Welcome to day 2,667 of the Illinois lockdown! If there is any plus side to all this, the downtime is giving my body a chance to finally get healed from the wear and tear brought on by last season’s race circuit. Not sure if it is just the heavier trail course runs or my hatred for Father Time, but injuries are taking longer to heal. I upped my off-season workouts to better prepare for the pending toll, but that has come at a cost of stressing the supporting cast of muscles and joints. Blew my back out last Monday and trying to get that repaired so I can get back on the trails – downtime just makes this whole situation even worse. Already prepping for the race schedule to be nearly back to back when this all lifts which means everything has to be functioning at peak performance. Lemonade out of lemons, have plenty of time to focus on reducing my backlog!
While going through the newly discovered images, found this interesting duck staring at me, piercing my soul with a finely focused golden ray. When the pain became too much to bear, called for Linda to help free myself from its deadly gaze. What could this strange creature be – to the reference books! The duller color palette indicated a strong likelihood our specimen was a female which causes some additional work as many of the female ducks tend to start looking alike as they often have mixtures of brown feathering.
Hit the jump to read and see a bit more about this golden one.
Continue reading One for the Ladies
Greetings from what seems like day 2,367 of the Illinois lockdown! Anytime my running gets curtailed things tend to start dragging. Thanks to a local park and a Corp of Engineer site where I do 90% of my trail and hill training being closed, I’ve had to resort to running county roads and my treadmill. Our rural roads have a nasty crown in them which makes my hips scream and any distance runner can attest long training runs indoors will grind your mind to zombie in nothing flat. I have been able to confirm some stuff during this eternity (okay, more like 4 days). For example, although I had already written off the NFL several years ago in honor of my Father who fought under the symbol they think so little of, I have now found my life is quite fine without any professional sports… not to mention a hell of a lot more productive. Guessing that is exactly what every professional sports franchise fears every single day – when the fans realize you are not a necessity. Now contrast that with things I DO need – you know, like CHECKS ON MY BIRDING LIST. Ron put a major dent in my minuscule lead earlier in the year and I need every little morsel of count I can get which brings me to this.
If you are like me when I originally took this shot 0.86 dog years ago. We were out in the Colorado region attending the Teacup Dog Agility Association Nationals (brings up fond memories of our beloved Rizzi who took 6th in the nation for his height group – we still miss that little guy who left us in the midst of Linda’ surgery last year). On our way out we swung by the Rocky Mountain National Park for a little birding. While taking in the local Nutcrackers, Marmots and Owls, a Chickadee decided to drop in and see what had everyone’s attention. We have our share of Chickadees here in the Midwest so didn’t get too excited at the time. Nevertheless, staying true to the bird photographer’s code, I made sure to get a few shots in the tin.
Hit the jump to read about more about this overlooked bird.
Continue reading The Whites on Mountaintops
So last post I tried to cheer up the world with some cute furries and a few of their friends. Not sure it worked, but hell it was worth a try. Things are going from bad to worse here as our tax evading governor has now put my state on lockdown scheduled to begin tomorrow at 5pm or so. All non-essential establishments shuttered. This resulted in a quick run to our local grocery store to pick up a few essentials to make it through the next couple of weeks. As I watched the metal shelves slowly reveal themselves I could only think back to my high school days in the retail industry 5- 11pm during the week and 8s on the weekends. Those days were hard enough, yet nothing like what these workers were having to go through now. I also thought about my blogger friend across the pond going through the exact same chaos. So, thought I’d dedicate today’s post to B over at Butterflies to Dragsters.
First off a warning – if you want good shots, got to B’s site. I suck at these winged missiles and my rig really isn’t set up to get the detail they deserve. Not to mention keeping The Beast sighted on these unpredictable Butters will put a serious hurt on the arms. Secondly, you’d think these beauties would be easy to identify – unique patterns, varying color profiles, how hard can it be… answer damn hard. Eventually got what I thought were some close reference pictures and went with it – thank god for DuckDuckGo.
Okay, here we go…
Found this specimen on our trip up to Minnesota back in July 2017. Birding happened to be a little thin where we were at so I went looking for some other targets. There were tons of these Butters hanging out in the parking lot. I would spot a particularly colorful one, get the glass on it.. shuffle back to get it into focus range and press… well, start to press the shutter when it would take off. Time after time they did this to me. Finally got one or two in the tin and then decided I needed to get a shot of it fully open. Must have been quite the comedy routine for Linda as I ran around trying to get one to stay around long enough and willing to fold its wings down.
Hit the jump to see a few more average shots of beautiful creatures.
Continue reading Just Some Butters to Brighten Your Day
Howdy everyone! It seems the world is under a bit of stress as of a late that quite frankly is making everyone batshit crazy. I was thinking to myself that the world just needs to relax a bit, take a deep breath and get their vitals back under control. It’s times like this the US.. if not the world, should be coming together. Instead we have the lamestream media lathering everyone up and politicians using the virus as a soapbox for whatever ax they feel they need to grind. If only we took this much national interest in stopping childhood cancer or helping veterans integrate back into our communities – but we don’t. Instead we run around calling everyone a racist if they call out Wuhan while being perfectly okay with Ebola. Toilet paper may be in short supply, but stupidity appears to be in abundance. I feel sorry for those on the front lines – the doctors willing to risk exposure to alleviate the symptoms of others, the truckers who drive tirelessly to deliver TP and other essentials to our local stores, the retail clerks who put the product on the shelves and those who continue to make product to keep society going. Countless others of course making it happen – to those I salute you.
Decided we need something to cheer us all up. So, for the next couple of posts I’m going to focus on things that will hopefully put a smile on your face and maybe warm your heart a bit. Not much, but at this point – maybe every little bit helps. Will probably be light on words, but heavy on cute things like …
There, any chance that made you smile … just a bit. That’s a Clinton Lake IL Bunny and I just want to grab it up and cuddle it. Although, before I did that I’d take that nasty tick off it (just below the ear in the neckline). Thought I’d point that out in case Ron saw it without warning and he jolted back in terror – not a fan of ticks that Ron ha!
IL Bunnies, not your thing? Well, how about a Rocky Mountain National Park Bunny!?!
Hit the jump, there might a few more smiles under there!
Continue reading Coronatherapy
The hysteria continues to thrive around us. Shelves laid bare in the paper aisle, shopping carts full of anything that has the word antibacterial on it and to top it off we have people that aren’t even accountable for the outcome pontificating on TV about how they would solve the crisis – comical in the instances where they were in charge and didn’t do jack. Regardless, since my last post they have closed down all our state parks, banned eating in restaurants and shuttered bars. Wait, this just in, CDC is discouraging any gathering over 50 people. So, now not only are my official races canceled I can’t even continue with my training runs in the safety of Jubilee State Park. Hell, I can’t even bird in my favorite park which means I have no way to keep the internal crazies at bay.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Blues.
Continue reading A Case of the Blues in the Ill
I can only assume things are getting .. if not already been.. crazy wherever you might call home. All the large events have now been canceled (including two of my scheduled races for April), schools have been shuttered, remote work has been instituted where possible and now we officially have our first confirmed case of the Coronavirus in our local area. I’ll spare you the political gamesmanship that is going on at the same time beyond the tidbit my tax evading governor of our broke state is on TV complaining that people are continuing to go outside – the horror, the horror (oh, but he still wants everyone to go out and vote on Tuesday – long live politics). Will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Lemons out of lemonade, there’s extra time to devote to the image backlog.
The queue can definitely use the extra attention now that it has been drastically inflated thanks to the discovery of the previously mentioned missing directory. Being that it is currently snowing here in the heart of Illinois, decided to take you on a virtual bird walk. There was a series of shots in the queue taken back in June of 2017 courtesy of a stroll through my favorite local state park – Jubilee College. It happens to be only a mile south of us – our woods and those of my neighbor’s all link to this park. A lot of my free time is spent there either training on hills or enjoying birding hikes on their many trails. This collection is more focused on the bird variety discovered that day than the photographic execution. Sometimes you just need to focus on the joy of being outdoors and experiencing nature leaving the stress of getting the camera and light settings mastered. Sean O’Connell said it best “Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”
Hit the jump to do a little virtual birding!
Continue reading A Walk in the Park
I have always found units of measure to be the foundation for life. They have the unique ability to deliver a multitude of feelings. Used at the appropriate time they can bring happiness, yet can be used deviously to bring on depression. Similarly playing the fence to deliver a feeling of accomplishment while equally adept at demoralizing. Of course, there’s the inherent use to impress although quickly turned to deliver a sobering cold fish slap across the face. It might be hard to imagine a tiny 5 letter word like “units” having such an impact on our day to day activities. Perhaps you need some examples. Clearly it sounds a whole lot better to North American males to hear their average life expectancy is 27,740 days rather than a mere 76 years. Better yet, how about 665,760 hours – now we’re talking. Nothing like walking into work touting you’ve just completed a 50K only to have some snide remark like “well, that’s only around 30 miles” – bastard! Hey buddy, that’s 158,400 feet back at ya’. Everything equals out of course, as the consumption rates clearly differ, but the fact remains that numbers are a double edged dagger (keeping with the pointy things theme from last post). So, by now you are probably wondering where I’m heading with all this. Well, 1 year ago we came upon this interesting bird.
See, you are probably thinking to yourself, “man, Bri’s on his game for today’s post – so unlike him to deliver a snap to post execution in a single year. Way to go Bri!” (that would be both the feeling of accomplishment and impression if you are keeping score). Yep, this post was from 2013 and comes to us from Yellowstone National Park. Quick math, carry the 1, subtract the denominator, build a 3×3 matrix or whatever the crap they do in common core these days… wait a minute that is more than a year. Nope, one itty bitty cute and cuddly “dog” year.
Hit the jump to find out what the latest add to the birding list is.
Continue reading Yellow and Orange in Yellow
Well, it’s March and at recent glance my last post came courtesy of February. Now that is some mighty fine procrastination if I do say so myself! Some of the delay was thanks to a quick trip to Vegas to get a little birding done in Henderson, some more Valley of Fire and still more in Red Rock Canyon. May have even managed to add a couple more entries on the bird the life list. If all goes as normal they might make their appearance here in hmmm, add that to that, carry the 1, give a slight buffer to complete the processing.. yep, 3 years sounds about right. Granted Ron has been on my case about my snap to post lag so there is a chance these might jump the queue – maybe even ahead of the Ron Who Owes Me Bigley haul (as he has yet to post about that event – give him hell people!) Then to top it all off, I’ve had to battle a broken garage door opener over the last two days. Ended up having to replace the internal gearing which was quite the ordeal. For the record, the genius that attached the metal drive gear to PLASTIC worm gearing is an engineering idiot. Of course, the best part of successfully defeating the mechanical gremlins is being able to strut around the house rhetorically asking “Who Da Man!?! Which is what I thought of when I saw this Tricolored Heron walking around the water like it owned the place.
Probably successfully rebuilt a carburetot for his ‘Stang and making sure all the ladies in the area took notice. Them Tri’s are a handy bunch. This particular specimen was spotted at the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center back in December 2017. And you thought I was kidding about the size of the image queue. To my credit, I have been putting a serious dent in the multiple Texas trips over the last couple of years.
Continue reading Strutter