Skip Navigation

Wildlife Photography

Ibis_512x219Wildlife photographers are drawn to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge for the amazing opportunities to photograph wildlife within a beautiful setting.  Grab your camera!

Near the Visitor Center 

On the east side of the Visitor Center, suet is placed on wooden logs to attracts butterflies, dragonflies, and small insects. This is a great place to photograph butterflies and dragonflies. A water feature gets a lot of use by interesting wildlife and a bench is available for sitting and viewing.

Green jays, altamira orioles, woodpeckers, buff-bellied hummingbirds, doves, and red-winged blackbirds are frequently seen from a small blind built by the Youth Conservation Corps behind the Visitor Center butterfly garden. A small pond is visible and is surrounded by coral bean, golden leaved daisy, texas lantana, mist flowers, and sage – a great backdrop for photographing wildlife. Fruit and suet for the birds are left every morning and humming bird feeders are located around the pond. 

Another feeding station is located on the west side of the Visitor Center, where suet and bird seed is left in the mornings. Humming bird feeders are also available in the area. Across the feeding station is a water feature surrounded by trees and small shrubs. Benches are available around the feeding station and pond to bird watch.  Birds that can be seen in this area include the clay colored thrush, green jays, chachalacas, orioles, and woodpeckers. Reptiles & amphibians can also been seen around the pond, including gulf coast ribbon snakes, indigos, spiny lizards, marine toads, and leopard frogs.

Near the Tree Tower 

A water feature is located at the photo blind that is a two minute walk from the fire watch tower. Benches are available in the enclosed photo blind with openings covered with burlap for easy viewing and photography of the birds and wildlife. Fruit and seed are left every morning to attract the birds. There are notable specialty birds to photograph here, including the black-crested titmouse, golden-fronted woodpeckers, altamira orioles, olive sparrows and green jays. Large mammals can also be seen at the blind, including bobcats, javelinas and raccoons.  This is a good area to photography reptiles & amphibians like the Texas tortoise, leopard frogs, marine toads, and threatened indigo snakes.

Around the Refuge: 

Butterflies and dragonflies can be best photographed by the Visitor Center’s water features and feeding stations.

Reptiles and amphibians can be photographed by any of the lakes/resacas, walking trails, or photo blind.

Great pictures of birds can be taken by the Visitor Center, photo blind, or any of the resacas that are located on the walking trails, including Willow and Pintail Lakes.

Page Photo Credits — Ibis / Marvin DeJong
Last Updated: May 08, 2012
Return to main navigation