I and 3 of my photographer friends came to your place in May to find the new Grandstand and a belligerent woman who insisted I not extend tripod legs on the front row with my rig atop it.
Of course, NO ONE was sitting behind me and I wasn't robbing anyone of a perfect view.
I kept insisting that the sign you posted about being 'down in front' referred to being by the fence--not on the front row.
She said I needed to read your web site--I haven't EVER read your web site, but when I got back to Atlanta, I did.
I was quite shocked at what I read, and your attitude towards photographers seems to have really soured.
I have a site on Flickr, and have recommended to all that view my web site, that everyone go to Mary Jo Ballator's and Tony Battiste's due to the impossible restrictions you have placed on Hummingbird photography.
The Grandstand, in my opinion, is a disaster. It is at best uncomfortable and performing photography from it, is simply not possible.
So, as you say---if we don't like the rules---don't come---So, I won't ---unless you change the rules.
And once the bird photographers around the U.S. get wind of your new debacle, they , too, will avoid coming---- and I estimate the loss of revenue at $5 head at about $1500-$2000 month during the 'high' season, maybe more.
The ONLY bird you have a corner on is the White-eared--all the others can be viewed and photographed elsewhere.
As a member of Atlanta Audubon and of the 2011 Atlanta Audubon Photo Contest, I will be certain to get the word out to all the Georgia Bird Photographers regarding your new policies.
I will also advise the National Audubon Society and the American Birding Association of the new changes affecting bird photography at your place. I believe that unless you figure out some way to accommodate Photographers, your financial bottom line will most certainly be affected.
Sorely disappointed in Atlanta
David (6/16/2010) ***** Following is an email from a birder that read David's email. *****
Hoo-boy! Pretty puerile!! I'm sorry that you had to receive such a negative and threatening email,
Tom, You and your family certainly don't deserve such crap. Blessings, Michael (6/16/2010)
We returned to SE Arizona in our motorhome last summer and visited your ranch again. We can't thank you enough for your generousity with us. We were especially looking for the white-eared hummer and Tom shared with us the general time of day and location on your ranch that it had been seen. We returned the following evening and bingo there it was!! THANKS! While on your property we took the following pictures and would like to share them with you. They are yours for whatever use you may want to put them to. Redding California
Hello Edith, I planted a few of the seeds from the 4 o'clocks that you sent me last Spring. Finally I have a few blooms. They bloom much better in Arizona. Thank you for sending me the seed. I have enjoyed watching them grow and they should bloom now until frost. We hope to come visit you and your hummingbirds again. Columbia, MO
Dear Tom Sr., Just wanted to Thank you again for your hospitality and for allowing me and my 2 friends to visit the CAS, where after about 4 hours and 2 visits we finally saw the male WHITE-EARED HUMMINBIRD on 6/30. What a thrill that was and what a gorgeous bird! It was also a nice surprise to get a glimplse of a VIOLET-CROWNED HB at the lower feeders that same evening and of course all the other Hummers were a treat to watch as well. That Berryline hybrid was also very nice to see and a very interesting bird--it does appear to be larger than a Berryline should be--but that blue on the throat really makes me wonder what it is a hybrid with! From what I understand that bird has been present for at least 4 summers??--Can you confirm that? Thanks again--I hope to be back someday. Have a great day and a hummer-filled summer!
Dear Mr Beatty, Last week it was my wife's and my pleasure to visit you and your Ranch . We were so very impressed with the progress you have made over the last several years. 3 or 4 years ago we stayed in the little cabin high on the hill and had a great time. this time you let us go sit on the porch of the cabin where we watched the hummers, and then went up to the beautiful little oasis garden that you have created on the hillside. there we saw the white-ear, the hybrid, the black chinned , and several others, including the Magnificent. You have made a little garden of amazing beauty and we just wanted to say thank you for your hospitality and ghenerosity . We look forward to coming again and hope you might have a place on your Ranch for us to stay. This time we had our little 5th wheel and stayed in the valley but probably not next time. Again THANK YOU! Waldwick, NJ
Thanks again for the opportunity for Linda to see the White-ear. Even though it was a tough climb for an asmathic she is a good trooper and made. She is just begining to bird again with me and is really getting into it. It is sightings like today that helps keep her pumped up. It would not have been possible without you help. We left what we could in the sugar fund.
I have just returned to TX from a visit to AZ and a stay at your ranch. This was an experience that I shall never forget. I realize that it is an incredible amount of work for you to keep the feeders going, but what a wonderful contribution to the world of hummingbirds and hummingbird lovers like myself. As I have reviewed the information on hummingbird banding, I see that you definately hold the record in your area for birds, both quanity and variety. I had first heard about your place at a humminbird class I took at the 2002 TX Birding Festival in Harlingen. The instructor raved about the work that you are doing but I could not imagine that it would be as fantastic as it is. Thank you for creating such a breathtaking system for all to enjoy and marvel.
To Tom Sr. and Jr.: I want to thank you for the opportunity you provided to stay in one of the cabins high on the hill overlooking your property. The facilities are unique in construction and utilization. The birding was fantastic especially considering it was so early in the season. I was able to view and get pictures of a wide variety of birds. Your viewing area on the mountainside works very well. Thank you, also, for taking the time to sit and talk with those of us present. Both you and Tom Jr. made yourself available. The shots I got from inside the house in the orchard added greatly to the success of my stay. I am looking forward to my next visit and hope to stay longer. Castle Rock, CO
Tom, Thought I'd pass on our experience after we left you on Monday morning. Had to satisfy my curiosity about the famous Ramsey Canyon, so we stopped there. Couldn't get over the hoopla about the nowhere-but-here Leopard Frog. Funny thing is the staff couldn't even acknowledge seeing an adult frog. And the huge pond was full of green algae. What a contrast to the crowded, frog-happy pool in the front of our walkway in Cabin A. And even though they bragged to us about sightings of 15 hummingbird species, there wasn't a single hummer at their feeders at 2pm when we finished our hike. No Audubon Society gathering there. The real birders know where to come. We think you've done a great job of attracting wildlife for the enjoyment of enthusiasts like ourselves, although you're probably wishing the bears hadn't gotten the word. Carolyn and Bob
I visited your wonderful ranch on August 15 (2008). During my visit I added two birds to my life list, and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. While I am sure that you've got much better pictures, I have attached photos of my two lifers. Apparently, you were not on-site at the time, but I wanted to thank you for your generous hospitality. Your $5 fee for the CAS is truly a bargain, and your willingness to allow strangers on your property is a gift. I hope someday I can make it make back to be a guest at the ranch.