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When it comes to filming wildlife we all of course have certain animals on target list. But, as any wildlife photographer knows, you truly never know what you are going to find when you head to the field on a filming trip. You don’t always get what you set out to film but sometimes you get what you never expected. While traveling from the Hill country down through the Trans Pecos during the month of June, Ray and I were able to gather great footage of Western Screech Owls and Elf Owls!
Elf Owls are the smallest owl in the world; as adults these birds weigh at most 1.4oz! That is as much as 8 nickles! Incredible! This pair of Elf owls in the Davis Mountains had taken up roost in what appeared to be an abandoned woodpecker cavity. We were able to capture them foraging at night to feed their young. The owls were filmed in infrared light, which is not visible to the eye and does not disturb the birds in any way. The result, awesome footage of parental care and the curiosity of an adorable young owl.
Special thanks to Shawn Bice, Regional Interpretive Specialist Cassie Honolka, Superintendent Wanda Olszewski and District Leader Mark Lockwood for their support and warm welcome to the park.
-Jessie and Ray
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One thing is for sure, Ray and I get more than our fair share of traveling. We have traversed the Great Plains, camped along the coast from Texas to Key West and we are exploring every inch of what this great state has to offer. One of the best things about traveling is the quaint Texas towns we find and the hidden gems of restaurants these towns posses. One such favorite town of ours is Rocksprings, Tx. To many, Rocksprings may look like a one horse town but a stay in the Historic Rocksprings Hotel and a home cooked Mexican breakfast will change anyone’s perception. The hotel is rustic with orginal hardwood floors that span throughout all the rooms in the hotel. The hotel has a “me casa es su casa” feel. One that allows guests to merrily make their way down to the kitchen to grab a midnight snack. There are several large siting room filled with antique furniture, each table displaying books on art, Native American culture and the area’s natural history. There is a porch that wraps around the hotel with rocking chairs to sit on at night after a bath in a clawfoot bathtub. One if the best things about this hotel apart from the owners hospitality, is the old lady who stands beside the staircase in the lobby. A second glance will reveal that the lady by the staircase is a wax figure but only after you have greeted her with a smile or a late night “hello. ”
In the mornings, we always make it our mission to eat “Nora’s Special,” a home cooked Mexican breakfast just down the street. Nora’s Special is a personalized plate named after Nora herself, a long time customer who we meet in the restaurant. The plate isn’t listed on the menu so do what Nora told us to do “just tell ’em you want Nora’s special.”
Homemade flour tortillas, salsa, beans with scrambled eggs and coffee to boot makes this place a must eat for us whenever we find ourselves in the Texas Hill Country. We have tried and tried again to shoot a photo that captures the taste and aroma of Nora’s Special but we can’t restrain ourselves when our food arrives at the table. All of the photos we have are of half eaten plates we snapped while our coffee was being refilled.