Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated! Granted I have been lax on my wildlife posts, but there is a good reason for that – namely I have been busy busy busy. Halloween has now wrapped up, which means I’m on the clock to get all the haunted trail and prop making posts out on my other blog. Add to that some medical procedures to recover from and the accounting year is winding down at my day job which means extra time to get loose ends straightened up before the holidays hit. Of course, these are still not good enough to warrant keeping my loyal wildlife readers devoid of fodder. With overwhelming guilt I bring you today’s featured bird!
Before the hate mail starts pouring in, I realize this isn’t my best work behind the shutter. These images are a bit soft likely due to the brief window of time available to get any shots of this interesting bird. These are the only three shots that made it into the tin on this encounter. This specimen was located on our Georgia Birding Trip back in May 2015. If it wasn’t for the high pitch call emanating from high above in the pine trees I would have never found it. I’d zero in on the call, get The Beast pointed in the general direction only to find that the sound was coming from another area in the trees. Repeat process, repeat results. All of sudden, a bird popped out in the opening. Got the camera on point, snapped two shots and a final one as it moved off through the branches – that’s it. One chance, three quick images and birdy went bye bye. It is amazing how many times this plays out on our birding trips. A few minutes before that or a few minutes after that and you wouldn’t even know the bird was even in the area. People ask me if birding gets boring – definitely not – when you consider these brief encounters during the course of a day’s outing, think of how many chances you missed, how many different species you might have seen or what was simply sitting in the tree quiet as a mouse just laughing at your inability to find it.
This happens to be one of those times where the excitement of the experience wasn’t truly appreciated until many years later in the digital darkroom. The original encounter was cataloged as another Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Better understanding of the difference in songs should have given a clue, but that is a definite weak spot in my game. Both are fairly high pitched in their song and their color palette is remarkably close. A lot more details surfaced when processing the RAW images. Like the Audubon variety of the Rumped, they both had yellow throats. What caught my attention was the extra white and black patterns of the head. A quick look at my reference collection confirmed this was not a Yellow-Rumped Warbler, rather a Yellow-Throated Warbler. Let’s all take a moment to celebrate another check on my birding list. By then I was kicking myself the pictures didn’t come out as crispy as desired. On the positive front, at least they were good enough to properly ID the bird – was also able to confirm it with my brother Ron. Fingers crossed he doesn’t already have one so I can get a little closer to his current count.
Being that this is a new bird, how about we jump over to Cornell to see what interesting things they have to say about it. This is a Warbler who calls Southeast US home in the summer. Confirms with our shooting location and the time of year. It is also considered a canopy bird preferring to hang out in the upper sections of pine trees. Well, we can definitely confirm that based on the pictures and how sore my neck was after the encounter. Prefers insects and spiders which means it is dear to me – based on my short time in Georgia, anything that might dent the population of No-See-Ums down there is tops in my book. Cornell is pretty sparse beyond those few tidbits.
Again, sorry about the quality of picture on this set. These hyper warblers are always a struggle to freeze. Hope you enjoyed my new addition to my North American Birding List.
The boys wanted to show off their costumes to everyone!
Although, Raven doesn’t seem to be very happy about it
As of last night, my busy October is now officially over. Most of that was taken up with our own Haunted Trail efforts which consumes my mornings and nights and everything in between and a number of races to close out the official run season. That gives way to some additional Halloween parties where we get to enjoy the Halloween labors from our friends. Two of those closed up this weekend leaving my calendar fairly free beyond a garage full of decorations that need to put away for next year (some of them are still drying out from the multiple days of rain they had to endure before finally getting them all pulled out of the woods). The last critical task for the month is to complete my blog quota and then we’re ready for whatever November has to offer.
Since we talked about the Yellow-Rumped Warbler in my last post figured it made sense to provide an immediate contrast with the other sub-species of this colorful bird.
As mentioned previously, there are two main classifications of the Yellow-Rumped. The one we covered in the last post was the Audubon variety as noted by their full yellow throat. The other variety is the Myrtle which you are viewing here. Yes, it has the yellow shoulder patches and the yellow crown in similarity with the Audubon version. And it pretty much goes without saying that it too sports the yellow patch on the rump. This wasn’t very easy to tell in the previous Audubon series, so let’s correct that now.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this sun painted Warbler.
Continue reading Different but the Same
Greetings to my readers! A week ago I was standing out in my woods surrounded by a multitude of Halloween decorations. My non-wildlife blog will get an in depth look at that event, but I mainly point this out as a comparative perspective. See, I was standing out in my woods surrounded by creations of the dead IN MY T-SHIRT. October 21st and it was perfect out even in the dead of night. The week before a rainy, chilly, windy mess of a day. Now fast forward a week to today. Once again, standing in the woods surrounded by a multitude of Halloween decorations. This time in someone else’s haunted trail and more pertinent to the lead in – IN 2 SHIRTS, 2 COATS and GLOVES. Talk about one hell of a temperature swing for out here in the Midwest. Think it was even trying to flurry a bit towards the middle of the day. Other than a training run tomorrow, think I’ll just stay in and get caught up on my blog quota for the rapidly closing end of the month.
As a lead in, let’s take a look at a very colorful bird.
That there is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler. This pretty specimen was shot while on a trip out to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado back in May 2014. Technically it was an add on from a trip to the Denver area for the Teacup Dog Agility Nationals. Linda bribed me with a trip through the park in order to convince me to head out there. I’ve have now tried two times to get the White-tailed Ptarmigan up on the Tundra trail – both coming up empty. Making the best of it, I did get some other specimens in the park, which included the one you are seeing here. Note, I intend to continue going back there until I get that bird checked off my list!
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this colorful Warbler!
Continue reading The Same but Different
Master Po: Your final test, the urn of the two symbols: the dragon and the tiger. When you can walk in this corridor, the inner path to the outer world, and can push the urn aside with your forearms you will bear its markings with you for the rest of your life.
Kwai Chang Caine: Hundreds of pounds of burning coal and iron. How can I Master, having only the strength of a man and the weaknesses?
Master Po: It is because you are a man that you can do this, Grasshopper.
Kwai Chang Caine: I do not understand.
Master Po: As the softest clay, in time, becomes the hardest brick; a fragile leaf, a diamond; as a stream of fiery ore freezes into unbending iron, so too may a man ascend to himself.
Kwai Chang Caine: How?
Master Po: By slowly forging the chi within yourself, the bond between the finite and infinite, the inner essence of your spirit, and the limitless power of the universe.
Kwai Chang Caine: How can I do this?
Master Po: You will have found your strength and the source of your survival. You will be free my Grasshopper Sparrow
… and the rest is legend. Well, at least in the entertainment world. From a birding perspective it simply represents another new bird encounter while on our Minnesota Birding Trip back in July. As with the last post on the Marsh Wren and a few back with the Black Terns, this particular Sparrow was spotted while we were at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge outside of Minneapolis MN. We found this refuge on a website that listed the best birding areas around Minneapolis. Without a doubt, I can officially confirm that entry on the list. Sherburne is a fantastic location with a range of habitats to observe – trees, prairie and marsh. All easily accessible and viewable from the car.
We did get out of the RV at the first pull off to take a short trail through the prairie. It is on that trek that I heard a very distinct noise coming from a good distance down and slightly off to the side. Sounded like a very loud insect possibly rubbing its wings together. Took me awhile to pinpoint the source of the noise – a bird perched on the very top of a large weed. My Brother Ron had mentioned this particular bird on a previous outing with him allowing me to quickly guess I was witnessing a Grasshopper Sparrow.
Hit the jump to read and see a bit more about our featured feathered friend!
Continue reading Forging the Chi Within Yourself
There are those times you realize you are behind the eight ball and trying to get caught up. Then there are times when you feel like you’re underwater trying to get above the workload enough to just catch a breadth before going under again. Then there’s those times when you realize that those times you thought were stressful and overwhelming were comparatively more like a slow stroll through a park. My life has been more like the latter lately due to some imposed timelines and activities that nearly brought me to my knees. The good news is I have finally broke through to the park walking stage and doing my best to take a breather before relighting both ends of the candle. At least all that work filled up the coffers of blog material that will be coming at you over the next several weeks. For now, I wanted to give some love to the Wildlife side of my blogging efforts. Cannot think of a better way to do that than introducing you to this …
That cute feathered specimen was a pleasant surprise on our recent birding trip to Minnesota. It is quickly being realized how successful that trip actually was. If you have been keeping up with my output of words, you have probably come to this same conclusion. Several of my posts have covered birds that made it into the tin on that trip back in July 2017 at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. In particular, one of those posts – the Black Tern (link here) is the reason for this find. While standing by the water’s edge trying to keep the glass on target with the hunting Terns, this specimen decided to pop out of the reeds in front of me. Possibly to show off its; own hunting abilities.
Hit the jump to read and see more about this cute little bird!
Continue reading Wren Are You Gonna Stop So I Can Take a Pic?
Hello strangers! Been awhile since getting a wildlife post out and for that I apologize. This has been a crazy month already and as of tomorrow I officially enter crunch time on the Haunted Trail (only have ONE more week left to prep). I’ll post on it as soon as I can, but I did finish my final race of the season last weekend… well more like finished the last raceS of the season thanks to a two-race combo event. I can officially say that I completed my 4 half marathons in a little more than a month and a half. Must say, it about killed me (recall the last race recollection), but like they say, that which doesn’t kill me just makes me want to try harder hehehe. Oh well, plenty of time to talk about running later – we have a bird to get to!
Pretty cool eh? I have to go it alone for this one due to my Brother Ron being uber-busy himself these days. I usually like to confirm my bird ID’s with him just to make sure. Bird IDing can be a bit difficult thanks to several bird species buying their coats from the same tailor. Always good to have an extra pair of eyes to spot nuances and Ron is really good at that. After doing some diligence on the web with some additional thumbing through my reference books I’ve decided this particular specimen is a Ruffed Grouse. More importantly, for those of you keeping score, this (if correct) represent a new +1 for my birding list – YEAH.
Hit the jump to read and see a bit more about this cool bird.
Continue reading A Rough to Get Ruffed
Sorry folks, been a little bit lax on my postings as of late. Actually I have been making non-wildlife posts on my other site, but doesn’t get me off the hook for not showing the wildlife some love. In my defense, this has been a hell month which has included massive work preparing for this year’s Haunted Trail and the three half marathons with one more to go in just over a month has definitely left me blog shallow. To help remedy the situation figured I’d go ahead and throw out a set from May 2014
You couldn’t ask for a bird to be more cooperative when it comes to getting them in the tin. I swear this particular specimen was actually trying to work with me to get the best angles and background settings. Hell, I can’t even get my Poodles to cooperate this much with me and we even FEED them! As mentioned, this bird was shot a few years back on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Believe we were out in Denver for the Poodle Agility Teacup Nationals and made a point to catch the park on our way back.
Hit the jump to see a few more of the Junco.
Continue reading Junco the Gray
Let me start with a huge cleansing breadth! Hell, let’s all partake in a giant cleansing breadth. Ready…set…go breathe in breathe in a little more, just a bit more, fill every cubic millimeter of those lungs, hold it, hold it, just a bit more.. now let it all out in a big whhooooossssshhhhh. Unless you took this relaxing moment a little too serious and passed out, you should be feeling relieved, refreshed, rejuvenated and rambunctious. Not sure about the last feeling there, was on a role with the R’s. channeling my inner high school Spanish class. I’m sure feeling a lot better now. Three days ago I was 4 days from the end of the month and three posts away from my self-imposed quota. Thanks to some elbow grease this post releases a whole bunch of pressure.
I know, I know, you don’t want to read about my problems, you want some of that special bird sauce.
This little specimen was shot while visiting Bellevue State Park in Iowa. Back in July (this year), we were on our way back from a Minnesota bird and waterfall shooting trip and stopped by Bellevue’s lock to see what it had to offer. If you are keeping up with my little off-ramp on the information highway, you may recall that this is the same place we spotted the Peregrine Falcon making the skies very dangerous for anything with wings (link here). After shooting the Peregrine, we made our way up to the state park on the bluff overlooking the lock. While standing there checking out the scene, a very intriguing song rang out from a nearby tree. The hunt was on.
Hit the jump read more about this mystery bird.
Continue reading Deceived by a Juvenile
Greetings everyone! First off, our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by the weather events in Texas. Kind of shocking when you think it wasn’t too many months ago Linda and I were vacationing down in South Padre Island. Every time I see someone walking in waist high water down there, all I can think of is the huge alligators we encountered while birding down there. Hope to god the rain and flooding doesn’t bring those beasts up into the communities. In no way glossing over the human impact that has resulted, but as a birder, it will be interesting to see how the birds handle this change in environment. The SPI area was such a wonderful birding location it will be disappointing if that element doesn’t recover right alongside the lives and other wildlife already experiencing tragic displacement. We will keep an eye on how things are going there.
For now, thought I would go with the following for today’s featured post:
That dark and mysterious creature is referred to as a Black Tern. This is not a new bird to the blog having first appeared back in July 2015 (link here). If you recall, that encounter with the black arts took place at Goose Lake. For the record, that was my first encounter with this bird having made my way up there thanks to an IBET post followed by a recommendation from my brother Ron who had made his way down there.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this acrobatic sky hunter.
Continue reading It’s Their Tern