Greetings Intrigued fans. This was a pretty busy weekend as we headed up north for a little fun in the sun and, of course, a bit of agility dog showing. Linda decided she wanted to ignore the advice of her heart specialist and get a few agility runs in with Raven. He needed one more successful standard run to move to the next competition level. She promised to take it easy in the ring so I relented and agreed to it. Should probably mentioned she did bribe me with the opportunity to get some trail running training in (their trails were not flooded out like our local ones are) and the cherry on top, a day of birding with Ron and his wife. Raven ended up getting it done in the ring going 3 for 4 while Linda managed to keep her heart under control. I managed to get a solid 13 miles in putting me in good position for next week’s 15K considered Illinois’ toughest, but reminded me just how hard the 50K is going to be a few weeks later. Still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, was still able to get a solid day of birding in – think we came in at the high 30’s species mark for the day. Once all that was out of the way, we had to race home to watch the St Louis Blues try to claim the Stanley Cup. One frustrating element was the lack of Internet where we were camping arrrrrgggghhhh! Had plans to get caught up on my running post – nope. While sitting here watching the Blues (now down 2 goals) thought I’d jump on the computer and crank out a quick post.
It’s a bittersweet post today as this officially wraps up all the worthy shots from the Georgia birding trip back in May 2015. With all the bird shots out of the way, it is time to give some time those non-feathered creatures hanging out in the region. Before I begin though, if you are looking for good shots of dragons and butters you should leave this post immediately and head on over to see B’s work over at Butterflies to Dragsters (link here). I’m a bit embarrassed to even put these out after seeing his work behind the macro. So, if you are still here, let’s get to some non-birds shall we.
Hit the jump to see the last shots from the Georgia trip.
Continue reading Featherless
30 years ago today, I woke up early, put the suit on my parents were gracious enough to buy me so I looked decent for my corporate interviews. I wasn’t heading to an interview that day, rather to my new job with wide eyes, a little bit of fear and ambitions to help build a better world. That day I joined 16 other individuals also entering the corporate world many of which have stayed very close friends to this day. One in particular turned out to be extra special as I eventually married one of those classmates – Linda. As you can infer she is also celebrating her 30 year anniversary. Since those first few months in the college grad training program I’ve had the opportunity to see far off places, engage with coworkers all across the world on a daily basis and develop/design/architected systems that play critical roles from engineering, manufacturing, financial and IT. Sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long until you remember back on the on the great people you have met along the way. The best part of it all (besides marrying my best friend of course) is the financial independence it has brought allowing me to pursue my other passions which brings us directly to today’s post!
Yep, the second part of the Georgia birding dump. As before, this is basically a close out set of birds photographed while on our trip back in May 2015. The shot above is likely a female brown-Headed Cowbird. Not the best angle for identification since the tail, back and half of the face is obscured. Going solely on the thick black conical bill and the overall gray-brown coloring. Unfortunately, the Brown-Headeds are on my top 5 most hated birds list due to being brood parasites – let’s move on shall we.
Hit the jump to see a few more closing shots of the Georgia haul.
Continue reading Georgia Bird Burst Pt 2 of 2
It has been a whirlwind for us since we headed out on our trip to Lake Tahoe last Thursday. I think we pretty much hit every weather condition we possibly could have starting out with Midwest heat and nonstop rains on our way to the airport. Landed in Reno for a cold shot to the system as it was down in the high 30’s low 40’s which gave way to low 30’s, rain, sleet and golf ball sized snowflakes for our stay at Lake Tahoe. Reversed those weather patterns on our return back to the broke state of Illinois which put the weather cherry on top with today’s tornado warnings. Fortunately, it was a small bit of tribulation that was quickly replaced with jubilation as the targets of my trip are safely in the tin! Oh, and my nephew, Ron’s son, Matt successfully tied the knot with his wonderful bride Anna. Before I get to the Tahoe prizes, I need to finish up the Georgia Trip back in May 2015 that has been consuming the blog output as of late. Being through with the series shots, thought I would go ahead and just give a blast of other birds that caught my eye while out on the hunt.
Will be light on the commentary for this collection and let you simply enjoy a variety of shots. Think I mentioned this in a previous post, but the Skidaway Island State Park employed this Great Egret as their “Walmart Greeter”. As we pulled up to the visitor center, Wally here came right up to the driver’s door, looked around the inside of the RV, looked me over a couple of times and took a few steps back to let us proceed. Grabbed The Beast and did my best to get a shot – so close I had to pull all the way back and still barely got the head in.
Hit the jump to see a variety of other specimens from the Georgia birding trip!
Continue reading Georgia Bird Blast Pt 1 of 2
Wanted to get another post out as I’ll be hunting for a White-Headed Woodpecker over the extended weekend. Will likely have difficulties getting to new posts during that time being deep in unexplored wilderness fending off Cougar attacks, dodging Viper strikes, wrestling Bears and befriending wild Wolves to survive long cold bitter nights. Well, for at least part of the trip, there’s a wedding event involved so I’ll have to clean up to at least attend that ceremony … but then back into hiking boots with The Beast to seek out the prize.
As we’ll back in snow conditions for this hunt, thought it would be appropriate to feature creatures that give tribute to the white fluffy stuff.
It is awfully hard to take a birding trip (short or long) where you do not have the opportunity to come upon an Egret or a Heron. If you happen to be a wildlife photographer, I will bet the farm that you have tins full of these birds. Also guessing those primarily came from your early birding years as they are the PERFECT photography subject. When these birds are hunting it will make you wonder if they make Ritalin for Sloths. Need to learn how to use an expensive camera, desire to understand the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture), maybe want to practice breathing techniques to stable your long glass – either way, these shore waders are the go to subject.
What you do not often get a chance to get in the tin are Egret/Heron offspring.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots and try your hand at an ID.
Continue reading Summer Blossoms
Well, here I sit with a completely drained body trying to speculate just how bad it is going to be tomorrow when the adrenaline drains out. Don’t feel sorry, I willingly chose to test myself once again on a nasty half marathon trail run. I wasn’t expecting the heat to come in so fast especially after heavy rains the last two days and quite frankly most of this month! I’ll leave the details for a post on the mothership blog, but today’s course was a wicked combination of multiple water crossing (one was a spillway up over the calves), rocks, roots and a nasty collection of hills that beat me down like an after school encounter with the local bully. As soon as you dived into the valleys you were suffocated by Mr. Heatmiser while you tried your best to make sure your shoes came out of the ankle deep mud. Didn’t help I smacked the ground at mile 11 badly bruising my ankle and leaving me wondering if my ribs were still attached – gotta pick up those feet Bri regardless of how tired you are! The good news is there’s new hardware on my running shelf for my efforts so as they say … worth it hehehe.
Going with a short one tonight so I can get a good amount of foam rolling in before crawling (literally) into bed.
Hit the jump to see a couple more shots of the Ibis.
Continue reading Sky Commander
What’s the Rise Against song, “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” (an unoriginal play off of Mark Twain). Been a bit since I’ve posted here. In fact, I was blog-shamed by a friend this morning who made note of my lack of production now we are midway through the month. Truth is I’ve been actively posting… just on the flagship blog instead. There were rumblings coming from those followers that the race season had started but no summaries. I was also in danger of falling more than 4 races behind thanks to a difficult half marathon trail run scheduled for this Saturday. Not sure what is harder, navigating the multitude of roots and hills on the run or trying to remember the details of a past race in order to give a proper post. Two of the 4 race posts are officially addressed, so time to stop whining and get back to our feathered friends from Georgia.
Pretty sure the Georgia queue is just about popped at least from a full series perspective. Will probably have a few catch all posts to officially close out the captures during that productive trip to the Georgia swamps back in May 2015. This set happened to catch my eye while in the digital darkroom. There is something about a Northern Mockingbird that can be downright scary. Reminds me of the Seinfeld “Two-Face” episode. One angle they look somewhat innocent, cute if you will. Change the angle of the glass a bit or tilt the head a bit and next thing you know you are running for the darkroom exit.
Hit the jump to be Mocked more.
Continue reading Two-Face
Had a great training run today which translates directly to being completely exhausted. There was finally a break in the rain for a couple of days allowing me to get some quality time in on the trails. They were surprisingly dry considering the amount of water that has poured out of the skies as of late. That didn’t mean there wasn’t any swamps to navigate in the valleys and the one stream crossing required some precise leaps to stray rocks struggling to keep their heads above the onrush, but at least the hills were dry enough to get traction. Clearly need to get a steady barrage of heat conditioning – felt the warmer temps about halfway through the 11 miles. Figured I’d be productive while the legs calm down prior to tackling the mowing (rain on its way back to start the week off).
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this Chatty Cathy of the birding world.
Continue reading Sitting in Georgia, Looking at Carolina
Greetings everyone! I am officially on the road again as the weekend has brought with it the second race of the season. Technically I should refer to as the 3rd and 4th race of the season as this is again another double event like the one two weeks ago on the trails at Allerton State Park. This time I’ve left the trail shoes at home and will be lacing on the road shoes. It all kicks off at 7:30 tonight with an easy 5K followed by a half marathon in the morning. Being that it is on campus of my Alma Mater (University of Illinois) it comes with a bit of nostalgia, however it RAINS EVERY STINKING YEAR for this race. Then to throw on insult it is usually windy – keeping with tradition, the forecast has revealed that it will be ummm raining with wait for it … wait for it … 20-30 mph winds. This race is cursed. I told Linda this may be my last year for this and find a trail run somewhere instead. At least the trees would cut the wind down (running in mud can be a lot of fun if you oink from time to time). Being as it takes 2 hrs to get to the venue, figured I’d get some blogging in.
The anti-birding lobby that has been getting a bit irate lately should be pleased as I can most assuredly tell you the creature before you is NOT a bird. Nope, no siree. Although, I would contend that if were to jump and get those ears moving fast enough it might be able to hover there for a bit. Wait, this just in – the army of lawyers employed by Intrigued has informed me that I must refer to their ability to hover as “speculation only” and should be treated by skepticism by anyone stupid enough to use this site for any type of official reference – can’t wait to see what happens when I start talking about their shells being bulletproof.
Hit the jump to learn a bit more about these intriguing looking beasts.
Continue reading Little Armored Ones
For those that celebrate the holiday – Happy Easter everyone! When Linda wasn’t looking I stole her “Honey Do” bell and cut the clapper out of it. She was starting to abuse it (ha) and now that she is on the mend, my nurturing duties are officially over. I did cap it off with a well received pancake dinner in the shape of a bunny before the time officially ran out, so don’t feel bad for her. She’s still badly bruised at the insertion points, but good enough to move around and she even drove to a local store tonight for some badly needed supplies – good to go although I’ll be pressed into service again and this time for at least 3 months once the valve surgery is done. That one is going to hurt (me, not her hehehe). With the Easter holiday upon us, thought I would feature Mother Nature’s version of the Easter Egg.
Now how is that for a colorful bird? Linda is very particular about what birds she is willing to take pictures of. If it isn’t pretty and colorful she doesn’t even bother bringing her camera out. Blackbirds, Robins, dull garbed Warblers etc. do not merit the infinitesimal pressure required to push that shutter button down and clearly not wasting precious digital bits reserved primarily for waterfalls and landscape pictures. I call it elitism, which generally catches her ire. In this particular case she had no issue with snapping away and that’s clearly understandable. This Bunting is top two in my book across the entire birding world.
Continue reading The Easter Egg of the Birding World
Good day everyone! Get to spend the day at the hospital while Linda gets some medical tests done on her heart. She has a birth defect that she has had to deal with that is now getting to a point that something probably needs to be done to correct it. While I wait for that procedure to complete, thought I would get to the follow up from my previous post. If you recall, I left you hanging regarding a field encounter that left me a bit rattled. That unexpected jolt to the system was a result of the creature you can somewhat see below.
Now, I’ve come in contact with Alligators several times in my past. As probably every kid in the US that is fortunate enough to take vacations as a kid, I had the pleasure of ending up at one of the Florida Gator parks and getting to handle one of their babies. To be honest, they are pretty darn cute when they are a foot or less long. Your own prehistoric plaything. At some point in their development they no longer become cute and transform into something nightmares are made out of. Still fun to photograph at a distance and numerous encounters have already been documented here at Intrigued (link here, here and well here). The first two were definitely a safe distance away, the last one was closer, but I still didn’t feel overly threatened – Linda, on the other hand ended up running for her life to the safety of the RV. That abandonment has come up several times on our outings as a point of contention and failure to perform UB duties – promptly dismissed by Linda of course.
Hit the jump to learn more about my unexpected encounter.
Continue reading That Rock has Eyes