GRiaT

We are finally back from our exploration part deux.  For those that didn’t already figure it out based on the recent comments, we headed down to the shores of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle for some migration birding.  Ron was able to join us down there making for a wonderful time.  We managed to hit the fallout while at Dauphin Island and had the best birding of our lives.  Ron and I are both in the +20s which means almost certain I’ll be hitting my 300 bird list goal by the end of the year .. assuming I can get those posts out by then.  More on the trip when I get to those posts. For now, going with what was previously the most recent trip – Texas in January.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

So, to set the stage for this featured feathered friend, I need to weave in one of my fellow bloggers. Timothy over at Off Center & Not Even (link here) is an Owl aficionado, purveyor of sunsets , accomplished musician, clever poet, Bird tinner, Cat nurturer and owns a slick looking red car… to highlight just a few facets of things he covers on his entertaining blog. 

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

Hit the jump to see more of this new behavior.

Recently he has been featuring images of something that has been eluding me for years. No, not Cats, that’s by choice ha. Ever since I came back to birding I’ve always wanted to tin a Grebe with babies on its back and a Wood Duck in a tree (WDiaT). Wildlife behavior is kinda my thing (if you are new to the blog) and have the two mentioned scenarios tops on my list still to experience. Admittedly, I just need to put more energy into it as I am aware of the proper timing and locations – just need to get my ass in gear, especially since I can’t use the work excuse anymore.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

Not sure if Timothy has the Grebe behavior shot yet or not, but I know for a fact he has the Wood Duck in a tree shot because he recently featured it.  Seeing that was like a dagger in my back.. no wait, that was what I thought one of his Cats was planning to do to me.  Then his Cat convinced him to twist the dagger and feature ANOTHER set of WDiaT.  Well, that got me thinking of what my next post should be.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

Continuing the “In/On a Tree” series started back with the Ringed Kingfisher (link here), how “GRiaT” would it be to feature a Greater Roadrunner in a tree.  I know, bad pun, but I can’t get that damn Liberty Mutual Emu commercial out of my head .. you know the one.. how great is it we get to annoy everybody with our stupid motto.  We couldn’t fast forward through commercials on our trip so I’ve been subjected to that marketing hell NON STOP!  Sorry, I digress.  The specimen you see here was found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission Texas.  One of our favorite Texas birding spots – unfortunately in the region with the crisis at the moment.  I was heading out to their Hawk tower at the back of the park when I spotted this Roadrunner standing by the side of the road just staring at me – judging me, assessing my running ability and finding it wanting compared to its top speed of 17-20mph.

Greater Roadrunner found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission, Texas in January 2021

You would think since I have the image of a Roadrunner permanently affixed to my body (link here) there would be some kind of instant kinship formed – nope, the damn bird scoffed at me, and flew into a nearby tree.  Now I have never seen a Roadrunner in a tree, much less one that wasn’t impressed with my ability to run roads.  Definitely behavior that needed to be captured.  The Hawks can wait, time to tin me a road bird in a tree – even managed to channel Ron and get the back perspective.  Not as nice as a Wood Duck, but I definitely enjoyed a few minutes experiencing a new behavior.  

The next time we come upon a Roadrunner, I’ll have to mention these Birds have no fear of Rattlesnakes, in fact they will team up and kill them based on a blurb from Cornell. One distracts while the other grabs its head and “bashes the snake against a rock”. Meet Linda’s new favorite Bird ha!

Take it easy everyone .. and check out Timothy’s blog when you get a chance.

33 thoughts on “GRiaT”

  1. The roadrunner in the tree caught my eye. I usually see them on walls and on roofs if they are not on the ground out here. Thanks for the shout out and funny prose about our bird experiences and little about the cats. I have not seen Grebes taxiing their greblets on their back. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not out at the right times or because of the openness out here, but I never see ducklings. They are almost full grown ducks when I see them. Although, I do see goslings. The geese are better able to protect their young when they bring them out in the open, I suppose.

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    1. It was definitely a new scene for me. Interesting enough, it was able to move pretty fast along the branches so not a new ability for at least this specimen. Not sure on the ducklings situation in your neck of the woods, but I’ve been to Texas in January and nothing happening then in the offspring category – thinking the duck population there moves north to breed – just not sure. The great thing about Geese is they tend to have a high number of goslings which increases their chances of getting a few through the juvenile stages – they parents are also mean as hell and will attack a Coyote without hesitation up here. Thanks for dropping in and I need to get you added to my blog listing as I enjoy your posts very much.

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  2. BTW Sometimes a rattlesnake will get a bite on a roadrunner and have the roadrunner for dinner. But usually it’s the other way around.

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    1. Interesting, they must be able to sneak up on them because they certainly are not going to outrun them.. or maybe that is out slither them seeing as they don’t really have feet ha. Now I am eager to capture one of these Runners with a snake.. I’d take the other way around as well, but that might put my wife into full on convulsions. Thanks for the additional info!

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      1. The snake will get a bite on the roadrunner during their battle. The roadrunner succumbs to the venom quickly.

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    1. Okay, now I need to add CiaT shots to my behavior list to hunt for – the only Chickens I see out here in the country are roaming around yards and trying to cross the road – don’t ask me why ha. You are doing better than me on the Grebe front – haven’t even seen one. So much field work still to do. Hope things are freeing up over there across the pond. Just got back from two states that lifted all their state mandated covid requirements – was like heaven then had to come back to the hell they call IL(L).

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      1. Restrictions are being eased as the vaccine programme progresses and it seems to be working in terms of people in hospital and dying the numbers are falling. The big one will be when foreign travel is allowed again.
        Both myself and Mrs H are fully dosed up (as we help in clinics) but we are still wary and cautious, avoiding crowds and meeting only our friends who are also vaccinated. Stick with it B, it will get better, just don’t be fooled that it won’t happen to you especially with Mrs B having had a health scare.

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  3. Only a grebe? How about a loon? Nice shots of that roadrunner. I have only ever had them play chicken with me while driving out West! After miles and miles of nothing the darn things can sure wake your butt up! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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    1. Ugh, I need to put a Loon carrier on my list to get as well. Ron has me focused on getting a Killdeer offspring at the moment – not sure how I am going to get all this house work done when my bird behavior list is so long hehehe. Fortunately never had a Roadrunner play chicken with our vehicle although based on the carnage on the side of the roads out there the Armadillos must be putting their armor to the test (and losing by the looks of it). Appreciate you dropping in CJ – tell your hubby to keep up with the bird photography!

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    1. Oddly enough, there were large anvils tossed randomly on the ground near the tree – not sure what was up with that ha. Joking aside, I have yet to see a Coyote (animal) at Bentsen-Rio. I am sure they are there based on the scat I saw along their trails, but no sighting or even pack howling. I suspect they are a top tier predator, but not sure what the Cougar population is in the area. Hmm, I should probably look that up before we head over there again.

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  4. I forgot to follow-on with the series title (something in a tree or **iaT) and include photos (not sure how to attach) of the GHiaT (groundhog or woodchuck depending on where you call home) from last fall.

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    1. I was actually thinking of your shot while I was typing up this post. That would be a good addition to the series – there is another one coming soon from the same outing at Bentsen. For the record, I used to think Woodchucks and Groundhogs were different animals. In Springfield we used the term Groundhogs. When I got up here I kept hearing Woodchuck and expected to see something completely different. Sort of like the Ground Squirrel and Chipmunk labels (which I am currently battling around our house). Rather have that problem than a Groundhog for sure. I do not know how to attach externally, but if you have them up on your gallery, you can provide the link and people can view them that way.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Definitely one of those intriguing scenes that caught my attention immediately … although I could have done without the bird mocking my running abilities ha. Thanks for dropping in.

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    1. Glad to hear Reed. I also enjoyed your recent Bluebird series. One of my favorite birds and as of late starting to see more and more of them hanging around in the area. Local groups have been putting up houses for them in all the parks and it appears to be helping to bring them back.

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  5. I know you mention the “+1’s” but, and how far ahead (or behind) you are on Ron, but I think I’ve lost track. What’s your official count (by your own rules)? In a tree, on the ground, in the water or in the air; it all counts.

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    1. I’ve added my count to the left pane of the blog now. I’ll update it periodically so it could be a few pluses behind (it is one behind right now as the official count is 275). A major undertaking to formally update that number so I only do it when I have a few to do. To get the count has to be physically seen, photographed sufficiently enough to identify it, posted to my Birds of NA Gallery (number in the nav pane is a actually a link to the gallery) and then of course have an official blog post on it. Ron’s count is under fierce debate at the moment. I am sure he has more than I from a count perspective especially since I got him 40 in Texas and now another 20+ in Alabama – but he started a blog and well folks… very few of his birds have a post so his official number is around 10! This is hotly debated when we are together.

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    1. Thank you and nice pun ha! We have some of your Peacocks (Peafowls) transplanted over here – more like local pets. Even though not native, I definitely enjoy looking at their beautiful plumage. Appreciate you dropping in.

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      1. Do you know, ages ago, I wrote a couple of wildlife entries too on my blog. If you taste them, tell me how you like them.

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    1. You are quite welcome Sam – Roadrunners are one of my favorite birds – actually one of my two totem animals (other being Wolves). For many years before I decided to see how much pain I could inflict on myself and converted to ultra trail marathons I was focused on standard “road” races. The Roadrunner nicely sums up two of my favorite past times. With this new perspective I might have to start running trees ha! Always appreciate you dropping in Sam – loved the San Bernard NWR post (just realized I commented but forgot to like – corrected that omission now)

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