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

Laughing Stock

Holy crap, I get disconnected from the Internet for just a couple of days only to get back online and find out we had another embassy overrun. Regardless of the opinions on whether we should have been there or minimally that long etc., those that have served there and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice deserve better than the images I am seeing on lame stream media at the moment. I can only imagine what other superpowers are thinking at this moment. Looking through the available images, figured I would go with this for today’s featured feathered friend.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

The Laughing Gull is not new to the blog. Back in march of 2019, I covered the specimens we found while visiting Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia {shirk eyesight, stare sheepishly at the ground, hum a bit} from our 2015 trip (link here). Yeah, that was a 4 year lag for that. As an act of retribution, today’s images are equally 4 away, but this time the units are months. They still have that new car smell.

Laughing Gull found at Dauphin Island, Alabama Gulf Shores in January of 2021

Hit jump to read about the Dauphin Island Walmart greeter.

Continue reading Laughing Stock

The Dove Parade Continues

It is probably as hard for a tall white skinny natural blonde heterosexual female actress to land a commercial gig these days as it is to find reliable Internet service on our Expedition Tres. If the current administration needs a reality check on what “infrastructure” means they can get their asses out of DC and try to work remotely in the real world. The good news is we’ve had a lot of fun enjoying what our neighbors to the north have to offer in terms of outdoor activities. A few days ago I was able to get some hard trail running in traversing the steep bluffs of Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin (as if the bluffs were not hard enough already, the heat index in the 100’s didn’t help any!). From there we made it up to Duluth, MN where I was able to fulfill a previous commitment to a fellow blogger friend. Canoeist, kayaker and hiker extraordinaire CJ posted on a trip she took to Jay Cooke State Park (link here). Based on her account, I added it to my places to target in the future. Thanks to Linda’s tremendous trip planning skills that can now be officially checked off.

Inca Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

As CJ reported, Jay Cooke is an incredible place complete with a bordering bike trail and plenty of trails to test my endurance. First day took a 14 mile bike ride with Linda and the following day doubled up with a 13 mile run on some brutal elevation changing trails in the morning and then went another 10 miles biking with Linda after that. Another 14 mile biking trip is planned for later today – I might have to crawl my way through the rest of the trip ha! Anyway, big thanks to CJ for the great tip – oh and be sure and check out her site to read about the rest of her travels (link here) – she hangs out across the pond these days.

Inca Dove found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn about the star of today’s post!

Continue reading The Dove Parade Continues

Getting Cheekie

Been a bit out of pocket lately and that is entirely due to Linda and I being out on Exploration Tres and not having Internet for the first part of the trip. Somehow Linda convinced me to head out on the road again in the midst of what should be heavy training for the upcoming 50 mile ultra run. I could say it involved foot stomping, yelling, manhood challenging and all kinds of medieval torture, but that would be a bit of a stretch. Truth is she gets on ebird, finds bird sightings where she wants to travel to and then spends the weeks leading up to departure date blurting out birds I do not have whenever we pass by each other. Kind of like Tourette’s Syndrome for birder wives. Quite devious if you ask me. The silver lining is if I fail on the run I can blame her!

Anyway, while on the road, I have a few cycles to get a post or two out of the way (connectivity permitting). Say hello to today’s featured feathered friend.

Gray-Cheeked Thrush found at Shell Mound on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

If you recall, I thought I was setting a drab baseline in my previous post. At the time I was under the impression that it was hard to get much duller than one of those little brown jobbers technically called a Sparrow. Ended up being a bit shocked at the feedback I received contrary to that assumption. Apparently, some of you out there think those LBJs can be snappy dressers. That opinion threw a small wrench in my plans to have a growing crescendo of color as we progressed through the month. What to do, what to do…

Gray-Cheeked Thrush found at Shell Mound on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our shy friend.

Continue reading Getting Cheekie

The Song Does Not Remain the Same

Well, I was supposed to get this post out last night. Clearly, that didn’t happen ironically due to completely losing track of time while I was banging away on the skins -eh, more like Kevlar mesh on my electronic drum set. Second only to running, one of the few things I enjoy sweating my ass doing for hours and hours. A great way to log some cardio and eliminate all your stress – win win in by book. Why the irony? Yesterday’s post intended to feature the patron bird of every band.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Yep, that’s the Song Sparrow! Somehow managed to get 10 posts out in July between the wild side here and the mothership blowing my self-imposed 6 posts a month goal right out of the water. Long live being a slave to the grind ha. Guessing you might not have noticed, but I’ve been featuring pretty much fresh content – as in shots taken this year – almost exclusively. Still means the backlog is growing older and older, but at least trying to stay on top of the new stuff (which I’ve barely even begun to scratch thanks to the Texas and then the Alabama Gulf Shores trips). Wanted to go a bit deeper into the queue and pop a few of those off while up for the month – that was the plan.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Hit the jump to read more about our musical friend.

Continue reading The Song Does Not Remain the Same

Batting Leadoff for the Yellow Bandits

I cannot believe we are nearing the close of July. It probably doesn’t help now that I joined the retired ranks I’m unable to remember what day of the week it is, but flying through an entire month, now that I notice. Technically more “running” than “flying” as this was the first multi-race month in a very very long time. In honor of kissing another month goodbye, thought I’d go with this for today’s featured feathered friend.

Great Kiskadee found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to see just a couple more shots of our colorful bandit.

Continue reading Batting Leadoff for the Yellow Bandits

Tippy Envy

Howdy all you wildlife fans! The oven has reached max out here in the Midwest with the temps back in the nineties. By itself, that is pretty bearable, but when you add in the humidity levels and the feels likes levels cresting in the 105s to 110s then it gets more punishing. Of course, this is also a sign the annual running of the Bix7 road race is on its way and sure enough yesterday was the day. After a year’s absence due to that ass Covid, it was once again time to get really sweaty traversing the bluffs of the Mighty Mississippi River for delicious Whitey’s Popscicles (link here) at the post race party. There will be a full post on the mothership site, but in short it was a hot one (high 80’s before the gun went off with the heat index that day topping out at 103). A big congratulations to Linda for completing the 2 mile Quick Bix this year. She missed an additional year as she had her heart surgery prior to the canceled year.

Will have to check the finish line pictures, but pretty sure my legs were as red as today’s featured feathered friend.

White-Tipped Dove found at Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Over the last few years I’ve retooled my body to handle the long grind of ultras letting go of the fast turnover indicative of the shorter road courses. Had to put those old skills back into play with the 7 miles of the Bix and the legs let me know they didn’t appreciate the amped up pace – good news is the big hills were a hell of a lot easier. While the legs take some time to recover, thought I’d put out a quick post continuing the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park “Dove Parade”.

White-Tipped Dove found at Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park in January 2021

Hit the jump to learn about the next entry in the Dove Parade.

Continue reading Tippy Envy