Saturday, July 19, 2014

South Texas Photography Trip- June 2014

First, this particular area of south Texas is called the Rio Grande Valley, more specifically, the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  It is where the Rio Grande River meets the Gulf of Mexico, and is considered one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America, where over 500 species of birds have been documented. During migratory times, species from the Central and Mississippi flyway end up funneling through this region. Plus, many birds from South and Central America reach the northernmost point of their range on the Rio Grande, with some not migrating any farther north.

Additionally, the Valley is where four climates, temperate, desert, coastal and sub-tropical, converge.  This diversity helps support 1,200 plant species, which in turn attracts and supports all these species of birds. It also helps support an abundance of reptiles, mammals and insects, including butterflies, who also migrate through this area.  This is also where a number of photography ranches have been started.

Last year three of my friends, Debby, Eloy, Lance and I went to south Texas for the first time.  We visited two photography ranches, the Santa Clara and Martin Ranches, and at the end of the week we all decided we wanted to return the following year. Our visit last year was in the first half of May, and the weather was a bit cloudy, not real warm, with some rain.  None of which are real good for attracting birds to the waterholes, which is what, for the most part, is what the photography is all about at the ranches. But, having said that, we all still got wonderful images. We asked one of our guides, Hector Astorga, who is the manager and was our guide at the Santa Clara Ranch, when was his favorite time of year.  He said June, because it is usually sunny, no rain, and HOT. These conditions concentrate the wildlife around the waterholes and in front of your cameras. When I returned home, I started looking at dates, for Hector had said he already had many bookings for next year, and we all decided we wanted to return to the Santa Clara Ranch.  Also, I wanted to look at what other ranch we wanted to visit.  I asked around and spoke with a few people and decided on going to the Laguna Seca Ranch.  Now, I had to choose our guide at the Laguna Seca Ranch.  After more networking, I chose Ruth Hoyt.  I called Ruth, for she is also the contact for reservations at the ranch.  We had a great chat, she penciled in our dates, and that was it for 6 months. One of our group, Lance could not make it, so a friend of Eloy's joined us, Carlos.  March of 2014 rolled around and now it was time to send in deposits and find flight reservations for the four of us to McAllen, Texas. Most of the ranches are within an hour of McAllen.  I searched what flights would work for everyone, for one person was already going to be in Houston, the other three, including myself were flying in from Florida, but from three different points of departure.  We had met in Houston last year, then the four of us had flown the same plane to McAllen, but this year that did not seem to want to work.  I wanted us to get into McAllen in time to get to the ranch and have nice afternoon shoot.  I decided that for the three of us coming from Florida, Dallas was going to be the place to meet, then take the same plane to McAllen. So I told the other two from Florida what time they had to be in Dallas, and the person coming from Houston, what time we would be in McAllen.  Within a few days everyone had their flights picked and booked, now enthusiastically awaiting departure in June.  I will put all links of interest at the end of this blog post.

The week before our departure, which was Saturday, June 7th, I contacted everyone to make sure there were no last minute issues.  Everyone said A OK, and boy are we ready!! All of our airline connections worked out just fine.  We met Debby, coming from Houston in McAllen, around 3:30 PM, got our minivan from Hertz and off we went to the Santa Clara Ranch.  We had used a minivan the last visit and it worked a treat for the four of us and our equipment.  At 5:30 PM we were in a blind with our cameras, ready for a terrific week! The Santa Clara Ranch has a VERY nice bunkhouse located within minutes or all the blinds, in fact one of the blinds is within 50 feet of the front door.  It has four bedrooms with two twin beds, two bedrooms sharing one bathroom.  In the middle is a very large family type room that includes dining table and kitchen.  There is wifi, but being satellite, a bit slow.  You can buy your own food and cook yourself, but my philosophy is I AM ON VACATION/PHOTOGRAPHY TRIP, and I do not cook, which is how the others felt, so we picked the option to have the cook and cleaner.  She is a VERY nice lady, who cooks the most splendid Mexican meals.  She is there very early to cook breakfast and when you arrive back after your morning and afternoon shoots, the house smells great. Hector Astorga was again our guide.  He is also an excellent photographer in his own right, who is full of knowledge of the area wildlife and photography. 

This is Hector setting up some perches at one of the blinds

A pic of us at one of the other blinds

Inside one of the blinds

There are two morning blinds, two afternoon blinds and two raptor blinds.  The equipment I suggest is if you shoot with a FX body then up to a 600 mm lens is perfect.  If you shoot with a DX body then up to a 500 mm lens works a treat. I had a Nikon D800 body, which is FX, attached to my Nikon 500 f/4 lens, using it with and without a 1.4 TC.  I then had a Nikon D7100, which is a DX, attached to my Nikon 300 f/4 lens. A telephoto lens with like a 70-200 mm lens would work fine too.  Carlos had a Nikon D4 with the Nikon 200-400 lens, but would use it many times with a TC.  Eloy had a Canon 1DX with the Canon 200-400 and built in 1.4TC.  Sometimes Eloy would use his additional 1.4TC.  Debby mostly used her Nikon D4 with the Nikon 500 f/4 lens with and without the Nikon 1.4TC. There is no problem setting up tripods in the blinds.
The temperatures were definitely hot....

BUT, the activity was well worth it.  From within minutes of arriving to the blinds we would have subjects to aim our cameras.  And, over the next few days we would not be disappointed.  What we did find out, unlike in May when we saw plenty of raptors, this time of year, most are on nests.  Their activity was way down, but all others way up.

Green Jay

Male Pyrrhuloxia

Great Roadrunner

Mexican Ground Squirrel

Great Kiskadee

After three nights and three and half terrific days, we said goodbye to the Santa Clara Ranch and our wonderful guide Hector.

We drove to Edinburg for the night. That is where we would be staying for our visits to the Laguna Seca Ranch.  That ranch is about 25 minutes drive from Edinburg.  Edinburg is twelve miles north of McAllan.  I contacted Ruth and arranged our meeting her at the gate of the ranch 6:30 am the following morning, Wednesday, June 11th.  We stayed at the Best Western in Edinburg for the four nights.  Very reasonable, clean and safe.  Now, as the Santa Clara Ranch had more intimate surrounds for its blinds and waterholes, the Laguna Seca Ranch was more open, for the property was formerly pasture type land. Ruth met us at the gate, showed us around, we picked a blind, and again the action began soon after.  Again, as with Hector, Ruth asked us about perches, where we wanted them set up and how they looked from our positions in the blind as she set them up.  We could help as much or as little as we wanted.

Eloy helping Ruth at one of the blinds

 Inside the blinds

Yes, again it was HOT!!

But, again the heat brought out the wildlife.  During each session Ruth would change up the perches, so your look would be different through out your visit to the ranch.  The cooler was kept full of water, and if you kept drinking, all was good.  About 10:30 am to 11:00 am each day we would break, drive back to the Edinburg, eat, rest, and download. We would meet back at the ranch at around 4:00 pm and stay till the light was gone.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Male Painted Bunting

Roseate Skimmer

Long-billed Thrasher

We departed the Laguna Seca Ranch Friday the 13th as the sun set, for the last time. Many thanks to Ruth for an awesome experience.  Ruth is also a wonderful photographer in her own right.  We spend the night back in Edinburg and drove to McAllen early the next morning for our flights home.  All saying that another visit was definitely needed to this area. We also found out that the Martin Ranch will close after this year.

Cost per person for the week, including flights, food, ranch fees, guide fees, rental car and accommodations was around $2500.00.  Three of us used American Airlines from Dallas to McAllen.  We had a full size jet, so no problems with carry on space.  United Airlines from Houston tend to use the smaller commuter jets, which can be a problem with carry on camera packs.  In the past,  I have not had issues hand checking my pack at the airplane, always making sure I am right there at the bottom of the stairs as they unload.

Below are links of interest for the ranches and our guides Hector and Ruth.

My website, where you can view more of my images from my several visits to south Texas and more (I am updating daily with images from this last trip)

Hector Astorga's Website

Ruth Hoyt's Website

The Santa Clara Ranch

The Laguna Seca Ranch

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

South Texas Photography Trip- May 2013

Over the last several years, in a number of photography forums I follow, I kept seeing wonderful images from several of the photography ranches in south Texas.  Each year I would say, I need to get down there.  Well, last summer I decided to plan the trip.  I asked three of my photog friends if they wanted to join me, Lance Hall, Eloy Castroverde and Debby Stubbs.  All three thought it was a great idea!  It turned out four was a perfect number, as you will see later.

I had to decide what time of year to plan our visit.  South Texas, or more specifically the Rio Grande Valley, where most of these ranches are located, is a transition zone where the semi tropical Rio Grande River habitat meets the semi-arid chaparral brush of South Texas. This area is only 15 miles from the Mexican border.  The Valley hosts more than 500 species of birds.  Quite a few species of birds stay around all year, like the raptors, with the most common being the Harris Hawks and Crested Caracaras, along with the North American Cardinals, Green Jays, Great Kiskadee, Golden Fronted Woodpeckers, Greater Roadrunners, doves, Scaled Quail, Black-crested Titmouse, vireo species and an assortment of others.  Then there are the mammals, like the coyotes, bobcats and whitetail deer, and reptiles that regularly inhabit the area. During certain times of the year there are influxes of other species, mostly because of migratory patterns, such as during the spring when you would see many more species of birds, like warblers, and October when there are great numbers of butterflies moving through the area.  Along with the wildlife, many of the cacti, shrubs, trees and other plant species are endemic, or found no where else in the world.  I then had to think of the weather.  January and February being cooler with the occasional warm day.  Then as Spring approaches, the days warm up and the area gets greener with a bit more rain. The wildflowers and prickly pear cactus start blooming.  The permanent resident species like the Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, and Altamira Oriole start breeding.  The summer residents start arriving also to breed and nest such as the Painted Buntings.  Reptiles and amphibians are seen more and insects increase in number. June the days are quite warm, less cloudy and the summer and resident birds are nesting.  I decided on May to catch the migration and to have warmer days, but maybe not too hot.

Now to decide which ranches to visit.  I had already decided on choosing just two, because that would give us a bit of time on each and not have us feel like we were moving around all the time.  The Santa Clara Ranch I had heard the most about, so that was going to be one of them.  Then the raptor blind at the Martin Refuge was also mentioned quite a lot, so the Martin Refuge was the second ranch for us to visit.  The other two I looked at was the Dos Venadas Ranch and The Laguna Seca Ranch.

Thirdly, the logistics had to be worked out for the group.  The ranches are located near McAllen, Texas and for the most part one has to fly into Dallas or Houston first then take a smaller commuter to McAllen.  I chose Houston for myself, and found it easier for the others to fly into Houston also, for I found a flight from Houston to McAllen that we all could be on, so that we all arrived into McAllen at the same time.  I chose a mini van from Hertz to rent, which was perfect.  We turned down the back seats and the four of us had plenty of room for our camera equipment, especially our tripods.  As far as accommodations go, we stayed at the Guesthouse right on the Santa Clara Ranch for that visit.  The Santa Clara Ranch is about a 50 minute drive from McAllen, in McCook.  We then stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, in Mission, for our visit to the Martin Refuge, which was only a 25 minute drive away.  Mission is only a 10 minute drive west of McAllen.

My contact with the Santa Clara Ranch had been Hector Astorga.  He is the ranch manager and a wonderful photographer in his own right.  He would be our guide for the first two days, but the ranch owner Dr. Beto Gutierrez, greeted us on our arrival.  He is also a great photographer.  Actually, he met us half way to the ranch and we followed him there.  He gave us our introduction, the rules of the ranch and watching out for the snakes, mostly rattlesnakes, but they do on occasion find a coral snake.  He is VERY enthusiastic about his ranch and a joy to be around. Since we arrived around 4 pm, we had the opportunity to start shooting right away.  In fact, one of the blinds was right outside our front door.  All the other blinds are within just a few minutes drive from the Guesthouse.  The blinds and setups are what the ranches are all about.  The blinds are permanent, either built above ground or below, situated for either morning or afternoon light.  The raptor blinds tend to be above ground to give you a better point of view for the birds flying onto the perches.  The other blinds have small waterholes in front of them, you sit at ground level, with the vegetation being placed so that backgrounds are pleasing for photography. Each of the waterhole blinds have feeders so that the birds would get use to the place and make it  part of their pattern for food. Placing natural perches in the right places completed ones setup to get into the blinds and wait for the action.  Bringing some kind of fruit along and placing it near the perches also helped attract birds like the Green Jay and Golden Fronted Woodpecker. For the raptor blinds, meat is brought out to attract mostly the Crested Caracaras and Harris Hawks. You can view better images of the Guesthouse on the Santa Clara Ranch website,, but to say, it is very comfortable and clean. It has a full kitchen, washer-dryer and satellite wireless internet access, but it is slow. You can either bring your own food, go grocery shopping when you get into McAllen, or buy the plan that the very nice young Mexican lady, Gabby, cooks for you, which is what we did.  The food is terrific!  The plan includes all the food and drinks, such as soft drinks and water.  I highly recommend this, for your days are long.  We were up at 5 am, out to the blinds at dawn, return at about 11:30 for three or so hours, for lunch and go over our images, and back out to the blinds till about 7:30 pm or so.  Most all of the ranches require you to have a guide at least for your first visit.  I definitely recommend this!!  Hector would get you familiar with the blinds and give you an idea of what to expect, but most of all he would setup those lovely natural perches.  None of us had done that before and we all learned a lot about perch setup and how to attract the different species. Below are just a few pictures of us in and around the blinds.  Most of the blinds are suited for four people. The first one is Hector putting together some perches for us.

So with a bit of planning and setup, we waited for the wildlife to show. The two mammals that mostly did come around were the Mexican ground squirrel and the Javelina, or skunk pig, which is really a Peccary. We were never disappointed.  Our first few days were a bit more cloudy and rainy than usual, which slows the action some. You see when it does not rain, the birds need the waterholes for drinking water and bathing.  When it rains more the water is spread around.  We hope for NO rain next year when we return.  But, after saying all that, we were thrilled with all the different takers to our waterholes anyway.

Male Painted Bunting

Green Jay

Golden Fronted Woodpecker

Magnolia Warbler

Crested Caracara

A Mexican Ground Squirrel at our seed offering

On to the Martin Refuge.  The best part of the Martin Refuge is their raptor blind.  Patty, who is the guide there puts out 50 or so pounds of meat and boy it is like ringing the dinner bell, or should I say breakfast bell, for it is a morning shoot.  Within minutes there would be 40 or more birds, mostly Crested Caracaras, but there would also be the vultures and Harris Hawks.

Crested Caracaras

Harris Hawk

Crested Caracaras


Well, that gives you a good overview of the ranches, now for some information on the camera equipment best suited for your visit.  If one has a full frame camera, FX, a 600 mm lens is not too long, but for a crop factor camera body, DX, it is.  I feel a 500 mm lens on a DX body is probably pretty close to perfect, or a lens like the Nikon 200-400 lens.  I never used my TC on my Nikon 500 mm f/4 lens with my Nikon D7100, which is a DX camera body.  On my other body, I had the Nikon 300mm f/4 lens, which I used with and without the Nikon 1.4TC.  I used that setup for most of my Martin Refuge Crested Caracara flight images.  The Nikon 500 mm f/4 lens I used mostly for the smaller type birds.  So one telephoto lens and one shorter type zoom would work a treat.  For the most part the weather will be good with plenty of sun, ie light, but of course, for those days that might be cloudy, and/or to be able to have the shutter speeds needed to capture the action, it would be nice to have a camera body that could give good results at the higher iso settings.


Depending on the cost of your airfare, a good figure to count on is around $2500.00 for the week per person, with at least four people in your group.  That includes food, daily blind fees, rent a car, lodging, airfare and tips.  This is based on double occupancy at the hotels.  Four is the magic number for getting discounts from the ranches on guide and blind fees.  Just click on the names of the ranches above in the article, and that will take you to their websites for more information.

All four of us had a great deal of fun, learned a lot and had wonderful photo ops! To view more of my images from this trip, and my other work, please visit my website Naturesportal.  I update the website frequently with new images,  so I welcome you to return often.

May you find that perfect light at just the right moment. Nancy Elwood

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Local Wetlands Never Disappoint

For us nature photographers who are lucky enough to live in Florida, when the shorebirds of Spring and Summer all leave their nesting areas, we wait with great anticipation for December, when the season starts all over again.  So December rolled around and as if nature wanted to reward our patience, our wetland areas started filling with our favorite species of birds.  You see, for the most part, except for the smaller birds, such as the warblers, the birds in Florida do not necessarily migrate.  They have their nesting areas or rookeries and then the areas they spend the rest of the year within the state.  When, in December, they start returning to their nesting areas, their appearances start to change. Their colors start to get vibrant and they develop plumage that is shown off during displays to attract a mate and for bonding behaviors once a mate is found.  The first ones to start things off in my very favorite wetlands, The Rich Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Viera, Florida, are the Great Blue Herons and Anhingas.  These are just a few examples. To view others please visit my main website

Great Blue Heron Pair

Great Blue Heron Pair

Great Blue Heron Male Offering a Stick at Dawn

Prelude to Mating- Great Blue Heron Pair

Anhinga Pair-  Female Left, Male Right

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The White Mountains In Fall

During the last week of this past September, I was able to spend a few days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The weather turned out not to be ideal, but the mountains were ablaze with the fall colors. We stayed at The Holiday Inn Express in North Conway. Definitely a hotel I would recommend. There are plenty of B&B's (Bed and Breakfasts), but of course we were up early to be out on the road to get in as much photography as I could, and the Holiday Inn had a nice hot breakfast and plenty of coffee out and ready starting at 6:00 am, which was perfect. There are three websites, that a friend recommended to me, and I will pass on, for they are a wealth of information for the New Hampshire, White Mountains, area, and give great fall foliage reports. They are Yankeemagazine, and 

The roads are excellent and are very well sign posted.  The most well known of the roads is the Kancamagus  Hwy, often referred to as the best fall foliage trip in the United States.  It runs E-W for 34 miles out of Conway through the White Mountains to Lincoln, New Hampshire.  There are many points of interest and trails with places to park along the Kanc, which is what the locals call it.  One could spend from a short weekend to several weeks exploring the many roads that run through the White Mountains, with most having historic little towns that are great for exploring and refreshments before continuing your journey.  We flew into Boston and then rented a car.  From Boston, Conway, New Hampshire is around a three hour drive.  If one was just going to the Conway area, there are flights into Manchester, New Hampshire which would cut the drive in half.  Below are just a few of the images I was fortunate to capture.


All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Monday, September 10, 2012

HOT, But Always Something To Capture

Bird photography in Florida during August and September tends to be relatively slow. Sort of that in between stage after the nesting and fledging has finished and before the migrating birds find their way to us from the north and the cool fronts have any effect at all. It is hot, and the heat and humidity is felt by all the creatures, including humans. Plus, the light gets harsh very quickly in the mornings, so ones time is limited for that nice warm light that brings out the best in all images. But, I like to get out at least once a week to see what there is out there, and yes maybe catch that special moment. Other creatures that might have been overlooked before can pose for some wonderful images. As I always tell people, if you are not out there, you will not capture anything, guaranteed. Here are a few of the images captured over the last few weeks.
Roseate Spoonbill

Tricolored Heron

Needham's Skimmer

Tree Frog

White Peacock

All images are copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Dell UltraSharp U2312HM With LED Flat Panel Monitor Review

Recently my 19 inch, 6 year old, View Sonic flat panel monitor gave up the ghost, as they say. So, time to check out reviews, and get a new one. This would be my main monitor, also using a 15 inch Samsung for NX2 and Photoshop menus, mail and such. I wanted a larger one, but I thought 30 inches would be too large for my office desk setup. Definitely did not want a glossy display, but for sure wanted one with IPS, which is In Plane Switching. You ask, what in the world is this IPS? It is a technology developed in 1996 by Hitachi, but essentially it ensures color accuracy from any viewing angle. I went to one of my main sources of photography information, Naturescapes, . It is a great photography forum with like minded folks that have plenty of knowledge and experience. There were a few higher priced monitors mentioned, mostly by NEC, but the more reasonably priced ones that kept coming up were Dell's UltraSharp models. Dell's UltraSharp monitors start at 22 inches and go up to 30 inches. I decided on the 23 inch one, which through Dell was $299.00. They are all wide screen. I clicked the "check out" button and awaited the little brown truck. I received it 5 days later. My husband put the stand on and said it was VERY easy to setup. It comes with VGA and DVI cables and a USB upstream cable, which enables the USB ports on the monitor, which there are four, two on the back and two on the left side. There is also a DisplayPort connector and a DC power connector for a Dell Soundbar. This monitor swivels and tilts for your best viewing angle and can also be positioned in portrait mode. I plugged it in and turned the computer on. The Windows 7 64- bit OS recognized it right away and installed the drivers without any problems. It went to the proper resolution of 1920 x 1080 without any adjustments by me. The colors seemed pretty good right out of the box, but I calibrate all my monitors with my Huey Pro, by Pantene. I did that, and noticed the Huey Pro adjusted the gamma ever so slightly. The main menus can be accessed by buttons on the bottom right of the display. There are brightness/contrast, Auto Adjust, Input Source, Color Settings- where you input RGB or YPbPr, Gamma- PC or MAC, and Preset Modes- Standard, Multimedia, Movie, Game, Text, Color Temp. or Custom Color, Display Settings, Other settings and the Personalize. Since I had used a hardware calibration, I did not adjust any of these settings. So far I am very happy with how it renders my images all through the steps of post processing. I would definitely recommend it or any of Dell's UltraSharp monitors.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summary Of My Maine Trip

The day before we left for home was spent just general sightseeing. The sky was thick with haze, which did not make for good photo ops. We made our final visit to what ended up being one of our favorite places to end the day, The Stress Free Moose Pub. The food and drink were very good and the people friendly. In fact, the people at all the places we were in Maine were polite and very friendly. We had used Delta to fly from Orlando to Bangor, with a stop in La Guardia. Even though our flights were somewhat late in both directions, the connections worked out well and the luggage arrived safe and sound both in Bangor and back in Orlando. Delta uses an Embrear 175 for the flight between La Guardia and Bangor. My Lowepro CompuTrekker Plus AW backpack, which is 14x9x20 fit just fine in the overheads. Our first hotel, to visit Acadia National Park, was the Isleview Motel and Cottages, in Trenton, just across the bridge from Mt Desert Island, which is where Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park is located. Although reasonable in price, the cottages were very small, but clean. As it turned out, because I guess of the economy, we could of arrived in the area with no reservations and had stayed in Bar Harbor at the same price. Most all the hotels on the island had vacancy signs. Our favorite place to eat in Bar Harbor was Getty's Pub. The seafood was terrific!! Our second stop was in Machias, which is not much of a town, so do not expect much. Machias is about 20 minutes away from Cutler, which is where the boat goes out of to see the puffins. Our hotel there was the Machias Motor Lodge. The rooms were clean, had two double beds, microwave and refrig. Helen's which is right next to the hotel is just about the only place to eat in town, but had great food, especially their fish and chips. There was a Dunkin Donuts just down the road on the way to Cutler, to get that cup of coffee and/or eats before your early morning puffin trip. I already mentioned in my Seventh Day blog where we stayed in Greenville. The trip certainly was a photographic success and we would look forward to visiting Maine again, possibly now though during the fall. Best to all!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eighth Day- Moosehead Lake Area

Another morning with Chris Young on one of the lovely lakes that are in this area. Chris takes you out in a canoe. I had never done a shoot from a canoe and boy is it a different perspective. As we got into the canoe and slid so quietly along into the lake we were met by the first image. Absolutely breathtaking!! We saw 6 moose and 4 loons, and at one time we had moose on one side of us and loons on the other. Some images below from today.

All images copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal

Monday, July 18, 2011

Seventh Day- Moosehead Lake Area

I know you are saying what happened to day 6, well we will call that an open day. No shooting went on, just driving from Machias to Greenville, which is around 3 hours. Greenville is a VERY small town on the shores of Moosehead Lake which is the largest lake in Maine and the largest mountain lake in the Eastern United States, with an area of 120 square miles. Also, there are 80 islands in the lake. Internet access is VERY spotty, with Verizon being the company of choose in these parts for cell phone reception. Most of the hotels are 2-3 miles from town with a few lodges being further out. We are staying at the Kineo View Motor Lodge, which is around 3 miles from the town. It is clean, reasonably priced and the staff is very friendly. This morning we were up early to meet up with Chris Young, a local guide. His website is He picked us up at the hotel and off we went to one of the local lakes looking for mostly loons, but also anything else we could find. There were just two of us so Chris had us in a canoe that sat the three of us just comfortably. He knows the area extremely well and the behavior of all the wildlife. The light was not great, and the wind picked up pretty early, but we were able to get full on moose as shown below and some loons. Tomorrow we are headed to a different lake, plus the weather is suppose to improve.

All images copyrighted by Nancy Elwood and Naturesportal