Honorary Bird of Spartan Races

It has been a busy weekend so far, but elated to say we have pretty much finished putting all the decorations away from the 2020 Haunted Halloween Trail of Tears event. The excitement and anticipation when getting all the items ready for the trail tends to mask how much work is involved. Now that we had a successful execution, it feels more like swimming in concrete to get all the batteries taken out, props disassembled and serious mental acrobats getting everything efficiently stored away for next year. Big thanks to Linda who took on battery removal this year – huge help. Now just need to work on a few props that failed in the field and then to start building next year’s epic scary features. In meantime, how about we get another post out.

Eastern Meadowlark found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2018

Today’s feature is a nice compilation of shoreline pebbles and spring foliage. Somewhat calming wouldn’t you say? A meadow setting that puts the heart at ease… wait, wait, wait… not to interrupt such happy thoughts, but this is a blog primarily focused on wild”life” – I doubt you came here to see rocks and grass. Nope, you are likely looking for Spiders or Snakes or Elk or Deer or BIRDS! Truth be told, this is Bird post… let’s try this again…

Eastern Meadowlark found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2018

Hit the link to read a bit more about our hidden bird.

Continue reading Honorary Bird of Spartan Races

Yellow on the Exit

This has been one busy month so far, but guessing you already figured that out being that this is the 14th and the first post of the month.  Bad Bri, veeryyy bad man.  The good news is a lot of the busy time has been spent out in the woods looking for new birds to add to my list.  That included a nice weekend with my brother checking out the local spots! I managed to pull a plus one on that outing but he was able to go a full six – more on that in a future post.  Short on time tonight, I better get to today’s feature … wait for it .. wait for it .. yep, a bird!  I really need to get caught up on my bird list thanks to Ron cranking out new birds every weekend.  The only way they get checked on my list is if they show up here first.  Translated … prepare yourself for a barrage of feather posts starting with this plus one.

For the readers out there with sharp memories, this bird does look like another one featured over a year ago (link here).  That was a Western Meadowlark shot outside the Grand Tetons. This particular bird is of the Eastern variety.  Ironically, this shot came AFTER a day of birding (with Ron) at Allerton Park in Monticello IL.  A little foreshadowing – I’m just now getting to the fruits of that outing (soooo behind).  On our way out, Linda noticed my brother pointing to something on the side of the road.  It didn’t take long to spot this gorgeous yellow bird hanging out among some bare branches.  Guess I owe Ron a big thanks for spotting this one for me.  Something in the back of my head also says we might have been lost at the time so showing up there was luck in itself.

Eastern Meadowlark outside Allerton Park in Monticello, IL

Let’s see what our favorite birding website, Cornell, has to say about Mr. Yellow.  For the Trivia Crack addicts out there it may be interesting to know that the Eastern Meadowlark is not a member of the Lark family.  Nice name there eh?  They are kin to the Blackbird family.  Maybe the Yellow Blackbird name was causing too much confusion.  Males are typically so cool they keep two mates (heard they were advocating to the Supreme Court for marriage equality).  The Western and Eastern varieties don’t buy into that whole “Beat It” video concept preferring to fight it out for territory claim – the bird version of East Coast vs West Coast although both in a neutral yellow color!  They are primarily insect eaters which means they are fine by me.  They need to take a vacation up to Goose Lake on the Hebron Trail – they would east like kings!

Not a whole lot more that jumps off the fact sheet.  They have a Least Concern Conservation Status (yeah) and based on the shot above, they have no problem hanging out with female Red-Winged Blackbirds.  That right there shows you the degree to which other birds respect that dagger of a bill.  Red-Winged Blackbirds pretty much harass and attack every other bird (and my brother) that comes within 30 feet of them – here they were just sitting there behaving themselves.  Truth be told I originally thought they were female Meadowlarks but they didn’t match the reference shots.  Note, Ron and I actually tracked down a few more of these on our trip up to Starved Rock/Matthiessen State Park (lord, I am soooo behind).  Oh well, at least I can take satisfaction in another plus one for the list.

That’s all for tonight folks – stay cool!