Here Comes the King

I am officially an owner of an empty shell of a body.  Tonight’s run was quite the struggle with the gas running out at the 2 mile mark.  Forced my way to a total of 8 miles but there were some dark side of the moon moments that made me think back to the last section of my Marathon.  Pretty much overdid it digging the trench yesterday.  Not good seeing as how I have a training run in the Quad Cities this Thursday evening prepping for the Bix 7 later in the month.  Tomorrow just might be a take it easy day (for the record, I HATE those days).  I promised another update today so broken body and all (ha), I’m here to serve.  Today I bring you a collection of shots of the Eastern Kingbird.

Eastern Kingbird shot on trip to Yellowstone Park - 5/2013

These first two were taken at Lake Andes in South Dakota.  We were passing through on our way to Yellowstone National Park back in May of 2013. The Eastern Kingbird happens to be one of those species that is easy to identify in the field… even if you are not a seasoned birder.  They have a fairly slim profile with a brilliant white underbelly up through the neck.  This contrast with the black overcoat (some say it wears a business suite) is easily recognizable from afar – especially when spotted in their preferred marshy habitat.  Similar to the Phoebes and Flycatchers, these birds put a serious hurt on the insect population wherever they roam.  Watch them for a bit and you will see them dart out from their perch, do some amazing acrobatic moves and return to their starting point with the fruits of their labor clinched tightly in their beaks (like in the shot above).

Eastern Kingbird shot on trip to Yellowstone Park - 5/2013

Oh, I should probably point out there is another easy way to identify them in the field.  If you check the shot above you will notice their tail feathers look like they were dipped in white paint.  This is usually my first identifying mark depending on the viewing angle.

Hit the jump to see a few more shot so the King.

Continue reading Here Comes the King

Project Chekov: Kingbird and Killdeer

Today’s featured bird was a bit of a surprise to me.  Linda and I were up in Baraboo, Wisconsin checking out the International Crane Institute and decided to tear ourselves away from the Cranes and take a little walk out on their trails.  Birders will never pass up the opportunity to check out the locals.  We quickly came to a marshy field with an abundance of cattails.  There were a few Red-Winged Blackbirds meandering about on the edges of the treeline, but not a whole lot of activity in the field itself.  At the time I thought this was a little strange thinking this would be a great spot to hang out if I had wings.  About that time I noticed what looked like a dark spot in the middle of the marsh.  Time to bring out The Beast.

Sure enough, it was a bird!  Without a lot of other options I decided to make the best of the situation.  This meant hand-holding an 8 pound glass on a bird that didn’t even fill up one focus point.  The fact that you can actually tell it was a bird is a miracle in itself.   I had to bring the subject in a little closer in the digital darkroom.

While processing the pictures it began to dawn on me this little excursion into the field may have yielded a new check on the ol’ birding list.  To the reference books!  Well, after going through a number of different options I landed on an Eastern Kingbird which .. wait for it… is indeed a new bird – yeah! (assuming it was classified correctly – feel free to weigh in with comments).

Hit the jump to continue reading about this interesting bird

Continue reading Project Chekov: Kingbird and Killdeer