Greetings Intrigued fans. This was a pretty busy weekend as we headed up north for a little fun in the sun and, of course, a bit of agility dog showing. Linda decided she wanted to ignore the advice of her heart specialist and get a few agility runs in with Raven. He needed one more successful standard run to move to the next competition level. She promised to take it easy in the ring so I relented and agreed to it. Should probably mentioned she did bribe me with the opportunity to get some trail running training in (their trails were not flooded out like our local ones are) and the cherry on top, a day of birding with Ron and his wife. Raven ended up getting it done in the ring going 3 for 4 while Linda managed to keep her heart under control. I managed to get a solid 13 miles in putting me in good position for next week’s 15K considered Illinois’ toughest, but reminded me just how hard the 50K is going to be a few weeks later. Still a bit sore from yesterday’s run, was still able to get a solid day of birding in – think we came in at the high 30’s species mark for the day. Once all that was out of the way, we had to race home to watch the St Louis Blues try to claim the Stanley Cup. One frustrating element was the lack of Internet where we were camping arrrrrgggghhhh! Had plans to get caught up on my running post – nope. While sitting here watching the Blues (now down 2 goals) thought I’d jump on the computer and crank out a quick post.
It’s a bittersweet post today as this officially wraps up all the worthy shots from the Georgia birding trip back in May 2015. With all the bird shots out of the way, it is time to give some time those non-feathered creatures hanging out in the region. Before I begin though, if you are looking for good shots of dragons and butters you should leave this post immediately and head on over to see B’s work over at Butterflies to Dragsters (link here). I’m a bit embarrassed to even put these out after seeing his work behind the macro. So, if you are still here, let’s get to some non-birds shall we.
Hit the jump to see the last shots from the Georgia trip.
Continue reading Featherless
30 years ago today, I woke up early, put the suit on my parents were gracious enough to buy me so I looked decent for my corporate interviews. I wasn’t heading to an interview that day, rather to my new job with wide eyes, a little bit of fear and ambitions to help build a better world. That day I joined 16 other individuals also entering the corporate world many of which have stayed very close friends to this day. One in particular turned out to be extra special as I eventually married one of those classmates – Linda. As you can infer she is also celebrating her 30 year anniversary. Since those first few months in the college grad training program I’ve had the opportunity to see far off places, engage with coworkers all across the world on a daily basis and develop/design/architected systems that play critical roles from engineering, manufacturing, financial and IT. Sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long until you remember back on the on the great people you have met along the way. The best part of it all (besides marrying my best friend of course) is the financial independence it has brought allowing me to pursue my other passions which brings us directly to today’s post!
Yep, the second part of the Georgia birding dump. As before, this is basically a close out set of birds photographed while on our trip back in May 2015. The shot above is likely a female brown-Headed Cowbird. Not the best angle for identification since the tail, back and half of the face is obscured. Going solely on the thick black conical bill and the overall gray-brown coloring. Unfortunately, the Brown-Headeds are on my top 5 most hated birds list due to being brood parasites – let’s move on shall we.
Hit the jump to see a few more closing shots of the Georgia haul.
Continue reading Georgia Bird Burst Pt 2 of 2
It has been a whirlwind for us since we headed out on our trip to Lake Tahoe last Thursday. I think we pretty much hit every weather condition we possibly could have starting out with Midwest heat and nonstop rains on our way to the airport. Landed in Reno for a cold shot to the system as it was down in the high 30’s low 40’s which gave way to low 30’s, rain, sleet and golf ball sized snowflakes for our stay at Lake Tahoe. Reversed those weather patterns on our return back to the broke state of Illinois which put the weather cherry on top with today’s tornado warnings. Fortunately, it was a small bit of tribulation that was quickly replaced with jubilation as the targets of my trip are safely in the tin! Oh, and my nephew, Ron’s son, Matt successfully tied the knot with his wonderful bride Anna. Before I get to the Tahoe prizes, I need to finish up the Georgia Trip back in May 2015 that has been consuming the blog output as of late. Being through with the series shots, thought I would go ahead and just give a blast of other birds that caught my eye while out on the hunt.
Will be light on the commentary for this collection and let you simply enjoy a variety of shots. Think I mentioned this in a previous post, but the Skidaway Island State Park employed this Great Egret as their “Walmart Greeter”. As we pulled up to the visitor center, Wally here came right up to the driver’s door, looked around the inside of the RV, looked me over a couple of times and took a few steps back to let us proceed. Grabbed The Beast and did my best to get a shot – so close I had to pull all the way back and still barely got the head in.
Hit the jump to see a variety of other specimens from the Georgia birding trip!
Continue reading Georgia Bird Blast Pt 1 of 2
What’s the Rise Against song, “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” (an unoriginal play off of Mark Twain). Been a bit since I’ve posted here. In fact, I was blog-shamed by a friend this morning who made note of my lack of production now we are midway through the month. Truth is I’ve been actively posting… just on the flagship blog instead. There were rumblings coming from those followers that the race season had started but no summaries. I was also in danger of falling more than 4 races behind thanks to a difficult half marathon trail run scheduled for this Saturday. Not sure what is harder, navigating the multitude of roots and hills on the run or trying to remember the details of a past race in order to give a proper post. Two of the 4 race posts are officially addressed, so time to stop whining and get back to our feathered friends from Georgia.
Pretty sure the Georgia queue is just about popped at least from a full series perspective. Will probably have a few catch all posts to officially close out the captures during that productive trip to the Georgia swamps back in May 2015. This set happened to catch my eye while in the digital darkroom. There is something about a Northern Mockingbird that can be downright scary. Reminds me of the Seinfeld “Two-Face” episode. One angle they look somewhat innocent, cute if you will. Change the angle of the glass a bit or tilt the head a bit and next thing you know you are running for the darkroom exit.
Hit the jump to be Mocked more.
Continue reading Two-Face
Had a great training run today which translates directly to being completely exhausted. There was finally a break in the rain for a couple of days allowing me to get some quality time in on the trails. They were surprisingly dry considering the amount of water that has poured out of the skies as of late. That didn’t mean there wasn’t any swamps to navigate in the valleys and the one stream crossing required some precise leaps to stray rocks struggling to keep their heads above the onrush, but at least the hills were dry enough to get traction. Clearly need to get a steady barrage of heat conditioning – felt the warmer temps about halfway through the 11 miles. Figured I’d be productive while the legs calm down prior to tackling the mowing (rain on its way back to start the week off).
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this Chatty Cathy of the birding world.
Continue reading Sitting in Georgia, Looking at Carolina
Greetings everyone! I am officially on the road again as the weekend has brought with it the second race of the season. Technically I should refer to as the 3rd and 4th race of the season as this is again another double event like the one two weeks ago on the trails at Allerton State Park. This time I’ve left the trail shoes at home and will be lacing on the road shoes. It all kicks off at 7:30 tonight with an easy 5K followed by a half marathon in the morning. Being that it is on campus of my Alma Mater (University of Illinois) it comes with a bit of nostalgia, however it RAINS EVERY STINKING YEAR for this race. Then to throw on insult it is usually windy – keeping with tradition, the forecast has revealed that it will be ummm raining with wait for it … wait for it … 20-30 mph winds. This race is cursed. I told Linda this may be my last year for this and find a trail run somewhere instead. At least the trees would cut the wind down (running in mud can be a lot of fun if you oink from time to time). Being as it takes 2 hrs to get to the venue, figured I’d get some blogging in.
The anti-birding lobby that has been getting a bit irate lately should be pleased as I can most assuredly tell you the creature before you is NOT a bird. Nope, no siree. Although, I would contend that if were to jump and get those ears moving fast enough it might be able to hover there for a bit. Wait, this just in – the army of lawyers employed by Intrigued has informed me that I must refer to their ability to hover as “speculation only” and should be treated by skepticism by anyone stupid enough to use this site for any type of official reference – can’t wait to see what happens when I start talking about their shells being bulletproof.
Hit the jump to learn a bit more about these intriguing looking beasts.
Continue reading Little Armored Ones
Good day everyone! Get to spend the day at the hospital while Linda gets some medical tests done on her heart. She has a birth defect that she has had to deal with that is now getting to a point that something probably needs to be done to correct it. While I wait for that procedure to complete, thought I would get to the follow up from my previous post. If you recall, I left you hanging regarding a field encounter that left me a bit rattled. That unexpected jolt to the system was a result of the creature you can somewhat see below.
Now, I’ve come in contact with Alligators several times in my past. As probably every kid in the US that is fortunate enough to take vacations as a kid, I had the pleasure of ending up at one of the Florida Gator parks and getting to handle one of their babies. To be honest, they are pretty darn cute when they are a foot or less long. Your own prehistoric plaything. At some point in their development they no longer become cute and transform into something nightmares are made out of. Still fun to photograph at a distance and numerous encounters have already been documented here at Intrigued (link here, here and well here). The first two were definitely a safe distance away, the last one was closer, but I still didn’t feel overly threatened – Linda, on the other hand ended up running for her life to the safety of the RV. That abandonment has come up several times on our outings as a point of contention and failure to perform UB duties – promptly dismissed by Linda of course.
Hit the jump to learn more about my unexpected encounter.
Continue reading That Rock has Eyes
My apologies for the long delay in getting another post out. This month I’m out on the road for a bit as the race season officially kicked off this weekend and I am currently sitting in a large conference arena surrounded by more poodles than I can even begin to count. I go into detail on my race events on my other blog, but as a summary, Friday I had a 5K trail run at night followed by a half marathon trail run the following morning at Allerton Park in Monticello, IL. Not sure if it was all the mud or not, but that half took everything I had and ended up 2 minutes shy of placing in my age group – was just plain beat at this race, no excuses – must train harder. As far as the poodles go, we went straight from the race down to St, Louis for the Poodles National Specialty Agility Show at Purina Farms. Raven is doing his best to hang with some of the best in the nation and so far the need more training theme is resonating there as well. He has a few more runs today and hopefully he can overcome his new found fear of teeter-totters. My legs are drained and I’m faced with some serious downtime between Raven’s agility runs – can’t think of a better time to get the cobwebs cleared off Intrigued.
Since the Georgia trip shots are already processed, let’s stick with the finds at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. As noted in previous posts, we were down there back in May 2015 to get two birds – one being the Wood Stork (link here). and one hasn’t been announced yet. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the tin for plenty of other birds.
Take for example the Cattle Egret. This bird isn’t new to the checklist having been featured back in June of last year (link here). That post was thanks to a trip down the Texas Gulf Coast over the Christmas holidays at the end of 2017 – I also make no excuses for always being behind on my photo queue ha. Technically that was not the first time I had encountered and tinned this particular bird, it was, however, the first set I was able to get processed. When I posted that set on Intrigued, I was fully aware I had found specimens a couple of years back at Harris. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of denial this particular encounter ever happened … more on that later.
Hit the jump for a few more shots of the Cattle Egret and take in my Public Service Announcement for big glass photographers.
Continue reading Them Cattle Egrets be Devious
Finally back in front of the keyboard. Once again, the hectic levels have been peaking around here with deliverables due at the day job, Raven’s running agility this weekend and we are one tiny little week away from the start of race season. Due to the latter, I decided to come back home early from the agility show (show is being held about 1.5 or so away) and get some miles in on the trails before the rain comes back and mucks them up tomorrow. Was hoping to get one final easy long outing in before tapering – well, that was the plan until my GPS decided to try and kill me. Took a new trail in the park which turned out to be a complete nightmare. At some point it decided that figuring out the constant elevation rise and drops was just way toooo much work and simply assumed the trail was flat. Next thing I know it is telling my I’m running 12+ minute miles which is absurd. Thinking I was slacking, started driving harder only to be thoroughly exhausted at what the GPS thought was mile 8.5 AND STILL AT a 12 minute mile pace. The good news in all of this the upcoming half marathon race course can’t be anywhere as difficult as my training runs so I should be good to go (fingers crossed). Meanwhile, I need to give the legs some rest – speaking of legs…
Tonight’s featured bird definitely has some long ones. Add to that an extremely long down-curved bill. Pretty much the iconic shape for an Ibis although Ron might get a kick out of the fact that the Roseate Spoonbill is in the same family – one of his nemesis birds like the Snowy Owl, but word has it he was able to get that checked off earlier in the month (link here). One could also argue that the Whimbrel and the Long-Billed Curlew (link here) would fall into the similar species set, but those are much smaller than the specimens here.
Hit the jump to see “a lot” more pictures of this new bird on my list.
Continue reading Saucy Tongued Glossy
I had plans to get to this earlier this weekend, but it’s been a whirlwind around here. Had to finish tearing out the tile in the bathroom, had a slight catastrophe in the guest room closet that ended up being more work that intended and this morning was my 16 mile training run (6.5 on the road, 6.3 on very muddy trails and then back to the road for 3.2) which included me hitting the ground hard thanks to a missed root hidden in the leaves while running down a hill – ugh. Nothing like making the most out of your weekend. While the body tries to recover, decided to try and get another post out just under the wire. I technically already have my quota in for the month, but wanted to get another Georgia post out to make room for one of my top five favorite birds in April. Without any more delay, here is a quick post featuring another apparent swamp liking bird.
Hit the jump to see a couple more pics of our stoic looking bird!
Continue reading Raggedy Andy