Well, we are officially off to the West. During our absence, I am turning the keys to the Intrigued Headquarters over to Brad. He will be keeping you entertained while Linda and I quest for the Holy Grail…eh, more like a bird or two or fingers crossed 20. Figured this would be a perfect time to roll out one of his two-parters from probably my favorite destination – Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy!
Take it away Brad and remember, no mega-parties at HQ until AFTER the work is done …
Many years ago, our family (Jan, Allyson and I) took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. You may remember me telling you that our daughter Allyson didn’t want to spend so much time looking at rocks in this prior post. Based on the pushback from a tweenager, I only booked three nights at a lodge in the park, giving us two full days for exploring. Accommodations inside the actual park are limited and usually fill up 8+ months in advance for summer visits. Two full days is by no means an extensive amount of time in Yellowstone (we still drove hundreds of miles inside the park and barely saw anything, IMHO). Taking the advice of a fellow traveler, photographer, and friend, we had flown into Salt Lake City and rented a car for the drive to Yellowstone. Our trip was in early June, hoping to miss most of the tourists with their kids still in school. We approached from the west entrance through West Yellowstone in Montana. Literally within a few minutes of the park rangers checking our annual park pass, we stopped along the road and were greeted with this view.
Hit the jump to read more about Brad’s Yellowstone experience.
Howdy folks. I have good news. Brad has checked in and thanks to a harrowing escape from a very agitated splinter tribe of the Baka, he’ll be returning to home base soon yeah! Best of all, he has digital cards full of future post fodder sure to entertain our readers. I’ll have to wait to hear the full office report out – dodging poison darts sounds like some serious popcorn munching stories. Linda and I are heading out into the field ourselves. Just a week stint for us, although I contend it feels a lot longer with limited amounts of sleep in Sin City. Expecting a big boost to my current Average Year count (link here) currently sitting at a respectable 210 thanks to two recent visitors to our feeders. Just to set the schedule, this will be the last post of the month from me in order to give me a chance to respond to comments etc. before we jet out. Brad will then take the helm to close out what is left of February and the first post or two in March.
With the admin work out of the way, how about we get to today’s featured feathered friend.
Completely opposite the sun soaked issues I had to deal with in the previous Cattle Egret post, today’s series is more of a literal drenching. Rather than having to battle the exposure gods to keep from blowing out the brilliant whites of that Egret, I found myself trying to suck in all the light I could to pull this Green Heron out of darkness. Rain had just passed, the sky was still thick with overcast and the waters around the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center (and now Alligator Sanctuary) had taken on a dreary tone.
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of our rain soaked shore hunter.
Quick change of post plans. Originally scheduled to have a two-parter from Brad for these next posts, but I forgot we are sending him on assignment to a dark foreboding destination in a forgotten corner of the world in search of new post fodder. Sure, he was reluctant at first, but got onboard when I explained it was for the good of our loyal readers at the cost of relatively minor inconveniences (Malaria shots for starters). Personal concern for safety was quickly replaced with thoughts of National Geographic level grander and notoriety. Let’s all thank Brad for his dedication and commitment to you and the Intrigued family. If he makes it .. I mean when he makes it back we’ll pop some posts off his queue to feature while Linda and I are sipping umbrella drinks around the pool in a popular desert destination.
In the meantime, you are stuck with me and this here rather gruff looking Egret.
Hit the jump to read more about this blocky Egret more apt to be found in a dry field than standing in the water alongside the rest of its kin.
Hello everyone! Trying to get ahead of the posting curve as it looks like we might be heading back out for an extended period of time in the proverbial field. If plans work out it will be later this month – cautiously trying to not jinx us as we had some very difficult times trying to get to places towards the end of last year. Unexpected family situations and a bout with Covid threw those plans right into the dumpster. More on that as we electric slide closer to those dates. In the meantime I have some topics in my queue and there are several in Brad’s queue I want to get to before then. He will be traveling as well, so doing my best to get everything timed out correctly. To keep things rolling, here’s a series I took back in January 2022 (essentially yesterday for those of us here at Intrigued ha).
As you can hopefully make out from this distant shot, today’s feature has fur instead of feathers. Hit the jump to learn more about this rather big eared creature that showed up while I was hunting for Clapper Rails.
Just a quick note before we get started. I intentionally let my birthday pass without fanfare last month, but I was planning to make special note of an accomplishment that did occur – As my Dad would quip, must not have been that important or you wouldn’t have forgotten ha. As a quick self-pat on the back, January was the start of my 16th year blogging here at Intrigued. 15 years of observations, wildlife encounters, ramblings and whatnot. Been a blast so far and all the credit goes to you, my wonderful readers, and our staff that keep this little project going. Hippity Hip Hooray! Now staff, let’s get back to work.
Apparently my home state decided to welcome me back with a bit of a warm spell. Admittedly, it was a bit brutal the first week, but mid 40’s for most of this week (possibly in 50’s Sunday), in the Midwest, in early February…I’ll take it. Best of all I’ve been able to train outside and catch back up from the annual lazy January. A bit shocked I’m already up to 9 mile outings, but there’s a long runway to this year’s goals. Already signed up for a midyear 50K which already has the distinction of sending my sorry ass to the hospital (link here and here) and as you probably expected, another attempt at the 100K in the fall (link here). What can I say, I don’t deal very well with failure. There will probably be a few races scattered in here and there, but the training will be designed around these larger events. Today’s featured feathered friend is also fond of running albeit more of a sprinter specialist (you can view larger versions by hitting the image links).
Last post I brought you a ubiquitous resident of Texas (and many of the other southwestern states). A full bodied, dark feathered bird with quite a sassy mouth. Similar to the Great-Tailed Grackle, the Sanderling can be found in Texas. You will not find them at inland Walmarts as these cute birds all have Salt Life plastered on the back of their Jeeps. Tops off, Maui Jims on, cooler in the back, sandal to pedal with the wind whipping through their white/grey toned nonbreeding plumage.
Hit the jump to see a few shots I took of them driving their Jeeps on the beach.
Well, it is a bit bittersweet, but we are officially back in the broke state of Illinois. Part of us misses the warm(ish) sun, soothing waves and inviting beaches we enjoy while on our southern stay. On the other hand, there is something comforting about being home even when the outside temps are struggling to get into double digits (hell, even above zero for that matter). What can I say, I like my “stuff”, ability to stretch out and not hit the side of the RV and, best of all, I finally get to play with my new Christmas gifts. Also helpful to have my larger screens for managing my blog duties. Need to get caught up on the 2023 Average Year (link here), but other than the updated travel video, the 2022 results/recaps are all finalized (link here).
The month of January was one busy birding month. With all the southern Texas locations and the travel to and from, the unofficial 2023 count already stands at 192. That means only 108 more to go in the next 11 months to hit the previously missed 300 threshold (technically 106 as I already picked off two easy ones at my feeders). Of course we all know it gets significantly harder as each one is ticked off. There is one particular bird I am glad is already checked for this year – one that my ears are very relieved are likely to be absent for some months until we head back into the Southwest.
Those that live in that region ALREADY know what our feature bird of the day is. That purplish shimmer, dagger of a bill and equally piercing yellow eyes conjure up images of psychological noise torture used throughout warfare history. There is a theory that the Israelites really used Great Tailed Grackles to bring down the walls of Jericho and not trumpets – UPDATE: our gaggle of curmudgeon lawyers that make life miserable for those of us here at Intrigued demand that I caveat my previous statement with “there are no facts to date supporting said theory”. Truth is they were trained to steer D11’s at the time and the reason many construction companies choose yellow as their base color – in tribute to the eyes of these early skilled soldiers/laborers.
While I sort things out with the lawyers, hit the jump to read more about these squawkers.