I Shake My Little Tush on the Pond Catwalk

Good news as I am for once ahead of the game when it comes to my self-imposed post quota. February used to put a lot of stress on me thanks to the missing days – apparently retirement is already showing benefits. Still trying to iron out the approach details, but thinking about burning both ends of my photo queue at the same time – for the techies out there, popping traditional FIFO and then swapping the head pointer and popping LIFO. For the record that was a test to see if I missed work.. relieved that was an internal “nope”. Jargon tabled I need to continue featuring old birding outings and would like to start featuring the newer finds – as B. in the UK hilariously put it, nice to read about a bird that might actually still be alive. Last post I featured a find from our January 2020 Texas Gulf trip. We saw this little one just before coming up on that Y-CN-H.

Least Grebe found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2020

There is a birding blog challenge that B. alerted me to that I am desperately working to get caught up on so I can participate on a regular basis. The most recent one I missed covered birds you love. I would need to think about that a bit as there are really multiple ways to view that. Photographing Whooping Cranes (link here) in the wild brings the biggest smile by far knowing how successful conservation efforts were to bring them back from the brink (at least some distance). Then there are the shoots where cuteness takes over and warms the heart. Black-Necked Stilts (link here and here) take the prize in that category.

Least Grebe found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Weslaco TX in January 2020

Hit the jump to read more about the bird too sexy for this post.

Continue reading I Shake My Little Tush on the Pond Catwalk

266 Plus 1 as of 2 of 2021

Things couldn’t be going better early in the retirement cycle. Getting a lot of projects completed around the house and putting a serious dent in the honey-do list. One of those tasks was to finally get to the 2020 blog summary (see last post). That has been a dark cloud hanging over me as I continually procrastinated due to the amount of effort it takes to gather up the numbers. The problem is that triggers a project taking even more labor- the refresh of the bird list count. Mentioned in the summary that it was in progress – relieved to say that is now complete! I was going to chronicle that entire 48 step process, but decided that added no value to you and scrapped it (at least it is documented for my future refreshes). Drum roll please…. the current official bird count number is …more drum roll please .. 266 (well, it was.. more on this later). Not a number that is going to impress any serious birder for sure, however, I am rather proud of it as a count requires an identifiable photograph and an official feature here on the blog. I’ve decided to push to make it into the 300 club by the end of the year and to keep me motivated put it front in center on the left pane – go ahead and look, it should be right there to the left of your screen. I wouldn’t consider this a stretch goal as there are a number of new birds already in the queue just waiting their turn to be processed and featured. Good news is this means you will also be getting more recent accounts as I try to stay on top of the +1s (assuming everyone just muttered “about damn time” under their breath hehehe).

So that explains most of the cryptic title except the “Plus 1” part and the past tense in reference to the number above. Here is the reason for that.

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron found at Estero Llano Grande State Park on our trip to Texas Gulf Coast in 2020

Hit the jump to see/read more on the newest entry to the bird list.

Continue reading 266 Plus 1 as of 2 of 2021

The Elusive Knautta Bird

So, how does the old Samuel Clemens quip go – “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”.  Although, I will admit, I had always remembered it as “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated”.  I prefer my version, apparently it was just a derivation.  Hell, even the original quote seems mistaken as Mr. Twain scribed it as “the report of my death was an exaggeration”.   Apparently watching the Jeopardy GOAT competition is starting to impact my post research ha!  Way off base here, yet the theme still applies – I’m still breathing, yet admittedly woefully behind on my posting.  I distinctly get the feeling from the look on today’s featured feathered friend that I have been judged and found lacking.

Likely a Tropical Kingbird found at Estero Llano Grande State Park January 2018

Truth is I decided to start the New Year on a mission we’ll simply call “Ron owes me bigly”.  An endeavor that benefited him almost as equally as it negatively impacted me.  Say it with me everyone, B I G L Y!  Unfortunately, the details of said undertaking will remain a secret for sometime longer in order to give Ron time to reveal the fruits of our labor.  It was the theme of a secret that led to the decision to go with Mr. Yellowbelly for my post.

Likely a Tropical Kingbird found at Estero Llano Grande State Park January 2018

Hit the jump to read more about this mysterious bird!

Continue reading The Elusive Knautta Bird

Lost in the Dust

Brace yourself, this is going to be an ugly ride. There are times when I wished I had studied up a bit more before going to a particular birding spot. Typically I’ll jump on the web and try to find a bird list for a destination, but the focus is usually on the entries with the capital ‘C’ next to them. Those represent the species that are common to the area and therefore the list I am more than likely to see depending on what season our trip falls in. A quick check of those against my birding list results in a series of circled birds that are considered my target birds and therefore the ones that require Linda to find creative ways to entertain herself until they are officially in the tin

Common Ground Dove found at Estero Llano Grande State Park, Texas, January 2018

Hit the jump to read a bit more about how this Dove made it into the tin.

Continue reading Lost in the Dust

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