OMG! What A Raptor Blind.

Those of you who have been following my blog have been enjoying a series of “where-to” articles on some of the Valley’s Photo Hot Spots, both private and public. I recently had the pleasure of returning to The Martin Refuge to spend a morning at their raptor blind. For the earlier review I wrote on the Martin Refuge, see my August 2011 archive.

I was joined by two good shooting friends, Hector Astorga and Dr. Beto Gutierrez. We met fellow photography friend and Martin Refuge guide, Patty Raney, at the ranch gate at 7:30am. After a few minutes chatting, we setup our gear in the blind, set out some chicken quarters and waited. Two very inquisitive roadrunners provided us with some great photo opportunities and a little entertainment (more on them later).

It didn’t take long for the first Crested Caracara to arrive and once the first one landed, at least a dozen more flew in, landed, flew away, constantly repeating this process over the next 3 hours. While 3-4 were feasting on the ground, a couple more were perched, and others were circling, waiting to land on the occupied perches. This started at approximately 8:00am and the action was non-stop until we decided to call it a morning at about 11:00am. Although the Caracara were still there when we left, the light had become harsh and our group had plans to shoot at the Santa Clara in the afternoon.

Crested Caracara. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Back to the roadrunners, at one point there were probably 12 Caracara on the ground and apparently these two roadrunners were none to pleased with the idea that their territory was being invaded. They fluffed their feathers, flapped their beaks profusely and did their best to stare down these intruders, often successfully (if only temporarily) chasing them away. It was quite comical.

The Standoff.

Greater Roadrunner. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5.

While we mostly saw Caracara, we were also able to photograph Harris’ Hawk. I’ve done a lot of shooting on some of the Valley’s best ranches and I have to give credit where it is due. This was by far the best raptor experience I have ever had. The Martin Refuge has a gem of a raptor blind. For those interested in photographing Crested Caracara and Harris’ Hawk, contact Patty Raney at 956-330-5316 (cellular). Below is a sample of more images from the morning’s action at the Martin Refuge Raptor Blind…OMG!

Crested Caracara. 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara Banking In For Landing. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara, Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara, Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Crested Caracara, Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

Harris' Hawk. Canon 1DsMkII, 500/4.5

4 thoughts on “OMG! What A Raptor Blind.

    • Hey Bill.
      Good to hear from you. The Martin Refuge is a great location and if you are after Caracara in particular, but also Harris’ Hawk, I really don’t know of a better blind than the one I sat in the other day. The Martin’s raptor blind is spectacular. Give me a shout when you come down.

  1. Outstanding job here Kevin! OMGoodness is right. The road runner shot is superb… and the second Caracara from the end (lift off) is simply spectacular. I need to find some wall space and purchase some shots from you. I see redecorating my office in the near future!

    • Thanks Irene. Those roadrunners were hilarious as they tried to fend off the raptors….ill advised, but hilarious. Thanks for the comments on the photos, I still have others to process as I took about 900 that morning. These were some that I liked and decided to process now. Let me know when that office is redecorated. Have a great thanksgiving.

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