Each year around this time, I check the image queue for the traditional Thanksgiving Day post. Admittedly, I was a bit shocked when the queue was devoid of Wild Turkeys – a jestful reference in tribute to all the Turkeys that show up on many of our kitchen tables today. Of course, those are mere hybrids of the wild version having been “engineered” to maximize the meat at the cost of making them completely useless from a bird perspective. Their wild versions are not the most adept in the flight category, but at least they can get off the ground and make it to a nearby tree if so desired – domestic Turkeys are chained to the couch with remotes in hand . Alas, the tradition has been broken. I will have to put the Wild Turkey on the top of the 2020 hunt list (right below the elusive Snow Bunting), so this doesn’t happen again. While I am at it, might even help Ron get a decent shot in the tin as his luck with these game birds ranges somewhere between “it’s in there somewhere” and “damn, them Turks have Cheetah speed to cause a blur like that”.
All hope is not lost, I did find a substitute.
Definitely not one that poses any threat of ending up on our dinner tables, but it at least has “Turkey” in the name. The Turkey Vulture is not new to Intrigued, having debuted all the way back in 2014 (link here) and popped up several time since then (link here). Unlike true Turkeys, these rather ugly looking creatures can fly … well at least soar with the best of them. No hopping from tree to tree, these strong winged Vultures will ride the thermals to dizzying heights, making it look effortless as they slowly circle the grounds below looking for victims of predators, age, illness and the most wasteful of all… humans in their deadly deuces and curly-wurlies.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this substitute bird.
Continue reading A Broken Tradition
Well, we just made our way back up to Minnesota for Linda’s three month Mayo follow up on her heart surgery. Just need to make sure her upgrades are working as intended. Unfortunately, looks like we will need to blow out of here as soon as possible as this place is planning to get 5-10 inches of the fluffy stuff mixed with strong winds – starting just an hour or so after her last appointment. Being Midwest natives, snow generally doesn’t get us too anxious – it’s the people that are not used to bad condition driving that breeds the concern. On our way up we came upon an ominous scene as they were loading a body into the coroner’s vehicle on the side of the road. According to the local Davenport news, the driver lost control exiting the highway – and that was on dry pavement. No need to get too worried about things in the future – live in the now I say – and by now I mean showing off my latest +1 on the ol’ bird list.
If you spend any time at all at Intrigued you are fully aware that although I may live in the now in the real world, I actually live years in the past in the cyber world. Not sure exactly when I lost control of my photography queue, but it is a constant reminder that pressing the little shutter button on the camera is the easy part. Getting captures moved to long term storage, flipping through the haul to figure out which ones are actually worthy of touching up, toiling away in the digital darkroom, getting the images uploaded and then ….well, then the most fulfilling part, adding words and showing them off to the world. (Note, Ron used to make fun of me for being so far behind .. until he starting wildlife blogging and is now in the exact same boat hehehe). Then there are times like today’s featured bird that are fresh out of the tin from an encounter a mere 10 days ago. Yes, that was days and not years.
Hit the jump to learn more about this surprise encounter.
Continue reading Fresh Hairy
Sky dandruff is once again falling on us. At least this time we are in November which makes it a bit more bearable, however, my body is not pleased that Fall was essentially skipped this year. Sure, the pretty colors are a nice benefit for those lucky enough to experience seasons, but there is one primary purpose for Fall – to gradually get the lungs and more isolated appendages accustomed to cold weather running. That’s it, just one reason – well, maybe to also force birds to come through my region on their way back home – but that’s it! Admittedly, my sample set is pretty small as the list of friends that enjoy running is thin enough and those willing to continue training through Midwest winters whittles that down to a mere handful. To a person, there is nothing worse than running one weekend in the high 60’s and then heading out two days later in low 20’s. You can bundle up all you want, but as soon as that cold air hits your unaccustomed lungs you will be thinking about your next trip to Texas!
Which was exactly what I was doing last week. Dead of night, headlight on, pounding pavement alone in a nearby park, sucking in daggers of cold air all while wondering what my 0.0 friends might think of this obsession. That answer didn’t take long to come up with leaving me many miles to think about my next post. At some point my fingers and toes started going numb – again, thanks to NO FALL they hadn’t toughened up. Told myself I was going to have to use willpower to get me through the hilly back half. Quickly began thinking of warm thoughts of Texas. Willpower, Texas, willpower, Texas, willpower, Texas, damn did my pinkie just fall off!?!, willpower Texas, willpower Texas – hey, I GOT IT!
Hill the jump to see a few more pictures of this rather drab looking shorebird.
Continue reading If You Willet They Will Come
Welcome to November everyone! Every day I wake up, do a mental check of all the things on the to-do list and then look over at the calendar for a cold shot of reality – where in the hell has this year gone!?! Already checked that I didn’t get shorted calendar pages – yep, 12 pages, each full of squares representing a timespan of life you will never get back. . Minute after minute of lost opportunity (mostly to that ultimate waste of productivity – sleep). It doesn’t help that we already had snow on the ground and my list is full of outside work earmarked to get done BEFORE the white stuff invades. Add to that a back that is still mending and you have a recipe for the blahs. Seems like a perfect time to feature the color black.
How’s that for some bleak? The black robed ministry of the dead. In my parts, we are subject to their more flashy kin, the Turkey Vulture (link here). Essentially the same profile – long black bodied, purpose designed bill and featherless head, however, the Turkey was given a decorative red head (not to be too harsh, but seems like lipstick on a pig if you ask me). The Black Vulture is .. wait for it … wait for it… all black. Kudos to the individual responsible for naming this creature for choosing a moniker you can associate in the field with very little effort.
Caution – some scenes after the jump will not be appetizing.
Continue reading Fell on Black Days