Autumn is Coming, Get the Whiskey

Burrrr, someone let the fire go out around here. Not sure what is going on with the weather as it his heading down to 44F tonight. Granted we are a mere 3 days from the official end of summer, however, I think we deserve a longer one this year as our fun in the sun months were devoured by that bastard pandemic. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been trying to save all of my vacation days for an end of the year blowout in a desperate attempt to salvage what’s left of this year (need to start filling that photo queue for the upcoming 2025 blogging season hehehe). Lemons into lemonade, at least the threat of another heat stroke during the training runs is eliminated. In honor of the cooling temps, going to stick with the winter shoot from the last post.

Black-Capped Chickadee found on Brimfield Lot in March 2018

Hit the jump for a couple more shots of the Black-Capped enjoying winter.

Continue reading Autumn is Coming, Get the Whiskey

All Hail the Crown

I think my body may need a quick recharge as tonight’s 7 mile run was a bit of a struggle. Apparently the 16 miles I ran on Sunday and the 6 previous weekends of at least a half marathon distance has finally caught up with me.. or all the hours spent working on trails on the off days. Regardless, Bri needs to rest tonight. Good news for you is rest for me equates to ample time to push out a post. Tonight’s featured friend should bring a smile to the face of fellow birder blogger HJ over at Avian 101 (https://avian101.wordpress.com/).

Northern Cardinal found on Brimfield Lot in March 2018

Catch one of HJ’s Red Galleries if you want your fill of these brilliantly colored Northern Cardinals (and, of course, be sure and catch his other gorgeous bird shots). I do not have near the number of Cardinal shots that HJ does, but this bird has been featured several times in the past – one from the summer (link here) and one from the winter (link here). Today’s series actually goes back to some winter shots from my backyard back in March 2018 (yes, another series from like yesterday hehe).

Hit the jump to see a couple more shots (literally) of this crowned royalty.

Continue reading All Hail the Crown

Flying Rays of Sunshine

And we’re back! Howdy everyone, hope your day is treating you well. My day has been packed solid – 15 mile run in the morning, worked on painting the new coffin prop for the haunted trail, spent a couple of hours in the woods getting the trail ready and then went back and put another coat of paint on the coffin. Now I’m officially maxed out and sitting here catching the season of Halloween Wars. Since I am unable to actually just sit and watch TV, figure it would be an excellent time to get one of these postie thingies out. So, here we go with our latest featured feathered friend.

American Goldfinch found on Brimfield lot in May 2018

Last post I focused on one of my most hated birds, the Asshat Cowbird. Trust me, it truly is a despicable bird. I like to keep my karma balanced, so today I’ve chosen a bird that I happen to have great fondness for. This little yellow beauty is an American Goldfinch. If you happen to be from the contiguous States, then you are probably already familiar with this Finch as they are abundant throughout.

American Goldfinch found on Brimfield lot in May 2018

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our ray of sunshine.

Continue reading Flying Rays of Sunshine

Asshats

Greetings all! Hope you enjoyed the deviation from all the usual feathers in the last post. Always good to feature something other than birds to give everyone a break. Although I have been getting some feedback requesting I stay away from the Snake topics. Which means, of course, there will be slither posts coming sometime in the not too distant future hehehe. I think it best we all try to face our fears or there’s little chance to get comfortable with them. I can state for a fact that standing on rafters three stories up while building our house definitely helped quell some of my height fears. Been a dreary week around here with all the rain (needed for sure), but there is a lot of woods work to do before the upcoming Halloween event. I can’t afford to be sitting around here staring out the windows. Figured it would be a good time to feature this.

Brown-Headed Cowbird found on Brimfield IL Lot in May 2018

Oh, before I forget. With the time crunch from the Halloween work and some key deliverables due on aggressive timelines at my day job, I’ll probably get these posts out shorter than usual – content and timewise. Everything should be back to normal in October and I can finally take a break and relax a bit – been a long year so far and just need to get over this last hurdle. Now back to this jerk of a bird.

Brown-Headed Cowbird found on Brimfield IL Lot in May 2018

Hit the jump to read more about this lowlife bird.

Continue reading Asshats

Willet Yoga

Our heartfelt prayers for those impacted by the recent Laura hurricane landfall. We have spent many vacations over the years enjoying the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast. We’ve witnessed firsthand the devastation to Rockport and the surrounding areas thanks to another hurricane that ripped through the area. Will never forget seeing an entire remains of a city literally piled up for miles in the center median of the main highway. I am not sure how much damage Laura inflicted yet, but I did hear Anahuc NWR was hit – one of our favorite places to bird.

In tribute to our Gulf friends I bring you..

Willet found at Galveston State Park, TX in January 2017

This series of shots was taken at Galveston Island State Park and nearby Bolivar Peninsula from our trip down there in January 2017. The Willet is not a new bird to the list and was actually featured back in Nov 2019 (link here). Fortunately for us, these rather regal looking birds are pretty common in the States. With the exception of the Eastern mainland and the upper west corner, these long legged shorebirds can be found at some port during the season either in their northern breading grounds or as they pass through to the coast for the winter months.

Willet found at Galveston State Park, TX in January 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our Yoga practicing Willet.

Continue reading Willet Yoga

Baby Crap Factories

And we are back once again. Figured I’d make the best of it as I sit her nursing a pretty banged up left leg. Not entirely sure what is going on, either my karma got screwed up somehow, just a series of unfortunate events, something is wrong with my running cadence or I’m going blind. Any of those are in play at the moment pending further study. A week ago I took a “snowboard” fall on the trail. For those that haven’t had the pleasure of learning how to snowboard, front edge falls are both instantaneous and brutal. Clipped my foot on a root that was hiding in the weeds alongside the trail. You learn quickly that you get your ass off the ground and keep running before your body has a chance to have second thoughts. 6 miles further and a night of rest resulted in a softball size bruise on my shin. Flash forward to this morning at the farthest extent of a 13 mile trail run where my left foot clipped a rock strategically positioned to maximize pain. That left blood on the trail and a rather intriguing 6 miles back to the car. 2 minutes before that I was in fluffy trail dust, but nooooo, can’t go down there, I have to pick the section covered in sharp rocks. Now sitting here speculating how long the gashes will take to heal and what new colors of the rainbow will be added to my already banged up leg. Bright side, my ribs seem to have survived the impacts, so we’ll be back on the trails before the week is up.

While I mend, let’s feature some Goose play.

Canada Goose found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in April 2017

I saw these two while doing a little birding at Chain O’ Lakes back in April 2017. Guessing there was not a lot of targets in the area as I tend to take a few shots of these Geese and continue on. There is no shortage of Canada Geese in the area. Just did a quick check of their region and if the range maps are correct, these distinctive Geese or abundant in North America as a whole. They do come up short in the Central America region, very odd gap in eastern California and what looks like just east of the Rockies in Canada. Probably got wind of the mass exodus out of California, but unaware of the no-go zone in Canada.

Canada Goose found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in April 2017

Hit the jump to see what these two were up to.

Continue reading Baby Crap Factories

Electric Bananas

Greetings everyone! Apologies, as it has been a bit since we last met. There are a number of reasons for that with the primary one being we are dangerously close to Halloween which translates to a very busy Bri. The joke around here is we take a day off to actually celebrate Halloween and show off the latest additions and then we are back in the lab designing, building and wiring the new props for next year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. My 3D printer has been going nonstop and I’m currently up to my eyeballs in wire, servos, Arduinos and a bevy of linkages that would make any mechanical engineer envious. That doesn’t mean I get to forget about my commitment to my readers so how about a little Yellow for today.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Quite the “electrical banana” of you will pardon a reference to maybe one of the worst songs every written or produced. Not exactly the best reference as Donovan was apparently referring to the ladies where these first few shots are of the male Yellow Warbler. What do you say we all go in on a petition to rename this brightly colored species the Banana Warbler – upside is it will bypass all the current uproar over birds named after southern references.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Hit the jump to see a few more shots our brightly colored Warbler.

Continue reading Electric Bananas

I Got a Wedgie

So, how many readers out there thought this was going to be the month!?!  .. as in the month after years and years of successfully hitting my self-imposed 6 posts a month quota… was it finally going to come to an end.  Fear not, I shall not let me loyal readers down.  I am tremendously relieved that July is a long month as I needed just about every second to get this taken care of.  In case you are counting the Wildlife posts and coming up a bit short, a lot of my free time was spent detailing some rather elaborate props that were added to the Haunted Trail of Tears last year on the mothership blog.  If you like a good Halloween scare, feel free to check those out (links here: Westworld 2.0 Posey Line and Ned).  For the last post of the month (with little time to spare), thought I would stick with my “white” theme for July.

White Ibis found at Anahuac NWR in December 2017

Some would say I should have led with this species of the Ibis for the anniversary post.  As mentioned previously, this would not have earned me a precious +1 like the White-Faced delivered.  Admittedly, the White Ibis is a bit more charming and more fitting to the whole white wedding extravaganza.  The good news is unlike the Glossy Ibis and the White-Faced Ibis, there is no difficulty in identifying this one .. ‘cuz it’s white ha.

White Ibis found at Galveston State Park in December 2017

Hit the jump if you want to see a wedgie… sure you do!

Continue reading I Got a Wedgie

At Least There’s White in the Name

29 years ago today, I officially gave up my single and carefree status and joined the woman I fell in love with at the alter (rumors that she was kicking and screaming the entire way are assuredly false). Never looked back and still the best decision I’ve ever made. Although giving up my steady diet of microwave macaroni and cheese dinners was a struggle, but I’m sure for the best ha. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything in the photo queue that worked well with the anniversary theme. I guess in honor of the white roses I gave Linda that day we’ll go with this.

White-Face Ibis found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Havana IL in May 2018

A bit of a stretch, but in case you are not familiar with our bronzed beauty above, it is a White-Faced Ibis. Probably should have gone with the more fitting White Ibis – of course, that bird I already have checked off my list where the White-Faced Ibis is officially a new bird to the blog. This particular specimen comes courtesy of a trip to down to Havana, IL back in May 2018. The reported sighting of this particular bird was the reason for the trip down to Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge (located just outside Havana).

White-Face Ibis found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Havana IL in May 2018

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our bronzed bird.

Continue reading At Least There’s White in the Name

Hunting WBFs

Okay, apparently I needed to be taught a lesson for complaining too much about Internet connectivity. Soon after whining about my provider issues in the last post we were greeted with a nightmare storm. 70 mph wind gusts coupled with solid sheets of rain and if that wasn’t oodles of fun enough – throw in some hail. It eventually got to a point where we couldn’t see the road on our way home and had to pull off to allow it to settle. Finally get home, sit down at the computer to see how long the storm is going to last and bam – power goes out. I’m cursed. Luckily we had invested in a whole house genset soon after building our house in the country – take that karma gods ha. Anyway, all good now, power back and Internet connectivity .. well, better. Let’s celebrate with a new post!

Snowy Owl found in McLean County, IL December 2019

Pretty impressive eh? What, you don’t appreciate shots of plastic bags in a corn field!?!?! The embarrassing thing is I have hundreds of pictures of random bags taken during the winter months. I am guessing this may seem odd to you, however, I would bet that most Midwestern birders also have their share of photos of WBF’s or “White Bags in a Field” – garbage bags, chip bags, Walmart bags – the list goes on – typically at a distance in picked or plowed farmland between December and say early March.

Hit the jump if you want to see the reason for the bag shots – no, I am not losing my mind!

Continue reading Hunting WBFs