Howdy everyone! Good news, had my annual physical today and based on the results, I can, indeed, confirm I am still alive. It was touch ‘n go there for a while – especially when they had three nurses holding me down while another stuck a railroad spike in my arm to suck out gallons and gallons of my precious life-juice. I have to find out what strength regiment those ladies keep, holy cow, they’d mop up on the Steer wrangling circuit. A lot of stress to go through just to hear those sweet sounding 5 little words “Keep doing what you’re doing”. My doctor is trained well, as long as my numbers remain impeccable, he overlooks the occasional visit for ultra “mishaps”.
While I sip on some orange juice to recover from the earlier bloodletting (before heading out on today’s long training run), thought I would go ahead and get another post out for the month. This will buy me a few days as I verify everything is ready to go for Brad’s upcoming post. Since I introduced you to Guadalupe River State Park in the previous post, figured I would feature another feathered friend captured at that same location.
Hit the jump to read more about our buffy colored friend!
If things go as scheduled in the coming weeks (and that is a big fingers crossed) we should be back on the hunt come April. Last year we received some very sad news at this time requiring us to cancel our plans to catch the bird migration at Dauphin Island, Alabama (link here). To be honest, the loss has yet to transition from the “difficult” stage – every holiday, every noteworthy experience and every milestone that has happened since has been paired with a sour element knowing we wouldn’t be able to share it with her. That trip has now been rescheduled, although something tells me I’ll be thinking less about the Gulf crossers and more about the time spent trying to express the appreciation for all she had done for us. It is what I didn’t get the chance to say that saddens me the most.
With the coming travels, I am trying to stay on top of the posts in between working on the latest batches of images from Texas and now Vegas. I do have a pretty good safety net thanks to a number of really nice features Brad has added to the queue. I’ll definitely be rolling a few of those out this month and then leverage his larger efforts while we are traveling. Found this series of images from last year’s Texas shoot. This beautiful white Duck is what triggered the memories.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I generally refrain from featuring “domestic” waterfowl. That doesn’t mean I do not fill up my digital cards when we encounter them, rather tend to put them to the side assuming our readers would rather read/learn about wilder encounters. Every once in a while, the end products turn out pretty nice and I go ahead and add them to the queue (link here). I think this series fits that select category.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of our Duck in white satin.
First off, Happy New Year everyone! Apologies for the long delay between posts, hopefully Brad was able to keep you entertained while I was away. Been a bit of a whirlwind around Intrigued since Christmas morning. Our plans to leave the day after ripping open our presents was altered by Mr. Freeze who found out we were attempting to escape his clutches. Started hearing about carnage on our path out of the state due to black ice/blowing snow and opted to hold out a day. Safer for sure, but made for some very long drives trying to get back on schedule. On top of that stress, I was still clutching a thread of hope on the Average Year front (not updated, but link here). My counter was stuck on 290 thanks to the storm and canceled Arizona trip coming into December. Picked up two strays in a small pond about an hour away and FINALLY tinned an elusive winter Sparrow. Even managed to add one more in Rochester during Linda’s checkup setting the counter at 294 for Christmas. Drove Linda nuts with all the possible scenarios that could lead to 6 ticks while on our trek south. Heart was tested by my first experience with a totally pissed off Rattler cocked and ready to take me out in Waco (more on that in a future post) – totally worth it as it led to a new bird lifer.
“Look at him go. This boy can really fly! He’s rounding first and really turning it on now, he’s not letting up at all, he’s gonna try for .
Worked my ass off in Austin trying to find something/anything that would put me at the finish line. Thanks to a very helpful birder who took me to within 5 feet of a bird I needed and a “pay $10 gimme” at another park got the excitement up.
“Here’s the pitch-he’s going, and what a jump he’s got, He’s trying for third, here’s the throw, it’s in the dirt-safe at Third! Holy cow, stolen base!”
297, 3 to go. Poured over the eBird sightings trying to find targets…4 possibilities remained – all with recorded sightings the previous days. Up early on New Year’s Eve with a glimmer of hope. Search, search strike one, go to next place, search, search, whiff, on to another place — optimism fading fast as frustration pushes to the forefront. Wait, is that one – YES, 298.
“The suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze Play, it’s gonna be close, holy cow, I think he’s gonna make it!”
Well, I think you probably already know the next line in the song, but night fell and I was..
“Stop[ped] right there!”
Sooooo close. Two less than I wanted. Bittersweet having the finish line in sight, still elated at the same time as I had no ambitions when I started this endeavor I’d be anywhere near a perfect bowling score. By the way, Ron clocked in at 296 with an incredible late surge.
Enough of my challenges, you are really here for this!