First off, my heartfelt appreciation goes out today on Memorial Day for all those heroes that have lost their lives protecting our citizens as well as those abroad so that was may live in the safety we often times take for granted. I also want to extend a big thank you to those that continue to serve out country on a daily basis. Thank you
Today’s post officially completes my monthly quota (did I just hear kazoos and fireworks!?!) Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to do a little birding with my brother Ron up in Montrose on the Chicago lakefront. For those not aware of that incredible birding place, you need to get up there during the migration and get yourself a whole bunch of checks in your North American birding list – especially in the Warbler category. I do not want to give away the fruits of that labor yet, but let’s just say it was worth the drive!
Keeping with that Warbler theme, thought it would be nice to continue with this…
Now, this particular one wasn’t found three hours to our North. Nope, this one ended up requiring a 4 hour flight to the West to get in the tin. To be specific, these shots were taken back in December 2014 while on a quick trip to Las Vegas. Bet you went soft thanks to recent posts thinking I was going to continue the trend of putting more recent stuff on here. Unfortunately, not.
Hit the jump to find out what this bird is and view a few more pictures.
Continue reading Orange You Glad You Found Me
It’s another pressure cooker month, but the good news is this post puts me over the hump and now looking downhill at the monthly quota. One day it is going to get me and my streak will be over … but alas, not likely this month. To use a common term from my workplace, there’s always the bus-factor to take into account – for those unfamiliar, the higher the factor, the higher the risk to the company if you get ran over by a bus that day. With only one post short as long as my fingers are still able to press on keys I should be able to finish it from the emergency room ha!
Take a gander at today’s featured feathered friend.
That intriguing looking bird is a Spotted Sandpiper. Once again, those clever bird namers are saving teeth wear on the creative cogs. Let’s see, it has Spots and it is hanging out on a shoreline – I got it Spotted Sandpiper – start the presses. In all seriousness, you have to be appreciative of a Sandpiper you can quickly identify. If you have not had the experience trying to ID an obscure Piper, it ranks right up there with discerning a juvenile Sparrow. The Spotted has a couple of distinguishing marks with one being …. well … it has SPOTS and not streaks or solid. The hard eye line and ink tipped orange bill also collectively give it away.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this stoic Peep.
Continue reading See Spot Fly
Wow, this month is going to be close on the quota front. Lots of things happening around the headquarters of Intrigued as of late and admittedly, it is getting in the way of my commitment to my loyal readers. For that I apologize immensely, but on the other hand, I’ve been able to devote some time to working on new animatronics for this year’s Haunted Trail. Never too early to be thinking of orange and black. Speaking of black (these lead in don’t write themselves you know hehehe) take a look at my latest find.
This particular set of shots is uber-fresh being as it was taken less than a week ago! For those who follow this blog, you realize what a rarity it is to see shots that are less than 2 years old … a shoot to post duration measured in days is nearly unheard of. Credit Linda for coming up with the plan to hit Havana on our way down to Springfield to see the parents. She knows that Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge is like crack for us bird enthusiasts. To be relatively close to that birding hotspot is truly a blessing. You never really know what you are going to see on those wetlands so always exciting to be able to make a run through even if it is for as little as 1.5 hours which is all the time we had that day.
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of this pink legged treasure! Continue reading Pinky Legadero
Greetings everyone! It has been a bit since I have posted and for that my utmost apologies. There is just something about a few hot days, a couple of passes of fertilizer followed by a a whole lot of rain that somehow makes my grass think they’re in a race to the clouds. At this rate I’ll be mowing every 1.3 days! Taking advantage of the fact it is raining this very minute, thought it would be a great time to put another notch in the post counter. Although we are technically a month early, let’s welcome Summer to the blog…
Well, a Summer Tanager that is. This gorgeous bird was found on an outing at Starved Rock State Park. My brother Ron and I had the opportunity to do a day of birding there back in May 2015. Wait a minute, come to think of it, it was pouring down rain that day too. If I recall correctly we ended up having to stand under tree cover waiting for a lightning storm to pass over. Okay kiddies, let me make a short PSA – it is not recommended you stand under tall trees during a lightning storm. Don’t even think about it, don’t do it and certainly don’t reference this blog when they scrap your body off the ground and drag your butt into the ER after disobeying my advice.
Hit the jump to read and see a bit more about the Summers!
Continue reading Summer’s Here
Sorry everyone, it has been an extremely busy month so far and time keeps getting away from me – a lot of that due to running. I was able to log a 13 mile run today in a very hilly course, so I’m feeling comfortable about my upcoming Toughest Illinois’ 15K race. The good news on the blog front is I am once again within the 2 year queue window having processes a number of shoots including a run to Starved Rock and another to Kentucky – yes, they include new bird plus ones that are excited about their upcoming blog debut.
Thought I would throw out a quick one tonight just to get the ball rolling for the month.
I should probably mention now that I have a pretty significant aversion to bees and hornets. On the bees front I used to experience significant swelling when I was a young kid whenever a bee would decide to sink its stinger in my tender flesh. Now that I am older I get a little less anxious around them when they are roaming around SOLO – get ground bees congested in a dirt hole and this dude starts looking for implements of mass annihilation. Mowed over a nest last year and several played a game of darts on my behalf. On the Bumblebee front I usually just let them be (see what I did there hehehe) having never met an aggressive one in the field – usually they are too drunk on nectar to care about me. However, there is one type of large hornet or wasp that used to terrorized our summer Wiffle Ball field. I have yet to fully ID it, but it was at least 2 inches long, banded with black and yellow with a stinger that would bring some serious tears to a young boy’s eyes. When I saw this creature through my camera it immediately triggered a flight reaction
Could this be the terror of my youth!?! Concern quickly turned to intrigue and forced myself to try and get some additional shots. It was big – maybe in the 1 inch body size with a 1.5-2 inch wingspan. Definitely the right color palette, but something seemed a bit off. Those wings are much more robust than the standard Bee or Wasp wing and I do not remember either have a furry butt. Then I saw this image in the digital dark room.
That image left me with the impression it was more of a Butterfly than a Bee or Wasp. Time to hit Google and figure out what this mystery guest was. From a region perspective, this was found at Jubilee State Park back in August 2014. Using that information with a smattering of the visual characteristics eventually revealed the answer to the mystery – as best I can tell, this is a Clearwing – likely of type Snowberry. My fears were unwarranted, for this is a harmless member of the Moth family. I hope that isn’t what we raged war on as a kid, but I distinctly remember getting stung by one so either we allowed ourselves to exaggerate too much and it was really a hornet or that villain is yet to be properly identified. The good news is I’ll be able to recognize the Clearwing from this point forward and let myself enjoy the moment rather than fight the flight urge.
Hope you enjoyed this new Moth for the blog – see you again real soon.
Last post you were introduced to a mother and chick Osprey that we were able to shoot on our North Carolina trip in July 2014. As luck would have it, we are still under a monsoon out here in the Midwest putting most of my planned outside work on hold, but still leaving plenty of worry as my 46′ free standing bridge over our creek is officially under water. Not a lot I can do about that right now, hell, I can’t even get to it as the end is currently sitting 20 feet out from the water’s edge! My fret is your gain allowing me extra time to crank out another bonus post.
This shouldn’t be a surprise if you noticed the last post title had a clue – that was not the only mother and chick Osprey sighting we were able to witness in Tarheel country. We were checking out the various sites in the Outer Banks area when we spotted something interesting in the parking lot of a restaurant. This eatery happened to sit on a water inlet and like the shots before, had a man made mast that had been claimed by another Osprey mother.
Hit the jump to see the rest of the shots from this second sighting – and there’s a surprise!
Continue reading Osprey and Offspring Part 2
Welcome to Blog Bonus Time everyone! Now that my mandatory post quota has been officially met, I can focus on burning down some of my backlog. This is typically when I release post of birds that have already made their way on the blog – usually not as exciting as when I get to show off a new entry on my Birding List, however, there is always the chance I’ve been able to improve on images previously captured in the tin or even some new element that makes the repeat visit interesting as well. The latter is exactly the case in this particular post.
For the non-birders out there, that is an Osprey. A female Osprey to be more exact. These skilled hunters have been featured a few times on the blog already – link here, here and here. Before I go any further, let me just apologize for some really poor pictures on that last link from Yellowstone. Those Osprey shots were done from a less than ideal distance and could have used a lot more light. One advantage of having a photography related blog is you have the opportunity to look back at your body of work and be your own best critic. I think you will like these pictures much much better.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this Osprey … and maybe a surprise!
Continue reading Osprey and Offspring Part 1
I am glad to be back home now. It was a rather long weekend with the two races at the start of the weekend and then ended with a long day at the Poodle Agility Nationals down at Purina Farm near St. Louis. By the time we made it home last night Linda and I were totally exhausted and the dogs were like potato sacks passed out on the RV bed. That is when you know you have officially got everything you possibly could out of an extended weekend – of course, that made the workday a lot longer to ugh. Luckily, I was able to get at least one post out while traveling leaving me with only one more to hit my monthly quota – might as well get that out of the way while I am thinking about it.
Take a look at this beauty of a bird…
All I can say is gorgeous. It may be due to the fact I am so fond of Halloween, but this has to be one of my favorite color palettes for a bird. Please overlook the composition and technical execution of this batch of photos. This particular specimen was hanging out in clearly the most tangled branch tree it could find to thwart my every effort to get a clean shot. Not sure what kind of tree this was, but it ended up not only providing excellent protection from The Beast, but it also looks quite menacing seeing as how some of the branches look like grey barbed wire.
Hit the jump to find out what this bird is!
Continue reading Never Mind the Bullock’s
I can safely say my body, at the moment, hasn’t been this sore since exactly one year ago today. Ironically, it is really due to almost the exact same torture I put it through last year although this year was about 13.1 miles easier. Yep, this is my anniversary of completing the Illini Marathon over in Champaign. Like last year, I once again battled the running gods by accepting the I-Challenge, but Linda pretty much insisted I only did the half challenge – 5K Friday and then a half marathon Saturday morning. I’ll leave the rest of the details for a future post, but there are three more medals to add to my wall… and legs that once again are screaming at me. Since I’m sitting here waiting for the pain to subside, decided it would be a good time for a post so here goes.
Well, this particular post shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if you happened to read my previous post on the Great Horned Owlets. You probably already guessed, their mother wasn’t very far away.
…. and you would be right! She was actually just on the other side of the tree trunk hanging out on a branch keeping a very close eye on any dangers that could threaten her cuties. She was pretty calm about the whole thing. Imagine a number of tourists driving up, pulling off to the side of the road, jumping out with all forms of cameras and then milling about under the very same tree her precious offspring are spending their days.
To her credit, she would check off all the dangers to her right…
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of Mommy!
Continue reading Don’t Worry, Mommy Has Her Eyes On You
I have one word that defines today’s post topic – that being FINALLY. This happens to be one of those times when I was keenly aware that I was able to get a prized bird in the tin but it seems like it has been forever trying to get them processed and ready for publication. So, without any further delays, please say hello to my little friend.
How cool is that! That is the cute and puffy offspring of a Great Horned Owl. This particular nest was shot in the Rocky Mountain National Park back in May of 2014. Pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but we had traveled out to the Denver, Colorado area for the Teacup Dog Agility Nationals. As an incentive, Linda added in a side trip to the Rocky Mountain Park to check out the local wildlife. She knows me to well, I’m in the van and ready to go the minute I hear there’s a chance to spend some time in the mountains with The Beast.
“Who goes there!”
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the fuzzy Great Horned offspring
Continue reading Owl-Let You Take Their Picture