I spent several days guiding photographers this week, two days on the Jones Alta Vista Ranch and two at the Laguna Seca Ranch. I’ll be sharing what I think are unusual photos from both places, but today I’m starting with two photos I took of a Green Jay at the Laguna Seca.
I clipped and set up a native vegetation perch I thought would attract Green Jays and other local birds. As the sun sank lower into the sky, the grassy field in the far background behind the perch glowed shades of light gold and green.
The bird appeared out of the brush and jumped down onto the perch, facing away from us. Excited about the photo opportunity but not thrilled with the bird facing away, I made a few images. Suddenly, the jay seemed to notice the sound of the shutters and it cast a glance our way. The magic happened and the composition came to life.
My only real challenge is deciding which photos I liked best. Here are my two favorites; let me know which you like best and why. Remember to click on the images to see the full version of the photos!
A Green Jay looks back over its shoulder toward the photographers.
A Green Jay faces away from the photographers, showing the color of its head.
Last week I shared flowers on Mother’s Day, taken on homestead property owned by friends in Hill Country, Texas. They also took me to another tract of property they own outside Harper, Texas, about a 30-minute drive from their homestead.
The 120-acre property has been lovingly maintained with conservation in mind. We hiked around the property in various parts, looking for a very special bird, the Black-capped Vireo. This rare bird is on the Endangered Species List, but uses habitat like what is on the property as its breeding grounds every spring.
We were very fortunate to get glimpses of several of the birds, but they mostly stayed in the densest brush onsite. Toward the end of our visit were rewarded with a photo opportunity for me and the first photos that document the Black-capped Vireo on their property. We were thrilled, to say the least!
Please remember to click on the photo to reveal the entire image.
Black-capped Vireo in Song
ALERT: Anytime you visit deep south Texas, you may come across some of these green characters! I saw plenty of them today while guiding photographers on the Laguna Seca Ranch in Hidalgo County.
This morning I made photographs of two of the three Green Jays on this little perch with my Canon 7D Mark II, 300mm f/2.8 lens and 1.4x extender. If I hadn’t had the extender on, or if I had been using my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, I may have been able to capture the image my eyes saw, of the three of them in a tic-tac-toe formation.
You may notice the birds have wet tails. It rained yesterday and during the night, so everything was very wet when we began photographing. The skies were heavily overcast most of the morning and, except for me, the photographers all used fill flash.
Tomorrow we plan to work on some flight shots early, then move to the raptor blind to see what kind of action we can find!
Green Jays (Cyanocorax yncas)