Painted Buntings of South Texas
After months of planning with the owner of the best birding ranch in south Texas (who's also a good friend) i decided to visit the place for 2 days in the month of May. The aim of the trip was simple - get as many amazing shots of the painted buntings but the key was our timing. We had lots of photographers during the last few weeks but the activity picks up only during a certain time and knowing that is key to a successful trip.
The cool thing about this trip was that i was also helping/leading a group of fantastic photographers make some memorable shots of not just the painted bunting but also some other migrants/residents of the valley.
With a total of 5 photographers plus me we waited hours in our blinds through the blistering hot days of south texas to get a glimpse of this rainbow in flight.
Water bodies in the ranch have been placed in strategic places to attract many birds that either call it home or are stopping over to replenish their energy before continuing with their migration back home from South Americas.
I worked with the ranch owner to maximize our chances by getting access to use any blind during both days of the workshop and that worked very well in our favor as we had the flexibility to move from blind to blind to try and capture images of this beauty. During my workshops at the ranch i usually ensure that me and my groups are the only ones using the ranch to make sure that there is flexibility to try any thing the group wants and this ensures amazing photo opportunities for everyone.
The painted bunting is one of the most vividly colored bird in North America and the colors on this bird would leave spectators in awe the first time you see it with the bright reds and blues and iridescent yellows burning bright. The female on the other hand is dull yellowish and no match to the male but has a beauty in its own.
During the next 2 days the group had some amazing sightings and photography opportunities of the painted bunting on the ground, feeding, taking bath, on perch and fighting with other males. Some of the other birds seen during this trip are as follows -
Groove billed ani
Northern Bobwhite Quail
Scissor Tailed Flycatcher
Golden Fronted Woodpecker
Mexican ground squirrel
The location has a total of 4 birding blinds and are built for photography taking the sun angle, eye level perspective and complimenting backgrounds into consideration. I work with the ranch owner to secure amazing perches before the workshop to ensure our participants not just see the birds but also frame them well.
Visiting Texas for bird photography is open throughout the year so if you are interested in a 1-1 session or want to make a group booking let me know and we will create a plan for you. If you plan on joining me during my next visit contact me here or take a look at my upcoming schedule here.