Sunday, June 14, 2009

Los Madrones

Los Madrones is one of several ranches that has converted from agricultural usage to conservation usage. Mike Murphy and his wife, Julie are working to improve habitat for the endangered species the golden cheeked warbler and also for the Rio Grande Turkey. Members of the Texas Hill Country Nature Photography Alliance, there are numerous blinds with both feeding stations and water features that attract many species of birds as well as other native "critters." It is a great place for both birders and photographers. It is also a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a quiet retreat back to nature.

Guests stay at the Casita, a beautiful cabin with both sleeping quarters and a small well equipped kitchen.

The living room is comfortable, but purposefully without TV so that guests can have the opportunity to commune with the beautiful natural surroundings and the peaceful tranquil evenings. Wireless internet is available for those who must stay connected with the outside world.

While there are some nearby restaurants for breakfast and dinner (and I found menus for those restaurants on the table), I wanted to fully enjoy my time at the ranch both for the evening light and sunset and the early morning birding, so I brought a simple dinner and breakfast. The refrigerated came with cream for your coffee and beverages of your choice.

I love the way the perches were set up. Mike provides bird seed, peanut butter, oranges, and bark butter. You can rearrange the props and put the bark butter where you would like the birds to come in to perch.

The blinds are comfortable and it was easy to set up my 300-800 mm lens. Had I been shooting with my 100-400, I would have moved the perches closer to the blind.

There is also a wonderful area around Little Bee Creek that I'm looking forward to exploring when the drought is officially over and the water is flowing again.

My bird list for my stay:
red tailed hawk
bobwhite quail
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
House finch
Lark Sparrow
Lesser goldfinch
Mourning Dove
White winged dove
Painted bunting (female)
Rufous crowned Sparrow
Scrub jay
Brown headed cowbird

I heard chuck will's widow, scarlet tanager, and I think one of the turkeys.

There were deer at the blind right before dawn and squirrels.

I'm looking forward to going back to Los Madrones during the fall or next spring - a peaceful place, congenial hosts, comfortable accomodations, great birding and photography opportunities!

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