Well, yesterday was the planned 50K date. I thought things were starting to fall into place – the ankle was healed up enough to bear the dangerous footings on the hilly trails, the rains had subsided enough to let the trails dry up a bit leading to high confidence at the start. I will post the details on my other blog in due time, but I foretold victory or tail between my legs on a previous post. Unfortunately, the day ended prematurely with my tail between my legs along with 4 staples in my head. Mother Nature opted to replace the expected overcast and temps in the 80’s with an overbearing sun and heat index at 100. Fought through 14 miles and decided to rest a bit at a water station. Apparently should have kept going as my body revolted – stood up thinking I might get sick only to gain consciousness with people standing over me with blood covered hands – not a vision I’ll forget anytime soon. Long story short, had a stressful ambulance ride to the ER. Took in 5 IV bags and a set of staples from a large gash in the back of my head having hit a wooden railing following by the sharp edge of a box fan on the way down (so they tell me). Pleaded with the doctors to allow me to go back and finish, but they had my wife on their side. Total failure and my first DNF in 17 years of running. Looks like another solid year of training, but I’ll be back for some unfinished business.
Enough of that embarrassment, let’s get to something much more entertaining.
Today, I’m bringing you the same Raptor species from two different locations along the Texas Gulf Coast back in January 2017. The Northern Harrier is one of my favorite Raptors for a couple of reasons. The first is they are just plain cool to watch while they are scanning the fields and marshes for prey. Deadly aerial skills that allow them turn on a dime or virtually hang in the air leveraging wind dynamics to determine the best angle to pounce.
Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this deadly predator.
Continue reading The Angel of Death
Today’s topic seemed a perfect fit for today’s blog for a number of reasons. For starters we just finished up our latest bird shoot down in Texas. Although that trip was somewhat exhausting (7 days, 7 different hotels) we did manage to shoot what we went there to find. Which, by the way, is absolutely awesome and can’t wait to post the results here. I was able to finish up not one, but two more phases of Project Auuunnooold. It’s the end of the month and lastly, the final wrap on our first two visits to the , Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. This comes as a bitter-sweet event. Bitter in the sense that this shoot produced an amazing number of new checkmarks and interesting photos. The Sweet part is it will allow me to move on to the other shoots that have been piling up in the queue – and trust me, there is a LOT in the hopper at this particular point in time.
Let’s recap why the Henderson Preserve was such an amazing birding location!
Overall Posts Pertaining to Henderson: 22
Number of New Birds to the Blog: 21
Number of Birds Featured: 32
Number of non-Bird Posts: 2 (The Coyote and the Jack Rabbit)
No other place has come close to being this productive from a non-captive environment perspective. In closing this shoot out, I just wanted to provide a few more shots that caught my eye when closing out the catalog from the digital darkroom. First off is a few more of the Northern Harrier that was hunting in the area. This bird of prey must have known we were there since it would drift his hunting circles away from us every time we came close. It is hard enough to keep The Beast on target with something close, but downright nightmare trying to keep the focus on something that doesn’t even fill the focus point.
As a result, there are “plenty” of blurred shots that hit the cutting room floor, but some turned out decent enough to process. Not as crisp as the previous set (link here), but definitely closer so you can make out the features better.
The next one could use a little more lightening in the dark room – likely pushed the shutter speed in favor of keeping the blur down. Mainly putting it here because the composition looked nice in the frame.
Hit the jump to see the last of the Henderson shots.
Continue reading Henderson – It’s a Wrap
Greetings everyone! We are currently dealing with a family emergency that has resulted in some unplanned travel. Hoping for the best on that front (please keep Linda’s brother in your hearts and prayers for a speedy recovery). As a result there is some downtime while waiting for updates and taking care of all the dogs. Figured I would go ahead and crank out a post to help the time go by. Since the pictures have already been processes, let’s head back to Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve. Unlike the previous posts from that wonderful birding area, this particular bird did not result in a new check mark in the bird list. Although, they are slightly better than the shots taken at Yellowstone (link here)
From the collective set of Henderson shots so far, one would think this is a bird paradise – various waterfowl enjoying the peace and tranquility of a slow paddle on the calm pond waters. Well, except for the coyote shots – thinking that Shoveler could have used a little less peace and tranquility (link here). Whether the other birds realized it or not, there were predators patrolling the skies. Not sure what it is about these Northern Harriers, but they have a sixth sense to stay as far away as possible from my camera’s reach. Even with the Beast, it was difficult to really get a bead on these birds of prey. This set of shots was taken at the extent of the glass – thus the fuzzy results … I mean umm style. Maybe I’ll get lucky and some of the second day shots will come out better – sticking with the theme of first day shooting for now and these were the best out of the bunch.
Hit the jump to read more about these Raptors
Continue reading Dangerous Skies
There are two types of birds that tend to drive me crazy when trying to classify them. Eventually I can get through to the waterfowl, but the family of Accipitridae and Falconidae have way to many similarly colored birds. Adding even greater difficult to identification is color changes that can occur from juvenile to adult. As a result, when it comes to classifying some of the hawks and falcons I open the reference books with a slight sense of dread. That was exactly the case when it came to finally posting this blog. While traveling out to Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park to check up on the wolves, I spotted this bird hunting in the prairie fields.
Of course, spotting it was one thing, trying to actually get a decent shot of it was a struggle. The Beast was on high speed continuous mode allowing for burst of shots once the bird came into frame. It would glide for a short while towards me over a stretch of the field, but would then perform an amazing aerial maneuver to double back on itself. Once his range was extended, it would start gliding back towards me again. This was repeated until it eventually made it out of the range for the Beast. Unfortunately, there were only a few decent shots out of the whole shoot worth showing anyone. The one above is clearly the best, but here a few more that provide a decent view of the coloring to help in identification.
Hit the jump to read my attempt at classifying it
Continue reading This One is Kind of Harri