Painted Buntings of South Texas

The vibrant Painted Buntings always captured my imagination and my dream to create amazing images of this bird took me to South Texas. I pre-planned a two-day action-packed photo-tour along with a good friend and the owner of the best birding ranch in South Texas in the month of May. Though the aim of the trip was to click as many images of the Painted Buntings, the key was our timing. Fortunately, we could make the most out of it. The activity during the trip picks up at a certain point and knowing the time is crucial for organizing a successful birding trip.

Why is the bird named so and what is so special about them? Well, you must see to believe its beauty! This vividly colored bird of North America is a blend of bright reds and blues and iridescent yellows burning bright like a rainbow leave spectators in awe. The female is dull yellowish in color, no match to the male but its muted elegance is equally eye-catching. Nature has splashed this bird with color as if with a brush, thus the name Painted Bunting.

Painted Buntings

The coolest thing about this trip is that I lead a group of super talented photographers and clicked some amazing shots of not only the Painted Buntings but other migrant and resident birds of the valley. Our group comprised of five photographers other than me and we waited for hours in the raptor blinds through the blistering summer of South Texas to catch a glimpse of this rainbow in flight. We were awarded for our patience.

Water bodies in the ranch are placed strategically to attract many birds that either call it home or are stopping over to replenish their energy before continuing with their migration back home to South Americas.

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I worked closely with the ranch owner and friend to maximize our chances of getting the best image by ensuring access to use any blind during both days of the workshop. This worked very well in our favor as we had the flexibility to move from one blind to another to try and capture images of this beauty. When I lead the workshop at the ranch, I ensure that our team is the only ones using the place to make sure that there is flexibility to try anything the group wants thereby increasing the chances for amazing photo opportunities for everyone

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The next two days our team had some amazing sightings and photo opportunities of the Painted Buntings feeding, taking bath, fighting with other males, on perch and while sitting on the ground. Though the star of the show was the Painted Bunting, we also saw other birds during the trip like-

  • Indigo Bunting
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Gross-beak
  • Groove-billed Ani
  • Desert Cardinal
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Quail
  • Green Jay
  • Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
  • Crested Caracara
  • Harris HawkCowbird
  • Golden-Fronted Woodpecker
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Inca Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mockingbird
  • Mexican ground squirrel

The location had a total of four permanent blinds also known as raptor blinds that are built specially for photography taking the sun angle, eye level perspective and complimenting backgrounds into consideration. The other reason why my workshop stands out is that I work closely with the ranch owner to secure amazing perches to make sure that the participants not only get great sightings of the birds but also frame them well. As good composition matters a lot!

You will not only create great memories but get an experience of how it feels like shooting from the blinds. While creating your portfolio, don’t forget to savor each moment. This trip will surely be a lifetime experience!

Visiting Texas for bird photography is open throughout the year. So, if you are interested in a one to one session or want to make a group booking please contact us and we will tailor-make an itinerary for you. If you plan on joining me during my upcoming tours to Texas contact me here or look up my upcoming schedule here.

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