This morning I headed out to Tres Rios with the intention of photographing some Turkey vultures. I was armed with some raw meat and liver to bait the vultures to a photographic spot. This is a very controversial aspect of wildlife photography. One argument is that luring birds with food can a) put the birds in danger, b)decrease their ability to find their own food and make them reliant on alternate food sources c) spread disease by encouraging birds to congregate. However, in this situation I established my lure far away from any danger, baited in an area already rich in food sources and baited for birds that already congregate for feeding.
About 30 minutes after I got set up the rain started, so I decided to use my car as a hide (‘blind’ for my US friends). After another 15 minutes 2 cars from the Phoenix Police Department converged on me after receiving reports of a suspicious car parked in the desert! An hour later I was approached by an officer from the Gila River Indian Reservation Police, Although I was not trespassing, he wanted me to be aware that I was very close to the reservation boundary. All of the officers were very polite, but I think they probably scared all the vultures out of the area by driving out to where I was parked.
The upshot of this is that I saw no vultures until I was driving home! However, there was a surprise event for me when I watched 2 wild dogs leave their pack and trot over to my meat feast! They were very calm and did not seem at all bothered by me.
The only other visitor I had was a lonely Mourning Dove… not quite the carcass eating vulture I was looking for
One other shot from today… a couple of Cormorants flying to the south of where I was located I thought it would make a nice landscape shot. When I downloaded it to my computer I practiced a little post-processing – turning a fairly drab, grey landscape into a faux-sunset shot. The process involved changing almost everything in the shot, but I think that the result was successful. Here is the before and after for comparison:
I think that next weeks trip might be to a new place – The Salt River Restoration Project… watch this space for updates.