Forging the Chi Within Yourself

Master Po: Your final test, the urn of the two symbols: the dragon and the tiger. When you can walk in this corridor, the inner path to the outer world, and can push the urn aside with your forearms you will bear its markings with you for the rest of your life.
Kwai Chang Caine: Hundreds of pounds of burning coal and iron. How can I Master, having only the strength of a man and the weaknesses?
Master Po: It is because you are a man that you can do this, Grasshopper.
Kwai Chang Caine: I do not understand.
Master Po: As the softest clay, in time, becomes the hardest brick; a fragile leaf, a diamond; as a stream of fiery ore freezes into unbending iron, so too may a man ascend to himself.
Kwai Chang Caine: How?
Master Po: By slowly forging the chi within yourself, the bond between the finite and infinite, the inner essence of your spirit, and the limitless power of the universe.
Kwai Chang Caine: How can I do this?
Master Po: You will have found your strength and the source of your survival. You will be free my Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Minneapolis MN in July 2017

… and the rest is legend.  Well, at least in the entertainment world.  From a birding perspective it simply represents another new bird encounter while on our Minnesota Birding Trip back in July.  As with the last post on the Marsh Wren and a few back with the Black Terns, this particular Sparrow was spotted while we were at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge outside of Minneapolis MN.  We found this refuge on a website that listed the best birding areas around Minneapolis.  Without a doubt, I can officially confirm that entry on the list.  Sherburne is a fantastic location with a range of habitats to observe – trees, prairie and marsh.  All easily accessible and viewable from the car.

Grasshopper Sparrow shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Minneapolis MN in July 2017

We did get out of the RV at the first pull off to take a short trail through the prairie.  It is on that trek that I heard a very distinct noise coming from a good distance down and slightly off to the side.  Sounded like a very loud insect possibly rubbing its wings together.  Took me awhile to pinpoint the source of the noise – a bird perched on the very top of a large weed.  My Brother Ron had mentioned this particular bird on a previous outing with him allowing me to quickly guess I was witnessing a Grasshopper Sparrow.

Grasshopper Sparrow shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Minneapolis MN in July 2017

Hit the jump to read and see a bit more about our featured feathered friend!

Continue reading Forging the Chi Within Yourself

Wren Are You Gonna Stop So I Can Take a Pic?

There are those times you realize you are behind the eight ball and trying to get caught up.  Then there are times when you feel like you’re underwater trying to get above the workload enough to just catch a breadth before going under again.  Then there’s those times when you realize that those times you thought were stressful and overwhelming were comparatively more like a slow stroll through a park.  My life has been more like the latter lately due to some imposed timelines and activities that nearly brought me to my knees.  The good news is I have finally broke through to the park walking stage and doing my best to take a breather before relighting both ends of the candle.  At least all that work filled up the coffers of blog material that will be coming at you over the next several weeks.  For now, I wanted to give some love to the Wildlife side of my blogging efforts. Cannot think of a better way to do that than introducing you to this …

Marsh Wren shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge July 2017

That cute feathered specimen was a pleasant surprise on our recent birding trip to Minnesota.  It is quickly being realized how successful that trip actually was.  If you have been keeping up with my output of words, you have probably come to this same conclusion.  Several of my posts have covered birds that made it into the tin on that trip back in July 2017 at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.  In particular, one of those posts – the Black Tern (link here) is the reason for this find.  While standing by the water’s edge trying to keep the glass on target with the hunting Terns, this specimen decided to pop out of the reeds in front of me.  Possibly to show off its; own hunting abilities.

Marsh Wren shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge July 2017

Hit the jump to read and see more about this cute little bird!

Continue reading Wren Are You Gonna Stop So I Can Take a Pic?

It’s Their Tern

Greetings everyone! First off, our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by the weather events in Texas. Kind of shocking when you think it wasn’t too many months ago Linda and I were vacationing down in South Padre Island. Every time I see someone walking in waist high water down there, all I can think of is the huge alligators we encountered while birding down there. Hope to god the rain and flooding doesn’t bring those beasts up into the communities. In no way glossing over the human impact that has resulted, but as a birder, it will be interesting to see how the birds handle this change in environment. The SPI area was such a wonderful birding location it will be disappointing if that element doesn’t recover right alongside the lives and other wildlife already experiencing tragic displacement. We will keep an eye on how things are going there.

For now, thought I would go with the following for today’s featured post:
Black Tern shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Minneapolis, MN. in July 2017

That dark and mysterious creature is referred to as a Black Tern. This is not a new bird to the blog having first appeared back in July 2015 (link here). If you recall, that encounter with the black arts took place at Goose Lake. For the record, that was my first encounter with this bird having made my way up there thanks to an IBET post followed by a recommendation from my brother Ron who had made his way down there.

Black Tern shot at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Minneapolis, MN. in July 2017

Hit the jump to see and read a bit more about this acrobatic sky hunter.

Continue reading It’s Their Tern