let me start with the photography first.  Weather conditions were perfect for this particular blind.  Light to moderate overcast skies created nature's soft box and diffused the sunlight.  This all but eliminated shadows in the blind area.  But it did mean faster ISO than I normally would shoot with and the resultant noise that comes with it.  I shot ISO 400 almost the entire morning.  Often even at ISO 400 I was at 1/100th or less at f5.6.  Light was challenging even under the ideal circumstances.

Nothing horribly special in terms of species.  I won't do a laundry list like I did back in the day, but if you look this laundry list from December 14th, 2008, add a Spotted Towhee and subtract the Greater Roadrunner, Cactus Wren, Golden-fronted and Ladderbacked Woodpeckers, and Northern Bobwhites you will get my full list from my visit.  It was especially nice to see a Canyon Towhee--I had not seen one since my return to Texas.

Volume of shots was very small as compared with that photo shoot in December 2008.  In 2 hours or so I made 156 images this year.  Three years ago that number was 264 in an 75 minutes.  Part of that may have been the overcast--typically overcast skies do diminish the count a little bit.  Temperatures were moderate (low to mid 40's for most of my time).  I have two or three solid keepers in the bunch.

Upon arrival I could see both good and bad.  The bad for us as photographers is that we are down to just one shooting window left.  A maintenance issue cropped up some time in 2009 that required that the center window be sealed.  Now the left position also is sealed.  Sort of.  The glass in the left window broke once again, and rather than try to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic they instead covered the opening with a sheet of plexiglass.  This was not much of a shock if only because I knew that the Friends of the Park had paid to replace all of the glass in the blind.  This small stop-gap measure is completely understandable, though a barrier to us as photographers for the near term.

Also of concern was the lack of dripping water.  In past years a hose was run to the back to the water feature and allowed to run at the pace of a drip.  The hose is still there, though moved away from where it would do the most good.  But no water was flowing.  There was water in the trough, though and birds were drinking.

And then there was the lack of seed.  That was somewhat normal.  Birds continue to feed overnight.  But with as many feeders as are present it was unusual to see all of the feeders empty and little to no evidence of spent seeds in the flat feeders (terra cotta and trash can lid feeders specifically).  So either they were really, really hungry or it had been a day or two since the volunteers were last out to feed.

However, beyond those things the blind looked pretty good.  The blind area had a more natural appearance to it which I think is better for photography.  The perches were well placed and aside from the leaning black pole that has always leaned one way or another, everything inside the blind seemed to be in good repair.

I discussed my concerns with the park superintendent and I have great confidence that we are on the road to recovery with the blind.  Fingers crossed that it continues on that path.

Canyon Towhee, San Angelo SP, © 2011
Northern Mockingbird, San Angelo SP, © 2011 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Called on Account of Rain

My shooting schedule of late has been severely curtailed by the weather.  And that is a good thing.  Sort of.

We desperately need rain in Texas and Mother Nature has provided a good number of days of rain over the last couple of weeks.  The last time I shot out of a blind was back at Pedernales Falls SP on November 20th.  The last shooting I've done anywhere was at Cook's Slough Nature Park in Uvalde a week later.  And even that was an afternoon shoot that wedged between a pair of storms.

In the big picture I am not complaining at all.  We need every drop we can get.  Good rains now will help everything to grow in the spring which will also benefit everybody and everything.

I am working on two blind-related things.  One is the blind out on the gulf coast that I still haven't been able to make positive contact on.  The other is a follow-up on a set of images I saw out of a relatively new property and I'm trying to get in touch with the photographer who did them.

Also, if all works out this weekend I may even have an update on the blind at San Angelo State Park.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two New Photo Blind Workshops

Sharron at Block Creek Natural Area has given me a heads-up that Kathy Adams Clark will be offering a photography workshop February 3rd through February 5th. 

Kathy is a great photographer and I have heard nothing but glowing reviews from the presentations she does. It seems like she did a workshop there in the last year or so and I'm glad that she is once again keeping workshops in blinds on her schedule.

My understanding is that details are still to be worked out, but you can visit Kathy's website for more details as well as contact info to get more specific details

While finding more info about the February workshop, Kathy is also doing a workshop in blinds in the Rio Grande Valley June 3rd through June 5th.  Again, visit her website for more details/contact information.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), Pedernales Falls SP, © Jim Miller,

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All is calm...

Not much photography right now for me. I have a huge professional certification test coming up in about a week and then I get really deep into the preparation for the holidays. I'm hoping if all works out well to be up in San Angelo before Christmas to partake in a family tradition and maybe get an on-scene look at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park to see if progress has been made towards rehabilitating it.

I stumbled upon an blog posting by Russell Graves, a true steward of the land and working nature photographer here in Texas.  Mr. Graves does not blog a lot, but when he does there often nuggets of pure photographic gold contained within them.

The blog post I stumbled upon spoke to the unglamorous nature of what it takes to make images when you are on assignment for a magazine.  Words of wisdom for those considering moving their hobby and their passion into the day-to-day job.

I also have a lead on yet another blind, this time more towards the gulf coast.  That may be the next post to the blog.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Private Blind Property - Rocking R6 Ranch

I hope that you had an outstanding Thanksgiving holiday.  I stayed relatively close to home so I didn't shoot any images from a blind this weekend.  I'm hoping for next weekend, though all of my favorite blind areas here in Texas are showing a good chance of rain at this point for the coming weekend.

Good news to share today.  I have added a new property to the bird blind map that offers blind rentals.  It is the Rocking R6 and it is about a half hour or so north of Laredo.  This once again shifts the overall coverage area further to the southwest.

The proprietor, Butch Ramirez, is also an outstanding photographer in his own right as the images on his site reflect.  In my opinion this is an ideal situation: A photographer who knows his craft, knows the land, and knows the light setting up blinds for other photographers.  It doesn't get any better than that.

The ranch will also be home to an ICF Pro-Am competition the long weekend of April 27th to April 30th.  ICF only picks the best for their competitions, so undoubtedly this is an outstanding place to shoot.  This property has also been the site of other photographers doing workshops.  All signs that this is a great place to shoot.

The prices are in line if not a little bit lower than most of the ranches in Texas:
  • $75 for a half day
  • $125 for a full day
  • $200 for a weekend safari
I like the fact that he offers half day rentals.  Shooting for an entire day is not a trivial matter.  As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this blog in 2008, if you are doing what a craftsman does with a camera, a day full of shooting is very mentally taxing.  Up there with spending a day of doing nothing but writing programming code for those who have engaged in the art.  A half day is a good set of training wheels before daddy lets go of the bike.

Butch is doing another weekend safari the weekend of December 10th & 11th.  He also offers other amenities that go a little beyond the scope of this blog, but I know that sending an e-mail off to him will garner a quick response and he can fill you in on the details.

I hope to get out to the Rocking R6 Ranch once spring breaks.  It looks like a great addition to the blind landscape.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 20th Report - Pedernales Falls State Park Blind #2

Wow... what a great trip to Pedernales Fall SP.  This trip was everything the previous week's trip to South Llano River SP was not.

Weather was not great for this trip.  Cloudy with some significant gusty wind here and there.  Temperatures were a little cooler, but still very pleasant in short sleeves.

But I had this trip what I didn't have in the trip to South Llano River SP--very light traffic into and out of the blind.  When I walked in to the blind it was empty, though I had walked into the gate with a 2nd person.  He eventually joined me over there and stuck around for a while.  After a spell he left for destinations south, but a couple from the Houston area came in and stayed for an extended visit.  Other than that the blind was quiet.  And that made all of the difference because the blind landing area had a chance to stabilize.  Circles of fear were relaxed a little bit and plenty of birds came into the blind area.

Species spread was reasonably broad.  I counted 19 species in the 2 1/2 hours that I spent in the blind.  Surprisingly enough there were no doves among that group, nor were there any White-crowned Sparrows.   High quantity birds were Northern Cardinals, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows. 

The "Bird of the Day" though as far as images went was the Eastern Phoebe.  It didn't stay in the blind area long, but the time that it did spend was productive and it perched for reasonably long period of time on two different spots.  This produced what is easily the best image I've made of this particular bird.

Close seconds on bird of the day were a Carolina Wren and female Ladder-backed Woodpecker.  The Ladder-backed though gets the frame count record for the day that landed somewhere in the mid-80's between three different perch locations.

All in all this was an outstanding morning of bird watching and bird photography.  I met some neat, considerate, and very knowledgeable folks.  I made a big number of images.  I added three to my documented life list of birds:  The Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata), the White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) , and the Rufous-crowned Sparrow (Aimophila ruficeps).

I really enjoyed the peace and quiet that comes from shooting out of a blind.  I can't wait to get back to Pedernales Falls SP.

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), Pedernales Falls SP, © Jim Miller,
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), Pedernales Falls SP, © Jim Miller,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 13th Report - South Llano River SP - Acorn Blind

I will rarely complain about getting to spend a day in a bird blind.  And I'm not going to complain about my recent visit to South Llano River State Park's Acorn Blind (aka Blind #4, aka Powered Camping blind).  But honestly the results were marginal to disappointing.

For those of you who have read this blog for a long time, you know hat South Llano River State Park (SLRSP) is one of my favorite places to shoot in blinds.  The four blinds in the park make it easily the single best public property for blinds in the entire state of Texas.  And the Acorn is my favorite because it is the most intimate of the four in the park.

But on this fall morning there was very little that was working.  Part of this is just luck of the draw.  Part of this was my tardiness in arrival.  And part of it illustrates some of the short comings of shooting in a public blind.

First and foremost I did not get into the blind early enough, or as early as the park would allow.  This one is on me.  I probably lost 90 good minutes because of my laziness.  Point accepted.  But even more ideal would be the ability to get into the blind before 8AM.  Unfortunately, unless you are camping in the park the earliest you can get your permit for the day is 8AM.  At private blinds this is not a problem--property owners cater to early arrival because they know it works best for the photographers.

Also, during my time in the blind there was nearly constant stream of foot traffic.  This is good because it shows that people are at least interested in birding and getting kids started at this age leads to the hope that maybe even a small percentage of these will continue with birding and help keep the cycle of funding and blind building going.  But all that traffic never allows the blind to settle and stabilize.  Thus, only the bravest (or hungriest) of the birds venture in.  Needless to say, at private blinds this is not a problem.

What caused this traffic was two things.  First, it was the end of the Veteran's Day holiday weekend and the campgrounds were packed with people.  Second, the trail down to Buck Lake which is normally closed off for Turkey Roosting is now open after 10AM.  Of course, I got there not too much earlier than 10AM so the constant foot traffic down to the trails added to the misery on the day.

I'm hoping in mid to late spring to test the public/private mix at one of the blinds in that area by going to the park one day and to the private blind another day.

But again, I'm not going to complain because even with those issues the bird photography was reasonably good.  Certainly a lot better than still being cooped up in the house post-surgery.

Species spread was narrow.  The birds of the day with the highest population were Field Sparrows and Inca Doves.  The Field Sparrows were a life list add, though that was likely an oversight from previous times.  My other life list add of the day was the Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Only one on the day early in the visit, but images good enough for identification purposes.  Wish it had gotten a little closer to the front, but if wishes were fishes.

Also present were the usual suspects:  Northern Cardinals, Black-crested Titmice, House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, White-crowned sparrows, and many others.  No woodpeckers, just one White-winged Dove, and Mourning Doves were conspicuously absent from the mix.  There's at least one more sparrow to identify in the mix.

The blind is still in very good shape.  It still has the theater-style padded, folding seating which is only marginally useful for photography.  I spent most of my time at the far side of the blind.  I still need to pick up an appropriate folding chair for the other window.

Total time in the park was about 2 hours.  Fifteen to twenty minutes of that time was spent gingerly walking down the Buck Lake to do some scouting for a different project and hoping to see a water bird or two.  No luck on the water bird, but amazingly enough there were a couple of damselflies on the pond.

All in it was marginal for photography, but still a good visit to the park.

About the Image:
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata), South Llano River SP, Junction, Texas

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Filling in Most of the Blanks

Welcome to blog entry 100.  I'm happy that you're still with me on the journey.  I'm sure we'll be around for at least 100 more...

I'm down to just the Cozad Ranch when it comes to missing information.  Fennessey Ranch no longer offers daily rentals of their blinds.  They have moved instead to a membership program which gives unlimited access to the blinds and the rest of their ranch for a specific fee for a timeframe that encompasses early spring to about the start of hunting season.  I'm marking it on the blind map in the most expensive category based on the fact that very few of us have the chance to shoot more than 3-4 days a year and that best reflects their fee structure.  Of course, if you're retired and having nothing else to do (and are close to the property), then this is a bargain.  I do encourage you to visit their site and inquire about the details.  It might very well work for you and how you shoot.  It doesn't work for me.

I will try to readdress with Cozad Ranch in the next day or two to finally clean off all of the unknowns on the map.

I was successful in finding my way to South Llano River SP on Sunday and I will have my thoughts on that visit in the next day or so.

Edited at 8:19pm adding that the fee at Fennessey Ranch also covers the rest of the ranch.  Again, contact them for more details.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spring 2012 Workshops in the Blinds...

In the process of doing my updates for the maps I learned of some shooting opportunities that will be of interest to this community.  Up at Block Creek Natural Area, David Cardinal will be holding a workshop April 18-23.  He had a very successful workshop there this past spring and I'm happy to see that he is coming back.  Pricing and additional info about this Hill Country workshop can be found at his website.

As he did last year, he will then move his show down the road to south Texas with a workshop April 24-30 at Dos Venadas, Santa Clara, and Campos Viejos ranches.  This one sold out early and apparently a good time was had by all because this too is down to just two openings left.  Pricing and additional information can be found again at his website.  And yes, for the sharp-eyed among you (which should be all of you... we are photographers, right?), I do not have a link to Campos Viejos.  That will be a project for this week to search out.

On May 11-13, Larry Ditto returns to Block Creek Natural Area to do another workshop.  Larry is one of the best in the business and it is great to see him back at Block Creek.  His cost is extremely reasonable and it looks he will be bringing in some raptors during the visit.  More details can be found on his website (note, I'm taking you in through his General Tour Info page.  You can then move to this opportunity which is on the following page).

There are also a pair of Images for Conservation Fund (ICF) Pro-Am tour dates in May 2012 with Los Madrones Ranch and Block Creek Natural Area hosting events on May 3-7 and Tacubaya Ranch and Dos Venadas hosting events May 17-21.  More information about the Pro-Am can be found at ICF's site.

Undoubtedly there are other opportunities out there and I will keep an eye out.  Some of the usual suspects have not posted any spring dates for shooting in the Hill Country or in the Rio Grande Valley.  I will keep an ear out.

One last note, I've made a couple of additions on the Blind Map.  Red Creek Nature Ranch got back with me on Friday afternoon and I've posted that update.  I'm still waiting word from Cozad Ranch and Fennessey Ranch and I will re-ping them on Monday if I haven't heard from them.  They are two of the originals and I'd love to get some updated information from them.

By the time this publishes Sunday morning I will be on the road to make some images.  Honestly I don't know where that will be until I wake up in the morning.  It will depend solely on how my recently surgically repaired foot is feeling in the morning and how far I will want to walk from the car to park my carcass somewhere in a blind.  But regardless, I am getting my face behind a camera.  I hope you'll have that opportunity, too.

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica), San Angelo SP, San Angelo, Texas, ©

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bird Blind Map Updated

I had forgotten what kind of a task it was to do a full update on the bird blind map (, but is about 95% done.  Many thanks to Doug Campbell for filling in some of the blanks.

I have made some minor changes to the way the properties are now displayed.  Those properties with the Google place mark with the spot in the middle of them are properties I am still awaiting word on.  As of right now that encompasses just four properties:  Cozad Ranch, Fennessey Ranch, LaCopita Ranch, and Red Creek Nature Ranch.

Those properties withe Google place mark minus the spot are properties that I have reviewed and/or received additional and confirming information on.  That encompasses most of the properties.

The color of the markers have meaning.
- Purple means a blind on public lands
- Light blue means a property that the fee for the day is under $125 per photographer
- Green means a property that the fee is $125-$175 for the day per photographer
- Magenta means a property that the fee is over $175 for the day per photographer
- Blue means that it is a non-traditional blind--more about that later
- Red triangle with the ! mark means that this property is no longer available

Fee per photographer includes the fee for a guide if the property requires you to hire one of their guides.

Two new properties were added to the list:  Laguna Seca ranch and Santa Clara Ranch.  One, Weaver Cattle Ranch, was moved to the no longer available list, joining the Petersen Ranch.  For what it is worth, both of Petersen and Weaver still have active websites.  That forced me to go back and check all of the remaining sites and make positive contact (directly or indirectly) with the property owners.

Non-traditional blinds are blinds that are not structures.  This is not a place where one would sit to take pictures.  Rather it would be some place where you would stand and have  

The update is not done yet, though.  I need to link previous blog entries to the sites.  I also have a spreadsheet that is still full of holes that I may make available as well at some point as a Google Doc.

So for now go at it.  Tell me if it is helpful.  Tell me if I got it wrong.  Tell me if you've visited one of these places.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Status Report

I am still working hard to catch up here.  My surgery last week was, by all indications, successful.  So this week, while dodging pain killers I am trying to take care of some research and maintenance tasks.

With any luck I will have a full refresh on the Google Map.  I am including with each of the entries a last verified date to give a better idea of how fresh the information is.  If I've done a blog entry, I will put that in the notes as well.  I'm hoping to have that done before the end of the holiday weekend.

If I can drag my carcass out of the house during the weekend I'm hoping to get to one of the local public blinds.  I'm not sure which one--that will really depend on how far I feel like I am capable of driving.  But one way or another I really need to get out.  I've been cooped up in this house for far too long.

Did I miss a blind that you are aware of?  Do you own a ranch (listed or not on my map) with a blind and want to share why you think it is a great place to make images?  Please e-mail me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Initial Report - Pedernales Falls State Park Blind #2 - October

Northern Mockingbird - ©
This is a follow-up blog post to one I made over at Jim's Assorted, Usually Photographic, Ramblings.  As I blogged over there, about a week ago I made my first return to a blind since returning to Texas.  It was also the first time I've been in a blind since Christmas.  It was awful good to be back.

I visited the new bird blind at Pedernales Falls State Park.  Okay, it isn't that new any more but it is new to me. The second blind was put up while I was away on exile in Ohio. 

And okay, technically I did visit both blinds.  They are right next to each other, but the potential for photography is like night and day.  The older blind continues to be a photographic challenge--the lighting is very poor for photography.  I'm sure that with the right equipment (a bigger lens than I carry and a Better Beamer) that really nice images could be made from that blind.  But with what I have it is a non-starter.

However, the new blind is outstanding.  The lighting is very good to almost too much.  The blind is very intimate with the front of the blind being very close to the water feature and the back vegetation that frames the inside of the blind.

For as good as things are for light, this blind seems to line up with the newer blinds that TPWD and their supporting "Friends of" groups have done.  Lots of tilted glass and very small lens openings for photographers.  But at that I will say that the glass is very clear and I had zero issues getting focus and clarity through the glass in the blind.  It may be age of the glass.  It may be the way it has been kept up.  Heck, it may be the angle of the glass.  But I found it very easy to shoot in this blind.

Also of importance to us as photographers was the ability to get our tripod where it needs to be.  No problems here.  There were two rows of benches, but they were very movable and I found it very comfortable to shoot from the position present.  I might have preferred something slightly higher in terms of seating, but everybody is built different and it worked for the purpose at hand.

 Western Scrub-Jay - © 
What I also found effective about this particular blind was the positioning of the perching and landing materials.  Everything looked very natural and there were plenty of items to land on.  Two large twisted pieces of wood (probably mesquite) that sat up very nicely as perches with multiple levels on either side of the blind provided awesome landing spots.  Plus in those perches were places to put peanut butter which did a great job of attracting birds that may not have been as receptive to seeds but loved the semi-solid protein.

There were additional natural landing spots within the blind to include other pieces of wood, rocks, and a very natural looking water feature.

Species spread was pretty darn good for mid-October before the Winter visitors made it in.  Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Lesser Goldfinch, Clay-colored and House Sparrows, Western Scrub-Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Mourning and White-winged Doves, House Finches, Carolina Chickadees, and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker were species that I identified while I was in the blind.  Add to that a Gray Fox wandering in a couple of times and a pair of Southern Leopard Frogs hanging out in the water feature waiting for unsuspecting dragonflies and it put together a really fun morning of shooting.

Speaking only for October visits, I'd say earlier is better than later and a little bit of overcast might help diffuse the sunlight some.  This blind appears to work for both morning and afternoon, but I'll have to be there for an afternoon to confirm that.  Maybe while I'm waiting for the body to heal up after surgery.

In short, this blind has my seal of approval.  Comfortable, well-lit, well-perched, and really all in all a great shooting experience.  It reminded me how much I love shooting in blinds and how much I can't wait to do it again soon.

About the images:
Both shots were from my morning in the blind, though chronologically they may be backwards.  The Northern Mockingbird was a bit of surprise.  Not that it was in that neck of the woods, but that it was spending time in the blind.  They're a more moving food source type of bird, but this one stayed for a while.  Truth be told, I did have to do some dodging on the rock because it was really, really, REALLY bright on the original.  The Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) was a life list add for me (#116... Yes, Bob, I'm still catching up :] ).  Beautiful bird and allegedly it is rare in the blind to have more than one at a time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And we're back...

Sorry y'all.  I have neglected this blog over the last few months.  What I thought was going to be a fairly straight forward process of coming home and setting up life again took much longer than expected.

It isn't that I have stayed away from photography.  But the shooting has been very close to home or the work that I was able to do when I was up in Ohio.  I underestimated the chaos that would be moving back home and starting up with a new job.

The good news is that I have started to ease back into photo blind shooting and reporting and will have a blog entry up in the next few days on a new blind.  I will unfortunately be undergoing some surgery in the next couple of weeks that will once again slow me down, but will give me a chance to get things like the blind map up to date and ready for the summer.

The other good news is that I have also found the life/work/photography balance that will probably work as this year starts to wind down and 2012 starts to spin up.

So I ask a little bit of patience as I get things moving again on this front and find that balance.  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What's that? A Light? At the end of the tunnel?

This blog has been silent for a while.  Okay, anybody looking at the last date that this thing was published could have said that.  School has been busy.  As John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."

I have done very little work inside blinds in the time since my last blog entry.  Over the Christmas holidays I spent a little bit of time inside the blind at San Angelo State Park.  This was mostly to test out a new tripod and remind myself what it was like to make images again.  It had been three months since I had made a single exposure.

As it turned out, my best image that trip was outside of the blind and without the benefit of my tripod.  But hey, things happen.

I missed the opportunity to shoot in the blinds around the Dayton area.  School made it too difficult to get out of the house.  I did not shoot another image outdoors until last weekend.

Okay, what is on the agenda?  I head back to Texas for good in June, but I expect that most of that month will be occupied with moving, unpacking, and getting settled in.  I'm hoping for a trip out to South Llano River SP in July, but we'll see what is on my agenda in the new job.  A good portion of August will have me on the road again, but by September I will be back in Texas and with hopefully cooler temperatures and to reassess what my fall will look like.

Other news of note.  Kathy Adams Clark will be doing a workshop at Block Creek Natural Area April 29th-May 1st.  The good folks at Block Creek promised to provide more details soon so head over there for more info.

Nosajio, the author of the White Noise blog, has had very kind words to say about the new blind at Pedernales Falls SP.  Bill Yeates had kind words to say about a blind that I thought was pretty bad at the time in Fredericksburg.  He reported great quantities of birds in the blind and reasonable light.  I also stumbled upon talk of some blinds either up or going up in Midland.  More to come on that as I get additional information.  Sadly nothing new about the proposed new blind at San Angelo SP.  I'm afraid that one has run out of steam.

I also found a phone message on Google Voice from back in December that I need to follow-up on and perhaps something good will come of that as well.

Expect over the next couple of months a couple of notes here and there as I start to blend back into the Texas woodwork.  Happy shooting to all of you.

Image:  Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), San Angelo SP, San Angelo, Texas © Jim Miller -