March has turned out to be a very good month and we still have several days left! Thanks to our quick trip to Vegas, my Average Year status is now at 239 (link here) – that includes two local finds yesterday thanks to standing out in a large tree lined meadow waiting for the distinct peent of horny male American Woodcocks (link here – more sad memories). Call me 12, but I still laugh every single time I say or type out that name hehehe. The other +1 was more of a twist as it “found” me. I was just standing there noting it was getting surprisingly chilly as the sun was preparing for bed, when I noticed a fast moving bird heading across the meadow directly at me. Ever witness people just standing there taking it all in as a car or other potentially dangerous object speeds in their direction? This bird just kept coming, I just kept standing there, bird continues to close the gap, I continue to gawk, bird appears to be on a mission, I continue to ponder the history of flight, bird undeterred, I wonder if Ron is standing next to me (birds hate him), bird proceeds to whiz past my right ear and land on a nearby branch, I nearly crap my pants. What the hell was THAT! I turned to give it a stern talking to when I noticed it was a Fox Sparrow. Took a few snaps to get the +1 for the year and politely informed it a Top Gun flyby wasn’t necessary, a friendly wave would have been sufficient. I don’t speak bird, but I think it called me a ground hugging troglodyte and pointed to its wings – sigh.
That puts me a mere 61 birds away from the 300 goal for the year. Hoping to take a huge chunk out of that next week as we are heading down to Dauphin Island (and along the Panhandle) for some migration action. During that time we’ll be bringing you several posts from Brad including an adventure to a place Intrigued has never been before. Actually, Brad also influenced today’s featured post.
Welcome to November everyone! Every day I wake up, do a mental check of all the things on the to-do list and then look over at the calendar for a cold shot of reality – where in the hell has this year gone!?! Already checked that I didn’t get shorted calendar pages – yep, 12 pages, each full of squares representing a timespan of life you will never get back. . Minute after minute of lost opportunity (mostly to that ultimate waste of productivity – sleep). It doesn’t help that we already had snow on the ground and my list is full of outside work earmarked to get done BEFORE the white stuff invades. Add to that a back that is still mending and you have a recipe for the blahs. Seems like a perfect time to feature the color black.
How’s that for some bleak? The black robed ministry of the dead. In my parts, we are subject to their more flashy kin, the Turkey Vulture (link here). Essentially the same profile – long black bodied, purpose designed bill and featherless head, however, the Turkey was given a decorative red head (not to be too harsh, but seems like lipstick on a pig if you ask me). The Black Vulture is .. wait for it … wait for it… all black. Kudos to the individual responsible for naming this creature for choosing a moniker you can associate in the field with very little effort.
Caution – some scenes after the jump will not be appetizing.
Thought I would pull out a post today that represents how my run went Saturday night. I’ll post in detail on the Midnight Half Marathon race I mentioned in the previous post. Let’s just say for a tease that it was bitter sweet. There was a high moment and a whole lot of BAAAAD that happened that night to the point that Linda brought out full scorn and I didn’t even switch to the full marathon (and thank god I didn’t!). It was “black” out for the second loop and that is the loop I felt like “death” was calling me from the graves as I passed. This all pales in comparison to the trip home but more on that later when I can stomach the recollection.
Based on that, I cannot think of a better post topic.
That my friends is what I believe to be a Black Vulture! More importantly, that would be a Black Vulture that gives me a plus one on the birding list. I actually had to spend some time looking at this particular bird to really determine if it was a Black Vulture or rather just an immature Turkey. Based on the reference books, the Turkey Vulture is like everywhere in the US more Northern in the summer and more Southern in the winter. In fact, I’d be tempted to bet you no matter where you happen to be in the US, you will likely see one tomorrow soaring overhead. Note, if there are bunch of them circling over just your head… you might consider checking your pulse or do and immediate safety check.
Hit the jump to read a bit more about the Black Turkey.