Well, the weather conditions that have been hammering the southwest has made it to the Midwest. Heating up outside which is a bit of an issue. If there was one notable impact on the running front from the 6 weeks with my mother it was in my body’s thermostat. I need ease into hot runs or my thermostat will easily “panic”, immediately dumping fluids to prevent another heat stroke incident (link here). Took a while to retrain the thermostat after that and then wrecked it all again with the heat exhaustion episode (link here) years later. Now I have to be even more careful in high temps and the conditioning takes even longer.
Forced to jump started in the heat, opted to go with shorter more frequent runs starting before the temps reached critical level. All was going well until yesterday when I was sabotaged. It had stormed overnight and the humidity caused fog conditions in Jubilee State Park (7:45am). Started sweating the minute I stepped out of the truck. Checked watch, temps still in the low 80s so set out at a controlled pace. Besides the damn Horsefly sorties over my head, all was good until about mile 4 when things went loony. Out from the woods comes a rabbit (note, this one was normal sized). It hops in front of me, points into the woods and yells “Look, a talking Squirrel!”. So I look ‘cuz, well, who doesn’t want to see a talking Squirrel. Unbeknownst to me, a Raccoon comes riding up on a skateboard and throws a stick down in front of me. Foot lands on stick, ankle goes “marbles” then “frosted flakes” followed by a wave of pain. Disgust came over me knowing exactly what happened and then turning to see the Raccoon laughing so hard it falls off the skateboard which then manages to jump the curb and hit the Rabbit in the chest – serves them right!
Hit the jump – I promise I’ll eventually get to the meat of the post ha!
I thought when entering June things would start slowing down a bit. Wow, was I wrong. Somehow forgot all the work that has to go into the homestead this time of year. Time is being devoured battling the forest as it continuously plots to revenge our incursion, grass growing way to fast thanks to the barrage of rain (apologies to the dry southwest), a Mole army that could repel a Russian invasion and those hell spawn Chipmunks that I swear breed daily (where are all the Owls). Doesn’t Mother Nature know that I have to focus on the new Halloween props for the fast approaching Haunted Trail (link here)!?! Oh well, shouldn’t complain, far better than having to get all these tasks done and still go to work every day.
The good news is I have had some opportunity to bird. Although I still have not updated the Birding Chronicles (link here), …. wait, stop the presses, will be back in a jiffy (imagine the Jeopardy theme tune playing in your head)…just a bit longer… a few more seconds… there, back. Sorry about that. I have probably noted that the Chronicles had not been updated for like a month if not more. Inner Bri demanded I simply update it ha! Feeling hypocritical due to how much I curse at IDOT for taking the time to have a sign made and send out a 4 person crew to install said sign to inform motorists there’s a bump in the road – FIX IT!!!. The latest stats have our “Average Year” progress for Ron at 219 (note, he added 3 more this week) and I am sitting at 249 for unique species this year. Quite shocked really as there are still plenty of easy targets left and a number of good birding trips planned between now and the end of the year (not to mention 2 seasonal changes remaining). Need to have Ron update the video with our latest excursions.
Hit the jump to read more about the bird from where “the girls get so tanned”.
Well, we are back home from our trip up to Springfield, Ohio for the CPE Invitationals. In general a bit of a disappointment. With the exception of Ruger’s impressive showing in his first ever drag race event, the 4 days of showing (1 practice day and 3 days of actual competition), yielded only one qualifying run in Raven’s 9 attempts. He just seemed off and really wasn’t running at his usual pace. Also a lot more standoffish and too aware of the onlookers and hordes of other competitors to really get the job done. Definitely not a fan of having horse dirt between his toes. I felt bad for Linda as she was having to fight through a nasty cold from the moment we got there. Tough to run, much less coerce a less than enthused Poodle through an obstacle course.
Hit the jump to read more of about our blotchy friend!
We finally made it up to Springfield, Ohio for the Canine Performance Events (CPE) Invitational Nationals. I must say this is a bit overwhelming and I don’t even have four paws and a tail (although I do have the long nose for it ha). Sources indicated there are around 700 canines performing at this show and based on the large number of campers and dogs everywhere you look – thinking that might be an undercount. Raven hits the agility ring starting tomorrow. Don’t tell him, but Dad will not fault him for being nervous with all the voodoo paws pointed at him from the stands. Ruger and Benji came along for moral support … and we didn’t trust them not to throw a kegger while we were gone. Linda was surprised to see the were also holding an open “drag racing” event here. Think of it as a solo drag race for 50 yards although instead of nitro fuel they only need puppy kisses from Mommy at the finish line. Decided we would let Ruger have a go now that he has officially “crested” the one year old threshold.
Hit the jump to read more about our featured feathered friend.. and a lot more about our little dragster.
I want to start with remembering all those that are serving, have served and on the day we officially honor them, those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to live the values instilled in this country by our founding fathers. Those that have given their lives in combat and the families that have lived/live with that sacrifice shall never be forgotten.
Last post I featured a feathered friend that Ron was able to check off this year …and more importantly… one I’m still missing in my “Average Year” efforts (link here – still not updated). I also noted there was a plan for me to claw back some points. Last Friday Linda and I went to Havana IL and successfully tinned a few sure things. Specifically the Western Kingbird (Link here – why they nest there I have no clue) and the Eurasian Tee Sparrow (link here). Note, if you want to see a limited region for a bird, check out that European Tree Sparrow – basically a small blotch in IL (link here).
Even managed to get 2 more +1s for the year on the way home that Ron didn’t have ..well, yet. Not that I am competitive or anything (wink), but was feeling pretty good gaining +4 on him. Then opportunity knocked. Brothers and I decided to meet mom’s house to start the long process of cleaning it out. This meant Ron would be traveling down perilously close to Havana on his way to the house. My warnings that the birds had already left for the summer were ignored (no trust ha). Sure enough, he stopped by there and picked up 3 of the 4 Friday tallies. Well, that euphoria didn’t even make it past the long weekend.
So, like the previous post, bringing you another red hued bird.
In contrast to the last post, Ron DOES NOT have this Tanager checked off for this year. It is still a few weeks off from the season, but rather than wait, bringing you summer early! A male Summer Tanager to be exact. The official check for this year came while we were down in southern Texas during January. Ron probably missed getting it by maybe 20 minutes thanks to having to head to the airport to catch his flight home. While he had to sit in the airport lobby, Linda and I headed back to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Brownsville. There was a rarity we were chasing there before he had to take him to the airport. I’ll cover that hunt in an upcoming post. For today, just note I managed to tin the Summer Tanager while I was there (and the rarity, but shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone yet).
Hit the jump to continue reading about Ron’s missing check
I mentioned in a previous post that Ron and I had the opportunity to get a little birding in at the end of last week. Not only did that allow us to get a quick break from the stress building up over the last 6 or 7 weeks, it also provided a huge boost to our “Average Year” counts. We took a setback when we canceled the Dauphin migration trip originally planned in April. We have managed to claw back some of the migrating checks thanks to a trip up to Montrose Bird Sanctuary, a new place called LaBagh Woods (will definitely have a future post on that gem) and then several locations around our favorite Chain ‘O Lakes State Park area. That two day trip allowed me to bump up my ’22 count to 245!!! Apologies, I still need to update the Birding Chronicles stats page (link here). Then Ron followed that up with a side trip, managing to get this species checked off his list.
That was a good pick up on me as I haven’t been able to locate ones of these fireballs yet. In honor of his accomplishment, decided to go ahead with this series from an encounter I had while we were down at Dauphin Island back in April of last year. I also get to continue my green theme from the last two posts.
Hit the jump to read more about our encounter with this brilliantly colored bird.
The end of May is creeping up on me and I’m short on posts this month. Do not want to break my multi-year streak of hitting my monthly blog quota, so look for several more posts to come bursting your way this week. The good news is Ron and I were able to get a break from all the ordeals with our mother’s passing. Did some birding at Montrose Beach (Chicago) and several places around Chain ‘O Lakes State Park. Extremely productive for our “Average Year” tallies and even managed to set a record for our one day unique species count (62). A summary of that effort will be coming as soon as I can process the 110 gigs of images from the two day haul. As for today, thought I would continue with the “lime green” theme from the last post.
Surprise, not a bird ha! This happens to be a Lizard we discovered last year while Ron and I were birding Dauphin Island. Hmmm, discovered might not be the best choice of birds – more like the Lizard that “revealed” itself to me. Unlike my wife, I am quite fond of the members in the reptile family. Only variable is how close I am willing to get to a particular specimen. Definitely not one to go running head first into a door frame if the slithering kind pops out of a grill cover (link here). If you are wondering, Lizards do not get a pass from Linda either – as she puts it “just Snakes with legs”. So glad she wasn’t with us when this walking neon sign came out to greet us.
Hit the jump to see more of our lime colored friend.
Greetings everyone! Been a while since I’ve had the chance to get back to the blog. We had a nice ceremony in remembrance of my Mother a couple of weeks ago and now moving into the will and possessions phase. This part is going to take a bit of time and effort to get through, not to mention a bit of travel being that she still lived where we were born and raised. I definitely want to extend our sincere appreciation for the outpouring of blessings and support we have received from our blogsphere family. As saddening as the ordeal was, it was comforting to know you were thinking of us.
Unfortunately, I am waaaay behind on my postings, not to mention the backlog of post reading on the blogs I follow. Fingers crossed I can get caught up quickly. Getting back into the swing of things, thought I’d bring you an intriguing featured feathered friend.
Our lime green specimen comes to you courtesy of last year’s trip to the Alabama Gulf Shores. More specifically, the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island. I’ve posted numerous times on the incredible finds during our April stay on that small piece of land.
Hit the jump to read more about our lime colored discovery.
Welcome to May everyone! So far it has basically been one rainy day after another – in fact, April was downright rainy as well. I know some of you in the southwest are pretty dry, wish there was a way to get some of our run-off down to you. Read yesterday that Lake Mead is so low they are finding bodies. The positive in all this is our wells should be fully charged. Unfortunately, the “Average Year” efforts are in a stumble with the Dauphin trip cancellation. I have been able to get a few adds .. in between the rains of course.
How is that for an absolutely craptastic shot!?! That particular image is the “best” of about a hundred attempts to tin one of these caffeine junkies in flight. For a majority of birds, their flights are fairly predictable. Note position A, then B and you can pretty much assume where C is going to end up along that trajectory. Focus lock the bird at position B and pan with it to estimated point C while engaging continues shutter mode – easy peasy. Even hyper Flycatchers can be mitigated knowing 83.6% of the time they return to the same branch after a quick sortie. (Note, 91.82% of statistics are made up on the fly.. and while at it, 103% of political poll numbers are bullshit. hehehe.) When it comes to Swallows you are probably better off just randomly pressing the shutter at a random spot at a random distance and pray one of them spots a bug in the vicinity. I tried everything short of throwing the kitchen sink in hopes of knocking one out of the sky and the best I could do is the shot above. 30 minutes into it my arms were like spaghetti and had used up all my colorful swear words. Screw these birds in flight (BiFs)!!
Frustrated, I brought The Beast down and gave my arms a rest. Started scanning the nearby trees in a last ditch effort to come away with a shot worthy of the +1 for the Average Year. Well, hello there bird on stick (BoSs)! As I was hoping, these Northern Rough-Winged Swallows were staging on a tree next to the bank we were standing on. Now that is muuuuuch easier on the arms.
Did I mention it was really windy that day?
Hit the jump to read about other finds from the Swallow family.