Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas 2020

Just wanted to extend best wishes to everyone during this holiday season. Myself, Linda, Benji, Raven and all the hardworking staff here at Intrigued (marketing, accounting, publishing, human resources and of course the cadre of lawyers) are truly grateful for all of our readers. There is nothing more precious than a person’s time and to spend that to consume our musings is absolutely heartfelt.

Merry Christmas 2020

Be safe and most of all keep your hopes up that 2021 will bring us back to happier times. To all a virtual hearty handshake and a pat on the back for all are friends that help us get through this thing called life. Remember to live and not just exist, to experience and not simply watch and most of all to cherish the bright days and not dwell on the dim ones.

Thank You!

The Doerflers

Tern-Fit

Been a long day today as we finished up the last of all our preventative medical appointments. We wanted to get everything checked off the list so we could start the new year fresh and not have any commitments should we decide to do some extended exploring. Eye doctor, medical doctor and today the dentist. I am definitely tired of being probed and prodded, but glad to have confirmation from the experts that I am still alive (some mornings I wonder ha). Feeling a bit tired, decided I’d take a break and tickle the keyboard a bit. Like our featured feathered friend for today, this will be a quick post.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

I will start out by saying there is a lot of room for improvement in these shots. Lighting is clearly not the best and some of them are rather soft. Problem is, the key to improving shots of this bird is to get physically stronger! My rig is not the lightest coming in at 11-12 pounds with the Beast attached. Thanks to nights in the gym, I generally hand-hold in the field as dealing with a tripod can be a pain in the ass depending on how much distance you plan to cover.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our agile bird.

Continue reading Tern-Fit

Scandal on the Water

In today’s post we are going to do some time traveling. Trust me, I am trying to chip away at the backlog or minimally get back to a reasonable delay – getting harder to remember all the details of a given trip into the field. Unfortunately, it seems to be a Sisyphus effort as I filter through just about all of the images previously processed and then I discover another folder from a trip I haven’t even touched yet. Should probably join a Photographers Anonymous group – “Hello, I’m Brian and I take a LOT of pictures”. On the bright side, an abundance of material it is a good problem to have if you are a blogger.

I did finally get the massive Haunted Halloween Trail posts up on the Intrigued Mothership. Those take a serious chunk of time to gather and document the walk throughs. If you like Halloween and don’t mind your image cache being inundated, you might check out those posts.

Now let’s get to our featured feathered friend.

American Wigeon December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about our featured dabbler.

Continue reading Scandal on the Water

Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Coming back from today’s rather cold 10 mile run a new life mission popped in my head. I am going to devote the next 5 years of my life learning how to communicate with Squirrels. Learn their native dialog, dive deep into their culture and master their mannerisms. Once mastered I shall use that valuable knowledge to engage with our local specimens in the hope to finally answer the most pressing question mankind has forever sought an answer to.. WHY THE HELL DO SQUIRRELS ON THE SAFE SIDE OF THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY FEEL THE URGE TO SPRINT TO THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF THE ROAD WHEN A VEHICLE APPROACHES!?! It is absolutely insane and I am taking it upon myself to find out what is actually going on in their walnut sized brains. Note, I may change my mind after the exhaustion finally leaves my body.

Now this fresh specimen has got it right.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Just hang out at the shoreline, no playing Frogger across the busy roads, no accepting double Dog dares to out run the metal boxes with wheels and certainly no games of Chicken out on the asphalt. Nope, just slosh through the muck in search of tasty morsels.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Hit the jump to read more about our featured specimen.

Continue reading Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Now that is One Fresh Owl

It has been a few days since I’ve been able to post on the wild side of Intrigued. Before I get accused of slacking since retirement, I have been busy on the post front. The Halloween Haunted Trail posts are finally getting the spotlight and those are a lot of work – one more part to go on that and that will finally be checked off my to-do list. As you can tell from the image below, I decided that I needed a break from the haunting.

Barred Owl found at Jubilee College State Park in December 2020

Hit the jump to learn something interesting about our feathered friend – hint, these images might still be wet.

Continue reading Now that is One Fresh Owl

Effortless Ladder-Backed

Had to take Linda in for her eye appointment today and since they only allow the patient into the building these days, I’m stuck sitting in the truck. Becoming a common theme lately as we’re trying to get all of our health appointments out of the way so we do not have to worry about them if we decide to hit the road early next year. Since there is not a whole lot to do sitting in a truck on a cold rainy day, opted to bring along the ol’ laptop and recall some warmer times. Fortunately – or maybe that is unfortunately for you – there is still a staggering amount of images from Texas sitting in the blog queue. I came upon this one first so Pecker it is.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Our featured feathered friend comes to us primarily from the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. This state park is located in Mission Texas directly on the US-Mexico border. For my international followers, that puts you directly on the traditionally understood northern banks of the Rio Grande River. Note the word “traditionally” there. As the border between the two countries is defined by a meandering river, at any given spot you may find yourself looking at Mexico to the south, east west and not until my last trip down there did I realize that in some points you can actually look north to Mexico. At the time the latter happened to us, we were a little concerned that we had made a seriously wrong turn or the GPS thought it would be fun to play a trick on us. A quick check of the map set us at ease we were still on US soil. Put that little tidbit in our memory banks.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Hit the jump to catch a few more shots of our small Woodpecker.

Continue reading Effortless Ladder-Backed

Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See

Hello everybody! Today happens to be one of those times when a common quandary becomes crystal clear – at least for the immediate post. If you happen to carry large glass into the field, I am sure you’ve been questioned as to whether you are a birder or a photographer. I’ve noted in the past my feelings toward that inquiry and will not belabor that point for the sanity of my readers. Doubt aside, the answer to that question for this particular series is — I’m a birder. Has there been enlightenment, an epiphany or some form of life clarity that has put everything into perspective? Nope – very simply, these pictures basically suck hehehe. No way around it, soft, cluttered, difficult to discern, boring … pick your negative critique of choice, they are there in all their dark glory. Why bother subjecting you to such poor images? The answer is – it actually fits the narrative (oh, and it makes my other images look that much better ha).

Brown Creeper found on lot in Brimfield, IL in November 2020

Today’s featured feathered friend is a bit of a creep:

“I wish I was special

But I’m a creep

I’m a weirdo

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here.”

Figured I would go ahead and provide you the lyrics because if you were around the alt scene in the early 90’s I guarantee you started singing that song as soon as you saw that word – complete with adult words.

But I’m not talking about Yorke’s drunk trying to get the attention of a woman.. in this case I’m referring to the stealthy little forest bird called the Brown Creeper.

Hit the jump see some more truly craptastic shots of our stealthy friend.

Continue reading Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See

Dragons and Bluebirds

My friend Brad M. hung up the daily grind at the same time I did. He mentioned he was beginning to forget what day of the week it was. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but very close – one thing for sure, I am adapting faster than I thought would happen. Getting stuff checked off my to-do list at a record pace and once the holiday decorating is completed (looks like Hallmark threw up in our living room which is complete with a >12 foot Xmas tree hehehe), I can start researching target birds for our upcoming trip. With that said, I did notice one thing that seemed different – clipped a root and took a nasty impact running the trails the other day. Typically I bounce like Tigger and carry on. I had to collect myself for a minute this time, remember where/who I was and topped it off with a nice bruise after the run. Not liking that aspect at all! On a happier note, I mentioned what a wonderful send-off I had and the video they had made for me. After several attempts to upload to our gallery and help from Ron who converted the video for me (only to have Smugmug convert it back ugh), I finally got it rendered correctly. Thought I would share it with you – absolutely love it – on the other hand, Linda is getting tired of me playing it all the time hehehe.

Guessing you are really here to see wildlife! During the last post I mentioned the House Wren has a tendency to take over bird houses intended for our local Eastern Bluebirds. I try not to play favorites too much beyond my well documented dislike for the Brown-Headed Asshats (link here) and those damn Blue Jays. Whoever gets there first and able to defend it wins the house in my book. Except the Wrens need to start putting down a deposit if they take over my replacement birdhouse as they have proven to be lacking on the upkeep responsibilities.

Eastern Bluebird found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL in April 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our colorful backyard bird.

Continue reading Dragons and Bluebirds

A Hummer Quandary

Well, our trip to Mayo was successful. Linda checked out fine and we were able to get all of our questions fully answered with positive dispositions so SUCCESS on that front. Now we just need to take some precautions to make sure we didn’t inadvertently get exposed to COVID or any other rare transmittable disease. As Linda was verifying her tests/appointments before we left, she noticed that 1/3 of their total staff across all their medical facilities were sick or quarantined with COVID-19. We followed all protocols so not too concerned, but clearly it has made its rounds through the medical fields. I also thought of two more positives out of the pandemic (planting a lemon tree). First, from personal experience I can inform all married males that it takes roughly 8 months before the “ring dent” disappears. Linda and I have an agreement – I only have to wear my ring when out in public and Linda only has to wear her ring all the time. As our public engagements have been limited, my ring has sat proudly on my dresser for most of the year. Hoping for your wife’s sake that information won’t prove too useful. Secondly, if you happen to go into a cold environment (like Minnesota), my preferred mask, the gator, provides a nice extra bit of warmth to the neck and face. Now to take a sip from my glass of lemonade. Okay, now for a call for help from all my birder friends.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Texas January 2018

What we have here is a Hummingbird. That is the part of the identification I am absolutely sure about. No question about it, tiny bird, long pointy bill and often located near containers full of sugar water. It gets increasingly harder from there. Now, when it comes to Hummers, you can usually start eliminating a number of the species based on region alone.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Texas January 2018

Hit the jump for my super-useful Illinois Hummer identification algorithm and see my plea for help! Continue reading A Hummer Quandary