Summer Comes Early

I want to start with remembering all those that are serving, have served and on the day we officially honor them, those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to live the values instilled in this country by our founding fathers. Those that have given their lives in combat and the families that have lived/live with that sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Last post I featured a feathered friend that Ron was able to check off this year …and more importantly… one I’m still missing in my “Average Year” efforts (link here – still not updated). I also noted there was a plan for me to claw back some points. Last Friday Linda and I went to Havana IL and successfully tinned a few sure things. Specifically the Western Kingbird (Link here – why they nest there I have no clue) and the Eurasian Tee Sparrow (link here). Note, if you want to see a limited region for a bird, check out that European Tree Sparrow – basically a small blotch in IL (link here).

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Even managed to get 2 more +1s for the year on the way home that Ron didn’t have ..well, yet. Not that I am competitive or anything (wink), but was feeling pretty good gaining +4 on him. Then opportunity knocked. Brothers and I decided to meet mom’s house to start the long process of cleaning it out. This meant Ron would be traveling down perilously close to Havana on his way to the house. My warnings that the birds had already left for the summer were ignored (no trust ha). Sure enough, he stopped by there and picked up 3 of the 4 Friday tallies. Well, that euphoria didn’t even make it past the long weekend.

So, like the previous post, bringing you another red hued bird.

In contrast to the last post, Ron DOES NOT have this Tanager checked off for this year. It is still a few weeks off from the season, but rather than wait, bringing you summer early! A male Summer Tanager to be exact. The official check for this year came while we were down in southern Texas during January. Ron probably missed getting it by maybe 20 minutes thanks to having to head to the airport to catch his flight home. While he had to sit in the airport lobby, Linda and I headed back to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Brownsville. There was a rarity we were chasing there before he had to take him to the airport. I’ll cover that hunt in an upcoming post. For today, just note I managed to tin the Summer Tanager while I was there (and the rarity, but shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone yet).

Hit the jump to continue reading about Ron’s missing check

Continue reading Summer Comes Early

Hey, Stop Hitting on my Wife

I mentioned in a previous post that Ron and I had the opportunity to get a little birding in at the end of last week. Not only did that allow us to get a quick break from the stress building up over the last 6 or 7 weeks, it also provided a huge boost to our “Average Year” counts. We took a setback when we canceled the Dauphin migration trip originally planned in April. We have managed to claw back some of the migrating checks thanks to a trip up to Montrose Bird Sanctuary, a new place called LaBagh Woods (will definitely have a future post on that gem) and then several locations around our favorite Chain ‘O Lakes State Park area. That two day trip allowed me to bump up my ’22 count to 245!!! Apologies, I still need to update the Birding Chronicles stats page (link here). Then Ron followed that up with a side trip, managing to get this species checked off his list.

Scarlet Tanager found on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

That was a good pick up on me as I haven’t been able to locate ones of these fireballs yet. In honor of his accomplishment, decided to go ahead with this series from an encounter I had while we were down at Dauphin Island back in April of last year. I also get to continue my green theme from the last two posts.

Scarlet Tanager found on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our encounter with this brilliantly colored bird.

Continue reading Hey, Stop Hitting on my Wife

Mine with a Twist of Lime

The end of May is creeping up on me and I’m short on posts this month. Do not want to break my multi-year streak of hitting my monthly blog quota, so look for several more posts to come bursting your way this week. The good news is Ron and I were able to get a break from all the ordeals with our mother’s passing. Did some birding at Montrose Beach (Chicago) and several places around Chain ‘O Lakes State Park. Extremely productive for our “Average Year” tallies and even managed to set a record for our one day unique species count (62). A summary of that effort will be coming as soon as I can process the 110 gigs of images from the two day haul. As for today, thought I would continue with the “lime green” theme from the last post.

Green Anole found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Surprise, not a bird ha! This happens to be a Lizard we discovered last year while Ron and I were birding Dauphin Island. Hmmm, discovered might not be the best choice of birds – more like the Lizard that “revealed” itself to me. Unlike my wife, I am quite fond of the members in the reptile family. Only variable is how close I am willing to get to a particular specimen. Definitely not one to go running head first into a door frame if the slithering kind pops out of a grill cover (link here). If you are wondering, Lizards do not get a pass from Linda either – as she puts it “just Snakes with legs”. So glad she wasn’t with us when this walking neon sign came out to greet us.

Hit the jump to see more of our lime colored friend.

Continue reading Mine with a Twist of Lime

Brironan Shirts for Sale – Cheap!

Greetings everyone! Been a while since I’ve had the chance to get back to the blog. We had a nice ceremony in remembrance of my Mother a couple of weeks ago and now moving into the will and possessions phase. This part is going to take a bit of time and effort to get through, not to mention a bit of travel being that she still lived where we were born and raised. I definitely want to extend our sincere appreciation for the outpouring of blessings and support we have received from our blogsphere family. As saddening as the ordeal was, it was comforting to know you were thinking of us.

Unfortunately, I am waaaay behind on my postings, not to mention the backlog of post reading on the blogs I follow. Fingers crossed I can get caught up quickly. Getting back into the swing of things, thought I’d bring you an intriguing featured feathered friend.

Female Painted Bunting found at Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Our lime green specimen comes to you courtesy of last year’s trip to the Alabama Gulf Shores. More specifically, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. I’ve posted numerous times on the incredible finds during our April stay on that small piece of land.

Female Painted Bunting found at Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our lime colored discovery.

Continue reading Brironan Shirts for Sale – Cheap!

Screw the BiFs, Hello BoSs

Welcome to May everyone! So far it has basically been one rainy day after another – in fact, April was downright rainy as well. I know some of you in the southwest are pretty dry, wish there was a way to get some of our run-off down to you. Read yesterday that Lake Mead is so low they are finding bodies. The positive in all this is our wells should be fully charged. Unfortunately, the “Average Year” efforts are in a stumble with the Dauphin trip cancellation. I have been able to get a few adds .. in between the rains of course.

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

How is that for an absolutely craptastic shot!?! That particular image is the “best” of about a hundred attempts to tin one of these caffeine junkies in flight. For a majority of birds, their flights are fairly predictable. Note position A, then B and you can pretty much assume where C is going to end up along that trajectory. Focus lock the bird at position B and pan with it to estimated point C while engaging continues shutter mode – easy peasy. Even hyper Flycatchers can be mitigated knowing 83.6% of the time they return to the same branch after a quick sortie. (Note, 91.82% of statistics are made up on the fly.. and while at it, 103% of political poll numbers are bullshit. hehehe.) When it comes to Swallows you are probably better off just randomly pressing the shutter at a random spot at a random distance and pray one of them spots a bug in the vicinity. I tried everything short of throwing the kitchen sink in hopes of knocking one out of the sky and the best I could do is the shot above. 30 minutes into it my arms were like spaghetti and had used up all my colorful swear words. Screw these birds in flight (BiFs)!!

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

Frustrated, I brought The Beast down and gave my arms a rest. Started scanning the nearby trees in a last ditch effort to come away with a shot worthy of the +1 for the Average Year. Well, hello there bird on stick (BoSs)! As I was hoping, these Northern Rough-Winged Swallows were staging on a tree next to the bank we were standing on. Now that is muuuuuch easier on the arms.

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow found at Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, IL

Did I mention it was really windy that day?

Hit the jump to read about other finds from the Swallow family.

Continue reading Screw the BiFs, Hello BoSs