It has been a long time since I have felt birded out. No worries though as this is hopefully only a temporary state. This point has been reached thanks to several weeks of hardcore birding. Multiple days of birding while we were in St. Louis to start, followed by several days of birding the state park down the street and then two long days of birding with Ron over this Memorial weekend. On that note before I go any further, I would like to express our deep appreciation for those that are serving, those that have served, the families that support/ed them while they serve/served and most of all, those who lost their lives for our great country. I will ALWAYS stand and pay my respect for my father and the rest of the brave souls that fight/fought for the freedoms we enjoy. Ron and I spent the two days leading up to the memorial observation hunting for birds at Montrose Bird Sanctuary (Chicago) and Chain O’ Lakes State Park – Linda was running the boys in an agility show they were having close by in Spring Grove. Have to admit, the weather was fantastic for both those days and probably an understatement to say they were very productive. Not sure yet what Ron’s count is, but I crossed off 14 new species bringing me to 319 at the midpoint of the year!! All that birding has left me with “Warbler Neck” and thanks to the weight of The Beast I can scratch my knees without bending my legs. Followed that up with a mini-mini triathlon (10m bike ride, 1m kayak paddle, 5m trail run) before hitting it hard Monday with a 10 mile hill infested trail run. Today, legs are getting their revenge…which brings us to today’s featured non-feathered friends.
Hit the jump for details behind this glowy specimen and another leggy creature we came upon during this year’s travels.
I have to say, this has been quite a week! Started with a trip down to the St. Louis area for the boy’s agility show. Raven was a rockstar qualifying 8 out of 10 runs placing in all if I remember correctly. Ruger, well, as they say…at least he’s cute. He did qualify on one of his runs – he’s young and still getting used to the big ring stress. Went for a run the day after and blew my May training goal of an 18 mile day out of the water with a 22 miler (the cooler temps were greatly appreciated). Then, as if that wasn’t enough, had a fun outing with the Intrigued staff – except the lawyers, they are still on double secret probation thanks to their previously mentioned copier stunt. Word has it Brad might cover that event, so I’ll leave those details for him. Retirement life is certainly good!
For today’s feature I am adding a new entry in the “in a Tree” series.
Hit the jump to see more high branch topknot glory and for the bonus content!
It’s agility dog show weekend which means we are packing up the steel mule and heading out to…well, somewhere other than here. I am generally told the destination at some point between getting on and getting off the mule. If I am lucky I packed enough underwear for whatever length of stay it turns out to be (yep, I cheat and get an idea of how many days and climate zones are being crossed by seeing what Linda ends up packing). She also indicated I don’t need to bring running clothes, so this one sounds fairly shot. While out, Brad will once again be at the helm of the Intrigued armada. Fingers crossed he keeps the flowers watered and more importantly, prevents our lawyers from throwing a kegger – last time I left they papered all the inside walls with photocopies of their butts. We had to disinfect the copier before the rest of our departments would even come near it. Good luck Brad ha!
Take it away Captain…
I often wonder where the names come from for some of the birds I see and photograph. Many are very obvious: red-winged blackbird for example. (Even though it should really be the “red with a splotch of yellow”-winged blackbird.) Or the red-headed woodpecker. Nailed that one. Not so obvious is the red-bellied woodpecker (have to look very close to see the red, and if you are close enough to see it you are probably too close).
Today’s subject is no different. While technically not “technicolor”, it is tricolored. No, not the RGB (red/green/blue) colors so many former IT people know about. But there are certainly more than the three main colors as the name implies. At first glance, tricolored herons (Egretta tricolor) look like a miniature version of the great blue heron in stature and color. However, when this one turned towards us there is a bright white patch on its throat and breast.
Hit the jump to read more about this Great Blue Heron mini-me!
First off, want to extend a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there. I can’t imagine the stress and willpower it takes to raise a child, especially one like me – hats off, keep up the good work. I purposely waited to publish this post as this weekend brought with it a tremendous amount of sadness. Yesterday officially marks the end of a complete cycle of holidays/celebrations since losing my mother on Mother’s Day last year (technically a week ago because of the floating holiday – link here). As the year went by I would slowly come to terms with the emptiness and then a holiday or event would immediately bring it back front and center – major holidays – one less gift to ponder, birthdays – one less card to receive or buy, exciting life accomplishes – one less phone call and most of those are coupled with one less visit. I think it was extra hard as Mom was the last of the parental figures in our lives – we were officially on our own. Decided to go for a short five mile run yesterday to be with my thoughts. Eleven emotional miles later I had remembered numerous good times, reminded myself all the sacrifices she had made, recommitted to all the life lessons she lovingly bestowed and gave one last thanks for the moral foundation instilled in me. Acceptance will be easier from this point on. Our Mom and Dad were a true blessing.
In recognition of a long year, thought I would go with a featured feathered friend that also knows a thing or two about “long”.
Hit the jump to learn more about the prolonged hunt for this long-billed one.
Greetings everyone, we are back with another adventure from Brad’s queue. Today’s feature is a perfect reflection of today – too big of a bite as it were. Ever had one of those days when you feel a 1,000 percent and decide to step up your game in celebration? My friend had to bail on our trail run today, so thought “Hey Bri, let’s put on the big boy pants and go hit the second hardest trail course in the area”. Mind you, Inner Bri has NEVER turned down a challenge and now several hours later sitting here wondering at what point an alien is going to pop out of my lungs. 2 months to go before I have a 50K on the big daddy course – Inner Bri is evil ha. I’ll let Brad take you through what kind of bite his subject took.
…take it away Brad! (note, you can use the image links to view the full sized images)
Like most of you, winter gets old pretty fast for us. Jan was looking at fun, quick, and warm trips for a February getaway from central Illinois. Not that the weather can’t be lovely in central Illinois in February, but it’s usually not. She found an inexpensive hotel suite in Myrtle Beach. I asked what’s there to do in Myrtle Beach (not knowing since we’d never been to South Carolina before). She said there are more than a few nature and wildlife reserves in the immediate area. By the way, did you know that Myrtle Beach is the mini-golf capital of the world? There are over fifty, fifty as in “five-zero”, mini-golf establishments located in Myrtle Beach. Jan and I saw two or three new ones being built.
One of the best winter locations for birding (IMHO) is Huntington Beach State Park, south of Myrtle Beach. The park has multiple environments to attract all sorts of birds: seashore habitats, tidal marsh habitats, brackish and somewhat tidal habitats, freshwater habitats, forest habitats, and open grassy area habitats. Need I say more? It’s a fantastic place to see a plethora of birds in a variety of habitats without traveling to multiple states over multiple days.
Been a weird couple of days. We ended up getting absolutely slammed with storms last night with an initial round of hail. As I type, we are probably less than 15 minutes from the start of what looks to be several more rounds of angry weather, except this time with a forecast of ping pong ball sized hail. Mother Nature spurned. Managed to get my butt out of bed early today in hopes of getting at least 13 miles pounded out assuming the ground wasn’t too saturated. What I wasn’t expecting is the highly humid steamy temps – by mile 10 I looked like Johnny Storm had flamed on. Heeding the “Linda Voice” (surgically embedded while I was sleeping) decided to shut it down only to resolve the gnawing defeat by going back out for another 5 right before dinner (and before the storms were supposed to hit). All this to simply say I’m exhausted and decided to go with something we will not be seeing tonight.
How is that for a curveball!?! Technically, more like a knuckleball as there isn’t a perceivable spin. I am in the midst of processing more images from the Vegas and Dauphin trip and wanted to give Brad a break before his next feature. Looked in my queue and decided it was time to finish this draft.
Prepare yourself before you hit the jump, you are about to endure several more moonings!
Welcome to May everybody! I mentioned this in my last post, but this year is sailing by. Good news, Brad has successfully returned home from his field assignment. Sounds like our quest for the incredibly elusive Ptarmigan will continue on. I wanted to start getting a few of the pending posts popped off his growing queue – word is there might be another batch coming soon. The weather took a turn for the cold this weekend and decided to go with one that fit the chilly temps. Put your mittens and hats on folks and brace yourselves for the cold Mighty Mississippi winds.
…take it away Brad…
I think most people remember the first time they saw a bald eagle in the wild. I know I certainly do. The story was featured right here on Wildlife Intrigued in an article called Yellowstone Feathers and Fur. At the time I thought I would probably never see another bald eagle in the wild so I absorbed as much of that opportunity as I could. Little did I know I’d be able to fill a couple of memory cards the next time I saw a bald eagle. Or see dozens of them in the same place. There have been a few stories about bald eagles on Wildlife Intrigued over the years. I suppose this one was also influenced by Brian in a way. He tells me that the photos are important, but the story about them is often more important. Even if a photo is worth a thousand words, it’s still nice to read the words. That’s why I thought I’d try this one on for size. By the way, I like to have music playing in the background when I write stories. Guess which song was shuffled while I was writing? The answer is at the end. (No peeking ahead of time)
Hit the jump to read more about Brad and Terry’s fishin’ adventure!
I cannot believe how fast this month has gone. Granted we were out of state for most of it, but even then, it feels like we accidentally took a wormhole to May. I’ve been in a bit of a panic since glancing at the post count for April. Even with Brad’s help, I was still way below my self-imposed monthly quota. Managed to claw my way back over last week with several finds from our trip to Las Vegas in Feb/Mar. Needed one more in these last couple of days before May. Checked out the queue – Brad has several ready for us, but he is still on assignment and want to keep him focused on the Ptarmigan objective. That left me three choices – a grey bird that continues the Desert NWR theme, a grey bird with quite the proboscis or a complete left turn to some creepy crawlies. Grabbed a coin, made a few tosses and welcome to today’s featured feathered friend.
Powers of deduction can quickly reveal the winner. No bursts of color and by birding standards a pretty normal bill…yep, we are going to stay with the Desert National Wildlife Refuge theme from the last couple of posts. While reading the latest finds from this site – specifically the Corn Creak Field Station area – three birds stood out. The Western Bluebird, the Mountain Bluebird and what I thought was a surprising addition based on our location.
We just got back from our trip to St. Louis were Linda ran the kids at the Poodle Club of America Agility Nationals. A big congratulations to Linda and Raven who qualified 2 out of the 3 runs they competed in. Not only did they qualify, they took a first and a second. His third run was just about there, but Raven decided to “improvise” a little. Ruger had two runs and he lived up to our low expectations ha. He just turned two years old and a bit ..hmmm.. let’s go with Linda’s word – scatterbrained. Absolute speed demon in the ring but, just gets distracted easily and seems to enjoy bringing comic relief to the audience. That’s to be expected and once Linda gets that worked out, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. It was also a bit nostalgic for Ruger as he was reunited with his brother (was actually running against him). We had a great chuckle as his brother (Orion) is EXACTLY the same – full of speed but prefers his own path through the obstacles. Can’t wait to see these two compete next year! Oh, and even Raven had a reunion as he got to see his mother, now 14.
With the accolades out of the way, I should get to the featured feathered friend of the day.
You might have seen this one coming if you caught some of the hints in the last post. Carrying the theme from the last post, I am pleased to bring you another Bluebird for today’s topic.
Hit the jump to learn more about our gorgeous blue tinted specimen.
Howdy folks! Even with Brad’s help I am running behind this month. Having been gone nearly the first three weeks of April and now heading out to St. Louis for a few days so Linda can compete in the Poodle Nationals at Purina Farms, I’m a few posts behind. Trying to get at least one more in while I am waiting for some glue to dry on this year’s signature Halloween prop – a piece that is definitely ending up to be a lot more effort than initially imagined. Cue Linda eye roll “Every one of your projects turns out more than you expected!!!!” True, but most of the time … in the end…”wooooorttthhhh IT” ha (like in this link here). We’ll see how this is going a few months down the road. For now, will try to clear the head of glue fumes and bring you an incredible feathered feature of the day.
Don’t worry, if you hit the jump I’ll get you closer to our feature.