They Really are Purple

And we are officially back with the second installment in the Recovery-a-Palooza series. I am starting to get the jitters now and I am pretty sure my hair is starting to fallout thanks to my body rebelling against sedentary life. Won’t be long and my internal inhibitors will be overwhelmed and the “crazies” will start coming out – NOBODY wants that! The good news is the swelling is subsiding and the bruising remains minimal. On the topic of purple, thought I’d go with these for tonight’s featured feathered friend(s).

Purple Martin found at Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton IL in June 2016

Good news – these shots are better than what is in the post coming down the pipe. Bad news – my readers out there deserve better for sure. To get the excuses out of the way, I was a bit handicapped the day these were taken. Not too long before this outing, my trusted D7000 workhorse finally succumbed to the torture I had inflicted on it since likely its Nikon debut in 2010. Later coupled with The Beast, that rig was everywhere I was – snap, after snap, after snap, after snap until there wasn’t enough light left in the day to focus. The shutter gave way while taking shots of a rarity in Havana, IL (that would be the post that is coming up). Heartbreak as I pressed the button thingy and nothing went clicky.

Purple Martin found at Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton IL in June 2016

Hit the jump if you want to see a few more shots of these big Purple Mosquito Eaters!

Continue reading They Really are Purple

Singing Dicks

Well, to slightly tweak an often misquoted Twain quote – “reports of my death are ‘slightly’ exaggerated”. To be honest, I’ve always thought it was “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” but learned the truth while doing a quick double check ahead of starting this post. Regardless, good news, I’m still alive – dinged up a bit and hoping no other competitors heard me trying to encourage my body to get the hell across the finish line in the middle of the dark, but hey, still kicking. For several posts I’ve been mentioned the upcoming 50 mile ultra trail race. That was last Saturday and to cut to the chase (see what I did there), I finished every one of those god-foresaken miles. I’ll be putting up a full race review on the mothership blog as soon as I am mentally prepared to relive that experience. Without going into too much detail, there are things you do because they are truly fun, things you do because of other compelling reasons and then there are the things you do to test yourself and further define your boundaries. The latter has a tendency to get into a complete at all cost mentality. Yesterday I had x-rays done on my foot and a follow up discussion with a good friend who happens to be a local foot surgeon. Good news on that front, but I’m in for an extended rest to address some “very angry” components. Rather than just sit and stare at my shiny new super cool belt buckle, thought I’d add another (less strenuous) first, this time to my birding list.

Dickcissal found at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington IL in May 2016

Say hello to tonight’s featured feathered friend! This is one of those +1’s that have been sitting in my queue for many many years. Part of the delay is due to proximity. Although I do feature easily accessible birds from right here in the broke state of Illinois, I tend to focus on those targets we enjoy traveling tin. Doesn’t seem as exciting if I feature a bird I literally walk out into our woods, snap a few pictures and then hit the kitchen for some tasty waffles.

Dickcissal found at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington IL in May 2016

Hit the jump to read more about our colorful feathered friend.

Continue reading Singing Dicks

At Least no Worries

Welcome to October everyone! The stress of the Halloween event is now passed and almost everything is packed up and put away until next year. Unfortunately, that reduction of stress has been replaced with concerns about this weekend’s ultra trail race. I am officially at the point where internal demons start cracking through the positive defenses – did you train enough, it would be tragic if you clipped a root, moles are out putting traps on the course, did you see those temps inching up, those shoes don’t seem broke in enough and a litany of other worries that always plague the few days before a big test. Honestly, anyone confident about a 50 mile race should probably consider some therapy sessions ha. Anyway, now in the final tapers. Did break in a new pair of shoes yesterday to have as a backup (actually a backup for the backup that I already broke in earlier in the year). These are a new version of my standard trail shoes – lower lugs, updated tread pattern and most of all, the “lyte” version for those later miles when the legs feel like they have cement blocks attached to them. Did manage to laugh at myself when I almost “supermaned” going down a hill yesterday. My usual ASIC Gel Fujitrabuco lugs are thicker and longer, reminiscent of my many years on the baseball field. Never have failed me especially in the 6 hours of rain and mud of my last 50K (link here). The new ones are lower and sharper with a chainsaw like pattern. I’ve gotten use to the very slight slip as the larger lugs sink in and stupidly assumed the same with the lyte pair. Started down a steep hill, made the first plant and literally rocketed forwarded way over my feet as the new tread grabbed instantly and immediately transferred the energy forward. Caught myself, laughed off the close tumble and went to work harnessing the change. My only worry is whether it will self clean like the standard lugs on soggy trails. Stay tuned for the upcoming uber-exciting dissertation on the wonders of Body Glide hehehehe. I know, I know, you are here for the featured feathered friends, not to read babble on my masochist hobby So, let’s get to it.

Least Grebe found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2021

Hit the jump to see a few more images of this alligrebe.

Continue reading At Least no Worries

The Patron Bird of my Hometown

Well, I survived the big Halloween event. Per tradition, I’ll be putting up full posts on the behind the scenes work it takes to put up and take down our Haunted Trail of Tears (link here) and, of course, the day and night walkthroughs. This one took a lot out of me. I stopped adding up all the hours involved and now just measure by pounds lost – this year is an 8. Yep, 8 pounds shed battling the zombies and other things that go bump in the night.

Dancing Zombie from 2021 Haunted Halloween Trail of Tears

This abomination already took an unsuspecting victim and getting ready to haul it off to the dinner table. Pretty sure what makes our living dead variety so dangerous is their running shoe supplier hehehehe. Still have a lot of the props to pack away, but now the focus turns to the quickly approaching 50 mile ultra trail run. In about a week and a half I’ll be putting this body to the test – definitely need to get that weight back, but that will be difficult now that I’m in the final two-a-day training regimen. While I am resting between bookend long runs, thought I would go ahead and try to close out September with another post.

Lincoln's Sparrow found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to read a bit more about a bird that fits right in with my hometown of Springfield IL.

Continue reading The Patron Bird of my Hometown

From Black Capes to May Capes

Greetings everyone! If you have read any of the previous posts as of late you are already aware that these are busy times here at Intrigued. It is officially one week before our annual Haunted Trail of Tears event. 7 little itty bitty short days left and there is a mountain of work still to be done. The good news is I got the trails cleared and cleaned up so those just need to be mowed and trimmed and we can start staging all the props…. well, those that are built – we are still trying to squeak in a few new scares. Thankfully Ron was able to come down last weekend and again this upcoming weekend to help me work through some sticking points. Based on how this goes every year, sleep will be in short supply right up to the party. On top of all this I still need to get some runs in with the 50 miler just a few weeks after the party. As a result, I am going to let the blogs go dark for a bit. Figured I would leave you with one of the beautiful tins from this year to hold you over.

Cape May Warbler found at Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

You might have noticed, but I have been gradually amping up the color in the posts over the last couple of months. Today’s posts keeps that theme going with a stunning New World Warbler – the Cape May. Specifically, the adult male. The females and immatures are more muted, substituting the chestnut cheek with a grey toned one and the dark crown is significantly lighter with a more olive hue.

Cape May Warbler found at Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

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

Continue reading From Black Capes to May Capes

Standoff at the OK Blossom

We are two weeks away from this year’s annual Haunted Trail of Tears event and looking around the house as of late and you can definitely tell. Pretty sure every room in the house has some form of prop production happening. My brother Ron was nice enough to come down this weekend and help out designing and building some new additions. He brings the big guns when it comes to the difficult circuits and helps get me through the trouble spots that inevitably pop up. We put together some really nice new scares for the trail this year and cannot wait to see how they look in the dead of night – also vastly improved one of last year’s signature props (link here). Should be some great fun, but still a lot of work to make it to the finish line. Had a few minutes to relax a bit before calling it a weekend and decided to see if I could get a quick post out.

Monarch found at Rollins Savannah, Grayslake, IL in August 2021

In honor of Halloween, I am going to continue with the orange and black theme started in the last post. Giving you a break from the barrage of birds and bring you something a bit outside of my wheelhouse.

Monarch found at Rollins Savannah, Grayslake, IL in August 2021

Hit the jump to see some more shots of our autumn colored friend.

Continue reading Standoff at the OK Blossom

Sing Pretty and Carry a Lethal Dagger

So far so good, our toy poodle Raven (link here) is doing awesome in the Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA) competition we are at this weekend. 5 courses five qualifiers along with a TMAG 5 title (Teacup Master Agility Games number 5 which requires 50 qualifying runs in games courses). Hopefully he and Mom can continue the success tomorrow and then into the big boy competition next week at the AKC agility meet. That meet is local for us, but for now I am making the most out of the downtime associated with this travel event. Keeping not one, but two themes going with this third post of the weekend. First is my promise to bring the color and then thought I’d work in the Halloween angle that has been consuming every cycle I can spare. Did manage to get a post out earlier today on my new Westworld 2.5 Posey line if you are curious about the Haunted Trail prop progress (link here). As for now, take a look at our Halloween themed featured feathered friend.

Altamira Oriole found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Typical of a lot of Orioles, this male Altamira Oriole sports the brilliant orange adorned with black highlights. This particular specimen comes to you from our annual January trip down the Texas Gulf and then along the southern border to McAllen Texas. This particular day at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park outside Mission was incredibly productive.

Altamira Oriole found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to read more about our Halloween themed bird.

Continue reading Sing Pretty and Carry a Lethal Dagger

Troubleshooting a Mistaken Turn

Holy crap, the calendar now has “September” at the top. That means I am officially in Halloween jitters and more concerning, the monthly post counter reset. Luckily, it is dog show weekend which means we are on the road – translated – extra cycles to get out ahead of this month’s contributions. Today’s colorful featured feathered friend comes to you thanks to a self-induced dose of absolute panic.

Ruddy Turnstone found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May 2017

While on our Expedition Part Tres we stopped up in Door County to see what they had to offer on the birding front. I’ll kill the suspense right here – nada. In their defense it was mostly raining while we were there (imagine that). Time to shift into plan ‘B’ err… make that plan ‘T’, full on ‘T’ourist mode. Linda takes control of the daily agenda and next thing I know I’m standing at the base of the Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor, WI sporting a wristband announcing to the world “My wife is trying to KILL me”. I ask you, why would a “loving” wife take her height averse husband to a giant column in the sky and then challenge his mancard to convince him to climb up a narrow staircase to a tiny little balcony bordered with a flimsy railing?? Yes, you in the back row..”To push you off?”. Correcto-mundo.

Ruddy Turnstone found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May 2017

Hit the jump to find out what got “Turned”.

Continue reading Troubleshooting a Mistaken Turn

Bottlefed

Greetings everyone! There’s PVC pipes, wires, integrated chips, power supplies, tools and scary props scattered all over my den at the moment. Couple that with my two 3D printers running 24×7 and it can only mean one thing – the annual Haunted Halloween Trail event is approaching fast (link here). Too fast actually. Not sure what the deal is, but when I was working it seemed like I was running around like a crazy person trying to get everything built in the hours before and after work. For the life of me I cannot figure out where the extra 8-10 hours a day I should have now that I am retired goes – yet here I am running around like a crazy person trying to get everything built. The good things is there’s laser focus on the event – no trying to juggle work issues with Halloween challenges. In honor of the fast approaching Halloween season, I wanted to go with a bird that reflected the holiday. Welcome to today’s featured feathered friend.

Female Orchard Oriole found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January 2012

Okay, a bit of a confession here. It is really the adult male that has the association to Halloween. Not having those images worked up yet, decided to go with its more yellow/green partner. If nothing else, it does satisfy my promise to continually amp up the bird coloring as we proceeded through the month. A far cry from those more subdued Doves and Sparrows that have been featured earlier in the month, the female Orchard Oriole sticks out in its surroundings.

Female Orchard Oriole found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January 2012

Hit the jump to read about our colorful friend.

Continue reading Bottlefed

Not the Rumps Currently in the News

Greetings everyone! We are finally back home now having completed our intended mission on Exploration Tres. I am still absolutely shocked at the lack of connectivity we faced as we move further and further north. Guessing some of it has to do with our provider as we really only have one option that has sufficient coverage by our home here in the country and they tend to be weaker as we travel out of the state. The rest of the issue is Linda keeps dragging me into deep woods in remote parts of the country – if you don’t hear from me in a while and find out Linda is in Tahiti with the dogs…do me a favor and drop a line to 911 for me hehehehe. The birding was a bit hit or miss on the trip so the backlog queue didn’t grow that much. On the odd front, this is the first time since I can remember I didn’t tin one of these.

Immature Yellow-Rumped Warbler found at Quinta Mazaltan, McAllen TX in January 2021

The shots in this series failed to give you a view of their primary tell-tale characteristic, so you may not recognize tonight’s featured feathered friend. Imagine that yellow patch on the side of the breast to also be found on the rump – yep, this is the very ubiquitous Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Although the species can be found in the entirety of North America dependent on their seasonal regions, this happens to be my first immature – well, at least that I am willing to show you ha!

Immature Yellow-Rumped Warbler found at Quinta Mazaltan, McAllen TX in January 2021

Hit the jump to read a bit more on our delicately colored specimen.

Continue reading Not the Rumps Currently in the News