Well folks, it is a new month. Anyone that has been around this blog for a while know that means the post quota counter on the wall gets reset to ZERO. It is a bitter sweet event. It brings with it the personal satisfaction of completing another successful month of blogging but it also means four more weeks of fretting about getting new material out to my loyal readers. However, this time I am in a very good position – drum roll please …. thanks to a lot of hours in front of this computer I can announce the image queue has been trimmed to January 2016. That’s right, this photographer is now only a bit more than 2 years behind (champagne for all). Takes a lot of pressure off when you easily have 2 year’s worth of post material just waiting to be introduced into the world. Let’s get to it shall we!?!
So we all know the old saying, March comes in like an evil demon and exits like a cute and cuddly baby chick. In honor of it actually being March (you’d almost think I plan this stuff out), thought it would be fitting to feature …well… an evil demon of a bird. I’ll be honest with you, today’s featured bird scares the crap out of me. It scared me with I was looking through the glass when the pictures were taken, it creeped me out when I was processing the pictures in the digital dark room and looking at it right now makes me want to go find my childhood plush dog, grab a carpet square and ball up like a baby on my den floor. In case you are wondering my constant toy as kid was a golden colored Snoopy looking stuffed toy named Henry (don’t laugh, but I still have it sitting on the top shelf of my closet). Wow, how did I get on this…back to demon spawn.
Hit the jump to find out what this crested specimen is.
This scary specimen was shot on the trails behind the Corn Creek Visitor Center outside Las Vegas, Nevada. We were out there to bring in the 2015 New Year and had the opportunity to head out to the Mojave Desert area to do a little birding. One of the featured birds in the area was something called a Phainopepla. Cannot count the number of times I’ve been to a place advertising a unique birding experience only to head home without getting it in the tin. Clearly you can tell this was not the case here. Apologies though, the specimen we found was positioned in some horrible backlighting. The trail layout made it impossible to improve on the angle so left to cope with exposure issues and massive cleanup in the digital dark room. At least there is no doubt on the ID. Interesting enough, Phainopepla is Latin for “Evil Cardinal”. Thinking it would have been even creepier to have Brandon Lee paired with a Phainopepla instead of just a Crow.
Oh no, almost out of shots. Let’s find some interesting facts to share. First off, they can mimic other birds when being attacked by predators (including humans). While we were there, this one was sticking with its standard twill – in fact, it is due to this odd twill that we were able to locate it hanging out in the tree (thought it was an insect at first). They are extremely territorial in their desert habitats (becomes more neighborly in the woods) and get this, rarely drink water. Cornell indicates they rely on their diet of Mistletoe to provide their fluid intake.
Wait a minute, wait a minute… STOP THE PRESSES. I might have incorrectly stated what the name means. Sorry folks, it is not Latin for Evil Cardinal. Nope, the word is actually Greek for “Shining Robe”. Your choice, cheesy clothing reference or forbidding child of the dark – personally, I’m sticking with the dark reference.
Now back to my carpet square!