I decided that I would give Southwest Texas a shot for capturing as many critters as possible in the five days I was allowed. At 12 frames a second I was able to captured more than 3,750 photos of a variety of creatures.

My first trip was to the Santa Clara Ranch located about 60 miles NW of Edinburg, TX and nine miles west of McCook. I chose to stay at their bunkhouse to avoid driving back and forth to Edinburg.  Bunkhouse is misnomer, it really is a house with sleeping for eight in four bedrooms, two baths, complete living room and kitchen, and air conditioned.

During my shoot I was awed with the setup; four ponds with a permanent blind at each, two facing east and two west.  Additionally, there is an above ground blind with a large snag for shooting raptors.

This trip I photographed numerous species of birds, reptiles and mammals. Actually, I took close to 2,500 photos. Needless to say, I really had a great time. Dr. Gutierrez and his staff really know how to set up a great photography location.  Contact Santa Clara Ranch

The second trip to southwest Texas I stayed in Edinburg and drove the twenty minutes to the Laguna Seca Ranch. The ranch is a great place to shoot with four ponds and blinds and a fifth blind for raptors.

This trip was specifically to photograph raptors. On my second morning in the raptor blind I couldn’t believe how many Crested Caracara flew in, I was overwhelmed by the number, fifteen all in the frame.

Janice McConaha was my guide and took great care of me to include putting out pieces of chicken to draw the raptors to the perch. During this shoot I was able to capture a Harris’ hawk and a Caracara on the same perch.  Later, I captured a Caracara and a Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk on the same perch.

Laguna Seca Ranch is located just 20 minutes north of Edinburg, Texas and 45 minutes from the McAllen-Miller International Airport. Click on the map below to open an interactive Google map in a new window.

Laguna Seca Ranch and the surrounding land has been handed down within the Vela family since 1867. One of the first families to settle in the Rio Grande Valley.  The Velas planted the first orange trees of the Rio Grande Valley. Sincere efforts have been and are continuing to be made throughout to maintain the pristine nature of the Vela land. Since the present landowner acquired the 700-acre plot in 2003, preservation of the native wildlife and plant life take top priority. Maintenance and improvement projects are constantly in progress. More information is available on the “Ranch History” page.

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