Hello everyone! Trying to get ahead of the posting curve as it looks like we might be heading back out for an extended period of time in the proverbial field. If plans work out it will be later this month – cautiously trying to not jinx us as we had some very difficult times trying to get to places towards the end of last year. Unexpected family situations and a bout with Covid threw those plans right into the dumpster. More on that as we electric slide closer to those dates. In the meantime I have some topics in my queue and there are several in Brad’s queue I want to get to before then. He will be traveling as well, so doing my best to get everything timed out correctly. To keep things rolling, here’s a series I took back in January 2022 (essentially yesterday for those of us here at Intrigued ha).
As you can hopefully make out from this distant shot, today’s feature has fur instead of feathers. Hit the jump to learn more about this rather big eared creature that showed up while I was hunting for Clapper Rails.
Greetings everyone from the warm state of Arizona…wait, why am I wearing winter clothes and looking out at a cold, overcast, dreary day – CRAP, I’m still in the broke state of Illinois. Unfortunately, there is an explanation for this change of plans. We are supposed to be in Mesa, Arizona this week giving our bones a preview of what’s coming in January and more importantly – pushing my Average Year (link here) over the absolutely shocking 300 threshold. Linda and I decided to get some of our Christmas shopping out of the way on Black Friday – picked up a few presents, a few bottles of wine and apparently a case of Covid. A complete non-event for me, a night of joint/bone aches and a sharp headache passed off originally as just another night after a long run doubled with time in the gym. Linda took it harder with more of an extended flu-like experience. She’s coming out of it now, thankfully, but we had to make a decision to cancel our trip before we lost the flex option. Going to take some magic for me to get to 300 birds for the year – maybe with the help of a Wizard!
There are probably at least 3 or 4 winter birds that should be relatively easy to get as the temps continue to drop – Snowy Owls being one of them, which had its first sighting yesterday a few hours away. That should put me in the 290s, waaaaay above my projection at the begining of the year. The dark horse is the fact we will have a week of birding opportunities in Texas before the new year hits – fingers crossed. In light of the “magic” that needs to occur, thought this would be a perfect time to bring out another addition to my life list.
Greetings my friends! Been a bit of time since my last post – well at least on the Wildlife side of Intrigued as I did take a cue from CJ and put a Hmmm post out (link here). I thought things would lighten up at the turn of the decade, but I find myself surprisingly busy. Some of that was due to a recent loss in the family as my Aunt is now once again united with my father. I did get an opportunity to catch up with the extended family and even had a chance to spend some quality birding time with Ron. He stayed overnight at my place on the trip back from the funeral allowing us to head down to Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge the next day. This netted Ron a +1 and a new birding experience – both of which I’ll let him feature on his blog (nudge, nudge). Maybe I’ll get around to those captures in say .. oh, I don’t know… let’s go crazy fast and say 2-3 years ha!
In the meantime, let’s travel back in time and see what’s moving on the Texas beaches.
Well, lookie there Mr. Orange Legs strutting its stuff. This particular series comes to you from our January 2017 trip down to Galveston Island. The Ruddy Turnstone featured here was busy running up and down the shoreline trying to convert all that migration fat into a beach bod that drives the chicks wild. For those new to these creatures, they fatten up prior to heading out on their impressively long migration. They spend their breeding months in the arctic tundra and then gorge themselves before making the massive trek to the North and Central American coastlines.
Hit the jump to learn more about this yo-yo diet bird.
Deep inhale, deep exhale. There is something to be said about perseverance. One of those words that pack a lot of meaning into a mere 4 syllables. Half physical, half mental, a quarter of support from family and friends with heaping spoonfuls of luck that together give you a formula for success when whatever barrier before you takes well beyond 100% to make it through (don’t worry, I stayed awake in my math classes ha). I find runners tend to embrace this word, wrap themselves in its comfort like a warm blanket straight out of the dryer. Eyes forward, focused on the finish line.
My mantra, “one foot in front of the other”. No more, no less. Ignore the failure demons in your head and focus on the immediate that is within your control. Sure, there will be pain, sure there will be some self-doubt, but as long as that back foot makes it even the slightest amount of distance ahead of the front foot you will eventually get there… and when you get there, you can raise your wings, turn to your doubters and gloat like a proud Pelican.
Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of our friends from the southern coastline!
Greetings everyone. Seems like it has been months since I’ve been able to find time to pound out a post. It has really been only about a week and half but my days have become longer than usual now that Linda is officially home and in recovery mode. Although she is frustrated by the limited amount stuff she is able to do (both physically and under strict limiting from doctor’s orders), she is apparently able to do a lot more than expected based on comments from the follow up appointments. Her cardiac rehab specialist couldn’t believe she was so soon out of surgery and able to walk into her office. No surprises here, that’s my wife, driven to get back in the dog agility ring. Of course, this has forced me to learn new skills like something called “laundry” which translates to shove as many clothes as you can in the hole of the large metal box, pour the sticky stuff from the big white jug into a slide at the top and hit the brightly colored button. Then there’s grocery shopping which as far as I can tell is to simply walk up and down every aisle and grab 5 of everything that looks yummy and then get sent back with an explicit list of things to get (while picking up even more yummy stuff). Not sure about this cooking concept either – there are all these appliances and utensils scattered about the kitchen which probably all have some purpose, but not sure what, as the contents of the containers I bring from the various places on the way home all seem ready to eat just as they are. Oh wait, I have kind of fallen in love with the metal box under the counter they refer to as the dishwasher!
Enough about my domestication as I know you are really here for the birds!
Hit the jump to read a bit more about this frustrating duck!
Definitely sticking with the game plan for this month, staying ahead of the game and getting the posts out early. It definitely helps when you already have the images worked up in the digital darkroom. To be honest, short of getting the birds in the tin, the major effort in this whole blogging thingy is working up the images to make it worth my reader’s visit time. Of course, this doesn’t always happen, case in point the horrific Cave Swallow pictures I forced upon you a few posts back. I try my best so you can at least tell it is a bird – not to mention Ron is starting to push me with the quality stuff he is putting up over on his blog (link here). You probably didn’t know this, but I credit him for getting me into photography while I was in high school and the reason I can navigate around a camera (although I did introduce him to back-button focus). Today’s featured bird is a bit of an atonement for a slight I made in a recent post.
Within the Cinnamon Teal post (link here), I unintentionally dismissed one of the most regal birds there is (at least in North America). It wasn’t the species that dimmed my excitement, just that I was revved up to add a new +1 to the list. I am lucky enough to have a large number of Snowy Egret shots from just about everywhere we’ve traveled along with tins full from Emiquon and other local water hotspots. When I saw this set of Snowies in the post queue, I immediately decided this was the perfect time to bring them out.
Hit the jump to see some more picture of this immaculate bird.
Welcome to the end of an extremely productive month. Think I cranked out like 15 posts in my big push to get some of the Texas Gulf Coast birding collection out. Pretty much got through most of the topics I wanted to, but now looking at a similar goal for February – unfortunately, I still need to process those pictures before those will be ready. In the meantime, thought I would go with a post that was alluded to in my Pelican vs Cormorant post (link here).
For my 16th post of the month going with a bit a dramatic, if not alarming experience also witnessed at Seawolf Park in Galveston, TX back in January 2017.
If you are not familiar with this bird, it is a member of the Tern family. These birds are pretty common in the area and spend their days patrolling the waterways for fish and shrimp that unsuspectingly venture to close to the surface. These Terns are truly a joy to watch as they spot their prey and hit the water with shocking force. Will say, they are easier to watch than actually get a decent picture of with big glass. Hand holding the Beast was putting my skills to the test with these aerial acrobats. Having just witnessed the comical feather-fu minutes earlier, my spirits were up and a giant smile painted my face – was thinking how fun that post was going to be, while getting a few shots in the tin of the Tern’s hunting.
Sadly, my heart took a turn for the worse. My smile was turned to pure shock and utter disbelief as a new scenario unfolded before me … one I will never forget.
Hit the jump to learn what changed my happiness so quickly.
Feels like I’ve been away from the blog for weeks! Alas, it has only been but a day or two. I’ve been busy with getting some work done around the house and trying to get ahead of the backlog that is starting to pile up at my day job. On the positive front I was able to get a loop in at my favorite hill training course (Springdale Cemetery). It has been awhile since the weather cooperated and finally got a chance to run with Ryan to see how our legs fared over the holiday break. Pretty happy where I’m at, but need to start ramping up the mileage to be ready for the race season that starts in April. If things keep going as planned, I should have no problem being ready for back to back 5K and half. What I am little concerned about is finishing my current race against none other than Father Time. Will be coming down the wire to get all my Texas birding posts outs.
Let’s not waste any more time getting to that task. Welcome to the blog, the newest bird in my list.
That intriguing bird you see is called a Black Skimmer. I guarantee you will not forget your first encounter with this relative of Gulls and Terns. One reason for this is you likely will not see just one. Possibly 2
Hit the jump to see and read more about the Skimmers!