From Lips to Beaks

As I sit her basking in the warm sun and wondering if lipstick has a shelf-life it occurred to me I could be cranking out a post.  I could also simply sit back and enjoy my birthday … taking in the rays and yes wondering if lipstick goes bad.  Since hitting retirement age takes a lot of the excitement of birthdays away (every day is like a birthday ha!) The latter seems like a waste.   A post it is!

American Redstart found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2019

Today’s featured feathered friend comes to us thanks to two trips to Chain O’ Lakes State Park near Spring Grove IL.  The first was back in June 2019 (almost like yesterday) and the other, well it was back in June 2017 (as he looks away sheepishly).  There is a reason I added the older shots in – more to that in a bit.

American Redstart found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2019

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our flashy birdie.

Continue reading From Lips to Beaks

Two Feet of Snow

Linda and I are still out exploring and once again we are up to our eyeballs in Snow!  Probably shouldn’t be too surprised as it is winter and I do currently call the broke state of “Ill” my home state.  There is only one thing  to do in this situation – grab The Beast and start filling the tin.

Snowy Egret found on Texas Gulf Coast December 2017

Oh, you thought I meant the cold wet stuff.  Well, that might be true if we weren’t on the road.  Before you start making the wrong assumption, I still do not have access to my digital darkroom tools so the new Snowy Egret shots are stuck on portable drives (yes, multiple backups of the backups of the backups of the originals – I.T. people learn to assume that tech crap is gonna break , the game is predicting WHEN!).   Not sure when we will get full access to my processing tools.

Snowy Egret found on Texas Gulf Coast December 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our featured cottonball.

Continue reading Two Feet of Snow

The Purveyor of Wisdom and Blogging

Greetings everyone.  Feels like I’ve been exploring a third world country as of late thanks to not having connectivity for the last couple of days.  Amazing how accustomed you become to being able to check on the pulse of the country whenever you have the need to dampen your mood.  Today we made it back to civilization and now have some access – sure enough, disbelief soon followed.  Not sure when or even if I’ll weigh into the current state of affairs.  For now I’ll simply mention that big tech monopolies colluding to deplatform competitors is utter bullshit.  I’ve spent my career in the high tech world and this absolutely sickens me.  So, until I opt to delve into this deeper, let’s all brighten our hearts a bit by looking at a “purdy” bird.

White Ibis found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

There, I can feel my concerns melting away for the moment – a general soothing, if you, will thanks to an innocent bird simply enjoying the calm marsh waters of South Padre Island.  Will get this cringe part over now… not exactly new, this series was taken on our Texas birding trip back in December 2016.  I know, I know, I promised more current material for the new year, but during our exploration mode the only material I have is what I’ve already processed and put into the holding queue.  All is good as I happen to really like this particular series of shots.

White Ibis found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center December 2016

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our pink highlighted friend.

Continue reading The Purveyor of Wisdom and Blogging

Tern-Fit

Been a long day today as we finished up the last of all our preventative medical appointments. We wanted to get everything checked off the list so we could start the new year fresh and not have any commitments should we decide to do some extended exploring. Eye doctor, medical doctor and today the dentist. I am definitely tired of being probed and prodded, but glad to have confirmation from the experts that I am still alive (some mornings I wonder ha). Feeling a bit tired, decided I’d take a break and tickle the keyboard a bit. Like our featured feathered friend for today, this will be a quick post.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

I will start out by saying there is a lot of room for improvement in these shots. Lighting is clearly not the best and some of them are rather soft. Problem is, the key to improving shots of this bird is to get physically stronger! My rig is not the lightest coming in at 11-12 pounds with the Beast attached. Thanks to nights in the gym, I generally hand-hold in the field as dealing with a tripod can be a pain in the ass depending on how much distance you plan to cover.

Black Tern found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in June 2017

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

Continue reading Tern-Fit

Scandal on the Water

In today’s post we are going to do some time traveling. Trust me, I am trying to chip away at the backlog or minimally get back to a reasonable delay – getting harder to remember all the details of a given trip into the field. Unfortunately, it seems to be a Sisyphus effort as I filter through just about all of the images previously processed and then I discover another folder from a trip I haven’t even touched yet. Should probably join a Photographers Anonymous group – “Hello, I’m Brian and I take a LOT of pictures”. On the bright side, an abundance of material it is a good problem to have if you are a blogger.

I did finally get the massive Haunted Halloween Trail posts up on the Intrigued Mothership. Those take a serious chunk of time to gather and document the walk throughs. If you like Halloween and don’t mind your image cache being inundated, you might check out those posts.

Now let’s get to our featured feathered friend.

American Wigeon December 2016

Hit the jump to read more about our featured dabbler.

Continue reading Scandal on the Water

Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Coming back from today’s rather cold 10 mile run a new life mission popped in my head. I am going to devote the next 5 years of my life learning how to communicate with Squirrels. Learn their native dialog, dive deep into their culture and master their mannerisms. Once mastered I shall use that valuable knowledge to engage with our local specimens in the hope to finally answer the most pressing question mankind has forever sought an answer to.. WHY THE HELL DO SQUIRRELS ON THE SAFE SIDE OF THE ROAD IMMEDIATELY FEEL THE URGE TO SPRINT TO THE DANGEROUS SIDE OF THE ROAD WHEN A VEHICLE APPROACHES!?! It is absolutely insane and I am taking it upon myself to find out what is actually going on in their walnut sized brains. Note, I may change my mind after the exhaustion finally leaves my body.

Now this fresh specimen has got it right.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Just hang out at the shoreline, no playing Frogger across the busy roads, no accepting double Dog dares to out run the metal boxes with wheels and certainly no games of Chicken out on the asphalt. Nope, just slosh through the muck in search of tasty morsels.

Wilson's Phalarope found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in May of 2018

Hit the jump to read more about our featured specimen.

Continue reading Beware of Phalarope Cougars

Now that is One Fresh Owl

It has been a few days since I’ve been able to post on the wild side of Intrigued. Before I get accused of slacking since retirement, I have been busy on the post front. The Halloween Haunted Trail posts are finally getting the spotlight and those are a lot of work – one more part to go on that and that will finally be checked off my to-do list. As you can tell from the image below, I decided that I needed a break from the haunting.

Barred Owl found at Jubilee College State Park in December 2020

Hit the jump to learn something interesting about our feathered friend – hint, these images might still be wet.

Continue reading Now that is One Fresh Owl

Effortless Ladder-Backed

Had to take Linda in for her eye appointment today and since they only allow the patient into the building these days, I’m stuck sitting in the truck. Becoming a common theme lately as we’re trying to get all of our health appointments out of the way so we do not have to worry about them if we decide to hit the road early next year. Since there is not a whole lot to do sitting in a truck on a cold rainy day, opted to bring along the ol’ laptop and recall some warmer times. Fortunately – or maybe that is unfortunately for you – there is still a staggering amount of images from Texas sitting in the blog queue. I came upon this one first so Pecker it is.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Our featured feathered friend comes to us primarily from the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. This state park is located in Mission Texas directly on the US-Mexico border. For my international followers, that puts you directly on the traditionally understood northern banks of the Rio Grande River. Note the word “traditionally” there. As the border between the two countries is defined by a meandering river, at any given spot you may find yourself looking at Mexico to the south, east west and not until my last trip down there did I realize that in some points you can actually look north to Mexico. At the time the latter happened to us, we were a little concerned that we had made a seriously wrong turn or the GPS thought it would be fun to play a trick on us. A quick check of the map set us at ease we were still on US soil. Put that little tidbit in our memory banks.

Ladder=Backed Woodpecker found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Texas in January 2018

Hit the jump to catch a few more shots of our small Woodpecker.

Continue reading Effortless Ladder-Backed

Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See

Hello everybody! Today happens to be one of those times when a common quandary becomes crystal clear – at least for the immediate post. If you happen to carry large glass into the field, I am sure you’ve been questioned as to whether you are a birder or a photographer. I’ve noted in the past my feelings toward that inquiry and will not belabor that point for the sanity of my readers. Doubt aside, the answer to that question for this particular series is — I’m a birder. Has there been enlightenment, an epiphany or some form of life clarity that has put everything into perspective? Nope – very simply, these pictures basically suck hehehe. No way around it, soft, cluttered, difficult to discern, boring … pick your negative critique of choice, they are there in all their dark glory. Why bother subjecting you to such poor images? The answer is – it actually fits the narrative (oh, and it makes my other images look that much better ha).

Brown Creeper found on lot in Brimfield, IL in November 2020

Today’s featured feathered friend is a bit of a creep:

“I wish I was special

But I’m a creep

I’m a weirdo

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here.”

Figured I would go ahead and provide you the lyrics because if you were around the alt scene in the early 90’s I guarantee you started singing that song as soon as you saw that word – complete with adult words.

But I’m not talking about Yorke’s drunk trying to get the attention of a woman.. in this case I’m referring to the stealthy little forest bird called the Brown Creeper.

Hit the jump see some more truly craptastic shots of our stealthy friend.

Continue reading Sometimes It’s What You Can’t See

Dragons and Bluebirds

My friend Brad M. hung up the daily grind at the same time I did. He mentioned he was beginning to forget what day of the week it was. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but very close – one thing for sure, I am adapting faster than I thought would happen. Getting stuff checked off my to-do list at a record pace and once the holiday decorating is completed (looks like Hallmark threw up in our living room which is complete with a >12 foot Xmas tree hehehe), I can start researching target birds for our upcoming trip. With that said, I did notice one thing that seemed different – clipped a root and took a nasty impact running the trails the other day. Typically I bounce like Tigger and carry on. I had to collect myself for a minute this time, remember where/who I was and topped it off with a nice bruise after the run. Not liking that aspect at all! On a happier note, I mentioned what a wonderful send-off I had and the video they had made for me. After several attempts to upload to our gallery and help from Ron who converted the video for me (only to have Smugmug convert it back ugh), I finally got it rendered correctly. Thought I would share it with you – absolutely love it – on the other hand, Linda is getting tired of me playing it all the time hehehe.

Guessing you are really here to see wildlife! During the last post I mentioned the House Wren has a tendency to take over bird houses intended for our local Eastern Bluebirds. I try not to play favorites too much beyond my well documented dislike for the Brown-Headed Asshats (link here) and those damn Blue Jays. Whoever gets there first and able to defend it wins the house in my book. Except the Wrens need to start putting down a deposit if they take over my replacement birdhouse as they have proven to be lacking on the upkeep responsibilities.

Eastern Bluebird found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove, IL in April 2017

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our colorful backyard bird.

Continue reading Dragons and Bluebirds