It Say’s I’m the Best

For the last two weeks I’ve woken up, looked at the day’s to-do list, covered my dog’s ears and let out a string of colorful words. In big bold letters is the word “POST”. Although that probably is obvious but it is short for “Get your lazy butt into the den and get a post out you lily-livered, bow-legged, flea-bitten varmint”. Yes, I’m retired, yes, I still have to-do lists and yes, my to-do list entries mock me. This month it isn’t so much procrastination, just too much stuff going on, but today we are going to take another bite out of the self-imposed monthly post quota.

Going to start with another brag introduction. I previously mentioned Raven did well in the TDAA National competition held last week in Minnesota. He is starting to slow down a bit, but he is getting the job done qualifying in 4 out of his 6 runs. I’d be sleeping on the couch if I didn’t give some of that credit to Linda ha!

Raven at TDAA Nationals in Maple Grove, MN July 2022

I think Raven is starting to feel the pressure from the newest member of the agility family. A long way from the steady runs of his brother, Ruger is just starting out, but showing amazing talent – Linda just needs to get him focused. We laughed at this shot of him “doing” his first ever weave poles. By “doing” we mean running right through them to get to his favorite obstacle the teeter-totter. “That isn’t how it’s done Ruger!” Raven was absolutely embarrassed and went and hid in his crate after that fiasco.

Raven at TDAA Nationals in Maple Grove, MN July 2022

As they Say’s, hit the jump to see today’s featured feathered friend!

Ruger ended up getting the last laugh on him as he won an award for his effort. Here he is showing off his “Dog Gone Wild” achievement along with another participant who was also awarded this “major” award from the judge.

Ruger's Dog Gone Wild award at TDAA Nationals in Maple Grove, MN July 2022

Ruger was busy strutting his stuff in front of Raven’s crate – “look at the big winner, who’s the star puppy? oh right, that’s me… ” on and on until Raven reminded him why he got the reward. The other Poodle was given the award for absolutely crushing the course time – one fast dog. Ruger was given it for being …how should I put this .. hmmm.. let’s go with bat-shit crazy. If you didn’t know it, you’d think that every obstacle was infested by a squirrel – let’s do that one, hey, that looks fun, is that a tunnel on the other end of the ring, gotta do that. Gave quite a laugh for the spectators. Now every time Ruger walks by the award he proclaims “That Says I’m the Best” Linda is going to have her hands full.

Okay, now that I’ve distracted you with the brags, time to get to today’s featured feathered friend. Apologies for the long intro, but today’s shots are, contrary to Ruger – NOT our best work.

Say's Phoebe found in Red Rock Canyon, Clark County, NV in February 2020

It does, however, represent a new check in my life list! It is also a bit of a happy surprise. While we were spending our January in Texas, we headed over to the Progresso Sod Farm in Hildago County. There were some sightings of a wintering Burrowing Owl there and I’ve been hunting that bird for a looong time. They also had a Say’s Phoebe which would be a nice bonus.

Say's Phoebe found in Red Rock Canyon, Clark County, NV in February 2020

When we got there, we were a bit surprised that it isn’t really a sod farm anymore, rather a developing subdivision that still had a number of vacant lots/fields where the birds were hanging out. They had several Long-Billed Curlew (link here), wandering about providing a good add for the year. Unfortunately, couldn’t find the Say’s. We didn’t get a chance to get back there before heading home – a missed opportunity… so I thought. While processing a set of pictures taken in February of 2020 at Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area in Las Vegas, NV, I spotted something very interesting on a pole outside the visitor center. Quickly went to the reference books and confirmed I had this Phoebe already in the tin (imagine Bri strutting around like Ruger with his major award).

Say's Phoebe found in Red Rock Canyon, Clark County, NV in February 2020

This would never have been an issue if I didn’t have such a backlog of images, but a pleasant surprise for sure. Just wish I could have executed better as I managed to lose a lot of the feather detail and muted the colors a bit. It is quite beautiful with its cinnamon colored belly paired with the brownish/grey uppers. In that first shot you can see that it can raise its feathers into a cute peaked crown. These Phoebes are primarily a western half of the US bird with a breeding region that includes Alaska and some expansion into Canada. Fairly common in Central America year round. According to Cornell, Charles Bonaparte (Napolean’s nephew) named this Phoebe after American naturalist Thomas Say, the “father of American entomology”. They are quite tolerant of people and will often nest in urban settings like mailboxes and buildings – in fact, they are known to nest on the Alaskan Pipeline which is likely fueling their expansion along that path into Canada (see what I did there ha).

Need to get to other items on the to-do list (can you hear the taunting hehehe), so will put a bow on this post. Hope you enjoyed the update on the puppies and thanks for suffering through the shots of a bird that really deserves better. Next time we are in Texas or Vegas I’ll try to get you better shots.

10 thoughts on “It Say’s I’m the Best”

    1. Then puppy agility classes is the spectator sport for you!! I’m just glad it’s Linda that has to be in the ring for all the embarrassment – as they say, we are laughing WITH you, not AT you. Fortunately, this is her 5th agility dog so she’s knows what she’s in for every time she toes the line while their puppy brain is trying to figure it all out. Thanks for dropping in and I smiled when I saw your daddy Owl visit again.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the excitement is still getting to him. Part of the problem Linda always has is getting her dogs to get comfortable with all the other dogs, handlers and spectators when we go to shows. Living in the country it is pretty isolated and going from that to a large show is understandably a shock to their system. The more training gets and the mores shows he goes to he’ll hopefully start letting the distractions go. You are right, it’s impossible for us to really get mad at him – not to mention his ability to use his puppy eyes to melt us whenever he thinks we are mad at him. Appreciate you dropping in and joining the conversation Rudi!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a handsome little bird. I need to add him to the list of little guys I should be looking for down here in Texas… especially out in the more arid landscapes. And congrats on your dog-gone pup, looks like he keeps the whole family on their toes 🙂

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    1. This bird should be accessible, however, as I mentioned above, it turned out harder to find than I expected. They are pretty unique looking so, you should not have any trouble spotting one if they happen to be around you. Toy Poodles are naturally high energy dogs coupled with high mental capacity which can be a devilish combination in general, but Ruger.. well.. this one has blown away our previous benchmarks in capacity to learn/understand as well as boundless energy – the dude never settles down until he collapses on the bed out of exhaustion from the day’s exploration. Then at 6am he wakes up and starts walking on us until we get up so he can get back to playing and training. This is what Linda wanted for the agility ring, so, we’ll see how this all turns out. Have a great rest of your week Sam.

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  2. Congrats to Linda first, then the pups! And I never thought I’d see a partial Nickelback lyric in one of your posts, referencing Ruger’s modified pole weave. Stodgy contest rules be darned.
    Your Phoebe looks like a flying cotton ball. A very understated LFB (little fluffy bird). I hope you are keeping track of all the acronyms.
    Now, put down the posts and get ready for your run this weekend!

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    1. Whoa, whoa, whoa, there was NEVER an intentional Nickelback lyric used – if it is, they clearly stole it from a better artist ha. That day Ruger was under the misconception the poles were goalposts he simply had to run through to score points – that was his first ever attempt at doing them officially and really wasn’t fair to have those in that baby course. He had trained on a lesser number of weave poles before that, but seeing the line of 6 (think it was 6 or maybe 12) is a bit much. Linda’s been working with him since then and told me yesterday he basically has it down now. LFB, I need to do a reference check on that to make sure it hasn’t already been associated with a group (like large feathered butterballs). I’m behind on my posts so I have to keep going for a few more before I can focus on the race. I start taper tomorrow (after yesterday’s 11 mile run) – keeping a close eye on those Davenport temperature forecasts.


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