A View to a Kill

So last post was a bit on the dark side.  Not sure what talk of a dirty deed done dirt cheap gets you on the parental controls scale for the web, but we here at LifeIntrigued have little regard for censorship. Be damned Mr. Rogers, bring on the dancing horses.  Actually I better be careful or they might not let me in the collegiate campus safe zone Oh No Mr. Bill.  (Note, I was trying to get Mr. Salty and Mr. Hand worked into the same paragraph but I got nuthun”.

Hell, let’s focus on another Killer!

JJ

What you see here is a stone cold devil spawn of a bird.  Murderer of many, savior to none.  Just look at those eyes, burning death, piercing stare, a witness to the bloody pools of ruin left in the wake of destruction and pillage that is sure to accompany any encounter.

JJ

“You talking about me? You talking about ME… then who the hell else are you talking”.  Lighten up Francis (or Bickle).  To be honest, it is quite possible this particular bird just got roped with a bad name.  It could be a sweet sweet bird that opens doors for little old ladies and helps the blind to see.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Killdeer.

Continue reading A View to a Kill

Project Chekov: Kingbird and Killdeer

Today’s featured bird was a bit of a surprise to me.  Linda and I were up in Baraboo, Wisconsin checking out the International Crane Institute and decided to tear ourselves away from the Cranes and take a little walk out on their trails.  Birders will never pass up the opportunity to check out the locals.  We quickly came to a marshy field with an abundance of cattails.  There were a few Red-Winged Blackbirds meandering about on the edges of the treeline, but not a whole lot of activity in the field itself.  At the time I thought this was a little strange thinking this would be a great spot to hang out if I had wings.  About that time I noticed what looked like a dark spot in the middle of the marsh.  Time to bring out The Beast.

Sure enough, it was a bird!  Without a lot of other options I decided to make the best of the situation.  This meant hand-holding an 8 pound glass on a bird that didn’t even fill up one focus point.  The fact that you can actually tell it was a bird is a miracle in itself.   I had to bring the subject in a little closer in the digital darkroom.

While processing the pictures it began to dawn on me this little excursion into the field may have yielded a new check on the ol’ birding list.  To the reference books!  Well, after going through a number of different options I landed on an Eastern Kingbird which .. wait for it… is indeed a new bird – yeah! (assuming it was classified correctly – feel free to weigh in with comments).

Hit the jump to continue reading about this interesting bird

Continue reading Project Chekov: Kingbird and Killdeer

The Birding Answer to The Shining

And were back and keeping the theme.  Once again were highlighting the wildlife at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge.  Today’s post was a very rare sighting that not many people have had the pleasure of witnessing at this particular wetlands.  Behold our newest entry to Life Intrigued… drum roll …

The Prairie Peacock!

This bird is highly admired for it’s adaptive quality to blend into any marsh area in the prairie wetlands.  It is not uncommon for you to walk right past them dismissing them as a large dandelion or an isolated clump of prairie grass.  I will admit that I do benefit from this unique characteristic.  Whenever someone comes over and comments about the weeds in my yard I smugly inform them that we are blessed with a local muster of prairie peacocks!

You buying this?  If so, consider yourself gullible.  In case you live a sheltered life in the city, the bird of the day is actually a Plover.  These birds are all over the place at Emiquon enjoying the shores of the flooded lowland.  Confirming our field guides, this bird is very noisy and very cautious.  They did not want me very close at all and they made haste whenever the barrel of the Beast turned their way.  Last post I mentioned that there was an upcoming bird sporting the red eye color.  Well, here it is.

This Plover’s eyes are a little brighter with a larger pupil compared to the more blood red of the American Coot.  Like the Coot, they are a perfect for photography because they tend to keep their eye on you (if they are aware of your presence) making for very nice compositions.  Generally I see them walking the shorelines on their stilt like legs.  I think the one below failed to judge an oncoming wake.  It was looking around to make sure none of the other inhabitants saw his mistake.

Hit the jump to learn more about the Emiquon inhabitant

Continue reading The Birding Answer to The Shining

Just About a Wrap on Vacation Birds

As promised previously, I’m cranking through the remaining photo shots from last year’s vacation.  This year’s vacation is closing fast and since we are headed to a state I’ve never been, the assumption is the shutters will be snapping non-stop.  I have already picked up that region’s field guide and perusing it from time to time in order to set my wildlife checklist.  Last year almost all the animals on the list were checked off, with the exception of the Wolf and Mountain Goat.  Time is short today so I better get to this set of birds.  The first image is of a Chickadee that is fairly common both around my house and apparently out there.

I mainly added this picture because I liked how the little one was tucked inside the evergreen branches.  The field guide actually claims this is a Mountain Chickadee, but to be honest it looks exactly like the ones outside my window as I type this blog.  It does say the habitat is coniferous forests.  Based on this photo, they nailed it.  Wow, as I looked out the window to verify with a chickadee on my feeder, I spotted a raccoon holding onto a branch above my feeder and paw over paw pulling up my bird feeder over the squirrel baffle.  Please hold while I deal with this evil spawn.  …….  the problem is solved.  Geesh, it’s 5:44pm in the afternoon, they are definitely getting bolder.

The next set of photos is from a small pond we stopped at because it had a ton of creatures flying out and diving under a bridge next to the road.  They were flying so fast I couldn’t really tell what they were, so I decided to get out and try to figure it out.  The first consideration of bats were thrown out pretty quick due to the coloring, which led to some type of swallow.  Although I clipped this one, it did show the coloring pattern that led to the identification.  Nothing like trying to look through the viewer and try to get one of these bullets in your field of shot.

I was in the process of putting the lens cap back on the camera and closing up shop when all of a sudden one of the swallows fell completely out of the sky and landed on the water.  Finding this odd, I ended up taking the cap back off in order to use the zoom to get a better view of the scene.  There the bird remained motionless just floating on the water for what must have been at least 3 minutes.

The assumption was it was dead for what reason remained a mystery.  Eventually the little guy stirred a bit and began to come to life.  Slowly it started to beat the wings to build up momentum to escape the water.

Likely due to the extra weight from the wet wings, it was quite a struggle before it was able to gain flight again.  This shot is actually one of my favorites as it was taken just a split second after reaching freedom.

I am hoping it is just a shadow, but the shot actually looks like it might have left some blood where it landed.  Based on the amount of birds flying around at break neck speeds, the odds are it collided with another swallow and lost consciousness for a little bit.  It looked fine as it gained altitude, but eventually I lost it in the swirling mass so best wishes.

Please hit the jump to see the rest of the set.

Continue reading Just About a Wrap on Vacation Birds