Santa Clara Ranch

Wednesday, April 6
We got up at 5:40am, said hello to Molly and Bert (two of the permanent Harris hawk residents that perch near the ranch house), and joined Alisha, Gavin, Hector, our guide, at breakfast. Then we drove the short distance to Blind #2 for the morning to see a wide assortment of birds, some dessert cottontails, a white tail deer, and a javalina. At 10:45am we headed back to the ranch to download photos. We had lunch at noon. After lunch we went to our room and alternated between napping and downloading images. At 3:45pm our group gathered and headed out to Blind #4. We stayed until 7:40 then drove back to the ranch for dinner. Three more people had arrived; Peter, Fernando and Andi. They are all friends who live in Colorado. Dinner was fun getting to know everyone and trading funny stories about photography. Fernando and I chatted quite a bit about photography techniques after dinner.

Thursday, April 7
We got up at 6:00am and went to breakfast at 6:30. At 7:00 we drove out to Blind #3 to photograph raptors, specifically, Harris hawks and lots of caracaras. And one brave black vulture. It was a very active location. I shot about 3,000 pictures. Everybody talked gear and bird behavior. Alan shot about 2,400. At 10:15 we wrapped things up and drove back to the ranch house where everyone worked on offloading their images. Alan and I took a walk while our images were downloading. Lunch was at noon. While my images downloaded we went for a longer walk. We spied a barn owl in an owl nesting box. We also saw a flycatcher and some green jays. At 4:00 we went to a different blind. There we saw a great kiskadee and the usual assortment of endemic birds. We got back to the ranch at 7:45 and had dinner at 8:00. We all traded info on great places (and guides) for wildlife photography, and told more fun stories. Alan and I packed when we got back to our room, readying for the next day’s drive.