top of page

Return to the Redlands - Notes from the Field


Rain's typically scant here, but a few hours before we arrived, nearly four inches of precipitation fell in a deluge from a late spring thunderstorm.  For a few months now, we've been on the downslope of a high-pressure system that's anchored far to the south in Mexico.  As such, the storms ride a ridge of instability in the mountain west, across the plains of Texas, and into the southern United States.  It's a pattern that repeats itself over and again as long as the El Nino weather phenomenon dominates the Pacific Ocean.


The result?  Above average rainfall across much of Texas.



The result for us was muddy roads, muddy ground, and slightly slower travel. However, we persevered.  Out here, a little sun goes a long way, and, save for a spot or two, the roads were mostly passable.  So we were on to Redlands Ranch.


This excursion was a private one:  a small group of people with a very specific goal.  The itinerary is designed to spend an ample amount of time at Redlands Ranch and get photographs of the wide variety of animals that are increasingly attracted to the pond we built just a few short months ago.


Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Female bobwhite quail

If you’ll recall, back in February, we began construction of an in-ground blind similar to one you’ll find on the game reserves of southern Africa.  When you are in the blind, you are at eye level with any number of birds or mammals that frequent the water hole.  It’s an up-close experience you can’t get driving the roads and bucking the crowds at the national parks.  In fact, there aren’t many places in the United States where you can have this kind of experience.  And I may be wrong, but I believe this may be the newest place.


Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Black-tailed jackrabbit


The first evening, we settled into the blind, and within minutes, a whitetail doe walked in front of us and fed less than ten yards away.  In the brush, a myriad of birds were singing, and the breeze was light.  It was still overcast, but the evening light - though diffused - was beautiful.  In the waning hours of the day, cottontail rabbits showed up and fed alongside the deer and mourning doves.  The action was even and steady.


However, before it turned completely dark, we left the blind and made a safari drive through the property and down the county roads to see what we could find. We employed that strategy each time we sat in the blind, and it paid off.


The next morning, we are back in the blind at sunrise. It’s slow to brighten outside because a light rain is peppering the Texas Rolling Plains.  We are inside the blind, and despite the gray weather, the animal activity picks up again.  This time, a bobwhite quail comes in to feed, the cottontail rabbits show up, a roadrunner saunters past, and we are paid a visit by a whitetail deer and a mule deer.  Unusually (because we are in such a semi-arid area), a half dozen bullfrogs seemingly show up out of nowhere.


Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Bullfrog

We leave the blind mid-morning, and as we drive, we see more roadrunners, nighthawks, and roadrunners hanging out on the roadside.  We make a quick trip over to Oklahoma at mid-day to photograph collared lizards, but by the evening, we are back at Redlands Ranch to sit in the blind once again.  Within a few minutes of settling in the blind, the animals are feeding and watering again.  This time, a beautiful painted bunting comes and splashes about.  In addition, the usual cast of characters comes and feeds. While we see some of the same species again, each time they come in, their antics vary.  Therefore, it’s valuable to photograph them all over again.


Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
A whitetail deer

On the final foggy morning, we had a bit of a hiccup. A fast-leaking tire sent me walking for an air tank (it’s a long story) while the guests returned to the blind. When we met again the morning, everything was covered in dew, so we took advantage of some macro photography.


While the week had a couple of mild challenges, we were rewarded with some remarkable photo opportunities.  All at eye level with the wildlife.


Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Velvet mite

Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Dew on a spiderweb

Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Roadrunner
Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Painted bunting

Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Cottontail rabbit

Return to the Redlands - A Hackberry Farm Photo School Workshop
Deer feet

155 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page