Tag Archives: spring

South Texas Bird Photography Workshop where avian antics delight participants

_BKL4795A small sample of the thirty Crested Caracara that appeared in front of our cameras at the raptor blind in the morning.

Inflight shots, raptor antics and unusual appearances were the highlight of the latest South Texas Bird Photography Workshop. Held March 22-25 at Laguna Seca Ranch in Hidalgo County, Texas, the workshop was fraught with overcast skies for most of the time, but great shooting was had never the less by everyone in attendance.

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A wild turkey hen and jake made several surprise visits to both the morning blind and afternoon blind.

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Roadrunner, Pyrrhuloxia, Green jay in flight and a pair of Golden-fronted woodpeckers by Dolph McCranie.

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Wild turkey made a surprise visit, Sparrow on branch, Caracara in the wildflowers, and Bathing sparrow by David Alexander.

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Cardinal bath time, Pyrrhuloxia female, Turkey vulture landing, and Golden=fronted woodpecker by H.S. “Burt” Garcia.

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Curve-bill thrasher and Golden-fronted woodpecker in flight, Crested caracara on ground and landing by Gary Eastes.

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Red-wing blackbird pair (female landing),Crested caracara landing, Northern moclingbird, Red-wing blackbird female, Green jay, and (poss.) Green-tailed towhee by Jill Mcclain.

The next South Texas Bird Photography Workshops are scheduled for October 25-28, 2018 and February 28-March 3, 2019. Seats are limited, but currently available.

Email bkloflin@austin.rr.com for more information or visit:
http://www.thenatureconnection.com.

 

Copyright © 2018 Brian Loflin and listed individual photographers.
All rights reserved.

 

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Central Texas Endangered Aquatics

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Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni) lives underwater caves within the Edwards Aquifer only in the San Marcos, Texas area. They retain their external gills and have only vestigial eye spots. Nikon D800, 105 mm F 2.8 Micro Nikkor lens, SB 910 Speedlight in softbox.

In late September I had the opportunity to visit the US Fish & Wildlife Service San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center to photograph several of the endangered aquatic species from the nearby Central Texas waters.

Located near the Edwards Aquifer, a prolific artesian aquifer, the center is involved with scientific research, including equipment and technology development, captive propagation technique development, habitat restoration, native species life history studies, and invasive species life history and control studies. The Center currently serves as a refuge for several listed aquatic species associated with the Edwards Aquifer and other Texas spring systems.

The hatchery also works closely with the faculty at local universities to provide volunteer, work, and research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in biology.

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Artificial streams are the main aquaria for the center and use fresh water from wells drilled deep into the Edwards Aquifer. The water is filtered and chilled to temperatures suited for each species and circulated throughout the unit.

To facilitate the photography of these aquatic species, I used a macro tank photography technique with a small 2.5 gal. aquarium, an artificial habitat and background. To better confine the aquatic individuals, a second piece of glass in a vertical orientation was used to narrow the available space for the subject specimen.

Equipment included a Nikon D800 DSLR, 105mm F2.8 Micro Nikkor lens and a SB910 Speedlight in a Lastolite EXYbox softbox on a boom. A black cloth also on a boom with a opening slit for the lens was employed in front of the tank to prevent reflections on the front of the aquarium. The setup is illustrated below.

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Great care was given to the safety of every living specimen. Before introduction of any living subjects, the aquarium, any underwater props and gravel substrate was thoroughly washed and sterilized to prevent contamination of the endangered species. This procedure was also repeated between the introduction of each subsequent species. Water was that of the specimen’s home enclosure.

Over the course of a morning I had the pleasure to photograph the Texas Blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni), San Marcos salamander (Eurycea nana), Fountain Darter (Etheostoma fonticola), all from the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos, Texas, and the Devils River Minnow  (Dionda diaboli) from spring-fed streams in Kinney and Val Verde counties west of Uvalde, Texas.

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San Marcos Salamander

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Fountain Darter

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Devil’s River Minnow

Copyright © 2016 Brian Loflin. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Bluebonnet

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The Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is the state flower and is a sure sign of spring around the state. Often in wet years large expanses of this and other wildflowers cover the roadsides, medians and pastures and fill the air with a wonderful fragrance. Nikon D2Xs with 105 mm F 2.8 Micro Nikkor.