Kentucky Wood

Howdy everyone! Been awhile I know. Truth is this month has been unbelievably busy… hell, for that matter the last two months have been burning at both ends. The summer months are usually filled with keeping the acreage under control and now with trails added to the running circuit my remaining evenings and weekends are spent on the hills or in the gym. Also thought it was time to give my other blog some love so cranked out a few posts over there to keep their hate mail down. Figured I’d go ahead and throw a post out there to get back in the groove.

Red-Headed Woodpecker shot at Kentucky Lake April 2015

Technically, this is not a new bird to the blog and definitely not a new check in my birding list. Nope, this colorful bird has been showing up here at random times since 2008 usually as part of a broader bird collection post or a side find while out birding Jubilee State Park or other nearby birding hotspots. Today, the mature male Red-Headed Woodpecker gets a post all to itself to show off those brilliant colors.

Red-Headed Woodpecker shot at Kentucky Lake April 2015

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this pretty bird.

Continue reading Kentucky Wood

A Green Double Take

My Cardinals just blew another late inning lead for the loss. Rather than sit her and seethe through the post game excuses, decided to simply turn off the source of my frustration and immerse myself in another blog post. Bring a bit of calm to my night and productivity at the same moment – can’t beat that… well you could if those damn Cardinals could keep it together… calming breadth, serenity now, puppies… okay, back under control. Thought I’d simply keep the theme from the last post going and feature another Heron family member.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Today’s effort is a combination post consisting of the same species, at the same spot, but a year apart. These first few shots were taken a little less than 6 months ago at the South Padre Bird Viewing and Nature Center. The Green Heron is not a new bird on my list – in fact it was featured all the way back in September 2012 (link here). Ironically the specimen back in 2012 was just down the road from our house in a state park. Seems like a bit of an overkill to drive all the way down to the tip of Texas to see the same species hehehe.

Green Heron encountered at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2017

Hit the return to see a few more shots of the Green Heron

Continue reading A Green Double Take

Keep Them Doggies Movin’, Rawhide

First off, wanted to extend best wishes to fellow blogger Paula who is paddling her way through some rough patches at the moment. Stay Strong!

Ever have one of those things that seems to always be just out of reach. Maybe it’s a running distance that is just beyond a wall you keep hitting, perhaps a butterfly that seems to be everyplace you are not, or, as in my case, it’s a bird that you just can’t get in the tin for one reason or another. If so, I feel your pain. Don’t get down, think of it as a challenge, keep working it and eventually things will fall into place.

Cattle Egret shot at Rockport, Texas in December 2017

This happened with my first nemesis bird, the Hooded Merganser (link here). That duck was constantly getting reported on various bird tracking sites all around me … and by around, I mean never where I was. Increasing the frustration is Ron already had this checked on his list. If you recall, Ron and I recently went after a Ross’ Goose and came up empty. Surprise, surprise, we found the Hoodie instead. This unexpected scenario played out on our trip down the Texas Gulf Coast over our recent Christmas holiday.

Cattle Egret shot at Rockport, Texas in December 2017

Hit the jump to find out more about this cute little bird

Continue reading Keep Them Doggies Movin’, Rawhide

Rednosed Reedbird

Welcome to race day eve. Tomorrow the alarm will ring at 4:45am to signal the start of another day of racing. Fortunately, this one is a slight downgrade from the half to a 15K – now, for the record, it is the toughest 15K in Illinois thanks in part to a repeat loop with a wicked hill. That doesn’t concern me much thanks to a lot of hill work during training, but what does concern me is that two word weather term HEAT INDEX. Earlier this week the night temps dropped into the high sixties. No luck keeping that around. The heat index is supposed to get around 105F. Wish me luck, ever since the heat stroke episode, my internal thermostat has been very touchy. Always helps me to relax to sit down and get a post out.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Unlike the bulk of the posts lately (more like this year), the featured waterbird is not a new bird for my list. Nope, they were previously featured not once, but twice here already (link here and here). Not to mention, every time I see this bird the first thing that pops into my head is the image of my brother Ron trying to get into a good position to get a picture of one only to end up falling halfway down a large embankment and rolling to the bottom. Think my laughter ended up scaring the bird and for all that work, nothing to show in the tin – although a memory to last a lifetime.

Common Gallinule found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Hit the jump to read more about this red nosed bird (apparently heavy drinkers ha)

Continue reading Rednosed Reedbird

Little Miss Green

Sometimes adversity results in finding yourself balled up on the floor trying to keep your eyes from floating out of their sockets (so people tell me). Of course, then there are difficult situations that turn out to be opportunities in disguise. Now the latter I have experienced multiple times and that includes this week! I’ve mentioned recently that my days and nights are packed at the moment with work and training devouring the few chances I have to get my posts out. The month was churning away and my quota counter wasn’t moving nearly fast enough. Decided to forego some sleep last night and get back into the digital darkroom and work some images up. At least with the most time consuming part out of the way, I could find smaller chunks of time to get something out there for you. While combing through my image cache, a pleasant surprise greeted me.

Green Kingfisher encountered at South Padre Island Nature and Bird Viewing Center, Texas in December 2017

Turns out I had somehow overlooked a number of additional discoveries on our recent Texas trip over the Christmas holidays. One of those discoveries was this beautiful specimen. I think one of the brain fog contributing factors was my Audubon Chapter speech earlier in the year. Most of my blog posts were in preparation for that talk. Must have gotten confused thinking the work up of images for that presentation had already been posted here. A quick search of the blog came up empty – long story short(er), this cool looking Green Kingfisher was inadvertently skipped. So glad this was found, this Kingfisher is one of my favorite finds from the trip to South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center.

Green Kingfisher encountered at South Padre Island Nature and Bird Viewing Center, Texas in December 2017

Continue reading Little Miss Green

One Goose, Two Goose, 10,000 Geese

I’m finally back! Been struggling to get time to feed the blog thanks to an incredibly busy schedule. When I am not trying to keep the acreage from getting too far out of control I’m out pounding the asphalt and now dirt trails to prepare for fast approaching races – in between that is honey-do’s about a mile long. Luckily was able to give my other blog a bit of love and posted some recollections of recent races and readings. More disappointing is how far I’ve fallen behind in reading the outputs of my fellow blogging friends. If there was only a way to write and read posts while out on training runs – ha. In an effort to try and right this ship, thought tonight’s post will focus on 10’s of thousands of these…

Snow Geese massing at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas in January 2018

Well, admittedly, that shot doesn’t really give the full effect of the experience. It does give a better view of what made up this huge flock of birds we saw on our trip down to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge along the Texas Gulf Coast over Christmas break 2017. If you recall, our first unique encounter this year at Anahuac was the Zebra (link here). Kind of hard to really top a creature more commonly seen at the Serengeti National Park than off the Gulf of Texas. However, a close second had to be witnessing one of the largest massing of birds I’ve ever encountered. Apparently those three Snow Geese above have a VERY large number of friends and relatives who flew in for the holidays.

Snow Geese massing at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas in January 2018

Continue reading One Goose, Two Goose, 10,000 Geese

Clap So I Can See You

A little late getting this published, so first off, wanted to extend my appreciation for the families that have served (those in theater and those that keep the home going so they can focus on their task at hand) and to those that will choose to protect this great country and her values abroad in spite of those that continue to tear it down from the inside. To those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, there are no words sufficient to thank beyond you will never be forgotten

Now back to your regularly scheduled content.

Good news, I survived my “new endeavor” in running. I still need to get my recollection post out (on my other blog), but as a quick summary I decided to add more challenge to my running passion and decided to move into trail racing. Probably wouldn’t recommend to others to start out in this version of the sport with a half marathon… in a hilly reservoir… with technical sections … and creek crossings. That run is only second to my marathon run in terms of toughness. It also happens to be one of a very few races I had a smile on the entire time. Amazing and needless to say, totally hooked – a round of claps for trails!

Clapper Rail at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, Texas in December 2017\

Well, actually more like a Clapper – and not the trail kind – rather the Rail kind. This rather large bird is the latest to bear the check mark on my birding list. We came upon this specimen on our birding trip to South Padre Island over the holiday break last December. The South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center has easily become one of my favorite birding locations adding new birds to my list every time we make it down there. If you have spent any time at all on my Wildlife Blog you already know how amazingly productive that location is thanks to an extensive boardwalk that allows access to the marshes without disturbing the birds. This one was found in nearly the same location where we spotted the Virginia Rail on a previous visit (link here).

Clapper Rail at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center, Texas in December 2017

Hit the jump to read more about this interesting bird!

Continue reading Clap So I Can See You

Bird Punk

Starting to get those thoughts of doubt, those self-defeating introspections that build over the week heading into race day. Being only a night from toeing the starting line, those inner voices are starting to concern me – did I train enough, are those dull body aches something to be concerned about, is it really going to be that hot, Linda will not be there – what happens if I get hurt and on and on. Something to be said about the numbing effects of repetition – since this happens so regularly, I eventually get past it and remind myself that a) I chose to do this and b) I train really hard for these very days. Wait, that isn’t me reminding me of that, it’s Linda when she gets tired of hearing me whine about it hehehe,. Truth is, there is a bit of extra jitters on this one. If you remember, I previously mentioned I signed up for “a new endeavor” in the realm of self-inflicted pain – that reality is tomorrow. Will have to let you know how it goes in a future post … if by some miracle I survive.

To help get those nerves in check, thought I’d crank out a post. What to post on, hmmmm, oh wait.. no…well, awwwwwwe yes, let’s go with another new bird from our recent trip to the Rio Grande Valley region. Bet that caught you totally off guard – not! Enough with the delay, let’s get to the bird..

Pyrrhuloxia found at Harlingen Thicket World Birding Center, Harlingen Texas in January 2018

Hit the jump to find out what this punked up bird is.

Continue reading Bird Punk

No Hope

Okay, so I kinda screwed up on my last post. I’ve been going through so many new birds as of late, that I went lax a bit on my paperwork. I made it all the way to end of my post completely under the illusion that the Yellow-Throated Warbler was new to the blog. Granted, there was even a small pat on the back as I closed out the text for that post knowing the list counter was going to move. If you recall, an official tick in the list requires a sufficient picture that reveals the key characteristics, validation of the ID from a trusted source (usually my brother Ron), processing of the image with upload to gallery and then an official blog post. Definitely a bit of work and one of the reasons my official bird count is embarrassingly low. My backlog is fairly sizeable – thus the extra push on new birds over the last several months. The final step in the post is to set the tags. All of a sudden, my editor filled in the rest of the characters when typing in the name of the Warbler Whaaaaat!?! Ugh, that clued me into a previous post which was quickly located from a Georgia birding trip. Drats.

Decided to remedy that snafu tonight. I can guarantee tonight’s featured feathered friend (Pat may I buy an ‘e’)

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

My Dove count is definitely starting to shape up. Already featured on the blog are

  • Mourning Dove (link here)
  • White-Winged Dove (link here)
  • White-Tipped Dove (link here)
  • Rock Pigeon (link here)

 

and I have a couple in the works I haven’t had a chance to post yet (think of this as a future episode teaser)

  • Eurasian Collard-Dove
  • Common Ground-Dove

 

Today, I am proud to bring you the latest addition to this list,. the Inca Dove.

Inca Dove found at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

Hit the jump to read more about this uniquely feathered Dove

Continue reading No Hope

A Flash of Yellow

I feel like I’m dragging on my production this month. Then again, that may be more of a fact than a “feeling”. Part of the reason for that is I am literally feeling drained thanks to a new endeavor I recently signed up for. Ever get in a rut with a hobby/pastime where that once enjoyable activity kind of loses a bit of its luster? Maybe it requires a tremendous amount of training just to be able to enjoy that moment in time, but now that training becomes more like work than the once buildup of excitement it brought when you were first starting on that journey. This is where I was starting to get with my running. The long training outings didn’t seem that bad thanks to being able to spend a few hours conversing with my fellow training buddies. Unfortunately, both of my partners in pain are out recovering from injuries making the long runs seem like.. well looong runs. Thought it was time to try something different – maybe get that spark back. Thanks to conversations with some co-workers, went ahead and committed to this “new” experience. I am going to leave the details until after next weekend (when the event occurs) in case it goes horribly wrong. What I can say, after two training sessions, it is much harder than I realized yet everyone that I encounter must be wondering why there is such a big smile on my face behind all that sweat. I can’t wait to see how this new experience turns out – wish me luck!

Looking back, that is one hell of a lead in to simply set the stage that I am sitting here relaxing in my den while relishing the aches in my legs – can’t think of a better time to knock out a post on another new bird on my list. Pop quiz… where did Brian find this feathered specimen…

UPDATE: Turns out I already featured this Warbler from my Georgia trip – apparently forgot to check it off my list: That first encounter is actually here.

Yellow-Throated Warbler found at Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Brownsville, Texas in December 2017

I’m just going to go ahead and assume that Texas was bouncing around your cranium long before you got through that sentence. Yes, this is another new check from our birding trip to the Gulf Coast and along the Rio Grande Valley region back in December 2017. More specifically, this Yellow-Throated Warbler was spotted at Sabal Palm Sanctuary on New Year’s Eve. I posted previously on the surreal experience while visiting this sanctuary (link here). Still gives me an uncomfortable feeling when I recall it due to being the ONLY ones there. Definitely worth it though, since two new species made it onto my list – the Ladder-Backed Woodpecker and this much smaller warbler.

Hit the jump to see the only other image that made it into the tin.

Continue reading A Flash of Yellow