Closing Out Emiquon in April

Let’s see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Holy Crap! I’m going to make it a whole day early.  I just high-fived myself.  Not only did I once again beat the quota demon, but the ditch became my bitch today and now the main driveway path is open for business.  That victory will be short lived when the body is begging for mercy shortly into tomorrow’s training run in the Quad Cities.  It’s difficult enough in those hills when I’m fresh.  How about we just put future concerns out of mind, live in the moment and enjoy this final post of the month.

I’ve posted a number of shoots from my favorite Havana IL birding hotspot Emiquon.  This set of images closes out the set of images taken back in April of 2015.  Before last night, this was just supposed to be an average set of birds none of which were new to the checklist.  That all changed thanks to a confirmation from my brother .. more on that later.  Right now take a gander at a classic pose from a Red-Winged Blackbird.
Emiquon National Widlife Refuge in April 2015

Pretty birds but the fact they are total assholes to other birds and any humans that get too close take a lot of luster off that shine.  Oh, and they are EVERYWHERE around here so, like the Bison in Yellowstone, once you have a few pictures in the tin you simply acknowledge their presence and keep the finger off the shutter.

Next up, one of those love hate relationship birds.  I always have a sense of dread whenever I shoot a Sparrow.  That is primarily due to how much pain and agony will be involved trying to identify it back in the digital dark room.  I lucked out with this particular shot since this one is pretty easy to identify.  Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the White-Crowned Sparrow (thanks again to Ron’s confirmation).

Emiquon National Widlife Refuge in April 2015

This one was working it for the Beast.  “It makes no difference if you’re black or white If you’re a boy or a girl If the music’s pumping it will give you new life You’re a superstar, yes, that’s what you are, you know it”

Emiquon National Widlife Refuge in April 2015

Hit the jump to see the special surprise!

Continue reading Closing Out Emiquon in April

Here Comes the King

I am officially an owner of an empty shell of a body.  Tonight’s run was quite the struggle with the gas running out at the 2 mile mark.  Forced my way to a total of 8 miles but there were some dark side of the moon moments that made me think back to the last section of my Marathon.  Pretty much overdid it digging the trench yesterday.  Not good seeing as how I have a training run in the Quad Cities this Thursday evening prepping for the Bix 7 later in the month.  Tomorrow just might be a take it easy day (for the record, I HATE those days).  I promised another update today so broken body and all (ha), I’m here to serve.  Today I bring you a collection of shots of the Eastern Kingbird.

Eastern Kingbird shot on trip to Yellowstone Park - 5/2013

These first two were taken at Lake Andes in South Dakota.  We were passing through on our way to Yellowstone National Park back in May of 2013. The Eastern Kingbird happens to be one of those species that is easy to identify in the field… even if you are not a seasoned birder.  They have a fairly slim profile with a brilliant white underbelly up through the neck.  This contrast with the black overcoat (some say it wears a business suite) is easily recognizable from afar – especially when spotted in their preferred marshy habitat.  Similar to the Phoebes and Flycatchers, these birds put a serious hurt on the insect population wherever they roam.  Watch them for a bit and you will see them dart out from their perch, do some amazing acrobatic moves and return to their starting point with the fruits of their labor clinched tightly in their beaks (like in the shot above).

Eastern Kingbird shot on trip to Yellowstone Park - 5/2013

Oh, I should probably point out there is another easy way to identify them in the field.  If you check the shot above you will notice their tail feathers look like they were dipped in white paint.  This is usually my first identifying mark depending on the viewing angle.

Hit the jump to see a few more shot so the King.

Continue reading Here Comes the King

More from the Fort

The pressure is on now – definitely would have been a good time for a 31 day month.  To be honest, it is actually a bit difficult to type tonight.  I am in a battle with a 270 foot long 18 inch deep ditch I originally trenched a couple of months ago to supply power to a new outbuilding.  Since that original dig, I’ve had to hand dig across power and phones lines, re-dug the entire ditch by hand not once, not twice, but now three times due to rain and just spent all evening laying wire in conduit.  At least half of it is done now – damn you rain gods!

For tonight I thought I would go with some more shots from my Ft Myers trip.  Luckily these shots were already processed so the hard part is already done.  Let’s start with a gorgeous Brown Pelican.

Scenes from Ft. Myers May 2013

Pretty stoic bird all around.  As with the previous Ft. Myers shots, these were taken at the secret lagoon behind the Holiday Inn.  Wait.. I am not sure it is a Holiday Inn anymore.  My brother Ron may know for sure – he was just down there to see my parents and had an opportunity to visit that birding hotspot again – I would have went with him, but that was the weekend of my Marathon (link here).   These Pelican shots were taken on the backside of the lagoon on the ocean/gulf side –  you have to cross a small inlet of water, but it is definitely worth it.

Scenes from Ft. Myers May 2013

Hit the jump to see a few more birds from the trip.

Continue reading More from the Fort

Little Furries

Ever have one of those days… err, one of those weeks…err, one of those months that you can’t seem to get everything you want to get done actually done!?!  That is exactly my situation this month.  It seems like every time I get a few steps ahead, something happens and the next thing I’m looking at that previous advances from two leaps back.  I tell you this as a prelude to an apology.  Remember that whole epic month thing I was striving for?  Well, I have to save the rest of those for future months and go with some other topics.  The good news is I was able to spend yesterday birding with my brother.  We scored around 55 unique species for the day and at least 90% of them have proof in the tin.  Pretty much assured now there is enough blog fodder to take me into 2019.

With that, I better get to some posting (more pictures, less babbling) Today’s alternative feature are those cute furry critters that roam our country.  Let’s start with the cutest one of them all.

American Pika from Rocky Mountain National Park

This little furball was taken near the peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Park.  In case these are new to you, they are called Pikas.  They kind of look like a hamster on steroids.  It also happens to be one of the favorite photography subjects for our friends Dr. Giselle and David (note, I’m jealous they get to visit Yellowstone and take pictures of these cuties whenever they want!)

The next specimen is the Prairie Dog.  This happens to be one of those mammals that you love to watch and photograph in places OTHER than your property.  Wow, can these furries be destructive.  However, if you can get over that, they happen to be great fodder for the camera.  They are very social and naturally tend to provide excellent poses for the glass.

Prairie Dog

This one was taken at the Indianapolis Zoo in their Desert Biodome exhibit.

Hit the jump to see some more furries!

Continue reading Little Furries

Whooping it Up

Sorry these posts are coming so slow.  Of course, the reason for this is the “epic” post theme for this month.  I’m trying my best to cover some very significant events, but that means I have to work for subjects.  Well, actually, I have the subjects, since I’ve been waiting awhile (in some cases what seems like forever) to get some of these topics published but I still have to process all the images.  Case in point, today’s featured bird.

Whooping Crane from Texas Trip Nov 2013

If you are a birder, you are probably salivating right now.  That my friends is a shot of not one, not two, but three specimens considered the holy grail of my North American Bird List.  For those of you not drooling, these awesome birds are none other than the rare Whooping Crane.  Let’s type that again .. Whooping Cranes – wow, that feels really good.

Whooping Crane from Texas Trip Nov 2013

Hit the jump to read more about this epic bird

Continue reading Whooping it Up