Red Faced in Vegas

Just got done making another Halloween run.  Was able to pick up some very nice posable skeletons at Target reasonably priced.  I will have to watch those and pick up a few more when then go on sale after the season is over … unless they sell out.. maybe I should go pick some up later tonight hehehehe.  A quick run through the Party City store netted some nice pieces for a scene I was planning along with some silhouettes for a new idea that looks promising – not sure if there is enough time though.  Finally another stop at Menards to buy, you guessed it, more PVC pipe and connectors.  Also picked up a 4×8 sheet of foam as backing for the idea above.  The credit card was smoking tonight, but it’s my personal Christmas and one of the few times we (rather I) pull out the splurge word.  Now on our way back home.  Hate to waste time so popped open the laptop and went to work on the last post for the month.  You have no idea how much of a relief it will be to close this month out.

Going to shift a bit from Texas on this post and bring you shots from another trip that we took earlier that year.

Common Gallinule shot in Henderson, Las Vegas in August 2013

Specifically, we headed out to Las Vegas in August of 2013 – yes, that would officially be over three years ago so a new low point in my posting queue… actually to be technically correct, that would be a new HIGH point in my posting queue.  My queue pushes are exceeding my queue pops.  If only there was a for-loop for writing posts and then that sucker would be drained in no time.  While out in Vegas we managed to drop on over to our favorite bird photography hangout – the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.  Any frequent visitor to this blog will know the magnitude of check marks that site has added to my bird list.  This trip once again delivered some great viewing opportunities including this alcohol guzzling creature.

Common Gallinule shot in Henderson, Las Vegas in August 2013

Hit the jump to view a few more pictures of this red-faced dabbler.

Continue reading Red Faced in Vegas

Little Boy Blue

Like the old adage says “All Scary and No Aviary Makes the Heart Grow Wary”  So that doesn’t happen to all my precious readers out there I’m going to give you a break from the recent batch of Halloween posts to bring you a bird shot.  This particular set of shots was taken  during our Red Rock Canyon visit back in November 2012.  Now I’ve featured the Mountain Bluebird before (link here) and the Eastern Bluebird (link here) has even made an appearance once or twice, but this is the first time I’ve brought out the Western Bluebird!

This little bird was hanging out not far from the side of the road fairly close to the entrance.  This happens to be another one of those classic times when I really thought I was just shooting an Eastern Bluebird and really didn’t think much of it at the time.  The Eastern was already checked off my list, but I NEVER pass up a bird in the field.  Time and time again I go into the digital darkroom thinking one thing only to come out fully surprised.

Hit the jump to read more about this colorful bird!

Continue reading Little Boy Blue

Send in the Scrubs

Taking a quick recovery break from last night’s final long training run.  The IVS half is coming up in a week and start my taper tomorrow.  I wasn’t able to get the desired 10 mile run in due to a swarm of lightning that convinced me to bail out a mile early.  Last weekend a lightening bolt took a 5 inch chunk out of my neighbor’s huge oak tree from top to bottom –  a helpful reminder not to roll the dice with nature.  9 miles should be fine for race day prep .. besides, the last mile or so I was pushing it to make it back to the truck before it let loose.  Not one to just sit around just watching the boob tube (although the Illini are kicking butt), thought it would be a good time to crank out a post!

Unlike the previous post. today’s featured bird didn’t take long to lock in an identification.  If you haven’t noticed a theme yet, the birds of late have all been from our Red Rock Canyon in Nevada shoot.  This is a wonderful park not far from Las Vegas and a standard stop for us when we haul our photography equipment out there.  Definitely a good place to add to your Birding List if you are light on your land birds – which I happen to be at the moment… although building fast.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Western Scrub-Jay

Pretty cool looking bird with the white eyebrow liner and the white speckled in the throat area.  When the bird list was checked it was discovered that there was a question mark in the check box.  This usually means a possible ID was made but lacking a good confirmation.  Similar to the Gray Vireo and Townsend Solitaire which both have question marks in their check box until the bird in the previous post is officially confirmed (still looking for some help on that by the way).

The question indicator resulted in a quick search of the blog to figure out where it was previously referenced.  Looks like there were two possible sightings – one in 2008 (link here) and one in 2010 (link here).  Reviewing those two possible shots, the conclusion is neither one of those is a Western Scrub-Jay.  Not sure what the 2008 one is yet, but the 2010 is most likely a Clark’s Nutcracker.  So good news, I can replace that question mark with a solid check now.

Time for the classic EddieSoft pose…

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the Western Scrub-Jay

Continue reading Send in the Scrubs

One White Ring – One White Bar

To sum up this month in one word I’d have to go with BUSY.  Day long meetings at work, project Aaauuunnnnoold moved into a new phase (getting close) and then there’s that little thingy called a half looming just over a week away.  A wave of relief came over me when the monthly post count came up to 5.  Whew, only one more to close out this month and the pictures for two posts were already completed and in the hopper.    The best way I can think of to end this month is to feature a Bird!

Not just your ordinary Bird post though, this one is a Mystery Bird post … translated, one that needs some assistance from my loyal readers.  To set the stage, this particular bird was taken at Red Rock Canyon on our trip to Las Vegas back in Nov 2012 (better late than never).  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a full on shot of this bird.  It preferred to stay semi-hidden among the rocks.  They had “Area under restoration” signs up so respected their wishes – cost me a good angle on a new bird.. but if photographer’s can’t respect nature… we are doomed as a society.

To be honest, I need your help in identifying this bird – hit the jump to see which direction I’m leaning towards!

Continue reading One White Ring – One White Bar

Me Thinks It’s a Grackle

UPDATED: 10/22/2016 – Sorry for the correction, but I realized while writing another post on this bird that this is not a Long-Tailed Grackle, but a Great-Tailed Grackle – no idea where I got that other name other than the fact it has a …. wait for it … wait for it … a long tail. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thanks to the last set of soft bird pictures, I figured it was a perfect time to bring out another set of pictures definitely on the soft side – if I keep this up it will transform from a mistake to a STYLE!  I actually need a little help in the confirmation of this particular evil looking bird.

I snapped this bird while walking on the Treasure Island Casino boardwalk in Vegas back n Nov 2012 (hey, I warned you the backlog was epic).   A large dark shape caught my eye as it flew in behind us to scavenge in the cracks of the boards.  Per my Golden Rules, brought the camera inline and took a few shots thinking at the time it was just a Brown-Headed Cowbird.  It wasn’t until reviewing the shots in the digital darkroom that it occurred to me that the shape of this bird did not match my reference model for those birds.

For one, Cowbirds have a much shorter beak.  The one on this specimen is more like a dagger.  Add to this the fact Cowbirds typically have brown only on the head (thus the clever name eh?) with the rest predominantly black.  This Vegas bird carried the brown through the body and only shades to black at the wings and legs.  And then there’s the whole overall size issue with this one having a much larger stature than the Cowbirds seen in my neck of the woods.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots and learn what I think this bird is!

Continue reading Me Thinks It’s a Grackle