One Awesome V-Day Gift

I’ve actually been meaning to get to this post for some time now and finally found a few cycles to do some badly needed work in the digital darkroom.  This happened to be one of those rare times when I get so excited during a shoot that I overlooked some essential techniques.  The result is a slightly soft set but that is a small price to pay for the huge smile that it generated then and every time I get the chance to look back on the products.  To cut through the suspense, I give you a cherished new checkmark in the Ol’ Bird List!
Snowy Owl

In case you for some reason you don not recognize this particular bird of prey, it is the Snowy Owl.  Let me add some emphasis on that … my #2 on my most wanted list Snowy Owl!!!  Well, technically it became my #1 on the list having checked off the previous #1 on a trip in 2013 (someday I’ll get to that post as well).  Two of my highly coveted birds checked off in less than a year Woot!

Snowy Owl

As you might have figured out from the title, I owe a big thanks to Linda for this prized bird.  On Valentine’s Day, Linda hands me a notecard with some writing on it.  Thinking that was kinda of an odd gift I started to read it and about had a heart attack.  She had found a sighting online of this majestic bird relatively close to us and was willing to help hunt it down.  How cool is that – what can I say, somebody loves me.  We had talked a number of times about going up to Chicago where some people were posting pictures of one they found up there.  That is a fairly long drive for us especially if we were to fail to locate one.  We were actually waiting for my brother to make a quick walk down there and snap a photo for us since he already lived in the City … save us the hassle of driving all the way up there… hmmm we are actually still waiting for those pictures .. some lame excuse about it being too cold or something (he is an avid reader of this blog so feel free to use the comments to chastise him for that elitist Chicago attitude.)

Snowy Owl

Hit the jump to read more about this uber cool bird of prey!

Continue reading One Awesome V-Day Gift

When a Wren Isn’t Just a Wren

I’m having some serious concerns about a race I have this Sunday.  It’s time for the annual IVS Half Marathon in the hills of Springdale Cemetery.  Even when I’m healthy this race can take its toll on me, evident by last year’s struggle in the frying pan (link here).  Unfortunately I fell victim to the Peoria Plague last Saturday and I just can’t seem to shake it.  This week was a big project at work which didn’t give me much time to nurse it, so it sunk its teeth in deep.  Hit my last 12+ miler last Friday, missed my 8 miles taper last Sunday, did hit my 6 mile taper Tuesday but felt like crap afterwards and then decided against the 4  mile run  scheduled for yesterday.  Suck Suck Suck.  Topping it off I messed up my back sometime this week .. Suck Suck Double Suck.  I worked from home today to force myself to keep down and opted for a quick adjustment at the chiro in an attempt to get that calmed down.  Back feels much better now (legs were an inch off.. would have been running in circles ha) and some light at the end of the tunnel on the plague.  I primarily breathe through my mouth during the run so that mitigates some of the stuffiness.  One more day of doing nothing (which absolutely kills me) and hopefully my temple will be whole again – keeping the fingers crossed.  Figured I’d crank out a happy post to keep my mind off of the race.

Noticed this bird while reviewing the Red Rock Canyon shots in the digital darkroom.  I initially passed it off as a House Wren and set it to the side noting the execution on the shots was less than stellar.  I have them around here anyway and even featured one during Project Chekov (link here).

At the time I didn’t really think much about it until one day I was looking through the bird references when I came to the House Wren section.  Something caught my eye which made me hesitate a bit.  Something was amiss but couldn’t put my finger on it.  Tail up, wings sharp and down.  Even had the spotting on the wings and tail feathers.  Nothing to strange but the spidy senses were on full on alert.  What the hell?  Decided there was a kink in the system and started turning the page….and then it came to me.  Quickly flipping back to the House Wren confirmed my deduction.  The page I turned to featured the Bewick’s Wren.

Find out the details on this bird after the jump!

Continue reading When a Wren Isn’t Just a Wren

Send in the Scrubs

Taking a quick recovery break from last night’s final long training run.  The IVS half is coming up in a week and start my taper tomorrow.  I wasn’t able to get the desired 10 mile run in due to a swarm of lightning that convinced me to bail out a mile early.  Last weekend a lightening bolt took a 5 inch chunk out of my neighbor’s huge oak tree from top to bottom –  a helpful reminder not to roll the dice with nature.  9 miles should be fine for race day prep .. besides, the last mile or so I was pushing it to make it back to the truck before it let loose.  Not one to just sit around just watching the boob tube (although the Illini are kicking butt), thought it would be a good time to crank out a post!

Unlike the previous post. today’s featured bird didn’t take long to lock in an identification.  If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, the birds of late have all been from our Red Rock Canyon in Nevada shoot.  This is a wonderful park not far from Las Vegas and a standard stop for us when we haul our photography equipment out there.  Definitely a good place to add to your Birding List if you are light on your land birds – which I happen to be at the moment… although building fast.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Western Scrub-Jay

Pretty cool looking bird with the white eyebrow liner and the white speckled in the throat area.  When the bird list was checked it was discovered that there was a question mark in the check box.  This usually means a possible ID was made but lacking a good confirmation.  Similar to the Gray Vireo and Townsend Solitaire which both have question marks in their check box until the bird in the previous post is officially confirmed (still looking for some help on that by the way).

The question indicator resulted in a quick search of the blog to figure out where it was previously referenced.  Looks like there were two possible sightings – one in 2008 (link here) and one in 2010 (link here).  Reviewing those two possible shots, the conclusion is neither one of those is a Western Scrub-Jay.  Not sure what the 2008 one is yet, but the 2010 is most likely a Clark’s Nutcracker.  So good news, I can replace that question mark with a solid check now.

Time for the classic EddieSoft pose…

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Western Scrub-Jay

Continue reading Send in the Scrubs