A Swainson’s Doubletake

Greetings from the snowy Midwest.  We are getting our first real dump of the year and it is a heavy one.  This is somewhat fitting being that this week has been heavy on the heart.  We lost our little buddy Kerby this week and it has left a mighty hole – he was a champion in the agility ring and more importantly in our lives.  I’ll never forget our time together.  Keeping busy always helps me through tough times so no better way than generating new +1’s for the birding checklist.  Today’s feature once again comes from our last September trip to Colorado.

Swainson's Hawk shot on Colorado trip September 2015

That, my friends, is a fine specimen of Swainson’s Hawk.  Normally Hawk identification is a herculean effort just short of trying to distinguish juvenile Sparrows.  It is fairly easy to figure out the easy ones like Red-Tails, but the rest bunch up in their characteristics to the point we end up having to flip a coin.  This was the case here where I really wasn’t sure what this one was until my brother Ron came to the rescue.  He has a really nice reference book to aid in Hawk IDs (sorry, can’t remember the name at the moment) and had recently found/joined a Facebook page specific to assisting in the ID process.  You will not find a better resource than a community devoted to a specific type of bird.  Ron offered to give it a try on a set of fuzzy pictures we had taken by the side of a road on the Colorado plains.  I’ll get to those pictures at the end – opted to go with a better set at the start for the bulk of the post.

Swainson's Hawk shot on Colorado trip September 2015

The pictures you are seeing here came from another observation at a filling station outside of Denver.  We had pulled in for a quick stop to give the dogs a break and top the tank off.  As we pulled into the pump area this  bird caught my eye.  It was literally hovering over a construction site between the station and the highway.  The fact it was just staying in one spot gave me an early impression it was a Harrier.  This changed once the Beast was on point and could make out the more distinctive features of the bird.  Turns out there was a healthy headwind it was leveraging to keep focus on a particular area alongside the construction.  After about a minute it dropped the daggers and dove for the ground.

Swainson's Hawk shot on Colorado trip September 2015

Hit the jump to read a bit more about this Hawk and view a few more shots.

Continue reading A Swainson’s Doubletake

From Creeps to Witches

Howdy everyone!  Just back from a fun day of birding at Weldon Springs near Clinton IL.  Fun mainly in the sense I got to hang out in a nice day with my brother and sister-in-law.  Unfortunately, the feathered variety we were after were fairly scarce.  A possible +1 for the day along with a juvi (I’m sure Ron will correct) Bald Eagle, a Great Heron, plus more Titmice (yes, I verified that usage) and Nuthatches than I could count.  Beyond that .. not so much.  If that +1 turns out to be verified you will likely see that hitting the pages oh, about this same time next year hehehe.

But all that is in the present – we here at LifeIntrigue tend to live in the past – something Ron is beginning to have a good understanding why now that his productivity is outrunning his processing.  For this post at least I am in the same year – hell less than two months ago.  Just doing what I can to get my +1’s out and counted to try and stay within sight of my competition.

Short-Billed Dowitcher shot in Colorado Sept 2015

I have to give a lot of credit to Ron for this particular ID. I had incorrectly come to the conclusion it was a Willet but during our review it became apparent that it is really a Short-Billed Dowitcher.  How fitting to have a Witch to go along with the recent Halloween theme.  Like Last post, this specimen was shot on our September trip to Colorado – this time at Barr Lake near Brighton.

Short-Billed Dowitcher shot in Colorado Sept 2015

Hit the jump to see and read more about this water forager.

Continue reading From Creeps to Witches

A Creep in the Woods

Time for the creeps to make their presence known here at LifeIntrigued!  No, I am not continuing the Halloween theme featured on the previous many posts.  Nope, today we are featuring the creep of the birding world.

Brown Creeper Shot our our Colorado trip 2015

That, my non-birding friends, is a fine specimen of the Brown Creeper.  This is pretty much a Winter bird here in the Midwest but more of a year round resident in the West.  Luckily, Linda and I were on our vacation to Colorado when I spotted this Creeper.  All in all the birding up to that point on the trip was .. how should I put .. let’s go with pathetic.  I could not find anything on numerous stops up to this point.  In fact, this discovery didn’t really happen until we were almost back to the car from a medium out and back hike.

Brown Creeper Shot our our Colorado trip 2015

Hit the jump to read and see more of this distinctive bird.

Continue reading A Creep in the Woods