WTiaT

I need to get on the stick with these posts.  Between the yard work, running, birding and ramping up the Halloween prop lab for this year’s haunted trail (link here), things have been getting a bit bunched up.  I was going to wait a bit on this one, but an encounter a few days ago while hitting the trails for some training felt like a sign.

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Yes folks, we have our next installment of the “in a Tree” series.  This one is not as odd as the previous Roadrunner in a Tree as I’ve witnessed a Wild Turkey in a Tree (WTiaT) a few time times in the past.  Admittedly, on the rarer side as typically they are wandering around the ground or trying to play Frogger with Linda’s vehicle.  As luck would have it, this is one of the few species Linda doesn’t have a silhouette of on her front fender – for the record she stands firm her bumper is the victim of animal suicides.  

Wild Turkey found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, TX in January 2021

Hit the jump see a few more shots of our large bodied tree climber.

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GRiaT

We are finally back from our exploration part deux.  For those that didn’t already figure it out based on the recent comments, we headed down to the shores of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle for some migration birding.  Ron was able to join us down there making for a wonderful time.  We managed to hit the fallout while at Dauphin Island and had the best birding of our lives.  Ron and I are both in the +20s which means almost certain I’ll be hitting my 300 bird list goal by the end of the year .. assuming I can get those posts out by then.  More on the trip when I get to those posts. For now, going with what was previously the most recent trip – Texas in January.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

So, to set the stage for this featured feathered friend, I need to weave in one of my fellow bloggers. Timothy over at Off Center & Not Even (link here) is an Owl aficionado, purveyor of sunsets , accomplished musician, clever poet, Bird tinner, Cat nurturer and owns a slick looking red car… to highlight just a few facets of things he covers on his entertaining blog. 

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

Hit the jump to see more of this new behavior.

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Is That Double Stuf?

Well, the latest exploration is nearing completion. Time to turn the RV northward and begin the return leg. Like a good Oreo, our trips tend to be a bit crunchy on the ends, but sweet and delicious in the middle. This year the special ingredient was our first fallout resulting in a Warbler extravaganza. Before you get too excited about the future posts, be patient. On a normal outing I can be a bit heavy on the shudder – after this trip I will likely need months of therapy to simply uncurl my index finger. Not to mention I haven’t even scratched the surface from the January trip. Getting way ahead of myself – focus Bri, focus!

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

As we are officially over the hump, I can dive back into the older captures. Tonight’s featured feathered friend comes to us from Havana. Ummm, before you start having a flashback to a bad Patrick Swayze sequel, that’s Havana, ILLINOIS. A rather nondescript small rural town that happens to sit near Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge – the jewel of the Midwest when it comes to birding.

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

Hit the jump if you have a sweet tooth.

Continue reading Is That Double Stuf?

Ring ON the Tree

Finally back on the keyboard. All I can really say at this point is the days have gotten a bit crazy since we embarked on our second exploration of the year. First week was a bit tiring as that was primarily travel days. Last week ended up being a birder’s paradise thanks to a bit of luck on the weather front. We really tried not to continue our long history of tugging bad Midwest weather down wherever we go – unfortunately, it continued as horrible rains raced us to our destination. Even hopped over us and pounded our first main stopping point so everything was nice and soaked for our arrival. A bit bummed, we headed to the recommended birding spots expecting the worst. Wow, were we wrong – imagine hundreds of birders standing on the roads, standing on the trails, standing under the trees, hell, hanging from the trees. Appears we managed to experience our first fallout! Will post more on that when we finally return, however, as a teaser I am at LEAST +22 for the trip so far. Now to more pressing matters – getting to the end of the month and the post production is a bit light. All hail the King of Kings.

As we are in the early part of the week, the promise is to deliver the fresher posts.  Thankfully, I worked up a number of newer images before we departed.  Today’s featured feathered friend comes to you from the first exploration trip of the season back in January.  Seems like a lot longer than a mere three months ago.  That excursion took us to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and to a new location called Edinburg Scenic Wetlands. 

Hit to read a bit more about our rather stout Kingfisher or is it a scissors with feathers.

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Bird Bullies

I think we are somehow cursed. Maybe that love of all things Halloween has finally overwhelmed my good karma or maybe it is all just a coincidence that bad weather tends stick to us like nettles on shoestrings. Regardless of the reason, we have once again brought a weather plague on the inhabitants of our exploration destination. On our southern Texas adventure we managed to bring unusually cold temps and rain to the natives and to further add in insult, managed to vacate the area just before the epic snow and ice storm hit them (please accept our apologies). Today we reached a primary destination and sure enough they are basically flooding out. Is it asking too much to have some “plain” weather !?!

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Ummmm, there you go Mother Nature, jinxing me again clearly I requested plain WEATHER and what do I get.. a Plain Chachalaca. Unless this is a play on raining cats and birds, we are not properly communicating. Might as well go with it as the birding is currently at a standstill until this downpour lets up. As we are past the older post days, going with something fresh.

Plain Chachalaca found at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our featured bird.

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Mud Angels

Well, we are officially off on our exploration part deux for the year.  Just in time, it appears, as our hometown county is experiencing some unexpected high numbers of Covid outbreaks.  Not sure what is up with that, but at the moment, thankfully not something we need to worry about.  So far the birding has been a bit weak, however, I have been able to get a long run in on an amazing set of trails.  Told Linda it was like running on the set of The Last of the Mohicans.  Good for the soul and the long steep elevation climbs was a good reminder to the legs they are still in training.   As it is Flashback Friday, I get to pull from the front of the LIFO queue.  Meet today’s Featured Feathered Friend.

Sandhill Crane Wisconsin April 2013

We have been experiencing some unexpected cold temperatures on our exploration.  Our destination should be significantly warmer – in the meantime I have to keep reminding myself we are officially past winter ha.   While looking through the queue, noticed these shots that were taken in the same month and still had SNOW on the ground.

Sandhill Crane Wisconsin April 2013

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the big birds

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Tummy Duty

Greetings everyone.  A little off my posting pace as we’ve been preparing for another extended exploration.   This put me in a bit of a bind with my earlier promise to get you more recent material.  Unlike the older queue material, the newer images need to be worked up on the fly which is difficult to do on the road, nor do I really want to take the time to transfer all the data to portable storage.   Instead, I’ve been working feverishly in the digital darkroom to finish up some production work to cover posts while we are out and about.   All of this while Linda wants my help packing the RV – the nerve hehehehe.  While getting all this squared away, thought I’d throw out an older set of images to hold you over.  

American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

How about some cute cuddly Tree Swallows to brighten these pandemic days!?!   This is actually a sister post to one I made back in July of 2017 when the images were fresh to the month (link here).  I needed to work up an image for a photography competition at a local fair (first shot in that previous entry) and grabbed a couple of other random shots to fill out a post.  These are additional shots after I had time to go back and look at the entire shoot.  American Tree Swallow found at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in July 2017

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Cadbury Tryouts

Happy Easter everyone! This morning I was out on my 16 mile training run on the trails of Jubilee State Park when I came upon not one but TWO Easter Bunnies. At first I was admittedly a bit startled. Not so much that I would come upon them in the middle of running the woods, but they didn’t exactly fit the model. Sure, both had two rather large ears, but wasn’t expecting them to each have 6 legs, 2 arms and stand 6 feet tall! One of them extended a Happy Easter and then offered me a chocolate rabbit pulled from a leather pouch. “We are playing Easter Ambassadors and offering treats to everyone we see in honor of our Savior’s rising.” I extended my appreciation for the thought, but passed – can’t imagine the gooey mess that would be by the time I finished the run. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Note, this happened at mile 14.5 so assuredly the synapses were experiencing some fatigue, however, the large “U” shapes and the ummm… let’s go with presents left on the rest of the trail provided some evidence to the encounter. By the way, those bunnies must east a LOT! Made it home and thought I would get a post out in recognition of the special day and, of course, relay the events from earlier in the day. Spent a significant amount of time going through the 3+ years of backlogged images only to come up empty – NOT A SINGLE BUNNY PICTURE IN THE QUEUE. At a loss, I decided to hold a Cadbury tryout to see what would be the official substitute for the ’21 Easter Bunny. First up…

WTH, that thing doesn’t even have fur.  “..but look at my big cute round eyes and I have Praying right there in my name”.  Uhhhh nope.  Next.

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Industrial Birds

Greetings everyone! We are nearing the end of another month and in the past I would be in a bit of panic to make up any difference in my self-imposed monthly post quota. As you probably noticed, not so much an issue now with the retirement. Don’t want to jinx myself though as there is a new exploration currently in planning that might impact my productivity. As we are still in the early stages of week, wanted to get something to you that was fresh out of the tin.

Monk Parakeet found at Elmhurst, IL substation in March 2021

Our featured feathered friend … wait, just realized I can now go with … our fresh featured feathered friend – and yes, it was noticed it was “flying”, but that just seemed one ‘f’ too many or as they say “right out” ha. As I was saying, our F.F.F, just came out of the digital darkroom solution bath.

Monk Parakeet found at Elmhurst, IL substation in March 2021

Hit the jump to see a few … err… better make that a lot more shots from our birding trip up north.

Continue reading Industrial Birds

Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle

Every year I forget how much work it takes to keep the ol’ homestead up. During the winter months I get a bit of a break as the tasks related to the woods are somewhat suspended beyond dealing with unexpected downed trees overpowered by the additional weight of snow and ice. That all changes when spring starts to push its weight around. Lucked out today as the clouds decided to pelt us with water balloons. To the blogosphere!

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

I tried my hardest to find some chickens or something equivalent in recognition of my Alma Mater choking away its number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but no luck. Crap, just realized I could have used an American Coot being that I always refer to them as water chickens. Already have the Canada Goose worked up for today’s post so let’s stick with that.

Canada Goose and Goslings found in University of Illinois campus in April 2018

Hit the jump if you are curious about where today’s featured feathered friend happens to be sitting.

Continue reading Shrooms and Goslings in the Concrete Jungle