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

Flying Zebras

Ugh, I’m 6 days into the new month and nothing to show for it on the blog. It has been a bit busy around here at Intrigued as of late and not sure it is going to calm down anytime soon. Case in point, yesterday at 6:15pm local time I was standing at the arrival doors for Punta Gorda airport. It had just poured there and I was taking a few minutes to stretch the legs out from the 2.5 hour or so flight down there from Springfield IL. – where I had driven 1.5 hours before that to make the flight from my hometown. The stretch was important because I was getting into my father’s van so my brother (who had made an earlier flight) and I could drive him back … nonstop. At 1:00pm this afternoon we rolled into Springfield where we unloaded the van and then I made it out to the airport to drive the 1.5 hours back here. All that makes for one tired Bri. No complaints though, always happy to help out my Dad and being in a vehicle for that long you get to re-live some great memories and strengthen the family bond. Thought I would relax a bit before heading to bed early for some badly needed shuteye – I struggle to get any naps in while on the road so the deprivation keeps building throughout the trip. The best way for me to relax is to sit in my den, watch some Cardinals and talk about Team Bird. Although today’s featured bird is more of Yankee fan than a Card.

Black-and-White Warbler at Valley Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas January 2018

Hit the Jump to read about this new bird on my list.
Continue reading Flying Zebras

Buffy the Nectar Slayer

If a +3 three weekend is worth celebrating, then surely adding another +1 for the week is worthy of a Snoopy happy dance. I would do just that, but Linda is home and knowing her she’d sneak a picture of it and then post it on Facebook to all her friends. Then Facebook would probably mine it and start sending dance lesson opportunities. It’s amazing when you pre-think through your actions how boring your life becomes. Maybe this is the key difference between childhood and adulthood – The Embarrassment Factor. If had actually considered some of my actions when I was a kid, me thinks I would not have had nearly as much as fun as I did. Granted, I would have had far less stitches and Tetanus shots ha! This all brings me full circle to today’s post. Linda is forever embarrassing me by retelling my reaction to learning that a Painted Bunting was hanging out at place we visited in Georgia (wait, hmmm, that post may not be out yet – ignore that if it isn’t). It is this ribbing I take that has caused me to pre-think my actions when I learned this Hummer was hanging out at the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park near Mission, Texas.

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2018

In a much more controlled manner, I calmly walked out of the visitor center and forced a restrained walk over to the specified spot – a feeder we actually passed on our way in. Successfully prevented another embarrassing Facebook post, although my inner being was doing one hell of a Happy Feet rendition. This was one of the new birds I was hoping to get in the tin on our birding trip last January 2017. Here in the Midwest (link here), we are treated to only one kind of Hummer unless one gets mistakenly lost during migration. I did pick a new one at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve – the Black-Chinned variety (link here). Other than that, the list is pretty bare when it comes to these incredibly fast creatures.

Buff-Bellied Hummingbird found at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park January 2018

Hit the jump to find out more about this bird.

Continue reading Buffy the Nectar Slayer

Uhhh What?

Not to labor this point too much, but if you read my last post on the Hooded Merganser, you should be keenly aware of how cold it is here in St. Louis.  My hopes of it getting warmer today were quickly dashed when I opened the door of the RV only to be blown nearly all the way to the arena where Raven is running agility.  A quick check of the phone reveals it is 31 with a windchill of .. wait for it … feels like 20.  WTH, last year at this even I was wearing shorts and wandering around comfortably looking for whatever feathered creatures Purina Farms had to offer.  This year I am bundled up like the little kid from A Christmas Story.  To top it off, after fighting the winds to get to the arena, Raven decided that the agility course was improperly arranged and chose to remedy the situation mid run – when the course is setup the way he wants it, Linda and Raven rock.  When it isn’t  then to quote a famous movie “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some [poodles] you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here [this morning] which is the way he wants it”  No worries, Raven has more runs to work things out – more importantly, I am spending the huge gaps between runs on a quest for a birding check tri-fecta.  If the wireless stays up, Mr. White below will give me just that.

Gull-Billed Tern Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Texas December 2016

Hit the jump to see a few more shots.

Continue reading Uhhh What?

‘Cause the Boys in the Hood are Always Hard

I just want to say for the record that I am currently camping at Purina Farms down in St. Louis and freezing my butt off.  Last time I stepped outside it was dipping below 30 and there were little white flecks hurling down on us from above.  Linda is in complete denial and not exactly pleased we are being treated with this weather during the Poodle Club of America Nationals we are entered in.  Raven will be competing with the big boys and girls in the agility ring (wish him luck!).  With that cold whine out of the way, let’s get on to this weekend’s theme.  Wait – make that themes.  Carrying over from last post, bringing you another bird post, another plus one on the bird list, shoots from this very month (a miracle) and yes, another set of soft pictures.  I purposely went with the Woodcock shots first in hopes those shots would make these look better than they really are.

Hooded Merganser located at Widewaters near Joliet, IL April 2018

I mentioned in a previous post I was heading up to the Joliet IL area to do some birding with my brother Ron (link here).  The goal of that trip was to finally get that Ross’ Goose in the tin.  It had been hanging out with a bunch of Domestic Geese that had taken up residence in the area.  More specifically in Wilmington IL  Ron was threatening to drive there, scoop it up in the car and drive down to my house to get the picture if I waited any longer.  Note, that was only threatened, he didn’t actually do that … this time ha.   Turns out, our little white Goose was nowhere to be found.  We did locate the resident Geese behind Nelly’s Restaurant, but their little friend was either staying inside thanks to another cold weekend or it figured out it was hanging with the wrong crowd.  The day was still young, so Ron offered to show me some of other birding spots in the area.

Hooded Merganser located at Widewaters near Joliet, IL April 2018

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this distinctive duck.

Continue reading ‘Cause the Boys in the Hood are Always Hard

I’ve Hand Doodled Better Birds

Greetings everyone.  Been a little bit lax on my posting as of late, but things keep popping up that have to be whack-o-moled down before they get out of control.  Ironically one of those is dealing with a mole that has decided the abundant acreage of woods around our house isn’t as inviting as the 1 to 2 acres I carved out for our lawn.  Crazy demon-spawn continually break our pact – no harm shall come to thee as long as they stay off my lawn.  Yet they continually test my resolve and launch their torpedoes toward my house to test my authori-TEH!  I mainly bring this up because those pink clawed creatures usually start their insurgency at the same time today’s featured bird starts their annual courtship rituals.

KK

Hit the jump to see even crappier pictures.

Continue reading I’ve Hand Doodled Better Birds