April 22-29, 2017
Photo workshop: Join Nate Chappell for the ultimate Texas bird photo workshop. Starting out in McAllen, TX we will visit 2 World Birding Centers in the Rio Grande Valley, spend 3 days and nights at Santa Clara Ranch photographing from hides built for photography with water holes that attract a lot of great birds like Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Green Jay, Roadrunner and Painted Bunting, spend 2 days in Rockport, TX on the coast photographing breeding colonies of spoonbills, egrets and herons. Then drive to the Houston area to photograph water birds such as Purple Gallinule and American Bittern and finally spend the last morning photographing migrating warblers and songbirds on Galveston Island.
Tour Leader: Nate Chappell. Nate will provide in field instruction and answer any photographic questions that you may have. Nate will also be giving digital presentations on photographing birds in the wild and using flash for bird photography as well as a raw image processing presentation. In the evenings we will do some image review and critique of photos for whoever wishes to participate.
Cost and logistics:
April 22-29, 2017 $3,950, single supplement $300. Nonphotographer spouse - call or email for price it depends on activities. $1.000 to $1,900. Deposit required to reserve your spot is $900.
The price includes all lodging, transportation, guiding, instruction and ranch fees. It includes all of your meals while at Santa Clara Ranch and most breakfasts. It does not include transportation to get to the start of the workshop (flights etc) and other meals or tips.
Number of participants: Maximum of 4 photographers
Leaders: Nate Chappell for the full workshop and at Santa Clara Ranch Hector Astorga.
Equipment needed: The longer the lens the more opportunities you will have. However at the ranch in particular many of the subjects are quite close. The minimum size lens that you would want to have would be 300mm. We have several lenses available to be rented out for a modest fee.
April 22nd - Fly or drive to McAllen, TX. If flying in from out of state it's probably best to buy a round trip ticket to Houston then a one way to McAllen, TX. Transfer to Casa Santa Ana in Alamo, TX. The gardens have feeders which attract specialties such as Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Altamira Oriole and Clay-colored Robin. In the late afternoon we will visit Estero Llano State Park to look for Pauraque, Green Kingfisher, Least Grebe and others.
April 23rd - This morning we will visit Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center. This is a good place to get Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot and Chachalaca. After lunch we will check out and head to Santa Clara Ranch. This afternoon we will photograph the resident Harris's Hawks from the elevated raptor blind. In the evening Nate will give his presentation on photographing birds in the wild.
April 24th and 25th - 2 full days of photographing from the sunken blinds at Santa Clara Ranch. The water holes here attract a large variety of birds, south Texas specialties such as Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Black-crested Titmouse and Smooth-billed Ani. The Painted Buntings and other neotropical migrants should be around as well. Nate will give presentations on using flash for bird photography and image processing.
April 26th - One more morning at Santa Clara Ranch, this morning we will visit the other raptor blind which attracts Crested Caracaras. We will have lunch and then about a 3 hour drive to Rockport, TX. In the late afternoon we will photograph at Rockport Beach Park which has rookeries of Tricolored Heron, Black Skimmer and Laughing Gull. We should get Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage as well as other shorebirds such as Long-billed Curlew. Hotel: Hampton Inn, Fulton-Rockport.
April 27th - This morning we will visit Fennessey Ranch. The blind here is in a woodland which attracts a lot of songbirds, squirrels and usually raccoons. Barred Owls can usually be called in from this blind. If we miss Least Grebe in South Texas we have another chance for it here. We return to Rockport for lunch then head across to Port Aransas, TX to visit the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. The board walk here is excellent for Least Bittern and a great variety of water birds. The trees on the way in often have fallouts of migrants in April so we will be on the lookout for wood warblers, orioles and more. Hotel: Hampton Inn, Fulton-Rockport.
April 28th - This morning we will take a trip on a customized photography boat to photograph breeding rookeries of Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish and Great Egrets and other waders. There is always a lot of action at the rookery with birds bringing nesting material and squabbles. After lunch we will have a 3 hour drive to the Houston area. After stopping at our hotel, we will visit Brazos Bend State Park which is a cypress swamp which is a good place to photograph Purple Gallinule, American Bittern and other marsh species. Hotel: Best Western, Manvel, TX
April 29th - This morning we will visit Galveston Island which is a magnet for migrating songbirds coming across the gulf. Just about any of the eastern wood warblers are possible Hooded is one of the most common. Tanagers and Orioles put in regular appearances as well. On the way back we will try for Clapper Rail. We will check out of the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your afternoon flight home.
If anyone would like to spend some more time photographing migrants and other birds in the Houston area Nate is available to do so, please enquire.
Contact: Nate Chappell at email@example.com or 281-778-1486 with questions or to sign up for the workshop.
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