Home from the Big Bend Country


We got back home from the Big Bend area late yesterday afternoon.  As usual, it was an enjoyable four days.  We saw lots of wildlife and got several hundred photos that I will be sharing over the next few days and weeks.  We don’t have any plans to go back before spring.  The weather was delightful, mid-nineties, then much cooler on the trip home on Friday.

We had left home early Monday morning, headed due south to Sonora, Texas.  We picked up Interstate 10 West where the speed limit is 80MPH and were able to get to Fort Stockton in quick time.  From there south again on Hwy 385 to Marathon, Texas where the Big Bend National Park is just a few miles south.

After filling the gas tank, we headed that way south, intending to spend a few hours in the park before heading to stay in our little cabin in Study Butte.  While traveling towards the entrance to the park, as we were about to approach the Border Patrol check-point, we spotted a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) on a post.  Since I went a few yards past, I promptly took a quick U-turn to go back and photograph it.  I may have looked a bit suspicious to the men at the check-point, as they watched me go back.

Anyway, I got a these photos of him on the post, then one as he left the perch.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Further down the road, we saw this Common Raven, (Corvus corax).

Common Raven

 I think it is one of my best photos of a raven.  With their solid black color, my past attempts left much to be desired.  I adjusted the EV enough so I think it worked well.  I also like this photo as he, at this point, scruffed up his chin feathers.

 After shooting the raven we sped on down the road, and waved at the Border Patrol as we went by.  By the way, they only stop vehicles that are leaving the park, away from the border.  So they will be seeing us later in the week.

Photo data:  All photos were shot with my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 100-400 IS zoom lens, using spot metering with aperture priority.

Hawk:  1/1000 sec. @ f5.6 – minus 2/3 EV, ISO 100

Raven:  1/400 sec. @ f6.3 – plus 1/3 EV, ISO 200

 As you can understand, these are just a few of the first day highlights.  It will take me several days to process and edit  all my photos.  But these will do for a start.  I will also be telling you about other places we visited along the way.  So have a great weekend.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

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30 thoughts on “Home from the Big Bend Country

  1. You have captured two of my favorite birds. Unfortunately I hit a Red Tailed Hawk three days after moving up here to the mountains. Then two days later I hit it’s mate. Talk about guilt. I must have cried for weeks. Our Ravens are so big, large size dogs run in fear. They are like something out of a fairy tale.

  2. Definitely a place I’d like to go! Love the photo of the Common Raven. Black birds are so difficult to photograph, and your photo is super! Look forward to your bird photos. . . 🙂

  3. Now you are not only famous but notorious! Ha, ha, ha … I can just see the expressions on the patrols when you u-turned and sped away. Did you stop in the middle of the highway to take the photo??? Further adding to their dismay? 😉

    • I am the famous and notorious (and dangerous) Black Bart of the Big Bend. Of course, I stopped in middle of the highway, silly, I didn’t want to get mesquite thorns and icky stuff in my tires. 🙂

  4. Awesome raven photograph!! You really nailed the exposure to get detail in such a uniformly dark and shadowed creature. Looking forward to more of your Big Bend photos 🙂

  5. Glad you had a great trip. We’ll be anxious to hear more and see your photos. Hope you post a list of your sightings while in Big Bend.

  6. HI Bob & Ann,
    The pics of the redtail are excellent I been waiting to see them since you told me about them tuesday…it was great seeing ya’ll again and we enjoyed having you for breakfast every morning keep taking those wonderful pictures and we’ll see you soon…

  7. Hey welcome back Bob!
    I’m glad that you had a good time and shot lots of pictures I’m sure they all will be terrific!
    I miss you partner!.

  8. What a start to your trip, Bob! I would imagine it will take quite a bit of time to process the rest of your photos! Love the second red tail hawk photo with the action. And the raven photo is wonderful. Love the scruffy feathers and that unmistakable beak. Great images, Bob. And welcome back!

    • Yes, that was a great start. Now I will start screening the rest of my shots. I usually only end up with a couple of dozen that I really like. The rest will go into the archives for re-consideration later. (or the round file.) 🙂

  9. Bob I gotta say that these are magnificent. As I said before I love birds of prey. I used to see a kestrel almost every day hovering over the fallow field near home. Loved that little guy. LIke the raven too!!

    • David, I really appreciate you writing, after my gross mis-understanding of what you were trying to say in a previous post of yours. I guess we’re still friends? Anyway, I too love the birds of prey. They are my favorites, but in reality I love them all. About the Raven, I had been trying to get a presentable shot of one for a long time. It is difficult to get a perfect exposure for those solid blacks.

  10. Great photos Bob! We’ve just came back from a walk on the Downs where we saw a raven doing amazing barrel rolls and a kestrel hanging in the air for ages before diving down to catch something small in the grasses.

  11. The Red-tailed Hawks also are so great as we have one that lives in our neighborhood and perches on top of partially dead pine tree. The Raven is fabulous with his scruffed up chin feathers. As usual, wonderful..what else can I say…have a great day and glad you had a good trip before winter…

  12. Amazing – as I expected!! That IS a great image of a raven, little coincidental that I was just reading some stuff by Poe for my “Halloween” post (decided against it….). Looking forward to more! 🙂

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