Seven photo blinds are positioned through out the property with a dirt road winding between them. Three of the blinds are set up to get morning sun, three are more for the afternoon and one is all purpose. We started out in the raptor blind, pictured above in the morning.
As we got settled into the blind Patty Raney, photographer and our Certified Interpretive Guide for the day deposited chunks of meat and body parts that she had obtained from some of the local taxidermists. Soon after Patty left us the raptors started to come in to feast.
Northern caracara made up the bulk of the raptors that visited the area to feed. We did see and photograph caracara at other parks that we visited but none were as close up and personal as at the Javelina. Most were adults like the one two photos up but there were also some juveniles, like the one pictured above, mixed in.
Although the caracara had numbers the obvious bosses of the area were the Harris hawks. When they flew in to feed the caracara were quick to get out of their way. Harris hawks often nest and hunt in social units consisting of multiple birds. There was one unit consisting of 3 adults and one juvenile that appeared to rule this territory. When a group of about 8 turkey vultures begin to circle over head it was probably the presence of the Harris hawks that deterred them from coming in to feed.
After lunch we moved to an afternoon blind to photograph song birds and Texas specialties. These blinds are built sunken into the ground so that you can photograph the smaller birds at eye level. With a watering hole located near each blind and seed and meal worms supplied by Patty we were ready to get some good shots of some of the Texas specialty birds.
It did not take long before the birds came to check out the food. The first birds in were northern cardinals. Even though we snapped a few pics we were not all that excited because cardinals are pretty common in Minnesota. However the next bird that came into view where a species that has never, at least to my knowledge, been seen in Minnesota. Green jays are not known for being inhibited and as such they took over a lot of the feed for most of the time that we were there.
At our first afternoon blind the northern cardinals kept chasing away the smaller pyrrhuloxia from where the food was located in front of the blind. Since I was a lot more interested in getting pictures of pyrrhuloxia, a life bird for me, then of northern cardinals we decided to try a different afternoon blind. The second blind worked much better.