Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Periodic Update

© - White-winged Dove
As what seems to be the norm, I have been up to my neck in many tasks.  Overbooking is the term I heard the other day that seems most appropriate to my situation.  But here are some updates on what I've been doing in terms of work with blinds, keeping up with the blinds, and so on.

Latest Blind Visits:
I visited Pedernales Falls SP on July 11th.  I did a write up at Jim's Photo Ramblings.   The takeaway for blind shooters:  The perches have been moved too darn close, the suet is being gooped in large quantities, taking away from good clean shots, and less seed is being put down to discourage the doves.  The weather was not ideal the day I went, either, so all in all it wasn't that productive of a day.

I visited Stephen F. Austin SP on July 13th.  What I had listed on my Bird Blind Map as a possible blind in the park isn't one.  I have removed it.

I visited South Llano River SP on July 20th and July 26th.  On July 20th it was in the afternoon and I almost exclusively stayed in the Acorn Blind.  I had some hide and seek sun for most of my visit, which turned in some nice shots. On July 26th I visited in the morning, making images in the Acorn and Agarita blinds, along with a quick visit to Buck Lake.  Nice images of a lot of birds, though the light was not as pleasant as it was on the 20th.  I have not done a blog post on either of those visits.  I need to get caught up on those.

I also visited Abilene SP on July 26th to see how their blind was, but it was as I remembered it:  Decent for bird watching, lousy for bird photography.  It remains not on the bird blind map.

The Map (and the Spreadsheet)
The map was in desperate need of updating.  I think the last major update was done in 2011, but I've done small updates here and there over the last couple of years.  It is not a trivial task to track down all of the pertinent information, so it is taking some time.

To this point I've completed verification on all of the sites in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the lone confirmed spot near Laredo.  I know that there are more in the Laredo area, but the information has been difficult to find and quite frankly, the Rocking R6 is so good that I haven't had much incentive to look further.

I had to remove the Cozad Ranch as it appears to have shut down, though if somebody can provide additional information to confirm or deny it would be great.  I have marked it as closed as of now.

The Kingsville and Corpus Christi areas are next before I get into the Hill Country and Hill Country River Regions.  There is a previously unknown to me ranch out towards High Island/Anahuac NWR area called the Lagow Ranch which has a blind.  I asked for more information, but didn't get it in time to do this blog entry.  It will go on the back burner until the next push to do updates.

As always, if you have information on a blind I don't have listed, please feel free to send me an e-mail and I will work towards adding it.

In addition to doing the updates to the map, I've also built a Google Docs spreadsheet to hopefully make future updates easier as well as to provide the data in a different format for folks who like text better than clicking on a map.  I've added the spreadsheet to the resources on the right column.

Another Pause
As you might have seen over at Jim's Photo Ramblings, I am in a job and life transition.  I retired from the Air Force after 22 1/2 years of service and am will be starting my first post-military job shortly.  Until I get my arms wrapped around what civilian life is like and how much time my civilian job is going to take up, I'm pausing all of my activities.

As I pick things up, this blog and my Photo Ramblings blog will be the first to fire up again.  I have some big plans for the blog to include building a website to contain the reviews of the blinds I've visited, maps (as appropriate), and other data to make things more useful.  It may be the first of my overbookings, but it will be a fun overbook.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Been Away For A While...

Life has gotten the best of me.  Well, that and concentrating on other projects.  I have been having a heck of a time just keeping up with my Jim's Assorted, Usually Photographic, Ramblings blog where I've been doing most of my work.  I concentrated on dragonflies last year and spent a lot less time in blinds.

That's not to say that I haven't spent any time in blinds.  Through fall of last year and into the spring of this year I have spent a lot of time in blinds and let me give you some quick hits on things I've done and observations I've had.

Northern Cardinal - Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls SP:  The new blind was productive again this through the fall and winter.  I haven't been back since February, but things were very good there.  They have widened the photographer's window significantly and it is very usable and the images are much more clear than shooting through the window.  The only problem with the window is that it is at an awkward unless you're about 5' 6" tall.
Inca Dove - South Llano River State Park
South Llano River SP:  I have made a couple of trips into their over the winter and very early spring.  Blinds are as good as always.  Made some really nice images.  Shot a ton of frames.  It was my first over 1,000 day since my return to Texas.
Black-crested Titmouse - Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary
Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary:  I have always hesitated to put this location on the list because the blinds on the property are not blind like you would find at the State Parks or a private ranch.  But Susan has added an additional blind that is awful close to a traditional blind and I had some good luck at it and a couple of the non-traditional blinds.  I need to make a return trip soon.
Crested Caracara - Rocking R6 Ranch
Rocking R6 Ranch:  Made my first visit to this private ranch last weekend.  I had an awesome time.  1 1/2 days of shooting to include some great opportunities at the blind set up for raptors.  I owe a full report which I hope to do soon.  For now you can check out my post over at Jim's Assorted Ramblings.
Some tasks that are on my agenda when I can find some time is to do a review of the Texas Photo Blind Google Map to ensure the information remains accurate.  I have at least one additional site I need to add to the map and undoubtedly there has been one or two that have dropped off.

This is about the time of year where the blinds start to calm down and I end up shooting dragons and damsels.  But I promise I'm going to do a better job of keeping up and at least doing weekly posts here.