Greetings all! Hope you enjoyed the deviation from all the usual feathers in the last post. Always good to feature something other than birds to give everyone a break. Although I have been getting some feedback requesting I stay away from the Snake topics. Which means, of course, there will be slither posts coming sometime in the not too distant future hehehe. I think it best we all try to face our fears or there’s little chance to get comfortable with them. I can state for a fact that standing on rafters three stories up while building our house definitely helped quell some of my height fears. Been a dreary week around here with all the rain (needed for sure), but there is a lot of woods work to do before the upcoming Halloween event. I can’t afford to be sitting around here staring out the windows. Figured it would be a good time to feature this.

Brown-Headed Cowbird found on Brimfield IL Lot in May 2018

Oh, before I forget. With the time crunch from the Halloween work and some key deliverables due on aggressive timelines at my day job, I’ll probably get these posts out shorter than usual – content and timewise. Everything should be back to normal in October and I can finally take a break and relax a bit – been a long year so far and just need to get over this last hurdle. Now back to this jerk of a bird.

Brown-Headed Cowbird found on Brimfield IL Lot in May 2018

Hit the jump to read more about this lowlife bird.

Continue reading Asshats

Kickin’ Butts and Takin’ Nuts

Welcome to September ye’ all!  Against my best efforts, another page has fallen off the monthly calendar, which by the way is looking a bit thin these days.  Nearing the final quarter of 2020.  A year most of us will never forget.  Lost time, lost adventures, lost interactions with our families and more than anything, loss of our freedoms from political greed.  Quite sickening when it comes down to it and looking forward to putting it all past us.  We’ve decided to claw back a bit of civility and once again on the road enjoying a little end of the year camping (in another state with a better governor of course).  Temps are definitely starting to drop making for a perfect night to sit around the campfire and tap on the keys.

White Squirrel found at Brevard College, Brevard NC in October 2016

I wanted to actually get this post out in July during my “white” month.  Doubt anyone noticed, but all of the wildlife posts that month involved white in some manner either in the name or in featured animal’s color palette.  And you thought there was no method to this madness!  Today’s post would have fit in nicely with that theme – unfortunately, this one required a bit of research that I was unable to get to the entire month of July.  Bri’s a busy guy these days especially with the annual Haunted Trail a mere month away.

White Squirrel found at Brevard College, Brevard NC in October 2016

Hit the jump to learn more about our day observing the cutest white furballs you will ever see. Continue reading Kickin’ Butts and Takin’ Nuts

Gonna Need Some Huge Q-Tips

Clearly someone shorted me a bunch of days this month. That is the only explanation I can think of for once again scrambling to get my blog quota covered for August. Appears to have went directly from August 8th to the 28th – as rich Uncle Pennybags says – head directly to end of month, don’t pass Go and don’t even think about that two hundred bucks.

Speaking of bucks…

Mule Deer found at Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

Since I started the month with a little something out of the ordinary, finished I’d close the wildlife side of the Intrigued with hooves instead of feathers. In our parts, we are loaded with White-Tailed Deer. In fact, I happen to live in an area known for the large size of their bucks. Over the last several years Blue Tongue, Chronic Wasting and my personal opinion a tag number that is too high for the area as a result has dropped our numbers significantly. So far this season I have only seen one young buck in a full out sprint across a bean field before turning 90 degrees and crossing directly in front of my truck. If there is one lesson learned from years of country living it’s to expect these creatures will go out of their way to put themselves in danger. I had slowed to a crawl after spotting it so this one had safe passage to the corn field it decided would be more fun to trample. For the record, one of those beasts destroyed the first car I bought out of college.


Hit the jump to check out some more shots of our friends from the West.

Continue reading Gonna Need Some Huge Q-Tips

Willet Yoga

Our heartfelt prayers for those impacted by the recent Laura hurricane landfall. We have spent many vacations over the years enjoying the beautiful Texas Gulf Coast. We’ve witnessed firsthand the devastation to Rockport and the surrounding areas thanks to another hurricane that ripped through the area. Will never forget seeing an entire remains of a city literally piled up for miles in the center median of the main highway. I am not sure how much damage Laura inflicted yet, but I did hear Anahuc NWR was hit – one of our favorite places to bird.

In tribute to our Gulf friends I bring you..

Willet found at Galveston State Park, TX in January 2017

This series of shots was taken at Galveston Island State Park and nearby Bolivar Peninsula from our trip down there in January 2017. The Willet is not a new bird to the list and was actually featured back in Nov 2019 (link here). Fortunately for us, these rather regal looking birds are pretty common in the States. With the exception of the Eastern mainland and the upper west corner, these long legged shorebirds can be found at some port during the season either in their northern breading grounds or as they pass through to the coast for the winter months.

Willet found at Galveston State Park, TX in January 2017

Hit the jump to read a bit more about our Yoga practicing Willet.

Continue reading Willet Yoga

Baby Crap Factories

And we are back once again. Figured I’d make the best of it as I sit her nursing a pretty banged up left leg. Not entirely sure what is going on, either my karma got screwed up somehow, just a series of unfortunate events, something is wrong with my running cadence or I’m going blind. Any of those are in play at the moment pending further study. A week ago I took a “snowboard” fall on the trail. For those that haven’t had the pleasure of learning how to snowboard, front edge falls are both instantaneous and brutal. Clipped my foot on a root that was hiding in the weeds alongside the trail. You learn quickly that you get your ass off the ground and keep running before your body has a chance to have second thoughts. 6 miles further and a night of rest resulted in a softball size bruise on my shin. Flash forward to this morning at the farthest extent of a 13 mile trail run where my left foot clipped a rock strategically positioned to maximize pain. That left blood on the trail and a rather intriguing 6 miles back to the car. 2 minutes before that I was in fluffy trail dust, but nooooo, can’t go down there, I have to pick the section covered in sharp rocks. Now sitting here speculating how long the gashes will take to heal and what new colors of the rainbow will be added to my already banged up leg. Bright side, my ribs seem to have survived the impacts, so we’ll be back on the trails before the week is up.

While I mend, let’s feature some Goose play.

Canada Goose found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in April 2017

I saw these two while doing a little birding at Chain O’ Lakes back in April 2017. Guessing there was not a lot of targets in the area as I tend to take a few shots of these Geese and continue on. There is no shortage of Canada Geese in the area. Just did a quick check of their region and if the range maps are correct, these distinctive Geese or abundant in North America as a whole. They do come up short in the Central America region, very odd gap in eastern California and what looks like just east of the Rockies in Canada. Probably got wind of the mass exodus out of California, but unaware of the no-go zone in Canada.

Canada Goose found at Chain O' Lakes State Park, Spring Grove IL in April 2017

Hit the jump to see what these two were up to.

Continue reading Baby Crap Factories

Electric Bananas

Greetings everyone! Apologies, as it has been a bit since we last met. There are a number of reasons for that with the primary one being we are dangerously close to Halloween which translates to a very busy Bri. The joke around here is we take a day off to actually celebrate Halloween and show off the latest additions and then we are back in the lab designing, building and wiring the new props for next year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. My 3D printer has been going nonstop and I’m currently up to my eyeballs in wire, servos, Arduinos and a bevy of linkages that would make any mechanical engineer envious. That doesn’t mean I get to forget about my commitment to my readers so how about a little Yellow for today.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Quite the “electrical banana” of you will pardon a reference to maybe one of the worst songs every written or produced. Not exactly the best reference as Donovan was apparently referring to the ladies where these first few shots are of the male Yellow Warbler. What do you say we all go in on a petition to rename this brightly colored species the Banana Warbler – upside is it will bypass all the current uproar over birds named after southern references.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Hit the jump to see a few more shots our brightly colored Warbler.

Continue reading Electric Bananas

The Spider Punisher

Happy anniversary to my wife. Astute Intrigued blog readers should immediately cry foul as I already posted on our wedding anniversary a few weeks back. Well, I didn’t specify in my opening exactly what the anniversary was – in truth it is her one year anniversary of her heart valve replacement surgery at Mayo. An extremely stressful time for me and I can only imagine what she must have been going through on her end. All is well now, her cuts have healed, she’s made it through her cardio rehab, now close to completely recovered from the unexpected paralysis and once again able to do her favorite activities. Congratulations to Linda and our bottomless thanks to the doctors and employees at Mayo. I definitely do not have a good topic to go with such an anniversary, but I do have a …

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

… yep, a Spider! One of those creatures that are rarely featured here on the blog. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First being I don’t spend a lot of time out in the field with small glass. When I go, I go big as most of my subjects prefer to stay as far away from me as possible. The small creatures are better left for the light glass (macros and maybe some low wides). We do have a nice macro glass, but that encroaches on Linda’s domain. Besides, why not get a workout while enjoying one of your favorite past times. The second reason is, although I live in the middle of a forest, it really do have that much variety in Spider species. I can give you all the Wolf Spiders you can take, small ones, medium ones, large ones and “holy crap that’s a monster!” size. We do have the Recluse but I would rather just leave those alone and then a smattering of other far less exciting web spinners that will make the ground look like hundreds of tiny lights when you shine a light on a summer’s night.

Black and Yellow Garden Spider found on lot in Brimfield IL, September 2016

Hit the jump to read a bit more about the Punisher!

Continue reading The Spider Punisher

I Got a Wedgie

So, how many readers out there thought this was going to be the month!?!  .. as in the month after years and years of successfully hitting my self-imposed 6 posts a month quota… was it finally going to come to an end.  Fear not, I shall not let me loyal readers down.  I am tremendously relieved that July is a long month as I needed just about every second to get this taken care of.  In case you are counting the Wildlife posts and coming up a bit short, a lot of my free time was spent detailing some rather elaborate props that were added to the Haunted Trail of Tears last year on the mothership blog.  If you like a good Halloween scare, feel free to check those out (links here: Westworld 2.0 Posey Line and Ned).  For the last post of the month (with little time to spare), thought I would stick with my “white” theme for July.

White Ibis found at Anahuac NWR in December 2017

Some would say I should have led with this species of the Ibis for the anniversary post.  As mentioned previously, this would not have earned me a precious +1 like the White-Faced delivered.  Admittedly, the White Ibis is a bit more charming and more fitting to the whole white wedding extravaganza.  The good news is unlike the Glossy Ibis and the White-Faced Ibis, there is no difficulty in identifying this one .. ‘cuz it’s white ha.

White Ibis found at Galveston State Park in December 2017

Hit the jump if you want to see a wedgie… sure you do!

Continue reading I Got a Wedgie

At Least There’s White in the Name

29 years ago today, I officially gave up my single and carefree status and joined the woman I fell in love with at the alter (rumors that she was kicking and screaming the entire way are assuredly false). Never looked back and still the best decision I’ve ever made. Although giving up my steady diet of microwave macaroni and cheese dinners was a struggle, but I’m sure for the best ha. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything in the photo queue that worked well with the anniversary theme. I guess in honor of the white roses I gave Linda that day we’ll go with this.

White-Face Ibis found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Havana IL in May 2018

A bit of a stretch, but in case you are not familiar with our bronzed beauty above, it is a White-Faced Ibis. Probably should have gone with the more fitting White Ibis – of course, that bird I already have checked off my list where the White-Faced Ibis is officially a new bird to the blog. This particular specimen comes courtesy of a trip to down to Havana, IL back in May 2018. The reported sighting of this particular bird was the reason for the trip down to Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge (located just outside Havana).

White-Face Ibis found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Havana IL in May 2018

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

Continue reading At Least There’s White in the Name

Hunting WBFs

Okay, apparently I needed to be taught a lesson for complaining too much about Internet connectivity. Soon after whining about my provider issues in the last post we were greeted with a nightmare storm. 70 mph wind gusts coupled with solid sheets of rain and if that wasn’t oodles of fun enough – throw in some hail. It eventually got to a point where we couldn’t see the road on our way home and had to pull off to allow it to settle. Finally get home, sit down at the computer to see how long the storm is going to last and bam – power goes out. I’m cursed. Luckily we had invested in a whole house genset soon after building our house in the country – take that karma gods ha. Anyway, all good now, power back and Internet connectivity .. well, better. Let’s celebrate with a new post!

Snowy Owl found in McLean County, IL December 2019

Pretty impressive eh? What, you don’t appreciate shots of plastic bags in a corn field!?!?! The embarrassing thing is I have hundreds of pictures of random bags taken during the winter months. I am guessing this may seem odd to you, however, I would bet that most Midwestern birders also have their share of photos of WBF’s or “White Bags in a Field” – garbage bags, chip bags, Walmart bags – the list goes on – typically at a distance in picked or plowed farmland between December and say early March.

Hit the jump if you want to see the reason for the bag shots – no, I am not losing my mind!

Continue reading Hunting WBFs