Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival Part II

On Thursday, Nov. 8, another very early morning as we drove to Martin Refuge, renowned as a wonderful venue for raptor photography. The weather turned cold and rainy, but we soldiered on, donned in long underwear, rain pants, raincoats, gloves, and a big spirit where we were to meet four participants, one of whom uses a wheelchair. Patty Raney showed us to the accessible blinds and provided the raptors with a pile of fresh raw chicken from the local grocery store. She and the owners, John and Audrey Martin, embrace the challenge of providing an accessible venue. Our participants were photographers, and once snug in two blinds (well... maybe snug isn't quite the right word),


we all experienced some amazingly close views of crested caracaras, Harris's hawks, turkey vultures, and black vultures.

My favorite scene from that morning, other than watching the participants smiling broadly behind their enormous lenses, shooting one excited frame after another, was listening to the croaking sound emitted from the juvenile crested caracara immediately before snaking its head all the way to its
back and then forward again. Fascinating! All bird photos taken by Laurie Foss.

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